Friday, December 27, 2013

Well Adjusted

Remember that sequin top I made?  Did I mention that I'd purchased three more lengths of sequin fabric to make some more?  I think I may have a sequin problem. 

I liked my blue sequin top, but when I got started last weekend on making the second one, I decided that since I'd just taken a fitting class, maybe I'd make a few adjustments to the pattern.  On my first top, I traced a size 38 at the bust and waist, and graded out to a 42 at the hips.  This time, I got a lot more fancy.

I started with a size 36 at the bust, grading to a 38 at the waist and keeping the 42 at the hip.  One thing I try to do when I use my hip curve to make pattern adjustments is take note of which section of the ruler I use, so I can match the front to the back and replicate that curve later if I need to.


Then I gave myself a 1/4" broad back adjustment and 1/2" sway back adjustment:


Then I added in a wedge of about 3/8" across the upper back for my "prominent shoulder blades" or "low round back:"


Because this top is cut on the center fold, I straightened the line from the neck edge to the hem edge.  I also left myself a nice wide border of tissue so I could pin the pattern along the center (fold) line, cut out one side, and then flip it and cut out the other side, single layer.  More and more, I'm realizing single-layer cutting is the way to go for accuracy.  It's really hard to stop myself from being lazy about doing it though!


On the front, I raised that super low bust dart about a half inch, by cutting a box around it and moving it up:


And I'm going to admit here and now that I did all these adjustments on the fly:  e.g. I guesstimated where my "apex" is and just moved the dart to correspond; I also guesstimated how much to remove for the swayback and add for the shoulder blades.

But it doesn't matter one bit, because the fit on this second top is amazing.  It's like it was made to measure for me!  (Ha!)

I decided to make my top out of the trickiest of the three fabrics I bought.  It's a paisley design in gold sequins, stitched onto a black mesh background.  Since it's basically transparent, I lined the top with black silk.

I spent four days making this simple top, because this time, I did need to remove the sequins from the seam allowances - if I hadn't, they'd show right through the mesh in a most unattractive way.

I did the darts first, as you do, and remembered to take some pictures while I was doing the sequin removal.  I thread traced my darts, then used tiny nail scissors to cut away the sequins inside the tracing.


You can't really cut away the threads that hold the sequins, because then you'll lose some that you don't want to lose.  The sequins themselves have to be cut off.  What worked best for me was to fold the fabric between my fingers so that the tops of a row of sequins were sticking up:



Then I just cut across them, lopping off the tops so that the O became two Cs.  Most of the time the remainder fell out by itself, but I did sometimes have to remove pieces with tweezers.


After sewing each seam, I'd have to remove the sequins in the seam allowance before I could go on to the next seam.  I made things a little easier on myself though by trimming half of the seam allowance away first.


Still, it was a lot of tedious work.  I'd work on it for a couple hours, then put it away for the next day.  I estimate that I spent about ten hours on this top; probably 80% of that time was sequin removal.  I did the hem yesterday and kept track of the time:  removing the sequins from the 1/2" hem allowance all the way around took me an hour and 45 minutes.  The only place I didn't remove the sequins was at the side seams; they don't really show too badly there, and I didn't want to spend another 5 or so hours cutting away sequins.

But I'm glad I stuck to it and did it "right" - the resulting top is truly the most spectacular thing I've made to date.  Hubby was wowed when I tried it on for him.  I'm planning on wearing it to our friends' New Year's Eve party next week with some slim black trousers and gold heels.

It was interesting to see how my feelings about this top changed as I worked on it.  This wasn't my favorite of the three new fabrics I got when I started making this top.  I decided to use it first partly for that reason, and partly because I was worried that if I made things from the other two (more favorite) fabrics first, this one might languish.  But as I worked and worked on this project, I came to love it more and more.  I really think this is an elegant, timeless piece that I hope to enjoy for a long time.


PatternBurda magazine 12/2012 #118B with personal adjustments (edited to add the link I finally found!)
Fabric:  Paisley sequins on black mesh, JoAnn's online (no longer available it looks like)

Sneak peek, photo taken before hemming and adding hook and eye :


26 comments:

  1. Hi Gail! beautiful top and some serious snipping! Can you please explain what a hip curve is?

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    1. Thank you! LOL - it was some serious snipping! It was literally showing up in my dreams at night!

      A hip curve is a curved ruler that you use when you want to blend one size line to another where that line is a curve, like at your hips or waist. The one I have is inexpensive, and I like it because it also includes a curve for armholes. I got mine at JoAnn's, but here's the Amazon link:

      http://www.amazon.com/Dritz-832-Styling-Design-Ruler/dp/B001BDEOVG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1388186134&sr=8-1&keywords=hip+curve+ruler

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  2. Wow, that's a really glamorous top! You are such an accomplished seamstress!

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    1. Thank you, Carmela! I'm proud of my work on this one!

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  3. wow! that, my dear, is a stunning top. can't wait to see it on!

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    1. Thank you, ma'am! It makes me feel all sophisticated and stuff when I put it on!

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  4. Oh, wow, that's amazing! Such a stunning result. I love the paisley print and can't wait to see it modeled!

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    1. Thank you, Kelly! I knew that I wouldn't have time to take any photos until NYE, but I couldn't wait to share the project because I'm so happy with how it came out!

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  5. That is pretty fabric. Definitely New Year's Eve worthy.

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    1. Thanks, Stef! This is the shiniest piece of clothing I've ever owned!

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  6. Wow! I can't wait to see it on!

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    1. Thanks, Sarah! It actually does look better on a body than on the hanger!

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  7. Gail, you're killing me with all the amazing things you've been making. I want to get on the sequins train too. I can't wait to see you model it. It's really really lovely.

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    1. Aww, thank you! Apparently, once you board the sequins train, there's no getting off, LOL!

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  8. That is spectacular. And it's crazy how those patterns, with 8000 alterations (even if only estimated), get you a top that fits like it was made for you :-)

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  9. Well done! I don't think I'd have the patience. So glad your alterations worked! :)

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    1. This is going to sound totally bonkers, but after I'd finished, I sort of missed chopping off sequins! Not to worry though - I've already started another sequin project which requires it :-)

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  10. Wow! This looks so glamorous! So glad the adjustments worked out so perfectly!

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    1. Thanks, Sonja! I might need to revamp my life so I can wear this thing more ;-) Or just become a crazy sequin-wearing-in-the daytime-old-lady! You know: like on Advanced Style.

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  11. oh wow thats simply amazing, and made to fit as well! if you get a chance could you share pictures of the top on? (also of the back and insides? i'm a sucker for pictures)

    i'm also in awe that it only took you 10 hours,

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    1. Thank you! Yes, I will definitely be taking pictures of the top when I wear it tomorrow :-)

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  12. Wow Gail, that is a seriously gorgeous top! Snipping off all those sequins must have driven you mad, but totally worth it. I can't wait to see it modelled.

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    1. Thanks, Sam! You know, it's not so bad, really. It gave me plenty of time to reflect on my goals for the new year, that's for sure!

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  13. I can't wait to see this on you! I will definitely be making some paper pattern adjustments before I use the lovely blue sequins, and I'm sure glad I won’t have to remove all the little sparkles before I sew: I may have decided patience will be the name of my game for next year but I'm not that patient ;) And which gold heels are you wearing? The toe capped fancy French ones? Oooh and aaahh! I want a photo of the entire outfit, my dear friend!

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    1. I'll be applying for Sequin Sainthood soon, LOL!

      Yes, the ones that came while you were here - the ones I HAD to have after seeing them on Top Notch Kirsty! Thanks, Kirsty!

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