Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bling! Bling!

Summer sewing is so much more fun than winter sewing!

The latest project started with an inspiration from a Butterick pattern (5499) -- the turquoise tunic with V hemline.  But I know I'd need a lot of alterations -- the necklines are always too big/low for me and the hips are always too tight.

So I decided to use my TCC software and started with the darted tunic that is drafted with an FBA.  Using the tools, I changed the neckline to my comfort zone and created a V'd hemline.

Then I went "shopping" in my fabric stash.  I found a piece of batik print fabric that I bought for my daughter about 20 years ago (remember Piece Goods fabric shops?) It was meant to be a pair of shorts and a top but she didn't like it -- so it got stuffed into the stash.  Happily it survived the prewashing and moved on to the next step -- cutting.

The batik motif is a triangle and it clearly has a large plaid in the background.  Here's a pic of it hung over the shower curtain rod.  So I knew that 1) I wanted as few match points as possible -- eg no sleeves and 2) it was a directional print because the triangles would point either up or down.  I chose to have them point down because as a "A" or pear-shaped body I want the eye to be fooled into thinking broader at the shoulders and narrower at the hips. (Ok, so the eye still knows I am a pear ...)   I also wanted to mirror the V neckline and V hem and not oppose it.  As it turned out -- there was not enough fabric to cut sleeves if I had wanted them.  I had to creatively cut the facings on the crosswise grain and even had to seam the CB of the back facing.

Some other decisions I made -- I faced the hemline since I sure didn't want to try to miter that CF & CB point and I also wanted to give a bit of weight & stability to the bottom  hemline by having a nice, straight seam.  I cut all-in-one facings for the neck and armhole to make for a smoother fit inside the garment.  If any of you have seen Louise Cutting's videos or guest appearances on America Sews with Sue Hausmann -- she says to press those seams open first and then together when you turn the facing.  DO IT!  She is so right -- it takes a little more time in construction but you'll be happier with the finished edge.

Almost finished -- it was too plain so I topstitched the facings with a teal thread to pick up the color in that stripe.  Using all purpose thread, I topstitched with the triple stretch stitch on my Janome 6600 using the dual feed (walking) foot so that my layers wouldn't shift. I had created a 3" hem facing so topstitched at 2.5" and the neckline was topstitched at 1".  I marked my stitching line with a soap sliver that I had commandeered from the shower and stowed in my sewing room for just this purpose. Done! Bonus:  the tunic smelled Irish Spring fresh.  I did rinse and dry the garment to get the soap out before I pressed again since I wasn't sure what the heat would do and didn't want any "oh no" surprises.

So why is the post entitled "Bling!  Bling!" you ask?  I happened to do some snoop shopping at a local Stein Mart (don't you just love their boutique items?) and saw some gorgeous tunics in a variety of fabrics/colors/prints ... with one commonality ... beads & sequins to jazz it up.  I decided that was what I needed, too, so a stop on the way home at JoAnn's yielded some seed beads in an iridescent magenta but no sequins.  Right next door is Michael's and I found a pack of sequins that was multicolored with several of what I needed -- tuquoise, teal, gold, pink, magenta, and purple.  (Iridescent turquoise would have been perfect but alas, not to be found).  Off to home to spice things up!

Then more decisions -- what to use, where -- and I decided to do the center dots in the triangle motif and to let the fabric choose the sequin to use, coordinating with that part of the print.  As I began to work the neckline, I was inspired to bling a V section to mirror the neckline.  Then I decided to embellish the hemline within the topstitched area but to put a bead/sequin pair at each corner of each triangle plus the center dot to have a higher concentration of sparkle at the hemline.

I can't believe how long it took to get all those stitched on -- but what better way to spend an evening?  And I love the look.  Hope to get some good pics in better lighting then that will really show off the sequins.

 Next is to  cut & sew a pair of capris out of some bright turquoise twill to make this outfit "pop!"


Jean said...

Love the bling. I really like the way you echoed the v theme. Jean

bonnie said...

I love what you are doing, especially since I have the same issues - hips too big for the not-enough top...thanks so much for the inspiration. Your bling is wonderfully subtle! Bonnie