Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"Sailor Moon" Jasmine Top

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... 
After 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.
Ah the back - you can start to see my fitting issues here with all these wrinkles. Yeah, it's like that all the time. I even stood up very straight and smoothed out the back before I took this pic - no dice. At least I don't have to look at them when I wear it, lol. I'm still not 100% sure what to do to fix this in the future - maybe go up a size on the back pieces? I'll play with it before I make the top again.
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.
Now for the official problems (yeah, I bet you thought I'd already started them, huh? That was nothing, lol). The sleeve cuffs stick out like little wings on my underarm. The weird thing is ... this is how the pattern is drafted. Anyone else out there have this happen on this pattern? I was super careful to follow the weird zig zaggy line on the sleeve just as pictured in the pattern booklet. I'll be addressing that on future versions for sure.
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

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