Pattern: Simplicity 2614, view d
Fabric: Green mini-gingham pima cotton from Denver Fabrics
Notes: This is another item in my wardrobe that started with an inspiration garment. I saw the Swathed Gingham blouse (below) at Anthropologie, and fell in love with the green gingham.
Realistically though, I don’t look good in things that wrap around the side, so I knew I wouldn’t be making a true copy. Fashion advice always says “Everyone looks fabulous in a wrap top or dress!” Well, I must be weird, because I don’t. Having something tied at the side emphasizes the lack of difference between my waist and bust, and makes me look like a big rectangle. I do love the DKNY dress I made last month, but it’s a mock wrap with an empire waist, and ties in the front anyway.
I chose this pattern because I liked the versatility of it – I would make almost all of the views. I also like how feminine the gathers and little puff sleeves are. It wasn’t until I went to cut the pattern that I realized the back and lower front are cut on the bias. This is to enable it to go over your head without a zipper. It does work, but as I have mentioned before I am not a fan of bias cuts. In this case it causes weird wrinkles in the back, which you can see above, though the front looks fine. It looks like I need a swayback alteration, but I do not have a swayback (and I never get these wrinkles!) If I made it again I would not cut it on the bias and add an underarm zip. This is a very tiny gingham, so I didn’t bother to match up the print – I would have gone blind, and you can’t tell in this fabric anyway. I did cut the top front piece on the fold, as I think a seam there would be unattractive (and made it harder to sew the v neckline!)
I am a B cup, and made the B cup pattern, but it is a little short in the bust – you can see in the pictures that the underbust seam is maybe half an inch too high. Something to consider if you are making this pattern up – I am rather short from shoulder to waist, so it’s unusual for something to be short there.
All the reviews of this pattern said that the v neck was the most challenging part. I’ve never sewn one before, so I looked up tutorials (of course! I need photos!) I used the method outlined here, and it was excellent. I did sew with the 5/8″ seam allowance, and then cut it down to 1/4 inch with pinking shears afterward. I clipped all the way to the stitching on the v. It was hard, because I am still terrified of disaster every time I clip! It looks really good I think, though there is a slight bobble where I didn’t overlap the stitching exactly on one side. Not noticeable on this fabric.
I did a few things to simplify construction. First, I did all the gathering with crochet thread and a wide zigzag stitch, and can I just say how I love this method? Then I sewed the shirt together at the shoulders and sewed in the sleeves flat, before sewing the side seams. I am a big fan of sewing in sleeves flat, especially with a gathered sleeve cap, where it will not be noticeable. I also did the facings (for which I used self fabric interfacing) before sewing the side seams, so that I could move the fabric around more.
There is an article in this month’s Threads magazine about weighting down narrow hems with thread, which made me happy because that’s what I’ve been doing (only with a serger instead.) I serged the hem edges, then folded over once and topstitched down. It looks very nice and neat from both sides. I did the same on the sleeve hems and the bottom.
And of course I love my buttons! I made a straight size 6, which as usual is smaller than they recommend, and it fits fine. I could have maybe traced a size larger in the shoulders (this is a common alteration for me) but it doesn’t feel tight – I can just see that it would look a little better with another half inch in the shoulders.
Sorry for the weirdness of the photos – when you resize a small print it gets wonky! Anyway, I’m not sure I would make this pattern again. I like my shirt, but I just don’t like the bias cut on the bottom and back… I feel like it doesn’t fit as well as I would like, and it doesn’t fit in the same way that every bias cut shirt or dress I’ve ever owned doesn’t fit. I can’t explain what it is about bias I don’t like – I think it’s how they are supposed to skim over curves. Well, I don’t have a lot of curves, and I feel like when things skim I just look straight up and down, which is something I try to avoid. But maybe I’m being harsh, as I often am when things are newly made!