But I still had all of this left over:
Since I already had a metre of cream rayon in my stash drawer (intended a few months ago for a refashion using By Hand London's Polly top pattern, but it didn't cooperate...), I thought the two might combine nicely to make something a little bit textural.
For Christmas last year I was given a voucher for Style Arc patterns. (insert happy dance here). I decided on the Ziggi jacket, the Camilla blouse, and the Annie Cami:
I remember reading on a blog somewhere - I want to say A Fashionable stitch, but I honestly don't recall - that it's a good idea to build up a stash of basic patterns that you can easily adapt or rework, rather than having hundreds of slightly different versions of essentially the same design. I thought this pattern for a woven tank fit the bill nicely.
There was quite a lot of broderie anglais there, once I'd unpicked the gathering stitches and ironed it flat. I started by marking where the final hem would be on the front piece, and then laid a length of lace across it so that the scalloped edge just overlapped the hemline.
I sewed this down close to the upper edge of the lace, then positioned another length so that it just overlapped the top edge. I sewed this down the same way, then kept layering lace until it covered the front. From the back it looked like this:
I pinned around the edges, sewed close to the edge right around the sides, armholes and neckline and then cut away the excess:
Then I sewed the rest as per instructions; front darts, sides, shoulders. Normally for this pattern I think I'd French seam, but here that would have been too bulky. I didn't have enough rayon over to make bias binding, so just used a polycotton pack that I had. Not lovely, but serviceable! I did find the line of securing stitching I did around the edges showed in places, so I had a little bit of unpicking to do there...
The pattern calls for the side vents to be mitred, which is quite a nice finish (although I'd like to try folding the edges under rather than overlocking next time). I could only do that on the back though;
For the front, I sewed just the hem, not the vertical/side stitching. The lace was already secured to the main fabric at the outer edge of the side vent, so once folded back into the finished position it just needed a few hand stitches to secure it in place.
I finished up with this:
I'm quite pleased with it! Not too shabby for leftovers, anyhow :) I don't know why the original lace ruffles made me irritated while these flat lace layers make me happy, but there you are!
It turned out a little boxier in shape than I expected or am used to wearing, but I'm ok with that I think. Since it only has a hook and eye closure at the back of the neck it has to be a loose enough fit so that you can actually get it on. Plus the lace makes it a bit stiffer than it would otherwise be. Next time I use this pattern I might nip in the side seams just a little bit. I think I'll also reshape the back opening to more of a keyhole shape and bind it, because the slit opening tends to sag a little.
The other main construction change I'd make is to lower the darts. They really are a bit high (which we'll chalk up to nursing three kids...;) ) I think I can get away with it on this top, because the dart itself just catches the outer edge of a lace layer, and then that lace sits over the end of the seam, but I know it's not quite right.
This actually shows up a sewing weakness of mine - I almost always do a muslin, but sometimes it's a bit of a "token" muslin. For this one I really only checked that I could get it on and off... I'm not entirely sure, because the lace adds a fair bit of thickness, but I think it pulls a little across the bust. I've never had to do a FBA - never thought it would remotely be a possibility! - but I may research that for next time too.
This sounds like a bit of a catalogue of flaws so far, but it's really not so bad! It's had its first outing for the day and I was really happy with how it felt on. There's something so summery about broderie anglais, isn't there?
There was one other step I'd planned for this top, but stopped short on, thanks entirely to the Top 5 Reflections exercise. I'd intended to try dip-dyeing this to get an ombre effect (I was thinking coral or maybe aqua) but changed my mind. I realised that although the dye idea would - I think! - look good, it would actually limit how useful this top would be in my wardrobe. As it is it goes with lots of things, so I thought I'd forego a slightly more "impressive" blog post/item in favour of functionality. We're sewing a wardrobe here, after all!
In other news, the lovely Siri from Pinhouse Playmate has nominated me for another Liebster award! If you haven't come across her blog before, make sure you check it out - her sewing is amazing and her knitwear sublime :) Thanks Siri! I'll have a think over my answers and post soon :)
I've almost finished all my planned summer sewing now - just four more items to go :) I'm finding my mind starting to drift though to cooler weather projects, but that could just be the hankering for autumn that I get at this time every year - a kind of "if you build it, they will come" ;)
Do you sew according to a plan? Which do you prefer making - warm or cool weather garments?
Have a wonderful week :)