Sunday, 15 February 2015

Atelier Brunette Top

Back last March when I was telling you about my boxy pink silk twill top, I said it might be the first of many more, and finally, in October 2014 (!!), just back from Europe, I made another of these tops in cotton... a gorgeous Atelier Brunette cotton I'd bought in Paris:

The top two fabrics are Atelier Brunette fabrics ("cosmic blue", and "blue moon"), and the bottom fabric is a Sarah Jane pirate girl fabric from her Out to Sea collection.

In person, the "cosmic blue" is a very pretty fabric - lightweight and fine, and designed in absolutely beautiful colours. The fact that the little circles look like pacmen wandering across a night sky (perhaps eating stars?) also apppeals to me very much :).

I sewed my top as before, with exactly the same modifications, so if you're interested in knowing more about the pattern (Vogue 8879, a very easy pattern) please do have a look at that March post.  I don't particularly want to repeat myself, so this post is going to be more about the fabric, and what a difference it made to use cotton instead of silk twill (or even cotton jersey for that matter - see this post for my mum's silk twill and cotton jersey versions of this pattern).

I wore my new top to work as soon as I could, ironed and starched to within an inch of its life... and yet here's how it looked by the end of a sedentary day in the office:


Cotton is of course very comfortable, and a loose top like this feels great in a hot climate.  But straight away you can see that the cotton version lacks the drape of a silk or stretch fabric. Without that drape, the top needs bust darts, and without that drape, the fit of the top becomes less forgiving.

I don't mind that so much though - after all, I love boxiness! What I don't like though is all the creasing - it makes it look like I did a bodgy job with the iron!

And there are even more creases and rumples on the back:

My assumption going into this project was that the fabric, being cotton, would be a delight to sew and iron and a joy to wear.  The sewing wasn't as fun as anticipated (I suppose I normally sew with sturdier fabrics, but I had to adjust my tension to avoid the seams in this fabric puckering), the ironing was a nightmare (iron and starch a section, move the top to iron and starch another section, notice new creases in the first section, re-iron the first section, ad infinitum), and although the cotton was lovely to wear on a warm day, I was disappointed at how very ordinary the top looked by the end of my work day.

Here are a couple of close ups of the top that same afternoon:

Initially I wasn't sure if the crumpling was just me - perhaps I'm not a very good ironer? - but let's be honest; I have sewn fine cottons before and I haven't had this much of a problem with clothing looking so un-ironed before!

For example, I've sewn a couple of tops in Liberty tana lawn - this ruffled one (blogged here):

and a button front, flared sleeve shirt (blogged here):  

I also made this dress of cotton voile with ribbons on it (blogged here, and also here) - this fabric did show some small creases, but I couldn't press it on a high enough heat because the ribbons tended to melt:

Ribboned cotton voile dress, blogged here and originally here
and this quilting cotton dress (blogged here, photos taken after lots of train travel on a scorching hot and sweaty day):

Hmmm. So then I did a bit of an internet search to see how everyone else was managing with this fabric, and what do you know, it looks rumple-prone for everyone!  Please check out Sew & Illustrate's tank top,  Jolie Bobines' dressBibouchka's dress, and Papivole's shirt and judge for yourself whether it's the fabric or the sewist.

I did get some advice on Instagram that I should use fabric softener when I washed the top, and that that would really help with the creasing (maybe it will?) but I feel annoyed that a cotton that cost me 18 euros a metre should need special treatment.  At that price, so close to the cost of Liberty tana lawn at Shaukat (currently about 19 euros per metre), I expect more.

I made this top for work, but I'm afraid I've only worn it twice since making it - I don't really like "rumpled" as a work look -so although this top is still in my wardrobe, it is currently classed as a fail.

Next up I have a dress to share with you that feels like a BIG win - it's a mix of a couple of different patterns coupled with a wild fabric, and I'm really excited about the way it's come together.

See you soon

- Gabrielle x


  1. How frustrating and wish I had an idea to help with the crushing but unless you think of it as linen I'm not sure how you will go.

  2. I'm glad you reminded us about this pattern. I love a woven tee (which this obviously works as, even though it calls for a knit). The cosmic blue fabric is charming--love the color and the print.

  3. Fabric Epiphanies18 February 2015 at 15:01

    Grr, how frustrating! I really don't like wrinkles either! I hope you can see past them because the fabric is lovely.

  4. Thanks Sharon, that was such a whingey post (sorry!) but it was so frustrating to see the fabric misbehave like that! Yes, maybe I need to adjust the way I think of it - the linen concept is a great idea; I've got absolutely no problem with linen crumpling when I look at it!

  5. You're welcome Patricia, it is a cracker of a pattern even though it looks pretty dull from the pattern envelope! Thanks too for reminding me that this IS a lovely fabric - and it is! I really need to start thinking of it as a linen-like cotton...

  6. I am very frustrated every time I look at this top! I do love the print and the colours though, so I've given the top another vigorous ironing and I'm going to try to pair it with something else rumply; maybe that will help...?

  7. Your new outfit is very Gorman. Love the colours.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...