I’m finally blogging a top I made last year, thus proving once and for all that punctuality is not my strong suit. Neither is sewing wearable clothing, judging purely by this effort. Ah well. I think it’s good to share the duds along with the successes, as we’ve all had them. I wish I’d kept photos of more of mine, but maybe it’s best they’re confined to the fabric recycling bin of my mind 🙂
So, this is Jalie’s Criss-Cross Top (2787), which I chose more for the fact it can be made in a breastfeeding-friendly version than because I knew this style would be good on me. The top comes with sleeveless, flutter and long sleeve options and is constructed using mirror image left and right bodice pieces that cross over each other, joining at the side seam of the opposite side. The lower bodice has a bit of extra volume to account for the maternity option, but is kept snug under the bust using elastic along the top edge. For the breastfeeding version the upper bodice piece that sits behind the other is tacked at the centre to the lower bodice (the regular version is held with a longer line of stitches), anchoring it in place but allowing you to hoik the upper bodice up to nurse. I’d never tried on a top that crossed over in this manner and thought it might suit, and I really liked the way it fit the model on the pattern cover, but she is pretty skinny and flat-chested. That probably should have given me a clue…
Anyway, I sewed view C (sleeveless) up in a straight size X which matched my then bust and hip measurements, although my waist was smaller putting me between sizes V and W. Not necessarily something to complain about, being more hourglassy than the fit model, but I decided not to grade the pattern at the waist as I wasn’t sure how it would affect the unusual bodice. I thought that I’d be able to cinch it in using the elastic, if necessary. With hindsight, this was probably a mistake. So, here’s a look at it without the cardie hiding the worst aspects:
There are drag lines everywhere. I’ll go into my fit issues more later, but first, here’s how I dealt with the pattern:
A medium weight cotton lycra with little drape but excellent 4 way stretch and recovery, bought from Fashion Fabrics in Bath.
Changes I made:
- Added clear elastic to top and bottom of bodice pieces.
- Cut the waist elastic to 33cm rather than the 36.4cm specified.
- Used a 6mm rather than 1cm seam allowance on hems – this was a mistake caused by me not reading the instructions carefully enough. Although the pattern uses 6mm seam allowances (great for the overlocker!) the hem allowances are all 1cm. Must pay more attention!
- Sewed narrow bands for the armholes and bottom hem, after my first folded and topstitched hem attempts rolled to the outside. Would they have done this if I’d sewn them at the proper depth to begin with? Probably not, but it was too late to find out by unpicking and redoing them as this fabric marks horribly where it’s been stitched. Ideally I’d have sewed a much deeper hem band, but as I’d only just squeaked this out of my original fabric I had to cut the fabric for the hem band off the bottom of the garment, so it’s now about 1″ shorter than intended. Oops!
What went wrong:
I’ve already mentioned my screw ups with the hems at bottom and armholes, but I think I did a fairly good job of sorting those out, so my main issue with this pattern on me is fit. Now obviously I’ve lost a fair bit of weight recently (I’m down three Jalie sizes in the waist and two in the bust and hips), and these are recent pics (why didn’t I take some straight after I made it?!), so they don’t give a fair picture of what it looked like when it was the “right” size for me. However, most of my issues I had after first making it up are still apparent:
Just ignore the duckface. I was being ironic, honest!
Look at all that fabric pooling! There’s too much above the bust, but the most obnoxious places are the lower back (clearly needed a swayback adjustment, but have no idea how to do that when the bodice is all one piece) and under the bust. Even before I lost the weight there was too much fabric in the lower bodice, and where the upper bodice crosses over it pulls it all in, creating folds in the fabric beneath. Not a good look. The upper bodice pieces also pull the side seams forwards, creating yet more folds under the arms. I think this is probably unavoidable with this style of crossover bodice, as you’ll see in my next item to be blogged (the Knot Your Average Dress).
Something you also can’t see in these pics was the armhole gaping I originally had at the front. Fortunately I was able to sort this out by using a smaller (85%) armhole band to pull the fabric in there. Apparently this is a fairly common complaint when converting sleeved patterns into sleeveless, so I will bear my fix in mind for the future.
I also think my fabric choice wasn’t the best. At the time I had little experience of buying stretch knits online so went looking for fabric locally. This cotton lycra was found in a shop in Bath and although I love the colour and it has the requisite amount of stretch with good recovery, I can’t help but think the star pattern makes it look a bit infantile. It’s also not the best quality fabric as the colour is printed on a white base, meaning the white shows through at any point where the fabric is overstretched. Stitch marks are also really apparent as little white dots.
What went well:
I’m really pleased with how my new hem bands worked out, and this project was the first example of me doing fabulous twin needle topstitching, so there’s that. Definitely a good learning experience, at any rate, even if the hem fixes meant what should have been a quick sew ended up taking AGES!
I’m also pleased to have tried out a Jalie pattern as overall I found it good quality and easy to use. I love the fact it comes printed on heavier weight paper that is easy to trace off your size, preserving all the other sizes. So much nicer than that horrid tissue the Big Four use.
Will I make it again?
Not for me, no, (unless I possibly make a maternity version in the future) but Jalie patterns come with child sizes too so I might make one up for Daisy. I think she’d look really cute in the flutter sleeves.
At the moment this pattern has been consigned to the box of clothes that I’ll pull out again should we decide to have another child. So you know, it might not ever get worn again by me. Am I bothered? No, not really. This one just wasn’t a match made in heaven. But hey, sometimes you just have to laugh at your sewing disasters.