Friday, January 27, 2017

FO: Marianne Top

It's my first finished sewing project of the year! Yay! This project was thrown together in a desire to make up a new-to-me pattern and I'm so glad it all came out well.
This is the Marianne Dress by Christine Haynes Patterns but shortened to a top. I like the style of this dress when she released it a while back, but I'm never one to wear a knit dress and I was unsure about the drop sleeve, so I stayed away. Fast forward to the end of the year when Craftsy put on their major clearance sale. I usually look at the yarn and fabric, but this time I decided to check out their Patterns category, and what should I find there but paper copies of the Marianne Dress, Emery Dress, and Lark Tee all on sale for a little over $6. I was sold! All three of these were patterns I've wanted to try but held off because they were technically things I could draft myself therefor I didn't want to put in the time of taping together a pdf and tracing, plus I can never stomach paying shipping fees for a pattern that's already close to $20 - it just feels silly. But at $6 plus free shipping, I was a buyer :)
My favorite features of this design (and what made me want to get the pattern) are the colorblocked yoke and the button sleeve cuffs. Aren't they cute?! Yay buttons! I may have loves of knit shirts in my handmade arsenal, but none with those details. My Craftsy shipment happened to arrive on my day off, so I immediately traced off a size 16 bust and graded to an 18 hip according to my measurements. Since this is an indie designer, I figured it wouldn't have as much ease as the Big 4 patterns do and I trusted the size chart. I was working completely from my stash since this was such a sudden make, and I really loved the idea of finally using this paisley floral rayon knit I bought as a remnant from Joann's a while back. It was only a 3/4 yard piece, but being 60" wide and so cheap I decided to grab it in hopes of using it for something with colorblocking someday. Yay for ideas coming to fruition! It's a lovely fabric that's super soft with lots of swingy drape - perfect for a shirt with a loose fit.
When I decided on using the floral knit, I pulled out all the solids in my stash that might possibly go with it. My main choices were medium gray, black, and navy - as you can see the navy won out. I liked how the navy let the blue in the design pop a bit more. The navy is a Maggy London rayon jersey I got online from Fabric Mart a while ago (they no longer have it, but it's a nice fabric). When it came time to make the neckband, I decided to go with the floral knit mainly because I didn't want to use too much of my navy fabric, lol, but I like how it turned out. I think it ties it all together.
Now that I've talked about the good, let's talk about the not so good. I'm still not sure about the drop shoulder design on me. I have very sloped shoulders, so anything dropped usually makes me look like a hunch back. I don't get quite that vibe here, but what I do get is a major bat wing arm pit - which I am not a fan of. I like the top just fine until I raise my arms at all. I can't decide if the top is just too big at the bust or if that's a design feature and meant to be this loose. In this drapey rayon fabric I think the looseness works, but if I made this in a cotton I think it might look huge. I'm sure I'll find that out in the future sometime. I also don't love the placement of the yoke seam - personally I think it should be about 1 inch higher - that was something I feared from looking at other's finished projects before making this, but I decided to just make it as drafted and see for myself. It's not a deal breaker by any means, and I still like this top, but next time I will definitely raise the seam at least 1 inch. 
My other issue was not from the pattern but from the fabric. This is the first project I used my Silver Star ES300 gravity feed iron on, and I made sure to turn it down a bit and use the teflon shoe when pressing all my seams, but I still ended up scorching my fabric in a few places. I noticed it first when I applied fusible interfacing to stabilize the shoulder, so I turned the iron down, but the navy blue fabric ended up with impressions on the right side where any of my seams are - and I pressed them from the inside out. I've had this happen with rayon jersey before, but I thought it was maybe some polyester mixed in at the time. Now I'm wondering if this is common with rayon jersey? Anyone know? Anyway, the other shots here are just of the fantastic button cuffs, the lovely fabric, and the twin needle hem. The buttons were a thrift store buy from my stash and I thought the white would be a nice pop in such a busy fabric. I've had issues with hemming rayon jersey recently - I end up with one row of stitching only going through 1 layer of the fabric sometimes, which leads to major tunneling - so this time I decided to fold over a full inch and then still top stitch at 5/8ths and it worked great. This fabric is so slinky that it just needs that extra 1/4" of security for the hem. I still used my beloved woolly nylon thread in the bobbin :)
As far as pattern instructions go, these were great. Everything was clearly explained with diagrams to show you what to do, so even a complete beginner to sewing knits could easily make this top. I will say that this is the first time I've sewn a knit neckband this way, and I had my doubts at the time, but other than the pressing marks around the neckline it looks great.
Overall I'm really pleased with this top :) It had it's issues, but for it technically being a muslin I'm thrilled it turned out so wearable. I definitely have plans for more tops like this - I just love those button cuffs! I'd love to go full Breton style and make a striped version eventually. With a few tweaks, I think this could become a new tnt pattern!

Fabric: 3/4 yard Paisely Purple Rayon Spandex Jersey remnant from Joann's - $3.00, 1/3 yard Maggy London Navy Rayon Jersey from Fabric Mart (now sold out) - $1.50
Pattern: Marianne Dress by Christine Haynes Patterns - $6.30
Notions: Black Sew KeyZ knit stay tape - $0.25, navy blue thread - $0.50, gray woolly nylon thread - $0.10, 4 white shank buttons - $0.25 (thrifted)
Time: 5 hours (including tracing)
Total Cost: $11.90


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