When a Fabric is described as “perfect for people who love unusual prints and something a bit different” I know its going to be right up my alley and this fabric certainly didn’t disappoint. The way I shop for projects varies, sometimes I fall in love with a pattern and hunt for the perfect fabric and sometimes a fabric leaps out at me and I hunt for a pattern to suit it. This project was most certainly the latter and after finding a fabric like this I wanted something that was going to be suitable for the semi-sheer georgette but that was also going to suit the edgy look of the non-traditional print.

I hunted through the archives of pattern options and stumbled upon Simplicity 1064 and loved the idea of the high-low hem. I find this time of year a challenge for sewing projects that fit seasonally, its that frustrating time of year where its heading to the end of winter but spring hasn’t quite sprung yet. The long sleeve version of this pattern felt like a garment that was going to really work in the transition.

My only real worry with my choice of fabric and pattern combination came from the list of recommended fabrics on the back of the pattern envelope as it listed double georgette rather than single georgette. Now from researching the difference between the two I managed to establish that the double georgette is slightly denser in weave than its single counterpart. This results in a more opaque result (although it is still a semi-sheer fabric). My decision was therefore to just go for it, and when the fabric arrived in my studio I was so pleased I had, as soon as I handled it I knew that it was going to work absolutely fine. The risk I played was that the single georgette could have been so fine it wasn’t going to tolerate the pressures put on it by the elasticated waist but this was not the case in the slightest, its fine but doesn’t feel too delicate and actually has a lovely weight to it for a semi-sheer fabric.

The great size debate then began. I measured in at a size 18 but when I checked the finished garment measurement for the bust it was 5” larger than the measured size… I was quite honestly flummoxed. I always expect 1-2” of wearing ease but 5 seemed extreme. I decided that a toile of the bodice was needed to see how it looked. I made this in an old sheet, although it’s not a great representation of the actual fabric (it’s always recommended to do a toile in a similar fabric) I knew it would be sufficient to give myself an idea of how large it was going to be. The surprise to me was that the 18 looked ok, I most definitely had a lot of room in it but in the finer fabric I was confident it would drape well. I took the same toile and adjusted the side and shoulder seams to that of the 16 and tried again and it definitely fit still… which left me procrastinating over this decision for a while. In the end I decided that (as I spend my life telling people) it would be easier to take it in than get annoyed if it was too small so off I went cutting the 18.

To anyone that has ever cut fine, drapey fabrics you will know it can be a nightmare to cut out. This fabric behaves just like you’d expect it to, the minute you pick it up (even ever so slightly) it shifts and moves and makes you think you’ve done the most awful hack job of cutting it out. The trick is… to be cautious but not over think it and definitely not to over trim it. Make sure the fabric is flat on the table, none of it should be hanging off the edge (as this will cause the fabric to pull in that direction). Use lots of pins and try not to lift it when you begin cutting, literally run the bottom blade of the scissors along the table so that the fabric is lifting as little as possible. (You can of course use a rotary cutter but you’d need a mat that is larger than each piece as once you begin cutting you don’t want to be moving the fabric around). Once you’ve cut each piece you will likely look at it and think it looks like you’ve done the most awful job but in the words of Disney let it go and trust that it will be absolutely fine once its all sewn together.

Once you’ve got all the pieces cut out, I found that the fabric was quite a pleasant sew. You need to be pinning your seams well before stitching but because of its crepe-like texture I didn’t find it slippery in the slightest. This top sews together pretty quickly, you’ll want to be finishing your seams as you go though to avoid lots of fraying strands hanging everywhere (I overlocked but if you don’t have this available a zig-zag will do the job nicely). You can see I used a black interfacing on the neck facing, given the semi-sheer nature of the fabric I knew a white interfacing would be stark so this was the best choice, something that’s worth considering.

One instruction in the pattern really surprised me… understitching followed by topstitching.

Understitching – A line of stitching on the inside of a garment that secures

the seam allowance to the facing to help the facing pull to the inside better.

Topstitching – A line of stitching visible on the right side of the garment that

secures a facing/seam allowance in place. Can also be used decoratively.

I would usually either understitch or topstitch a neck edge to help keep the facing turning to the inside. But to do both felt a little like overkill to me. Although I would assume they suggest this just to make doing the topstitching easier as a facing always folds to the inside easier after its been understitched. Doing an extra step like this sometimes really doesn’t hurt, the instructions are there to help you make the garment as easily and well as you can and although I read things like this and think “really?!” I still did it because the time it takes to stitch the extra line is nothing compared to how long it takes to unpick the other line of stitching when it goes wrong.

I was absolutely thrilled with this top… until I tried it on. That sounds awful and is by no means a representation of the pattern or the fabric, its my body in the top. Apparently I have abnormally large upper arms, and this is not something I have learnt just from this top its actually something I find in tops all the time when I’m highstreet shopping too… I just always forget when I’m making from patterns. I should have tried the sleeves on before I overlocked but hindsight is a wonderful thing, and I can put this top on and it is wearable… I just can’t lift my arms whilst wearing it. (this photo is of the highest my arms will go in this top)

So, before you think that means this top will hit the pile of garments that aren’t quite right and will live their life never to be worn again I have a plan! Avoiding any drastic plastic surgery to shrink the size of my arms, I simply plan to remove the sleeves and make it sleeveless. The pattern comes with a sleeveless option so has the relevant facing to do that and it’ll rectify the issue perfectly. I will make sure to post an updated photo of the sleeveless version once I’ve made that adaptation. Lets just take this moment though to remember I considered making it in a size smaller… can you even imagine if I’d done that!

I would like to note, that I am still as in love with this fabric now as I was the day it arrived. I just think the print is really fun and quirky and has a real sense of personality about it. The drape is absolutely wonderful, and as you can see below it has some lovely movement to it. The style of the top I love too, I just have a body that isn’t textbook and should have (again hindsight) added sleeves to my toile to check those too. One of the things I love about sewing is that sometimes projects like these happen, and that’s life. All you have to do is figure out how to make it work, and I will probably love the top more sleeveless (because that’s what I find happens usually).