Sunday, 6 July 2014

Completed: Sewaholic Pendrell in *GULP* Chiffon!

Another seasonally-inappropriate garment! To be fair though, I started it when the weather was MUCH warmer. It's another Sewaholic Pendrell, and it's totally my fanciest yet!
It's so delightfully impractical though! And I don't have heaps to pair with it. I really like this skirt with it, but it's so short, ugh! Stupid RTW... I should certainly attempt a knock-off, and add a few inches of length!

This top is a bemusing mix of fastidiousness and sloppiness.
In most aspects, I took my time, as creating a top from polyester chiffon and underlining it with delicate silk isn't something I have the skills to just plow through! 
But then I think I just got fatigued with all the details in some bits and so there's definitely a bit of shoddy work in there.

This is my third Pendrell Blouse from Sewaholic Patterns, making it a tried-and-true for me! You can see my other versions here and here.

I've read lots of advice about cutting it slippery fabrics on blogs. Many of them recommend sandwiching your fabric between tissue or other paper.  Well, I don't know about you, but I don't have big ol' rolls of paper lying around. (And I thought it sounded like a pain, plus I like to see what my fabric's doing).
I remembered seeing Sunni mention pinning to an old sheet and cutting them out together as one layer.
Well stingy old Jo did one better- I wasn't about to wreck a sheet!
I got one of my flannelette sheets- the texture of the fabric helps grip the chiffon and keep it in place. I weighted the pattern in place, and also pinned it in a few places for insurance.
Then I cut it out with scissors (I know, I'm sorry dear rotary cutter!). I only cut through the chiffon, not the bed sheet. Oh, and I cut in one layer of course.
Then... I had to cut all the underlining separately. Seriously. This blouse took me forever.
It was meticulous work, but I just took my time and enjoyed the zen of it (mostly)!

Speaking of meticulous, I lovingly hand-basted the separately cut layers of chiffon and silk together in the seam allowances. Getting all couture in here or something...

Working with tried-and-trues is fun, cos you can try out challenging new fabrics.
It was still a bit scary wondering if I'd screw it up after all that prep though! The silk underlining is super delicate!
Part of me screams out "It must never be worn!!". I mean, look at this picture I took after modelling it. I can totally see that silk shredding apart since it's already looking a little weak at the seams in just a few places. Boo!

I did use a microtex needle, so hopefully that means the delicate fabric was treated right. But perhaps the pullover nature of the blouse means it gets a little strained slipping over my head? Please don't fall apart on me, dear! Lol.

Some of the shoddy details were:
- Being too lazy to sample the bias finish on the neckline and armholes. It doesn't look too great in some parts, but you can only tell up close. Still! I should have been more careful!

I made the bias strip out of the silk. Maybe I should have used something less wibbly!

-Lazily not levelling the hem. Now, I figured it'd mainly be worn tucked in, so it doesn't matter so much, but really, after all that time spent I should have levelled it!

You can see it drooping at the back. I think I need to take out a bit more for sway back (I already did a slight adjustment previously).
I think those are sway-back wrinkles- what do you guys think? 
I sewed the side seams and shoulder seams as french seams, but the princess seams are overlocked. I can't tell you how it terrifies me to use that machine on something I've already invested so much time on. I envision accidentally cutting up my hard work with the blade by mistake! 

French seams, overlocked seams, and overlocked and topstitched hem.
Construction-wise, I didn't change much except for the order the binding was sewn on. I hate linking to this hideous old blog post (haha! standards have improved over here!), but it shows the difference in construction.

I REALLY love the print on this chiffon. I have usually snobbed polyester but I couldn't go past this lovely floral. I figure going sleeveless will prevent that horrible sweaty feeling you can get with synthetics. Well, here's hoping.

You can tell I like a garment when I start pulling stupid poses... lol
For the ruffles, I changed them. As drafted, they are folded double, and the fold acts as the edge instead of a hem. I cut them to have a hem instead. The hem is on the bias. A bias, chiffon hem. Mega EEP!
The reason I did this is so that the sheer chiffon didn't show as a doubled-up pattern. And I didn't want to underline as I felt they would be too stiff that way. I'm glad I didn't, as I think they have plenty of body as a single layer. But still, hemming them was a MAJOR pain!

I think it looks good, but it was hard getting there!
Oh, and this is what it looks like if I tried putting it through the machine without any fancy tricks:

Lumpy, ripply, ugh.
I am not skilled enough to make a bias hem behave. Maybe I will become a fabric ninja in future but for now I need a crutch!
I had this stabilising stuff I'd bought ages ago and never used (lol), and I ended up hand-basting it to the hem allowance before hemming. I cut it to the same length as the pattern piece's hem and while hand-basting it to the chiffon, bullied the chiffon (which had already stretched out a lot!) back to the right length. Silly bias, you're not the boss of me. But I'll concede you had me working pretty hard...
The cool thing about this stuff is that it's water-soluble so it disappears without adding bulk, and without showing through the sheer fabric!

My fancy crutch!
I'm sure there are way better and more efficient ways to do it but well, I guess it worked for me! Maybe next time I will try a hand-rolled hem! Or maybe a fusible stabiliser would do the trick more easily, I'd just have to see if it compromised the sheerness or bulk-free finish... Sheers are a whole new world! Suggestions welcome of course! :)
Ooh new thought- maybe the magic of fabric glue (which I have yet to try) could be combined with the water-soluble stabiliser to eliminate that pesky hand-basting...

Requisite side-on shot.

I'm not whether it's best tucked in or not, actually! I thought I wouldn't like it untucked but it may be a better proportion on me, it's hard to say!
And thanks to the miracle of sewing, I can actually have garments that fit in the bust, and don't bunch and ride up over my generous hips, which is nice.

I've mainly (heavily) altered the fit to be pretty good by now, but there's room for tweaking. I think a bit of extra sway back, and I need to slightly lower the armholes. Other than that, I'm pretty happy with it!
I know I've already made one other version with the ruffles but it's definitely my favourite view (SO CUTE). I did threaten to make an army of these tops so I'm sure there'll be more in the future.

Don't ask me what my hand's doing here... haha! 
So let me know if you guys have any answers to my (as-always) myriad ponderings, and high-five to you if you're as ruffle-crazed as me :)

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