It’s not officially summer until you’ve sewn yourself up another matching two piece set. I’m kicking off summer sewing with Simplicity 8394 (crop top) and Vogue 1486 (skirt). Don’t you love the feeling when you finish a project and know you’ve created something fabulous? That is exactly how I feel about this outfit. I haven’t sewn anything that has really excited me in about six months. I’ve made a few tops and dresses here and there, but nothing that felt truly special. When I wore this outfit tonight, though, I felt so glamorous. I went to a performing arts show and then I met up with friends at the Night Market. So many people stopped me to tell me how much they loved my outfit and I never tire of the pleasure of telling people, “I made it.” This is why I sew. You’re never going to find anything as unique and special as a beautifully well-made sewn garment that fits your body in a fabric you love. For project details, read on.
If you have been following my blog for some time you may know that I love bird-themed fabric. See exhibit A here. Anyway, let me start by talking to you about this particular bird fabric. I purchased it last year when I attended Mimi G’s conference in L.A. I visited Mood Fabrics and stocked up on some gorgeous fabrics, including this special piece. By the way, I’m bummed I’m not going to the conference this year. Are you? I vow to go next year! Anyway, this fabric was my splurge buy. It was expensive at $30/yard, and I bought three yards. Now, before you gawk at the expense, hear me out. I consider sewing a form of artistic expression. When I learned how to sew and started becoming proficient, I realized that I am a creative person. Never before had I considered myself creative or artistic. When I make a garment like this, I pour hours into the project over several days. It is so much more rewarding to use a beautiful, rich fabric. Yes, I regularly shop at Joann’s and I buy discount fabric. But sometimes you got to treat yo’ self. Here’s a close-up of this fabric:
It has a sort of quilted texture and an almost sculptural quality to it. It’s very weighty. It does not wrinkle easily. It is not neoprene but I forgot to note its composition when I bought it so I cannot share any more details than that.
The skirt is unlined. The top is lined with a white linen I bought at Joann’s.
If you’re a Mimi G fan like me then you probably recognize the new crop top pattern from her summer line.
It is Simplicity 8394 and I loved it as soon as I saw it. I love Mimi’s patterns because she always creates a video tutorial for the pattern on youtube:
She makes it so easy to sew along. I never even had to pull out the paper instructions. This crop top was so easy to make. I think I prefer it to the Cynthia Rowley for Simplicity top I made two summers ago. Mimi’s is much easier even despite the boning application. Plus, the tie front bow is irresistible.
I did not make a muslin. Instead, I sewed up the lining first and tried that on before I cut into my nice fabric. As far as figuring out what size to cut, I just copied Mimi. I watched her video and cut out the exact sizes she cut out. She cut a straight 12 on pieces number 1 and 4. She cut a 10 on pieces 3 and 5. I looked at her and I looked at me and I figured we were about the same: not much going on up top but bangin’ booties down below, amiright?
Anyway, it worked! The fit is pretty darn good. The other nice thing about her pattern is that she has multiple sizes printed on the tissue paper so if you end up cutting out the wrong size you can just cut out a different pattern piece later on. As I mentioned, I also learned a new skill with this project: inserting featherweight boning. Not as hard as I thought it would be.
It was really quite simple although I do think I inserted the boning the wrong direction. Instead of the boning working in my favor it seems to be working against me. However, since the top is so snug it doesn’t much matter.
The straps were too long so I shortened them by about one to two inches. Anyway, let’s talk about the skirt now.
I love this skirt and it was easy as hell to sew up. It is Vogue 1486, a Nicola Finetti pattern.
You’ll want to pick a fabric that has some volume to it, like neoprene. My fabric seemed to work well for this pattern. Anyway, have you ever sewn up a Nicola Finetti pattern before? I hadn’t heard of this designer before but I looked up her lookbook and she is da bomb. I hope Vogue gets more patterns from her.
I muslined a size 14 and I am glad I did. It was close but a bit too snug. All I did was then use a 3/8″ seam allowance on the side seams to buy myself some extra room and I also added an inch to the length of my waistband. My only complaint that I also heard echoed by others who had made this pattern is that there is gaping at the waistband. I think someone said a curved waistband pattern would correct this. However, I do not know how to draft a curved waistband pattern. Anybody out there know how? Can you point me toward some good resources? How do you address a gaping waistband?
Honestly, though, that is my only minor issue with this whole ensemble. Other than that, I think it is perfect and I cannot wait to rock it all summer long.
What are you sewing up this month?