Thursday, May 15, 2014

Trying to get back into the swing . . . and striking out.

Do you guys ever feel like it's hard to get back into the swing of sewing after being away from it for a while?  I definitely get rusty if I don't sew for a couple weeks.

I thought I'd get back into the swing with the Maria Denmark Day-to-Night Drape Top - a pattern touted by everyone who has made it as being a quick, easy sew, and one which has been on my to-do list for well over a year.

I guess I'm the dunce in the class, because I have had nothing but problems since taping and tracing the pattern on Tuesday!

First I couldn't decide on a size: XS is too small, but S is too big.  Then there are the seam allowances, which need to be added - how large is right for me?  I finally decided to trace a size S (graded out to L at the hip, and lengthened to size L) and cut it without seam allowances - theoretically giving me a size when sewn between XS and S.

Yesterday I figured I could certainly knock out the top in the afternoon.  But I got completely waylaid by this, my nemesis:

{clear elastic, a.k.a. the devil}

I could use F.O.E., but I'm not a huge fan of that stuff either, especially on a top that's meant to be a bit dressier.

And then I realized I have no matching thread, so even if I figured out the elastic, I couldn't make the top anyway!

So I spent a good part of the afternoon making samples, trying to get that darned elastic right.  Here are just a few, and I'm not happy with any of them:

Aside from not laying flat (or evenly), they look a bit "home ec" to me . . .

So I got on Pattern Review and found a good suggestion:  serge self-fabric binding to the edges, then turn those back and do a line of edgestitching.

I didn't even get as far as the edgestitching part - this is way too bulky, and still doesn't lay flat!


Have you made this top? 
How did you attach your elastic, if you used it?
If you didn't use it, how did you treat your neck and arm openings?

I'm completely flummoxed!


  1. Gail I've not made this top, but if it's similar to my emerald silk cowl dress (in that the cowl is self faced) i didn't finish the cowl edges as they didn't fray and are hidden inside the top/bodice... And I just turned and stitched the armholes after trimming the 5/8 seam allowances to maybe 3/8 inch, with a shallow zigzag, but I found that with the curve of the armhole it was really hard to do in a circle so unpicked the side seam and did them flat. Then redid the side seam.... I hope that makes sense..... And maybe helps! Hope NYC was fun!

  2. I made this top and used clear elastic. It was a nightmare for me. I also chose jersey without much stretch. So it was not a successful project. Sorry for not having a solution.

  3. Oh no! I don't have any suggestions but I do hope you are able to work through it. I've been having a few of those moments lately too

  4. i think you're on the right track with the self fabric binding. i would pull out the coverhem to topstitch it (it's what i did with the dress i just posted). works better than the clear elastic finish! good luck, i'm sure you'll find a solution!

  5. I haven't made this top but I've made things that are similar. I've sometimes used FOE on the back neck and arm openings, and sometimes I've used strips of the fabric for a simple binding (as per this tutorial, or as a facing (simply attach, understitch, and coverstitch or tack). You could try using a coordinating but lighter weight jersey as a facing. Good luck!

  6. Gah! No solution, but now you have me not wanting to try this pattern (looks like too much work). I hope the sewing gods are smiling upon you today.

  7. I have the pattern but I haven't made it. In truth, if I never make another cowl, I'll have too many. Of course, I will make many more of them. I haven't read the instructions but my idea would be (presuming you have a serger) to use the little groove in the foot (my regular serger foot has one) to thread through the elastic. Then just serge the edges with elastic and fold over/ top stitch (stretching the seam as you go, slightly). Without the groove in the serger, I cannot abide the clear elastic. Mind you, I've considered sewing the elastic alone, for a few inches and then trying to add the fabric underneath it once you've got it going. I don't know if it would work, but it's worth a try.

    1. My sewing the clear elastic pertains to sewing machine sewing, not serger sewing (natch). Sorry, that comment is a mess.

  8. Somewhere out there in the online sewing community there was a blog post about using interfacing inside the seam allowance (or hem ) instead of the clear elastic. I have not tried it but it looked like it would work. I need to figure out a way to say links so I can use the hints I have read but can't remember exactly what to do. Thus I can't find the link to send you. Maybe this would work for you?

  9. Good luck; I'm sure you'll find a way.

  10. I hope you get good advice because I have no idea :) I also hate clear elastic, it always ends up scratching me..

  11. Here’s a clear elastic tutorial that is excerpted from the new book, "The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits."


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