Guys, an amazing thing has happened over the past week with me - I've suddenly really wanted to finish some ridiculously old WIPs! This doesn't happen often, so when I get the urge I just go with it. The item that started it all was something I can't even figure out when I originally began making. I know I lived in my current house, so it was at least within the last year and a half. I'm guessing about a year...my first attempt at the Colette Jasmine Top, I foolishly thought I had the fitting kinks figured out and decided to cut right into my "good fabric" and make the version I really wanted. I quickly realized that I had no idea what I was doing fit-wise ... again. The first failed muslin (pictured in the link above - ugh) was made up in a size 18. I was so worried about not making it big enough that I figured I would just take it in to fit instead of trusting the pattern measurements. This was my first time using an "indie pattern", and I knew the sizing didn't have as much ease as the bigger pattern companies. This time around, I laid my "altered" finished muslin on the pattern and decided to go with a size 14 - big difference, folks. The fit was much better off the bat from this simple change. Maybe one of these days I will stop thinking I'm larger then I actually am. Maybe.
So before I tell you all the actual problems that made this top take a year to finish, let's look at the OK finished product, shall we? I seriously love the design of this top. The sleeve cuffs and collar are awesome. That notch at the sleeve is so cute :) I know it's hard to see in the pictures because if the lighting, but the base fabric is actually a pale gray-blue color. The fabric is a wonderful chambray, which can we please wax poetic a moment about chambray? It is delicious stuff. It's wonderfully light weight and comfy for Florida weather for one thing. I'm excited to make something else with it in the future :) The collar and cuffs are in a not-quite-navy-but-not-quite-royal blue cotton poplin. Both of these fabrics were purchased at Hancock Fabrics way the hell long ago with this shirt in mind. I could've sworn I blogged about the fabric at the time, but I can't find mention of it anywhere. It was definitely back in 2012 though, and I vaguely remember it being on sale - maybe like $4 - $5 a yard? It couldn't have been much more than that since I'm notoriously cheap, lol.
Here's a look at the collar without all my hair in the way. The collar is one of the parts I'm most proud of to be honest. I finished the body of the top as well as putting the collar together last year before I stopped working on this, I just hadn't actually attached the collar to the shirt yet. That is where I picked this up this past Thursday. I had a few hours to kill while my husband was at a meeting and I suddenly decided I was tired of shuffling all the cut out pieces and pattern around my sewing room all the time and thought I could tackle it before he got home. I was delusional in the amount of time I thought I needed, but I did end up finishing it that night :) The collar is not perfectly rounded at the shoulders and I apparently couldn't be bothered to switch to blue thread (seriously, white thread in a blue collar? What was I thinking?) I can see the stitches at the points sometimes, which kind of drives me nuts, but I wasn't about to take the whole thing apart. I was moving forward with this, not back!
So the first thing I had to do after basting the collar down was tackle the neck facing. I decided to get clever all that time ago and cut the back facing similar to ready to wear shirts - a.k.a. so you can't see the annoying facing while on the hanger. I thought I knew how to do this - I thought wrong. Instead of using the facing pattern piece and drafting it longer, I used the back pattern piece and just cut it about 1/3 down the piece. This was fine in theory, and it worked at the actual neckline, but not anywhere else. Tell me, past smarty-pants-Megan, where you supposed to encase that bottom edge of this facing, hmmm? Yeah, this pattern doesn't have a yoke. So I ended up using pinking shears along the edge. I also completely forgot to catch the sides of the facing in the sleeves when I set them in. This was a modern-Megan duh moment, but oh well - I was not about to unpick the sleeves and redo them since I had to set them in twice each just to get them like they currently are. So I tacked the edges to the sleeve seam allowance by hand. I also hand tacked the facing at the shoulder seams and behind the loop at the front point. There is nothing in this world that I hate more than a facing that wants to pop out all the time, so I stitched as much as I thought I could get away with. It definitely helped, though it still pops out when I put the top on. Oh well.
Even though the fit of the size 14 was much better, it still had issues - most notably with it gaping away from my chest. I know now that I need a "hollow chest adjustment" on anything I sew, but I had no idea at the time. I just sewed it together, pinned in the excess wedge at the neckline, sewed it again, tried it on, and repeated. I got it to lay against my chest in the end, but I just couldn't make it not crease oddly mid-boobs. I have two creases that don't ever go away when I wear this. I now know why this is - hollow chest adjustments need to be made in the pattern. You remove the wedge, then re-true the center line so it is straight. Straight center line = no creases over the boobs. Essentially the way I sewed this would have worked if my boobs were box shaped, but they aren't. Thus, I live with creases. I don't think it's something anyone will ever mention when I wear it, and I'm sure some people have this happen with most rtw tops. It just drives me crazy when I look down. At least the collar looks good from above. Maybe that will distract my eye :)
It does look nice on the hanger though :) Shame we have to wear things and ruin them, lol. I love that I can't see the yucky insides or a funky facing when it hangs too. I will certainly be perfecting the concept of the longer back facing in the future. It's just so nice to have everything enclosed. Very professional. Also, I was a good girl and followed the directions this time with the inside of the sleeve cuffs. I hand sewed them! And I didn't want to shoot myself. Always a plus.
And it just wouldn't be right to make a nautical shirt and not include this picture. I wore this top to work the day after I made it, and while I didn't get the dreaded, "Oh, did you make that?", I was told two other equally
annoying fun things: "You look just like Sailor Moon!" and, "You look just like a stewardess from Catch Me If You Can!" The Sailor Moon comment was from my husband, who seems to forget that Sailor Moon had a WHITE shirt with RED stripes on the collar (my sister later agreed with him though, so the name stuck in my head). Admittedly I did wear this with a navy blue pencil skirt, so it looked very much like a uniform, so I can "get on board" with the stewardess comment. If only I had a pillbox hat, I would totally live that one up. Instead you just get a photo of me acting ridiculous. I can't wait for people I know to think that this is a serious/legitimate photo pose for me, lol.
In the end, I still love the style of this top and I love this color combo. I just wish the fit had turned out better. I know I will make this again sometime, but I will certainly do myself the courtesy I never have before - make a legitimate muslin. I just need to get a few things straightened out and then I will have an army of these. Wouldn't this be cute in a knit?! Maybe then I won't have to make that muslin. Hmmm ... lol.
Fabric: 2.5 yards pale gray-blue chambray, $12-ish; 1/2 yard navy/royal blue cotton poplin, $3-ish
Pattern: Jasmine by Colette Patterns, Free (birthday gift, woo hoo!)
Hours: There's really no telling, but I spent about 5 hours on it on Thursday