Sunday, 19 April 2015

Ruby on the Pier

On Thursday we had a heatwave, and circumstances combined to enable me to get some photos of a little gem that I'd sewn a couple of months ago in the tail end of summer...

Ruby top in striped seersucker cotton

Weather? Check, 33C (91.4F) according to my car; rather warm for Autumn.
Photographer? Check, a son who was prepared to offer his skills with a smile :).
Location? Check, a photogenic pier in Walsh Bay, where we'd be meeting my daughter and a friend.

Location, location, location! 
My photographer

So, the gem in question is a Ruby top, sewn from a lightweight striped cotton seersucker that I'm certain I bought at Tessuti fabrics but that I can no longer see in their online fabric store. 

I loved the look of the Ruby top in Tessuti's photos, but when I looked at the printed pattern pieces the armholes seemed more cutaway than I wanted. What do I know though, right? I'm not a pattern drafter, and it's hard to judge how a flat piece of paper will translate to a fabric draped on the body - so of course I needed to sew one up!

I sewed it up - and what do you know, more cutaway than on Tessuti's photos!

Ruby top, front view

Aha, but it's not what you think...

My Ruby IS more cutaway than you'll see on Tessuti's website, but that's because in my haste to sew the top I didn't read the pattern instructions. My top has no self-binding on the armholes and neckline, and this extra strip of fabric on the openings obviously makes shoulder straps wider and arm and neck openings smaller.  The final look of the top is very pleasing in terms of pattern visualisation skill development (yay!), but not so pleasing when I realise I've sewn myself a more cutaway top than I should have. In practical terms it means I didn't need the keyhole back opening - the neckline became large enough for my head - and that the top was super easy to fully line.

Ruby top, side view

Easy to line? A lined Ruby?

The stripey seersucker was very thin and summery but too see-through by itself, so I lined it with a soft white cotton voile from my stash. Without the keyhole back opening and the bias strips on the openings, a bagged lining was very easy - I sewed up shoulder and side seams on the two tops separately, then sewed them right sides together at the neckline, trimmed seams, and turned right side out and pressed. I then pinned the bottom hems together at the back, then turned the top inside out again and pinned the bottom hems, then sewed them together nearly all the way around, leaving a small gap for turning the top the right side out again.  Because I'd only left a very small opening (the fabric is very lightweight so it doesn't need a big opening), when I pressed the top again I found I didn't need to sew up the small gap - absolutely no fabric is trying to stray out of the gap.

Ruby top, front / side view

This Ruby is also quite cropped compared to most. The finished length is about 56cm (22") from the shoulder seam in my size 8 top, whereas the standard top length is 63.5cm (25") in a standard size 10. I'm really happy with this length, but I do think hip length would be great in a more drapey fabric.

Ruby top, *nearly* back view

And having just had a browse over on the Netaporter site (I really should be browsing that site before sewing, right? So many inspiring garments...) it seems that both lengths are quite fashionable, and that there are lots of interesting variations to make to a Ruby top with side splits, contrast binding, gathering, pleats...

Helmut Lang

Isabel Marant

Yup, they're all basically Ruby tops!

I'll try to post again soon, and till then I hope you're having fun with your sewing!

- Gabrielle xx

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