Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Silk bow top and a Vogue knit top puzzle V9227

Looking at the calendar I just realized I haven't done a blog post in a while, despite sewing a lot this month. It's been a month of doing some custom sewing, as well as some experimentation which may or may not turn into Craftsy sewing blog posts. (Probably yes - as sleeves are having a moment so plenty to write about manipulating sleeve patterns).
In the meantime I picked up two projects that I had set aside back in December because I was vaguely dissatisfied. And decided to finish both. Now, whether or not I am satisfied is still an open question.
First up is one of those items where I want to follow a fashion trend, despite the fact that I don't like extraneous bits. When I say extraneous bits I mean things like decorative ties, lacing, zippers for decoration, trailing ruffles or other parts that just get caught up when you wear them. Or at least when I wear them. But the idea of a bow neck blouse is kind of interesting and I have had this fabric for ages. Long ago I sewn a blouse for someone and less than a yard remained. At same the time I saw it on super sale from the same place so ordered a bit more, enough to make up some kind of top. And then it went into the bin with other silks never to be noticed.
But stretch silk charmeuse is the perfect fabric for many types of shirt or blouse - the lycra content is probably small, similar to stretch denim.

silk bow blouse 1

More pattern manipulation with my trusty shirt pattern, Simplicity 2329 but any basic shirt pattern would do. I used the front version where I have manipulated the bust dart into shoulder gathers (see this post if you want details). Then I cut the center front on the fold and also created a facing to enclose the V-neckline.  That neckline is obscured a bit by the ties in that photo above.

silk bow blouse front and back

Here you can see it a bit better. I created a really long tie piece which I attached as if it were the collar around the back neckline, and then it meets the facing edge at the dropped shoulder seam. So it can be tied up at the neck or lower as in the first picture.

silk bow blouse side view

I love silk charmeuse and since I wear a lot of pullover sweaters this works for that, with just a peek of this rather crazy print showing at neck and cuffs.

Speaking of cuffs, a stretch silk charmeuse is a garment where you have to pick your battles. Or at minimum use the technique that matches the fabric. On a crisp cotton shirt I would do a shirt sleeve style 2-piece placket but for this soft unstructured fabric a continuous bound placket works best. You can see also that I never make the cuffs smaller to match my wrist, just place the buttonholes way over so it fits me properly :)

silk bow blouse cuff

So that's it for the slightly out-there print silk charmeuse shirt. It gives me a 70's fashion vibe but I am seeing 70's looks everywhere lately so... I'm going with that.

Onward to the second item that I started in the fall and set aside. This one I fully admit was intended as a test item, the fabric was a scrap from this Burda dress so it worked for this pattern, to wear it under sweaters (a theme of my wardrobe). But I kind of hate it. And I will bet that a lot of you looking at this will like it.

black diagonal stripe top front view

First thing first, I did not have enough fabric for the sleeves. But actually the solid color sleeves is a feature that I think looks sharp. OK that detail aside. there are several things that bug me about this pattern, at least this View A. It is so short! Super short! And I am not tall. (under 5'4"). Look at the difference on the same dress form comparing the silk blouse at the top, and where that hem ends  - a typical shirt hem for me. Ok this is a stylized top and different than a shirt but it is weirdly short in the back particularly.  Pattern is Vogue 9227.

Vogue 9227 pattern env

black stripe top back view

Come on - that looks like some kind of vest or waistcoat thing, right? Picture the waist of your jeans or pants. The hem of the top lands at a really odd place, at least on me. I could tell when I was cutting it out but decided to plow ahead since it was a test version.

black stripe top side view

Here you can see the difference in length between the front and the back. I guess to create the effect of the points in the front the side had to be higher, and thus the back higher as well but all in all not my style. I will give credit to the use of the stripes - that works out well and is visually interesting.

black stripe top collar view

The other thing I rarely like is buttonholes in knits, or perhaps these specifically. Since they end up being worn on a diagonal, and yet are stitched vertically on the button band (as they should be) then gravity pulls the body of the shirt downwards which distorts the buttonholes ever so slightly, and since it is a stripe I notice it. OK I notice small stuff like that but now you can see it too, right?  Making a collar with a stand in knit is also not the ideal, it ends up a bit thick. so I left off the top buttonhole and put a snap there. I have seen just one or two versions of this top online and the collar was a woven which looks nice and crisp so that is probably the way to go.

As for this pattern, I like the shapes in the other views, but might just use a different knit top pattern and add the details. McCalls 7046 t-shirt (blog post here) fits perfectly in the neck and sleeves so it's easier to just use that and add the details.

If I get a move on today maybe I will pop into the backyard for some photos of these items on me and then add them to this post. We have sunshine today but more rain coming in tomorrow (Yay! for more rain - things are looking up on the drought front here but after 5 years of drought one good rainy winter is only a start).

I just finished another shirt with a super cool fabric which I just bought in the bargain area upstairs at Stone Mountain Fabrics, came home, shrunk it and cut out the same day. That doesn't happen very often! All done and a sneak peek on Instagram soon.

Happy sewing, Beth

garden photo today, first daffodils!

first daffodil


  1. I LOVE HOW THE VOGUE TURNED OUT! Yes, I am yelling. Squealing actually. It's so cute.
    I will admire it from afar because my E-cupped self ain't touching that one but I really love the style. It looks so cool.

    Your silk blouse is gorgeous.

  2. Love that blouse. I have been wanting to make a blouse with a tie feature such as yours but haven't gotten around to it. And you are right. I do like your Vogue top. Short tops don't work for my figure either so I understand what you mean.

  3. I LOVE VESTS! There. I said it. Also, I would wear this and think it was great for making my butt look good while giving me belly coverage :-D

  4. I like both of your blouses, but I do see what you mean about the V9227. Maybe you could try a fake shirt tail in the back, maybe even that matches the sleeves. It looks too good to toss out.

    1. This is a great idea as it is too nice to get rid of . Layers hems are very popular .

  5. Ack! I love them both. I've been looking for a bow blouse pattern for some time. Your "hack" is terrific. So jealous!!! They are both lovely.

  6. I always get ties and bows in the soup or whatever I am eating. Well, I don't wear bows, but long sleeves puzzle me. It's very pretty. I like the wearable muslin quite a bit. I think that these cropped or almost cropped tops take some getting used to. I like the stripes with the solid sleeves.
    Now I am really jealous; daffodils in January. We had snow today. Not a lot, but still.

  7. I am totally in love with the Vogue top.

  8. Love the silk blouse. I too have seen some cute versions of the vogue top (mainly on meg from mccalls) but she looks tall and slim? Not that you are not but I wouldn't wear this top with pants just because of the back length thing. I think the shirt tail idea is a good one though.

  9. Great job on both tubs Beth! However, I do agree with you on the black one, it's way too short! However the detail you put in the tops is amazing!

  10. Love the silk shirt but not the Vogue top. By the way I went searching for the Simplicity pattern and after flipping back to your earlier newsletter I discovered that the number is 2339.

  11. I was just wondering the other day when you were going to post again! I love everything about the bow top, especially the fabric! I probably would never wear it, though...that's what happens to things like bows in my wardrobe. I agree the second top is too short and I did notice the distortion at the buttons, although I came up with the less technical "something looks wonky there" explanation. I really like the envelope drawing, so maybe a different fabric would look better. I don't like how I look in things with such a high neckline, so I wouldn't attempt it, but I can definitely see me complimenting someone wearing it! Finally, daffodils are my #2 flower. They used to be #1, but when I was dating my husband, he planted gerbera daisies around my mailbox, so they became my favorite! Yay for rain and flowers!! :-)

  12. I'm with you on buttonholes in knits...so iffy. I really like the striped knit, I would never have thought of making it based on the envelope :-)

  13. Hey, Beth! I've been watching reruns of Murder She Wrote and nobody can rock a bow blouse like Angela Lansbury...as Jessica Fletcher of course! There are actually web sites and Pinterest pages devoted to the JF look. But I digress... I love the bow look too but feel like bows as I do scarfs, nice on everybody else. Your version is nice that the bow can go high or low. As to the Vogue top, I reserve judgement until I see it on you. As it stands now, I like the style but have to agree about the buttonholes and collar stand. Not the best features for knits. And hey! Not fair that we have to wait a couple of months to see our first daffodil here in New England! Only kidding, I love your garden shots and truly enjoy seeing what you have growing out there. Thanks!

  14. Love the vogue. The striped fabric is genius I notice that the finished vogue is not constructed the same as in the pattern picture and actually makes no sense. It should look like one piece from upper right to the lower left, and the lower right should look like its underneath, part of the upper left. This seems like a BIG detail you didn't notice.


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