Monday, March 11, 2019

The Top of Many Colors Part One

Yesterday I spent 7 glorious hours working on the Top of Many Colors. I made my muslin first. Let's get a few things out there about muslin making. First, it is to establish fit, and maybe, just maybe, pocket placement and such, but really the focus is fit and not much else.  Because you are making the muslin all about the fit, it doesn't need collars, facings, buttons, zippers and other extraneous details. So don't do them. Pin it shut, don't do a zip! Don't stitch a hem, just pin. For this muslin, I did a front and a back, baboom! The whole process took way less than an hour and when it was complete I knew the length I wanted and the neckline changes, for the most part. I made my pattern and away I went. I did not muslin my sleeve, but simply measured from my shoulder bone to where I wanted the sleeve to end. When I tried on the muslin I measured where on the muslin that shoulder bone would be and figured the length from there. I proceeded to put the front and back of the top together. My muslin also told me that the neckline would fit over my head, a big concern. Now I knew I didn't need any closure and my top just got a bit quicker to make.

The next challenge was figuring out how to finish the neckline as well as how far I wanted to go with a lining. I definitely wanted some sort of lining but really wanted to keep it light. In her latest post here, Tany of Couture and Tricot makes a beautiful rendition of the latest pattern from BCN - Paco Peralta.  Her lining treatment really inspired me and I sort of replicated it here in my own fashion. Tany lined her top but simply left the sleeves unlined and the armholes beautifully bound and unattached.. The link will show you how she did that. I am going to do similar. The lining will be connected at the neck, I think, understitched, and hang freely in the bodice with thread chains in the side seams to keep everything secure. The armscye and hem will be finished with a shell stitched finish, a technique often used in heirloom sewing and great on lingerie. Here is a pic of the lining all cut and ready to go.  I've been using clips for a while but just started using them for patterns and really like them for that.

You've hear me many times talk about making samples. If there ever was a case for sampling, it is the shell stitch in combo with the poly anti static lining. Here you can see my beginning attempts. They are horrid, I agree. But, with sampling you keep playing until you get it right and eventually I did.

You can see some rows just aren't doing a "shell" effect. That is the work of the tension and to make this work I used a tension setting of 8. Other rows have me fiddling with width and length, just nasty, but I kept at it. I  eventually got it and when I did, I tried it out with matching fine machine embroidery thread as used in heirloom machine sewing.

You can see the pretty little shell effect in the row the arrow and the scissors are pointing to. It has a stitch width of 4.0, a stitch length of 1.5 and a tension setting of 8. The fine thread disappears into the fabric so prettily. The shoulder seam of the lining will be sewn  first. Then the armscyes  will be the shell stitched and once those are stitched the side seams will get a French seam. Last but not least the hem edge will get the shell stitch treatment, all a light and lovely secret hiding under the top.

My next session will have me making the lining, connecting it to the neckline and re-cutting the neckline a bit for a more attractive curve. The back neckline is very horizontal and needs a bit more shaping, IMO. I have really been enjoying this project and sharing it with you! I bet we all have lots of 1/4 and half yard pieces we could put to good use this way!............Bunny


  1. I am looking forward to seeing this project complete.

  2. Replies
    1. Yes! They really do save time and money. Who wants to chuck an ill fitting garment made out of precious, expensive fabrics? I sometimes wonder if people think they need to make the entire garment when they do a muslin. I keep it down and dirty, as simplified as possible, as I am after fit feedback and nothing else. The thought of "wearable" muslins does not work for me. It's either a fitting muslin or wearable.

  3. So nice to see the stitches/techniques you are adding to this jacket. Will stay tuned to see more.

    1. Glad you like the shell stitches. I worked on that today. Lately I have read so much about sewists with facings rolling out and showing that I thought a lesson on understitching might be in order. I will show that next. I did give more shape to the neckline and it looks better.

  4. You do such lovely work. I look forward to seeing your progress.

  5. This is incredible!!! I ADORE the color palette!!

  6. Every blog post brightens my day and your choice of colors is an inspiration as always, Bunny! Love the loose lining technique too! I always thought that shell stitch was only for the edge of knits...who knew!

  7. It is great on knits, isn't it? I learned of its existence when I started doing heirloom Christening gowns. They would need slips underneath and this was often the edge finish of choice. They were usually made of batiste, very light, so not quite the same effect as a knit but both really pretty.


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