To set the scene of this post, I am writing this from a small corner of a café in the local swimming pool, casually observing my youngest daughter and her friend having fun. I do laugh at myself sometimes at my choice of locations for impulsive blog post writing, but when you have the urge to write you have a duty to yourself to respond accordingly!
Now for part two of my bid to make handmade clothes for myself that can be incorporated in to my everyday wardrobe. I wanted to make a couple of camisole tops. As the warmer weather is starting to arrive and with a little taste of the lovely British summer at its best at the weekend, the need for lighter tops is becoming more of a necessity. I own a few RTW camisoles but wanted to add my own in to the mix.
I downloaded the Sew Over It Silk Cami PDF a few months back, as I liked the look of the simplistic design. This is a pattern that could be dressed up with a smart jacket, skirt or smart trousers, or worn casually with your favourite lounge around jeans, leggings and a cardi. It’s also more than capable of standing on it’s own, no cover at all (something on your bottom half of course!). I liked that it didn’t have spaghetti straps too as I was after a slightly smarter look.
I went for the size 14 as the finished garment measurements suggested this was right for me with a little ease on the bust and due to it being fairly loose, the waist measurement on the 14 reassured me that it would drape beautifully without clinging. No hip or higher hip measurement was given though. I was also reassured that this would be the correct size based on the 1940’s Tea Dress I made here, which fits me beautifully.
The amount of fabric required on a 60” wide bolt, was just over a meter (1.2 to be exact) and I had just enough Liberty Silk left over from the lining used in my faux fur coat. Also whilst raiding my stash I found some cream rayon that I had from years ago when first attempting to make a top (not my best efforts but it was a good learning curve with drapery fabrics). It had a lovely drape to it and a intentional ceased look. Satisfied I had just the right fabric for the cami’s and the right size, I went straight in for the kill, no messing and no toile……..
The pattern contained just four pieces; front, back and corresponding facings and sewed up super quick. If you are new to sewing with slippery, drapey fabrics, I find it easier to start a seam a little way in to avoid the machine chewing up the fabric. Always take it slow with the speed at first to get used to the behaviour of the fabric and use both hands; one to guide through the sewing foot, the other to hold the edges of the seams together. After a while you’ll become more confident with these fabrics.
The seams were french seamed, explained thoroughly in the instructions for those who have never done this type of seam before and always looks more professional on lightweight fabrics that are prone to fraying as it encases the raw edges from sight. It’s also great when fabric is slightly see through as you don’t get to see the raw edges on the outside.
The only slightly tricky part was joining the shoulder seams, as to encase the raw edges meant feeding the front shoulder strap in to the wrong side of the back shoulder strap under the facing. Lining up both raw edges was a little trick as they kept slipping apart but once I got them level I quickly stuck a pin in to secure. The instructions were fairly well worded on this but it did take me a good half an hour to figure out exactly how it would work. It was a little difficult to tell in the photograph example too, which I usually rely upon as a predominately visual learner. Once I understood what was supposed to happen, it didn’t take long to sew up the other shoulders on both cami’s. The effect was very neat and well worth the effort.
In terms of hemming the facings on each, I decided to do a narrow overlocked stitch rather than normal over locked stitch as recommended in the pattern. On the final hem, I decided on a rolled hem using my overlocker also, against the pattern instructions as I think if looks neater and flows better on light drapery fabrics. If you have no overlocker, a zig zag finish on both hems if absolutely fine and a turned up hem at the bottom with a lovely top stitch is just as good. My version is purely personal preference.
With both cami’s finished I excitedly went to try them on and take a few selfies. My excitement drained instantly when the realisation hit me like a brick in the face – both tops were tight on the chest and didn’t skim over my hips as first thought! Can I blame the pattern measurements? Not really that wouldn’t be fair as I broke the cardinal sin of sewing and didn’t make a toile or, at the very least, fit the pattern pieces to me. I would note however, that the hips measurement would have been useful on the pattern piece and at least might have aided a grading up a size after the waist. This doesn’t excuse my lack of fitting properly and if I had done so I would have gone a size up and shortened the length of the top from the waist.
I am gutted to be honest however, the fit isn’t that disastrous. Whilst the fit over my bust is tight it does go on. The length brings the cami’s closer to my hips than I think the pattern is intended to be. Knowing that I have a short torso, my instinct should have been to check it wasn’t too long. I will shorten the hem an inch or so, easy to do by ensuring I follow the line of the edge to create the same curved edge and roll the hem again. If only I’d realised at the time of cutting out that I wouldn’t need the extra length given for a turned up hem. I might have saved my disappointment.
As a result of my faux pas, no pictures are currently available of me wearing the cami’s. I was so annoyed with myself I took the huff and refused! When I have readjusted my error, I will post an update and all being well the results will be two wearable and loved cami’s! For now you’ll have to make do with some more ‘hanger’ shots!