Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Match My Sewing Room Curtains

This beautiful silk from the 1960s proved somewhat difficult to use. It had quite a noticeable fade line in the middle of the 44" wide yardage from being stored on a bolt for fifty years. The gathered curtains in my sewing room were one good use, and I think this blouse has turned out to be another.

In this second rendition of Simplicity 2599, I still haven't gotten the sizing quite right. I did a 1/2" petite adjustment between the shoulder and the bottom of the armhole (and then forgot to make the corresponding adjustment to the sleeve!), but it's still a bit too big in the neck and shoulders. I believe this is a size 10 with the C cup front. Crazy, since the bust measurement for the 10 is 31 1/2 inches. My high bust is right at that measurement, so there really is no good reason for it to still be so roomy, especially with the length adjustment. But down to an eight I go on the next pass.

I put in both center front and center back seams to avoid the fade line in the center of the yardage (and to allow for a sway back adjustment in the back), and I replaced the neck facing specified by the pattern with a bias binding that extends to make a tie in front. Another change, and one which I do heartily recommend, was to cut four sleeves so that each tiny sleeve could be fully lined. On these short little sleeves, the hem and sleeve seam are often visible when the garment is worn. So much nicer to have a finished right side of the fabric showing than the underside of a hem and a sleeve seam.

Naturally I didn't think to take step-by-step photos of the sleeve construction, but if you aren't familiar with this procedure, here is what I did:

1. Stitch the lower edge of two sleeves together with right sides facing one another.
2. Press the seam allowances toward whichever sleeve you designate as the lining or undersleeve.
3. Understitch the seam allowances toward the undersleeve.
4. With right sides facing, stitch the sleeve into a tube (or, said another way, stitch the underarm seam).
5. Fold the sleeve so that the wrong sides are together and all seams are enclosed.
6. Baste the seam allowances for the armscye seam together.
7. Stitch sleeve into armscye (after sewing side seams).
8. Finish armscye seam with a serger or with bias binding. Or sew a French seam, which I don't know how to do on an armhole and intend to learn!

My apologies for the blurry pictures! I believe the fault lies with both the photographer (me, using a tripod) and her aging Canon Powershot A80. The screen is so tiny on this camera that I never know what I've taken until I download the shots into the computer. And by then it's too late to get re-dressed and go back for more.

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