Working the Magic

I had a go at the top with the knotted panels, third photo in my selection from Pattern Magic Stretch Fabrics in the last post.

I cut the pattern while waiting for the man of the house to get up and replace the fuses he blew.

Blown fuses happen more often here because the plugs aren’t fused. Overload your appliances, and phut. Also, the house fuses are kind of random, or maybe we’ve just never figured out the system? All of our kitchen sockets went, and the light, and one of the cellar lights, and the downstairs bathroom light. No, that’s wrong, not all of the kitchen sockets. One new one put in recently by an electrician whose work had looked distinctly flakey to me, remained operational. Oh how I had misjudged. We ran an extension lead to that one for the fridge freezer. The kettle had to be plugged in behind the sofa in the living room. You get the picture. Perhaps you wonder why it took half a day to fix? That’s the second act of French fuse drama.  A blown house fuse in the UK used to mean you scrabbled around the back of the kitchen knife drawer for the card of fuse wire you bought five or ten years ago, held a torch between your teeth, pulled levers in the box under the stairs, and wrapped a bit of wire in the one that had just let you down. Ten minutes, minimal sweating and swearing and no appreciable cost. Phone, tv, lights, fridge, kettle, all back in action.

Ici, yer fuses come in a ready packaged unit, a bit like a shotgun cartridge but smaller, and also in a bewildering variety. Bewildering to me anyway. Several different kinds, shapes, lengths, strengths, colours, are seemingly randomly distributed between all the possible levers (there must be fifteen or twenty). At least half an hour to find the culprit, then a trip to the DIY clutching the duff one if you don’t want to risk picking up something you’re almost sure is the right one but isn’t, twenty minutes or so sifting through all the possible prepackaged fuses, and anything from five to fifteen euros lighter. I had lots of time.

So, the pattern.

I departed from the book instructions somewhat. For readers who like to cut patterns, and might have the book,  here’s a quick run down of what I did differently.

I didn’t use the blocks in the back of the book. The measurements and the proportions are different to mine. I also wanted to use a block with a bust dart.

I wanted  cap sleeves. Full frontal upper arm isn’t my best look. I drafted these in first, and left the shoulder a bit wider, reducing the width of the neckline. I didn’t drop the underarm point, or add to the side seams. My block was without ease, I figured it would give about the right fit for the fine knit fabric I had in mind with no extra width.

I put the diagonal panel lines in the front more or less as the PM example, and had a small section of the cap sleeve separated from the side panel.

I used the bust dart to open up some of the space in the front neck.

Here’s a  shot of the pattern on the fabric – spaced out to get the stripes to match in the back seam.

This next is the front (on the right) and the piece which forms half the back and the side front panel with the tube of fabric which you tuck the other panels through (on the left). It’s my working pattern, no seam allowances, not tidied up. At the top you can see that the cap sleeve projects. That bit seams into the bottom part of the L shaped slot on the side panel. Looking at the back and side panel on the left, the second line of masking tape in from the left corresponds to roughly where the original block side seam was. Next shot shows the other side panel with the front.

At the bottom of the photo the tab on the front panel is underneath the one on the side panel. Both of these are fed through the tube on the other side panel, giving a knot effect.

I used quite a few balance marks on the pattern, then it goes together really easily, in spite of the extra step of stitching in the cap sleeve. I cut a front and back neck facing, not shown in the pics.

Construction steps

Stay stitch the neckline.

Join the projecting part of the front cap sleeve to the side panel on each side, and clipping into the corner as needed, stitch down the panel seams as far as the tab and tube extensions. This is taken after I hemmed the sleeve opening (where the pink bit of ironing board cover is showing through.)

Stitch the back seam. The back seam is shaped out at the hips, so with the stripes you get a chevron effect.

Hem all round. I used this foot. It went like a dream. Straight over the crossing seams as well. I can’t remember ever having a narrow hem work this well in one pass, with no unpicking!

Hem the sleeves.

Hem the tabs and the top of the tube, fold the fabric under to make the tube and stitch it down.

Face the neckline.

Tuck the extensions through the tube. I used a nappy pin to get these through. The tube is quite narrow – it needs to be to work at holding the panels in place. If you were using a precious fabric for this top, you might want to leave a couple of trailing thread ends from the edges of the tabs, so as to be able to pull them through easily, without risk of pin marks.  The tube can be more or less scrunched up, as you prefer. You can also position the knot more or less to one side, according to how you pull the tabs.

Here’s how the tube looks with the tabs shown more clearly.

Here’s the garment before the facings were done.

I chose a fine knit to make this in. The book example has the front neck standing away from the dress form, which I liked, but it would have needed either a firmer fabric or interfacing to get that to work. I didn’t want to have a firm fabric making the knot part look stuffed, and wasn’t keen on having an interfacing, even if I could get it to behave nicely and not show through. So, my version has a softer neckline.

After helpful hints from sewing friends on PR, (who know everything about everything), I finally got the remote to work with my Nikon. I gave it an especially hard stare and dared it to fail. It caved in and took the picture. Look, no mirror tiles!

Then I had assistance. 

I like this top, and can see an alternative use of this pattern for a posher top made in a silk jersey. I saw a nice soft silky peach coloured jersey (not silk) in the sale pile in the fabric store a couple of days ago,  sorely tempting for a test run.  Sewing sisterhood obliged me to leave it there. Its one of those large hanger type buildings. The technique to get served is to eye up your stuff, then try to attract the attention of one of the assistants walking about with metre rules, scissors and bill pads, before the other half dozen ladies waiting hopefully catch her eye.  I could sense ‘ for Heavens sake how much more is she buying! ‘ thoughts following us as I trailed her from one bank of shelves to the next. I’ve been in that queue so many times. Noblesse oblige. I let the assistant go and slunk off to pay for the four pieces I’d already had her cut.

Its in my thoughts though. Peach, such a versatile colour, and so now. Have you walked away from any fabric lately?

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One Response to Working the Magic

  1. nehmah says:

    Lovely work, you”ve done. (I’d still be snarling at the fabric tubes and praying that “this time, LORD, please let it go through the tunnel,PLEASE.” ) Not walked away from fabrics, but have deleted pages of same before I landed in Bankruptcy Court. Nehmah62

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