Sunday, 2 August 2015

This isn't the summer I ordered, I want a refund >:(

Ah, the end of July/beginning of August. The height of summer!

The week of weather I have just endured
Or, you know, day after day of rain and well-below-average temperatures that made it cold enough that I've been wearing a sweater most days. On top of that, the last ten days or so I've been sick as a dog with a relapse of the same stupid illness. As an added annoyance, there is no sign of anyone making a decision about when/if I get the treatment that will (hopefully) put a stop to these constant relapses, even though I was promised by several different people that I would definitely hear in July. So, ugh, I am glad to see the back of last month, and I am going to be optimistic that the weather will improve (this week is meant to be less cold, at least, if not significantly less rainy) and that when the Powers That Be said "July" they actually meant "early August". Fingers crossed, anyway.

In sewing news, let me sum up my achievements in July:



Well, I did make a maxi skirt, as well as one sleeveless woven tank wearable muslin and 1 unsuccessful sleeveless tank. I also knitted approximately half a jumper, and I've been posting photos on and off of it here and on my Instagram. My July fabric stats: I used 1.1m of fabric in total (plus some scrap which didn't count) which is not a very helpful stash reduction. On the positive side, I didn't buy any fabric at all, so at least it WAS an overall stash reduction, if not precisely an impressive one.

The only project I haven't previously posted about is playing with the Wiksten Tank pattern. I started out by making a wearable muslin from olive green cotton voile:

Wearable muslin Wiksten Tank
I made a size Medium, with a 1.5cm FBA that required the introduction of a side bust dart, lengthened the top overall by about 2cm, and did a 1cm square shoulder adjustment. The fit is OK -- good through the bust, at least, and the right amount of floaty and loose at the waist for the look I wanted. (Apologies for photos on Flossie only, which make any discussion of fit kind of pointless, but I haven't really felt up to taking a photo on me.)

The big fit problem I had is the neckline, which isn't quite right at the back neck though I don't know how to fix it either. Actually, the whole neckline is a problem. As you can see, it's faced with a bias strip. Almost all the versions of this that I've seen online have the same problem: the neckline wants to curve out from the body at the bottom of the U of the neckline. I also don't think I'm alone in struggling to get a really flat, unwrinkled finish with the final round of topstitching. I read a couple of things on how to fix this (mainly: steam your bias strip into an appropriate curve before you sew) but I was stymied in execution by the fact that the contrast bias strip I used was just a little bit heavier than the (very) lightweight voile I was using for the top itself. By the time I'd stitched and folded and stitched again, the difference in weight was very pronounced, even though I trimmed out the excess from the seam after the first pass. It ended up feeling really quite bulky and thick. My recommendation is that you use a MUCH lighter fabric for the bias strip than the main fabric AND pre-steam the curve in order to get results better than mine.

(Also, in defence of the horribly wrinkled condition of the top in this photo -- I ironed this top for TEN MINUTES before I took the photos. This fabric wrinkles if you LOOK at it. I was planning to make a shirt with the rest of my piece of this green voile but I don't know if I can bear to as clearly it would be a wrinkly mess the whole time I wear it!).

I was pleased enough by the muslin to attempt another version. My original goal was to make a colour-blocked light blue/dark blue tank based on a RTW top I saw recently in a catalogue. I did a little bit of experimenting using Pixelmator (inexpensive OSX drawing/Photoshop type tool) and the Wiksten Tank technical drawing and decided I wanted to split the top approximately 2/3rds of the way down for the most aesthetically pleasing colour blocking.

Colour-blocked tank idea (uses the Wiksten tank technical drawing as a base)
I ordered some pale blue silk/cotton for the upper part and planned to use a scrap of light-weight navy blue cotton sateen left over from my very first button-front shirt for the bottom part. However, when the silk/cotton arrived, it was barely opaque and I decided I couldn't use it for the upper bodice. I eventually cut the top in reverse: dark blue at the top, light blue at the bottom.

Melted seam :(
Alas, at this point everything went wrong. I sewed the bodice pieces together and overlocked the seam, but when I went to press it the lighter blue fabric MELTED under my (relatively cool) iron. It was a total mess, and the worst of it was, of course, on the front where it was very very obvious. I bemoaned this on Instagram, and Sew Crafty Chemist suggested that maybe I could take a bit out the length to recover, which I tried this morning. I took out about 1cm, and the worst of the melty bit was gone. It wasn't great but it definitely looked a ton better. However, then I managed to sew the front and back together the wrong way and had to unpick 2 French seams, and then I cut a hole in the fabric unpicking, and then I caught the fabric on my (much cooler, but evidently not cool enough) iron AGAIN and melted it and in conclusion: I am SO VERY DONE with this failure of a tank top, and I have tossed it. I think I'll pretend that whole thing never happened and just move blithely on to my August plans.

Those August plans are a bit nebulous, as it depends a lot on how quickly I recover from my current round of illness. I am hoping to finish knitting my jumper. I have a couple more woven tops that I want to make, including one Ottobre sleeveless shirt that I cut out this morning. The big dramatic project though is that if I am feeling very well and brave, I intend to muslin my Burda rain coat later this month!

Speaking of Ottobre, one good thing about August is that it's time for the new magazine! They put the covers on Facebook at the end of last week with an announcement that the magazine had just gone to be printed, so it shouldn't be TOO long before the previews go up on their website and then the magazine itself should be in my hot sticky hands soon thereafter. I found myself less inspired than I hoped by the Spring/Summer 2015 issue, so I am hoping this issue really speaks to me, especially as Burda continues to be very disappointing for me this year.


  1. OHMYGOSH that top was doomed from the beginning then! Oy!

    1. Completely and utterly doomed! D: