Friday, August 19, 2016

FO: Lacey Wrap Front Top

This is one of those projects that make you wonder if sewing actually is fun, lol. All was well ... until it wasn't... and this project sat unloved on my ironing board for a solid 2 weeks yet I wouldn't allow myself to sew anything else. *sigh* I've had a little distance from it now, so I'm not as upset with it as I was, and I even think it's very pretty considering I thought I was going to have to throw it away at one point, haha. So here's a slightly more fancy project than my norm to break up the monotony of toddler print t-shirts: A stretch lace wrap front top.
As soon as I made my first Dawn to Dusk Top using New Look 6150, I sort of had a vision of this shirt. I wanted to make it up in an ivory stretch lace. I had thrifted a beautiful 100% silk chiffon blush pink knee length skirt earlier this year, and I just didn't have anything quite fancy enough to wear with it. I knew that silk chiffon and lace would be a lovely combo, and since this pattern uses a knit I could have an outfit that was both fancy and comfy. Behold!
I couldn't get a whole body shot, and I was in no mood to futz with it, so trust me when I say the skirt is knee length, lol. I already had a very nice ivory rayon jersey in my stash that I bought from a friend ($5 for 3 yards!). The fabric is buttery soft but just too sheer to wear alone in all decency. You could see everything through this stuff. So it sat for years until I made this up. I hunted for a stretch lace to use on top of it hoping that the pattern of the lace would help with the opacity, and I finally settled on this stretch lace from (affiliate link). It was the right color and not too expensive, so I snapped up 2 yards with a coupon back in June. Combined the two fabrics are still a bit sheer, but the pattern in the lace does distract from that fact so I felt fine proceeding.
You can see on the back that it's still a bit sheer, but not overly so. You can also see my unintentional pattern patching on the lace - score! Anyway, this projects marks a few firsts for me: this is my first time working with lace (other than trims, but they are a whole different animal), as well as being my first successful attempt at underlining anything. Early into trying to sew clothes, I tried to underline a shirt dress with disastrous effects. It did not matter what I tried (I even hand basted it flat with silk thread) the pieces would shift as I sewed them and they wouldn't line up, leaving me with puckers inside. How did people do this so effectively with no puckers? I decided I was ready to try it again since I have loads more experience under my belt AND I would be making this in a knit so I knew I could just fudge it if the fabric slipped (I could just stretch the other piece to fit). I did not have to fudge anything though! Which makes me wonder what I did wrong the first time around, but at least it worked now. After spending about 2 hours cutting out everything, I stitched the lace and lining together around the edges with a straight stitch.
From there I sewed the body together with no issues. I even managed to figure out a rather tricky instruction that I did wrong the first time I made this pattern. The bodice looked great, and when I tried it on it was a little snug but I realized that I still had all those straight stitched edges so the skirt wouldn't give like it should. I pulled out all those basting stitches and it was better, but it was not as loose as the first shirt. It's a snug fit, but not uncomfortable or unsightly, so it's ok. I just figure it's from having more layers of fabric. 
Look at that lovely shoulder draping! I stopped sewing the shirt that night after getting the body fully assembled figuring I would quickly insert the sleeves the next night and be done. When trying on the shirt though, I noticed that the shoulders were too wide - they hung off my actual shoulder by a few inches. This is a problem I have with the other top too, but I never realized the reason the shoulders fell off all the time was because the shoulder was drafted for a football player (stupid big 4 grading...). I just figured the problem on my first version was caused by me not doing that tricky instruction right that I mentioned before. Apparently it was a combination of that and the shoulder drafting. So, I started messing with the sleeve. I sewed the sleeve about 1.5" inward on the shoulder, but that looked really odd. "No worry," I told myself, "it's because there's all that extra fabric I don't need. I'll just cut it off and THEN sew in the sleeve." You can guess where this is going, right? I tried it on after this and it was even worse. The sleeve was pulling the fabric over to itself, which was completely eliminating the drape that the front needed. In fact it was causing diagonal drag lines toward the seam. This is when I realized I'd royally screwed up. I was going to have to put that cut out piece back in, which would cause a ridiculous looking seam around the entire arm hole. I was so frustrated at this point after all that work and unpicking (for the record unpicking a lightning bolt stitch in ivory thread from ivory rayon jersey is no picnic in itself, but add in stretch lace and you have a serious nightmare) and I just couldn't even look at this shirt anymore. I set it on my ironing board and didn't touch it for 2 weeks straight.
Sorry for the awful phone pictures, but I couldn't get my regular camera to show the extra sleeve seam. This what each shoulder looks like now, which is really not that bad considering all the trouble I had with it and how lost I was. I actually only cut a piece off of one side before I realized my mistake, but I had to make the other side match. Once I got the piece sewn back in, I basically pinched a pleat on the other sleeve opening to try and match the other side. It's not exact, but who's going to stare at both my shoulders to compare? So not I've ended up with a "design detail", lol. Oh, and as fate would have it the shoulders fit fine now :/ And I was really surprised when I put on the shirt - you don't even notice the extra seams. All that stress for nothing ...
All that unpicking caused a couple of holes - only 2 which is amazing considering the fabric types and the tension on the lightning bolt stitch. Happily they were at the seams and my thread was an exact match, so I was able to just stitch back and forth a few times to secure the fabric and I haven't had any problems. That little lump in the circle above is where I did this - looks pretty good, eh?
So after all that, I now have a very pretty lace shirt that I really like. And it does look really good with my chiffon skirt :) Now, since you've endured this whole word-filled post, you get rewarded with this super sexy photo of me trying to look demure and swishy in lace. You are welcome.
So next time I run into issues, I'll try to take my own advice and not get so upset about it :) Don't sweat it, folks! It's just fabric :) Considering this was my first time with lace and my first time underlining, I'm pretty thrilled with my new shirt.

Fabric: 1.5 yards ivory rayon jersey (similar here) - $1.50, 1.5 yards Ivory Stretch Lace - $8.50
Pattern: New Look 6150
Notions: knit stay tape - $0.10, thread - $1.50
Time: 10 hours
Total Cost: $ 11.60


  1. Beautiful! Not as beautiful as you though!!!💋

  2. Lovely--isn't it something that no one sees the flaws until we point them out? (Shhh--Sewists' Secrets 101). I love that style of top.

    1. I know, right?! I don't think anyone else would be the wiser. A person who sews might wonder about it in person, but no one else would see it.

  3. I think this is a very flattering top...the ruching makes it. Never make a case against yourself.....a wonderful job you did.....see now you have 2 mothers.....can't help myself.....your a wonderful bright young woman....and I don;t even know you...keep up those sewing challenges....


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