So where is this heading? Well a few months back I went inspiration shopping, and I found an amazing top. A heavy brocade top, just longer than waist length, with an unnaturally sloping shoulder line and tapered kimono sleeves that were constrained by those strange sloping shoulders. I wish I had a photo of it! I absolutely loved it. I tried it on, loved it even more. I resisted - "I can make that!", I thought, though I couldn't pin it to a pattern.
That evening I drew some sketches of the shape I'd tried on. I'd tried to get a rough idea of the angle of the shoulder line that day in the changing room by using hand lengths and finger lengths to work out how much it dropped off and how quickly, and I'd tried to keep my own basic measurements in mind for waist, bust, shoulders and neck-waist length. My first muslin (in a metallic polyester) was unwearable - I couldn't even get it over my head! - but what about number 2 (in a stretch terry)?
Well I quite like number 2, and it fits me, but stretch terry is not brocade. This top is approximately the right shape but smaller and milder than my inspiration. It's kind of cute, but a question struck me once the top was made:
just who needs a cropped short-sleeved sweatshirt?
The below photo shows the top inside out, with the camera held directly above the top (ie the angles aren't distorted). You can see that the shoulder line really is quite angled - and if you look in the topmost photo above you should also be able to see it in the way the horizontal stripes get cut off.
Moving right along to the third version. Still not in brocade...
Before working on getting my sketch closer to the inspiration shape (ie more exaggerated!), I decided to make up another stretch version, this time with a bit more commitment. So this time I used a prized piece of jersey from Tessuti fabrics - prized because it's such a terrific colour PLUS it has stripes!
You can see that the top looks quite different made up in a fabric that drapes... and you can hardly tell that the shoulder line is angled!
I was concerned that the fabric might stretch out along all those seam lines, so I went nuts with the clear elastic and stabilised everything - the shoulder seams, the short vertical seam in the upper back, and the angled shoulder seams.
And here's how that looks on:
The hems were just pressed in place with steam-a-seam as I didn't want the look of stitches. We'll see how well that lasts!
I like this top more than the terry version, but I think it needs taking in at the waist and hips so as not to pool. And I have to admit I haven't been wearing it - though perhaps I will when we hit summer?
And what about version 4, in brocade? Great question! To be honest, the original photos I took of these tops a couple of months ago were so dire (I was bone tired, I hadn't ironed them properly, the weather was appalling, and there was a LOT of mess in the photo backgrounds) that I had this idea pegged as a bit of a failure, and lost interest. Then someone on twitter recently was asking why more sewists didn't post their sewing failures, so I retook the photos intending to do a roundup blog post of these tops along with a couple of other recent disappointing sewing projects, and whaddayaknow, I actually like them. So I guess the brocade top project is still a possibility... Has that ever happened to you?
See you soon