Friday, July 12, 2013

Clothing Challenge #1

OK, I said I was going to do it, so here is the jumping off point.  Check back on a previous post to get the back story on this, but in a nutshell, I am going to try to produce at least one wearable outfit a week from my HUGE stash of clothing that I bought because I love the fabric.  While I will continue to upcycle outfits for the daughter, this challenge involves clothing for myself, either making something from an article I have been hoarding or revamping an existing item in my closet.  So anyway, here is the lucky first contestant:


This was a fairly easy one to start with.  It wasn't horribly big on me but I am not a vest type, I just thought the crewel was pretty.  So I know that some people only care to see the before and after, and others might be interested in the steps.  So I'll break the suspense right up is the finished product.

I basically just brought it IN and UP to make a more fitted top out of it.  Besides bringing in the sides and shoulders, this involved deepening existing darts and adding a couple more darts in the back shoulders.  I have to say that the main reason this worked is because I am small busted.  I would have left the V neck a little lower for more neck to show but then I would have had boobs hanging out the armholes.  So I opted for more boob coverage under the arms and less boob showage in the neck area.  Does that make sense?


First I tried it on inside out and pinned in the sides, trying to make sure to not disturb the crewel pattern.

I could have gone ahead and cut the excess fabric away but I was chicken and wanted to see how it would all fit first.

Here is one side brought in.  Notice I went over that thick encased seam a couple of times for durability.

Then I tried it on to see how it would look.  I am leaving that big pinch of fabric in there for now, I'll worry with it later.

Here it is with both sides taken in.  Looks pretty good.  Those arm holes are handing low so those are my next move.

Here I am thinking about reshaping the width of the shoulders but notice how it takes away from the crewel design.  But I can tell that I will have to "lift" those shoulders to lose those big arm holes and show less cleavage.

After playing around with it for a while to see if there is a way to save that continuous neck band with the running design, I decide that I can't and just went ahead and separated the shoulder.  Since I have to save the crewel design on the front, I know that the excess will be cut from the back shoulder part.  Best to cut it right on the seam until I know how far back.

Then I removed the tag with a stitchpicker.  It had already marked the material because it is blue jean, but that is what is so great about blue one notices those distress marks.

So here are the existing darts in the back bottom.  I work with those since they already exist to shape up the back a little.

Since the bottom of the dart is encased in the bottom band, I want to open that band to get to it.  Otherwise, I would dart in the band and end up with a huge lump of fabric in my back and it will NEVER lay properly. So I just open up the top of that band just enough to access the dart.

On the outside, that dart holds the back tie, which I won't need, so I clip it off.

I lay the dart as flat as possible and start on it as far inside that band as I can get the sewing machine foot to fit.  I just moved over the sewing line so it sews along the original dart line about a half inch further in.  I also continue the dart much further up the back than before since I have excess bulk in the back to get rid of.  That dark blue thread is the original dartline, I go several inches past it.  I decide this by just pinching the back fabric while it lay flat on the table to see where the dart "wanted" to end, real science there, just played around with it to see where it would naturally flatten itself out.

After pinning the shoulders up and back together, I can see that the way I'll need to rejoin them together, means that the back shoulder is wider than the front.  So I decided to dart in the back shoulder, with will fit the pieces together without having to redo that nicely encased arm hole.  And it helps shape that shoulder to my frame more, for a more tailored look, instead of hanging off me, well like a vest. :)  That pin was just a place holder of where I planned to reattach the shoulders, so all above that is excess to be cut away.

Here is the what the inside of the back looks like with all the darts I added.  I notice that they are not perfectly even here, but on me it looks fine, so I not sweating that small stuff. It took a couple tries to get them right, I kept having to extent them so that the beginning of the darts didn't fall in a weird place and look like two back nipples.

Then I had to top-stitch those spots on the band that I had opened for the darts.   At that point, I also decided to just leave that excess side fabric in there since it would lie nice and flat as long as I top-stitched the bottom in place.

Here is how it lies.  I used the stitchpicker to remove those partial crewel flowers so it looks nice and consistent.

Then it was time to rejoin the shoulders.  I sewed them first just to get it right before I cut away the excess.  Then to finish it off, I used the serger which had a little trouble over those thick parts.  I went over it twice just to be safe.  I made sure those darts were laying in the correct direction as I sergeed them into place.

Just so those those serged edges would lie nice and flat, I top-stitched them down.  Here is how the neck line ended up looking since I was careful to cut away the flowers evenly on each side, when rejoining.

One last check on the fit...then a lot a snipping of  loose threads to get it ready for wear.

And here she is....I think it looks much better as a fitted top.  I would have preferred a little lower of a neckline, but the design around the neck made that impossible and actually makes it look okay to wear it this part of the design.

And I am really proud of how fitted I was able to make the back using darts.  I could have brought the sides in a little more in the middle, more of an hourglass shape but I risked making the crewel design on the front lay funny.  Plus I want to be able to breath after a big meal :).

Clothing Challenge #1, off to a good start!  I welcome comments.

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