Monday, 3 March 2014

Liesl & Co. Weekend Getaway - Take 1.

After consulting a couple of online sewing dictionaries, it seems the phrases: dry run, practice go, dummy run, first take, tester, etc aren't part of the sewing lingo. I suppose that  means I've made a muslin.


I think I tried to explain the logic behind how I sew once before on the blog, and failed. But let me try again...

My mother recently passed on to me some fabric that my grandmother had given her. Grandma had brought it back from Japan probably in the early 60's sometime (correct me if I'm wrong mum) and assuming my mum could sew she handed it on. There's a bit of a joke about the complete lack of domestic skills in the women on both sides of my family so it was a very generous assumption on my grandmother's part. My own mother is now making a very generous gift of the fabric and an equally generous assumption that I won't balls it up in a really bad way.

So, I'm understandably nervous about cutting a vintage, patterned silk fabric. What to make with it?

I looked to a pattern that had no waist line and minimal seams to interfere with the fabric's own pattern. The Weekend Getaway Blouse and Dress by Liesl & Co.

Here it is as a dress:
Photo from www.oliverands.com

I had a few questions to answer before I launched into the real fabric so it seemed a test run was in order. Would I like the shape, would it fit? Could I handle the slippery fabric? How would I deal with the seam finishes?

Just as I was pondering these problems I happened to find myself in The Fabric Store, on a sale day, facing some divine mushroom-y coloured, sheer fabric with tiny silver dots all over it. What a coincidence! Not far away there was also a lightweight cotton of exactly the same shade of browny-grey. You can imagine my delight! So, now I'm daydreaming about a sheer dress underlined with the cotton. That's going to be a lot of work if I can't handle the seam finishes, I don't like the shape, it doesn't fit me.....

Problems NOT solved but the fabrics made their way into my bag all the same.

Then, in the remnants box at the front of the store I spied this fabric


It was a 1.1m x150cm piece of sheer polyester. It was definitely going to be evil to handle, it would be slippery as all heck, challenge my seam finishes, and at $9 it was very, very bin-able if it all failed.

I didn't really think at the time that I was throwing in another level of difficulty altogether in choosing a fabric with a very obvious pattern.

I almost wished I'd videoed myself cutting this out (except that I do it on the floor and I'm sure a video of my backside sticking up would detract from the genius of my cutting! ha). I had to fold, unfold, refold so many times. It really was not going to fit. Every time I folded the fabric to try another way I had to meticulously line up the plaid lines just to discover that the facings wouldn't fit or I'd only get one sleeve on.

Eventually I nutted it out but it was what I call a "multi-fold cut". That is, you can't just fold the fabric once and then cut every piece. You have to fold a bit, cut one piece, refold again to cut the next then flatten it out to cut some single layer parts wherever they'll fit. Does anyone else do this? I confess I never look at pattern layout suggestions anymore.


And the cutting turned out to be the trickiest part of the whole thing.

The instructions for the blouse are superb. I couldn't do any staystitching close to the edge of the fabric lest it get munched* so I cut some 1/4" strips of black interfacing and ironed them to the raw edge. That worked perfectly to stabilise the neck.

* that's also not in any sewing dictionary but I'm sure you all know what I mean

Then I worked out that where I couldn't do a French or hairline seam I could put a narrow strip of interfacing between the seam allowances and then finish them together.


If anyone else has made the blouse and worked out how to do a French seam at the shoulder and still get the facing to wrap around neatly then I really want to know about it. Meanwhile, this finish looks like it will hold up ok. There are some lovely French seams joining the front to back at the sides and sleeves


The back has this lovely inverted box pleat and the neckline is finished with a strip of bias facing.

Ticking off my muslin questions:  I figured out a way of dealing with super lightweight seam finishes where hairline or French seams won't work. I handled the evil, slippery stuff without tears or seam ripping.

Do I like it? Does it fit?


Well yes, I like it. However I'm not entirely convinced that it's my style, especially in this fabric. Here I am pretending I have an office job (I don't) and get to wear nice skirts and shoes (I don't). It is ever so comfortable though and I have worn it already quite a few times.

The fit is the only part that I'm still undecided about. I love the fit of this blouse, but I wonder if that's because it's see through. If it were made in this size in a solid fabric would it look a bit sack like?...

And that question will have to wait to be answered when I get around to Weekend Getaway Take 2

25 comments:

  1. Your blouse looks lovely - well worth the effort. I've made the same one and although I'm a different body shape I struggled with how I feel about the fit. Mine was in a cotton voile (yellow flowers) so very sack like - but super comfy on a hot day. :-)

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    1. Thank you. I suspect it's a fine line with this pattern between blousy and boxy. I definitely agree with the comfy on a hot day verdict though!

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  2. Oh my gosh, I LOVE it!! Granted, I do work in an office, and wear skirts and heels all the time, and would totally style it with a pencil skirt, EXACTLY as you have done, but I really really love it, even with jeans. It's just so flowy and pretty. I think it might be one of my favorite versions of this blouse I've seen yet. (I bought the pattern, printed it out, but haven't taped it together yet.)

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    1. Well thank you, that's high praise indeed. If you don't mind beating yourself up a little I'd recommend a really slinky, drapey fabric. Go for it!

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  3. It's really lovely. I admit I am not a fan of this style - a little boxy for me - but I agree with you that it works well in this sheer fabric. I am actually considering getting it just to make a sheer one like this now, so, well done!

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    1. Well I hadn't expected I'd be "selling" the pattern with this one, so that's very flattering. I figure that in the way that my shadow can look good (no bad tan lines, no blemishes and a reasonable shape) a sheer blouse over a camisole can look good. No idea if that will make any sense to anyone else (ha ha)

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  4. I love that fabric--what a fabulous print! I have to agree with the others, I can't wear that style (I need a waistline and darts, or I look like a short tree stump), but I wish I could! I have to say, I love it styled with jeans! Now I want to see what that vintage fabric looks like!

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    1. Well I'm not going to argue with you because you obviously know what suits you - your sewing for yourself is divine. But I'm struggling to imagine that short tree stump!
      I might post a pic of the silk and see is anyone has other suggestions. It has a sort of vertical chevron stripe that will make it tricky....

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  5. I think you did a fab job and it's suits you well (fake office clothes or not)! Looking forward to the next installment and the fancy fabric as well!

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    1. Thank you. Don't hold your breath. I'm bound to get distracted, I always do.

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  6. I have never wanted to buy this pattern until now, I love what you made!! I think your top looks fab with jeans and how brave of you to sew something ever so tricky. I say you pulled this off fabulously Shelley!

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    1. Thank you Sharon. I think my sewing motto would have to be that luck favours the brave. It's only fabric after all!

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  7. You did a phenomenal job matching stripes. I never would have known you didn't have yards of spare fabric to make it perfect. I think this pattern looks best in the sheer. It's a gorgeous pattern, but it is on the loose boxy side. I wonder how it would look out of an opaque fabric - maybe go down one size?

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    1. I was lucky in that the pattern was symmetrical and I could cut pieces upside down. I fussed about the sleeves but then the way they're attached they could never match anyway. Sometimes all that you could get away with is all you needed to do anyway!
      I was thinking I'd drop one size for the opaque one although I'll keep the larger size from the waist down so it fits over my hips.

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  8. I love it. I haven't bought this pattern but now I think it might be a must. Amazing job on the pattern matching.

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    1. Thank you. Unusually for me there was no red wine involved in the pattern matching this time. I guess that means I was really trying!

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  9. I think it's lovely on you. And I do love the sheerness of it. For a muslin, you hit it out of the ballpark! It looks great! Can't wait for the next installment. :)

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    1. Thanks Rachel. I hope the next instalment won't disappoint (you or me!)

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  10. Your top looks great! I really like it in a sheer fabric.

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    1. Thanks Cindy. The colours and the spots won me over but now I find myself looking more closely at the sheer, slippery stuff. At least I know I can handle them. (unless that was first timers luck, we'll see)

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    1. Thank you. Since you know very well how it should be done I appreciate your praise of the results of my suck-it-and-see trial.

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  12. Look, major kudos for sewing it and it looks fairly uncrushable so it would be awesome for a 'through in a suit case' jobbie.

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