Hello all!
This month’s MCBN project took a lot of thinking about. The fabric was just so beautiful that it took me a long time to decide what to do with it - I kept taking it out of my sewing cupboard, draping it around myself, stroking it and putting it away again. I don’t think I’ve ever been so indecisive!
I remember when I was scrolling through Minerva’s amazing selection of fabrics, looking for inspiration for my project kits, and found this gorgeous felted floral number. I thought I had taken a screenshot of the whole screen for future reference, but when I came back to look for it I realised the screenshot was only of the close up on the Fabric and didn’t include the description or product number.. if you live in the UK and heard someone screaming "nooooooooo!” a couple of months ago, now you know why. I spent at least an hour trying to find it again.. and I still think it was well worth the wait!
While I was working on last month’s post I narrowed the options for this one down to a cropped jacket or a fitted dress. But then I came across this Burda peplum bustier pattern (03/2017 #107) and I just knew I wanted to try it. I love the look of the top with a matching skirt, masquerading as a peplum dress, but also the versatility of being able to mix and match the top and the skirt with other items. I’m hoping to make a faux leather pencil skirt (or slim trousers!) which I think will look good with the top, for example.
So, I set out to make the bustier top. Being a Burda Style pattern, once I’d assembled the PDF I had to trace it off and add seam allowances to each piece. There were seven pieces in total, but they’re all fairly small. This bit didn’t take long at all. I actually cut out two sets from Swedish tracing paper so I could tissue fit the whole thing, and other than having to take in a little bit at centre front and the side seams at the top, for a more snug fit, it was spot-on.
The instructions were somewhat sparse, and I found I had to pay very close attention to avoid mixing up the orientation of each of the pattern pieces when joining them - there didn’t seem to be many notches, and although each seam is labelled with a number, the orientation and location of the number (usually at the corner of two seam lines) made it a bit of a faff to confirm which edges of which pieces were to be sewn together. I did muddle through, though, so I wouldn’t let that put you off.
Although the instructions didn’t mention it, I know that a strapless garment will often benefit from having foundation pieces inside. As I understand it, you could have three or four layers to the bodice rather than just your main fabric and lining. Depending on the type of dress, you could have main fabric, a foundation fabric like muslin, an interlining like a cotton fleece, and then the lining. I went with just main fabric, muslin and lining - the felted fabric is reasonably thick. I liked the extra sturdiness that the muslin lent the bodice, as a foundation fabric, but this could be made from similar fabrics with a relatively tight and stable weave.
I made up the muslin foundation bodice from the same pattern pieces as the main fabric, and sewed the rigilene boning onto most of the seams as shown in the picture below. I made sure to leave room at the top and bottom ends of the bodice, so as to keep the boning ends well clear of the seams (but as you can see, I just eyeballed the distance and wasn’t super fussy about being precise). I also covered each end of each piece of boning with a little folded fabric scrap, to avoid them poking through the fabric.
I then sandwiched this piece between the main fabric and the lining, when attaching the lining to the main fabric bodice. When turned, the muslin is hidden nicely between the main fabric and the lining, providing invisible support right where you need it.
The other thing I did which wasn’t in the instructions was to line the peplum rather than just finishing the edge. This was because the wrong side of the felted fabric wasn’t really suitable to leave exposed. Again, I cut the lining from the main fabric pattern pieces, and then I attached it with a narrow seam allowance at the hem. It meant that when the peplum was attached to the bodice, I had to do a bit of hand stitching along the waistline to secure the lining of the peplum over the lining of the bodice. I was a little nervous about this for some reason, so I hand basted it first just to make sure the lining wouldn’t pull weirdly or cause any issues, but luckily it seemed fine!
Before I knew it, the top was complete! And, while I think it looks fab and I’m already planning to wear it to a fancy dinner next month, it was at this point that I realised I was having second thoughts about making the matching skirt. I recently read (in a book/article about the fast fashion industry, I think) that to help combat the effects of fast fashion, if you don’t think you will wear something at least thirty times, you shouldn’t buy it - the idea being that we should be discerning in our purchases and not buy things we already know we’re not going to get much wear out of. That concept really resonated with me and I have been applying it to my sewing projects. This fabric is beautiful, but delicate. It must be hand washed, and even then I suspect it will not necessarily hold up to the stresses and strains of repeated wear and friction - especially in a pencil skirt. So I am currently minded to look for a pattern for a nice make-up bag or something like that to make from the remnants, maybe with a sturdier fabric for the base and this just on the sides. We shall see. Maybe I should just go ahead and make the skirt! Argh.. If you have any suggestions, please let me know, as I have a generous metre left.
There’s not really much more to say about this project! I leave you with some other shots of the gorgeous florals.
Thank you, Minerva Crafts, for the supplies for another beautiful project!
Until next time!
Michelle