I love Tim Gunn and Project Runway. I watch almost every season and I am amazed at the designers’ creativity and talent. I find myself holding my breath when Tim walks into the workroom to check on their progress. His advice can make or break the design and/or the designer. 🙂
There was one piece of advice Tim shared with a designer that was at his or her wits end. I don’t remember the designer or the garment. I do remember the fabric was FABULOUS (Oprah sing-song voice). As Tim walked away from the designer’s table he said “Just let the fabric speak to you.” You have to love Tim and his parting remarks.
I now find myself chanting that piece of advice in my head as I’m perusing fabrics. Whether in a store or on line I’ll say “Let the fabric speak to me.” That’s what happened when I decided to participate in the Plano American Sewing Guild (ASG) Sew Along event for Vogue 8897.
You know I love a sew along – though I’ve only participated in one … the Salt Spring dress by Sewaholic. I was very excited to participate in this sew along … because at the end there was a show off event. The ability to show off what I sew? I’m so all over that! Heck, I’m just getting to the point where I can wear what I make in public. Ha!
When I first saw the pattern, my gut instinct was to sew Version B and to do it in black with white, red, or yellow trim. I wanted to make it appropriate for the office. But I’ve been reading a lot of blogs lately about flattering your figure. Good fit. What compliments your body type? With that, I started having 2nd, 3rd and 4th thoughts. The tunic is already loose fitting. Combined with the bell sleeves, I felt as if my body would be overwhelmed by all of that fabric. I’m 5″0″, and I carry most of my weight around my middle … belly, hips and thighs. I didn’t want to create the illusion that there is any more to me than there already is. Ha! In the end, I went with the sleeveless version to remove any unecessary fabric and to have a streamlined silouette.
Then I started thinking, personal style. Though the dress is not something I would purchase ready to wear, I felt the need to funk it up a little. Give it life. Then I had my Tim Gunn moment I wasn’t even searching for fabric for this pattern when I came across Amy Butler’s Lark Sateen.
This fabric said to me – “Sew me, Nisha. Sew me into that tunic. Sew me into that tunic and you and I will do great things together.” And we did. Haha!
Overall this was a very quick to sew and I was able to learn new skills and techniques. If you’re new to my blog know that’s my goal with everything I make … I need to learn something new and apply it with every pattern I make. If I don’t, how will I ever get good?
The fabric is actually a horozontal zig zag. I did my best at matching the sides and believe it or not the front is two pieces joined by a center seamline up the front of the tunic. I think I did a pretty good job of matching this squigly, wiggly, not so straight zig zag pattern. It was definitely a challenge. Fortunately I took the advice of several blogs and cut my fabric pieces on a single layer to get as close as possible.
I also used a contrast fabric for the facings and pockets. I decided to go with red instead of basic black. I wanted the option of wearing this with a pop of color to the office and when I held this deep rich scarlet red next to the print, angels started singing in my head. SCORE!
This version of the pattern doesn’t require embellishment around the V-neck. So here’s my confession. (yes, you get one every post … why should this post be any different.) I struggled with topstitching on my version of Butterick B5555. And … I struggled again. So much so, when I was ripping out the top stitching for the 3rd or 4th time I actually ripped the fabric.
What does one do when they jack up their fabric, and you don’t have enough to fix it? You cover it up. I set off to Hancock Fabrics. Nothin’. Then I went to Joann’s. Still … nothin’. I didn’t know what I was looking for. I just knew I didn’t LOVE everything I was coming across. I loved my fabric, I just wanted to at least like the trim that would need to be added. I was beginning to think I would need to settle. But before I did, I quickly ran into Hobby Lobby to see if they would have any little thing I would like. And they did.
This pleated ribbon is double the width that it is on the tunic. I folded the ribbon in half. pressed it, and edge stitched the ribbon the length of the trim. I then topstitched it onto the top of the dress to cover the tear. As I’m typing this I realize I resolved a major freak out with three sentences. This sewing thing just may work out for me. 🙂 HA!
Now let’s talk abot fit. I struggle with fit … I just don’t know enough to fit a garment well. The best thing about the Show Off event was that we got to see other people’s versions of the same pattern. People that had a lot more experience fitting garments made a lot of pattern adjustments. There is a lot of bulk in this pattern, a lot of extra room and extra fabric that creates the illusion that you’re much larger than you are.
No matter what your size or shape you will need to adjust the pattern to flatter your figure. Definitely make a muslin and adjust your pattern prior to cutting into your garment fabric. Unless you really like that boxy look. After the Show Off event I was inspired to add darts to the back, but after looking at these pictures I probably need to add front darts as well, just to bring the garment in a bit at the waist and flatter the bustline. One of my ASG friends Mollie actually made this more of a fitted silhouette, and it was very flattering and very sexy.
Scoop (my guy) was with my when I was taking the photos and he pretty much said the same. There’s a lot of fabric, and it just seems big. Now that I’ve seen the pictures myself, I wholeheartedly agree. My biggest take-away from the show off event is that I control what the final product will look like. Yes, the pattern is the pattern. But I control the final garment. I can make it fitted or leave it large. The pattern is the guide. I control the outcome. I have to want to wear whatever I sew. There’s too much blood sweat and tears in making every garment for me not to wear what I make.
Did you go through this process when you were beginning to sew? I look at other blogs and I’m amazed by their creativity. I hope I’ll continue to let my creativity grow and evolve. I feel like this Sew Along experience has freed me to be creative and take a chance in changing the pattern. What frees your creativity when you’re looking at a pattern?