Thursday, January 27, 2011

Roberto Cavalli Hip-Tie Blouse, Part II

Back with Part II of the Hip-Tie Blouse. It's a bit unfair of me to blog about a pattern you can no longer purchase, but this isn't so much a pattern review as a pronouncement on Slow Sewing.

The first time I made this top I finished it in under two hours - and I have to say, it's fairly adorable. I'm making it for the second time and it's taken me, so far, about eight hours. So what happened?

I decided to make this the slow way and learn how to do it right.

I started with a full bust adjustment (FBA) - not my very first one, but close. There are lots of great websites showing you how to do this, so I won't repeat what's been done better in other places - I'll just show you where I ended up. This isn't even a photo of the same top, by the way, but it's the same process:

After I made my FBA, I made a muslin and tried it on. There weren't any bust points marked on the original pattern, so I used the muslin to mark the bust points and then I pinned out where I wanted my darts. I transferred the markings to my new pattern, and used that to cut out my fabric.

I thought it might make sense to check the fit again when I put the top together because the fabric I planned to use (the gorgeous Roberto Cavalli silk) was so much drapier than the muslin.

This lead to a discovery for a fitting amateur like me - there are three moving parts to this top:
  1. The angle of the shoulder seam
  2. The depth of the darts
  3. The position of the neckline gathers
Change one element and you might need to adjust the others too.

I started by adjusting the darts, which seemed a bit big. I learned something on the Marcy Tilton video that helped solve this problem: split the one big dart into two small darts. This worked perfectly.

Then, I had a look at the neckline gathers. Normally I would just follow the pattern, mark the gathering area, zoom some big stitches across there and pull. But here I was dealing with Roberto Cavalli, so to show some reverence, I gently hand-stitched the gathering lines, and then put on the top to see how to position the gathers. And guess what? I ended up making the gathered area much more narrow. I stopped the gathers where I've scribbled the word "better!":

Again, the Marcy Tilton video - it's my top and my neckline. Why not adjust it my way?

I've now stitched the gathers and the darts in place, and I'll be able to test the angle of the shoulder seam and show you final result tomorrow. We can compare and contrast the two hour top with the eight hour top. Stay tuned.

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