Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Speed Sewing

What to do when you've got a Christmas party to go to and nothing to wear? If you didn't sew the answer would be shop. :-) Now the only thing that pops into my head is, "What do I have in my stash?!". I remembered this BWOF pattern I had copied from Cidell's issue, and how she was able to make it on short notice too. I had some stretch wool leftover from another project, and a few colors of silk charmeuse available, so I whipped this up in about 12 hrs total, from the time I started adding seam allowances to the traced pattern. Not bad.

I did do flat pattern adjustments before starting, and I have to say they got me really really close. I straightened the hip curve, adjusted for swayback, and added booty room in the back. I checked the armholes against my favorite TNT silk tank pattern and added a little where it would have gaped, and that was it. The back darts still needed tweaking but it was surprisingly close.

Since this was speed sewing, I committed some sins against fine fabric that I would normally never do. Nothing is lined, although it really doesn't need it with the fabrics I chose. I serged (separately) all the seam allowances, including on the silk (yes, 30 lashes, I know), but did press everything open. I chose to bind the armhole and neck edges instead of creating the ruffles, and I didn't hand baste them down either. I got really lucky my ditch stitching caught almost everything with just pinning, and I was able to redo some areas discreetly. I can't say enough good things about a 70 microtex needle and Coats XP fine poly thread on silk charmeuse. So forgiving.

I asked Cidell for help on this one, and she in turn called up the omniscient Marji, for additional help. Thank you both very much for your quick emails, they were much appreciated. Following their advice I put in a lapped zipper on the side seam, instead of an invisible in the back. It was my first time with a lapped, and it wasn't perfect but I was pleased with it. I can see how it will be much less hard on the fabric. And I do like the side seam location, my CB seam is very curvy and I'm not thrilled with the way zippers lay back there. However, the lap itself, even done well, adds some bulk to the side seam and sticks up more than an invisible. So I'm not crazy with the look, but if I hadn't tried that location I never would have discovered the advantage of the side seam zipper. One caveat though, all the instructions I found for doing a lapped zipper involve basting the seam closed, and when you are all done the area that was basted is visible. My charmeuse still shows the needle holes from that basting. FYI. It was fine on the wool.

This was right before we ran out the door, I had an hour to spare after finishing.

You can't really tell from the pic, but that is a burgundy shanked button. The only one in my stash. I bound the keyhole placket following Claire Shaeffer's High Fashion Sewing Secrets.

Top of the lapped zipper caught in the armhole binding. This held the lap down very nicely over the zipper stop.

Yes that's a brown zipper. It was all I had.