Here's the new hip-tie blouse in a Roberto Cavalli silk charmeuse - I've very happy with it. Here is where sewing pays off: you can purchase a similar top at Neiman's or Net-a-Spender for $595, or you can make yourself a glamorous and better-fitting topper for $50.
My hip-tie blouse
I'll admit that I bought the fabric on sale at FS Fabrics in Los Angeles. I think it was originally $100 a yard and I bought two yards at 50% off. I made this blouse for me and a fabric necklace for my mom all out of two yards of fabric.
This Roberto Cavalli blouse runs $595.00
Here's a summary of how I made this top:
1. The hie-tie top runs big. I made a medium and I did a full bust adjustment (FBA).
2. I added a dart to the side (as part of the FBA).
3. I gathered the neckline by hand. This worked so much better than by machine.
4. This fabric is opaque and rather heavy, so I finished the seams by pinking the raw edges.
5. I attached the bindings by machine, then stitched in the ditch by hand.
I found the solution for attaching the bindings in High Fashion Sewing Secrets by Claire B. Shaeffer. She gives detailed information on how to attach bindings. She says that when binding a neckline you should "ditch-stitch by hand, using a very short running stitch".
At first I thought: that is insane. Then I realized that it is quick to do and it gives beautiful results that would be hard to replicate on a machine.