The top is finished and it does fit, however, there are a few things that I would do differently next time. Overall, I like the top, but, I don’t really like the construction of the sleeves to the bodice, as they tend to fall off the shoulder. I did fix this problem, but would preferred not to have had it in the first place. Here are the remaining details on the top construction.
As noted in the previous post, the sleeves in the pattern were not long enough for my taste. I like long sleeves or short, not in between. Extending the sleeves on a pattern is usually not really a problem. This time, though, I had the added issue of not having enough of my main fabric for the job. Since I generally wear black as my “base” color in my clothing choices, here is how I solved my sleeve dilemma.
I added 7.75″ to the end of the sleeve pattern (when I thought I had enough fabric). Once I realized that I did not have enough of the main fabric, I “sliced off” the added extension from the pattern piece, added a seam allowance to the extension piece and the main sleeve piece, and cut it into equal triangle portions, making sure to add seam allowances wherever I cut two triangles apart. By adding the seam allowances, I was able to “reconstruct” the sleeve extension after I had cut the fabric pieces. Using these triangle pattern pieces, I cut pieces of black and remaining main color remnants and sewed them together to “reassemble” the extension. I hope that all makes sense.
This top called for bias binding and I make my own. To do this, I cut 1.75″ strips of bias fabric in whatever color I prefer. For this application, I used the main fabric. If I had used a commercially available color, like black, it would have created the look of a noose around the neckline of the top. Not something I find flattering. Once the strips are cut, fold in half lengthwise and press. To use, open up fold, stitch strip .25″ from edge of neckline (or whatever edge you are binding), right sides together. Fold binding over seam and fold under .25″ on other long edge. Stitch in place along back side by hand, or machine.
There are many different techniques for gathering edges along sleeves, necklines, and waists, etc. I use my pleater to do the job. Insert a needle at position 1 and another at position 3. This creates perfect “gathers” and allows me to sew between the two rows of pleating thread when I attach the item to the main garment. After the piece is attached, remove the pleating threads.
Once the sleeves were assembled, I assembled the top according to the pattern directions. Because of the smocked panel and the looseness in the sleeve caps, I had to make an adjustment in the bias binding around the neckline and sleeves. To do this, I made a slit in the back of each bound section and inserted elastic that cinched up each section just enough for a great fit. This pattern does not have much of a cap for the sleeves and they are not bound to a collar for support, so without the elastic insert, they tend to slide off the shoulder, a feature that I don’t like, for sure.
There were many places in this process that I could have done a better job of explaining what I did, but for a first attempt, I think blogging about the process turned out pretty good. There are so many more projects in the queue that I want to tell you about. Please let me know if you liked this series, or if you have any questions at all about fiber arts that I might be able to help with. I would love to have an ongoing dialog here about all things fibery 🙂
I have the same model pleater, but have never successfully pleated an article for myself (blush – it’s been more than a decade in my closet) because I have so much trouble getting it to feed straight. A pictorial on pleating would be much appreciated. Loved the fact that you gather the sleeves on it, too.
Great idea! I will try to remember to post about my next pleated/smocked project with a photo step by step of the pleating process.
Love the way you lengthened the sleeves. I would never have thought of that. The pleater is a neat trick! Alas…I don’t have one. Oh well, someday maybe. 🙂
Ahh, but you know where I live…I have two at your disposal any time. 🙂