Continuing on with my search (from last year) for the perfect top, I came across this pattern, Vogue 8953, and I thought I’d give it a try. Here are the specs: Misses’ top, Very loose-fitting, pullover top has raglan sleeve variations and very narrow hems. View A: Elasticized neck and waistline, View B & C front neck slit, continuous bias for elasticized tie ends (neckline) and drawstring waist with casing, elasticized sleeves.
Pretty basic, should be a snap, right….? I rarely follow pattern instructions, aside from confirming what I think will be the next step, so I made it my goal to follow the instructions. Which turned out to be not so much. (**sigh**) The fabric I used was from my stash, a beautiful tribal poly chiffon from Joann Fabrics, part of their Summer 2013 collection. This pattern is rated easy, but using such drapey slick fabric means you have to have skills, like patience (check), perseverance (um, not so much) improvisation (check) and finally, when to know when you are beat and do it your own way (double-check). So, it wasn’t as easy as it looks.
When it comes to cutting out a pattern & fabric, let me just say this; will someone just do this for me? Please? For me it’s the worst part of starting a project. You have to make sure the fabric is straight, you don’t forget a piece, you have enough fabric, a place to cut things out that is big enough, etc.. Ugh! Since the fabric came before the pattern, of course I was a little short. I got the main pieces (front, back, sleeve, peplums and top facing) all cut out. Then I saw it; the dreaded continuous bias pattern piece, used to make the ties and the waist band casing. I have to say, I am so thankful that I didn’t have enough fabric for this piece. I can just imagine painstakingly cutting this piece out, then cutting out the strips according to the directions only to have an uneven, unraveling piece of fabric that is good for nothing. Or making a tiny drawstring only to turn it inside out and discover holes where the fabric unraveled. A BIG NO TO THAT.
Onward, time to sew. Going with my instructions, I noticed right off in step one that I would have to improvise. The instructions called for finishing off the slit in the upper front by hemming the edges. Umm….. no! Instead I chose to use a bias self fabric piece to finish off the edge, a much more finished looking result.
Since chiffon fabric unravels like crazy, seam finishing is a must. I love french seams, they are easy to make, beautiful to look at and sturdy! In addition, I rolled the hems for the sleeves and peplums, and finally followed instructions like a good girl (for a while, anyway). I actually loved the directions for 2 parts of the construction quite a lot; First was the casing on the sleeve – folding up the sleeve at a particular spot, stitching around to make a casing, then inserting elastic; boom! that’s it! And second, the facing at the neckline also forms a casing for the elastic and drawstring. The results are a much softer neckline (packaged bias gets so bulky with chiffon, don’t you think?). I purchased rattail cording for the neckline drawstring (sewn onto elastic), about 1 1/2 yds. total.
The double peplum pieces are curved, almost circular. A nice feature, I think it pairs well with the other ruffly bits of this pattern. I had cut the bodice front and back pieces 2 inches longer to accomodate my long torso and the need for another elastic casing around the waist. Again, I totally skipped the instructions on this part, I felt that the tie with casing idea was a little too much – ruffles, ties, ruffles ties, it was getting a little crazy! So the front bodice pieces and peplums were joined, a casing was made and elastic inserted, and that was that!
There you have it! I think I would give this project a 4 out of 5 stars, because I liked the way it turned out. Time consuming (about 7 hours total, 1.5 of them being cutting the thing out!!!), I really tried to stick to the instructions, but I JUST COULDN’T!