Thursday, July 31, 2008

Putting On the Glitz.

All right. You demanded details. Growl. Here are some more pictures and details on Sandra Betzina top no. 2 (Vogue 2977). I made my first in a black and white cotton jersey, which in some ways I actually like more than this top. For one thing, the print is busier than the Michigan and Chicago Avenues intersection in that it really doesn't draw attention to any one body part. This glitzy gold Liz Claiborne knit that I bought at Vogue Fabrics last year looks like a melted metal on my not-very-Dara-Torres body. It's so eye-catching, I might as well paint arrows in every direction in Photoshop and point them to my abdomen. So there.

That said, I did complete this top, which I didn't do with the first one. The initial rendition never got its twin-needle stitching - I was that eager to wear it. I'm not sure I'll ever do it, since it will be difficult given that this stitching really needs to be done before you sew the major parts together. Here's how I constructed the golden masterpiece:
1. Sew one shoulder seam.
2. Tack down the neckline with Lite Steam-A-Seam2. Twin needle stitch all around.
3. Attach my "Handmade by Mary Beth" label at the back. It's actually easier to do this part early when there isn't as much fabric to manhandle around the sewing machine.
4. Attach bottom part. Do the twin-needle stitching on the hem, setting the tension to 3 rather than my ordinary 2. Very little tunneling. Hurrah!
5. Keep the twin-needles on, and stitch down the hem on the sleeves. Take appropriate email and bathroom breaks. (This is very important!)
6. Zip up with sewing machine from the very bottom to the spot where the twin-needle stitching begins on the sleeves with my faux serger stitch on my Viking Husqvarna 735.
7. Done. Celebrate with a 99 cent iced coffee (no sugar, skim milk please) from Dunkin Donuts. Relax.
Now I've told you how I made the second version of this top, here's what I might do differently next time around to get rid of the somewhat unsightly (depending on your point of view) seam right at the tummy.
1. Draw front and back pieces all as one piece. (This was Vogue Fabrics ace seamstress Mac Berg's suggestion) In other words, take that bottom, separate piece and tack it onto the top part. Tape it together if necessary. Cut that all out as one unit. Now the drawback to this approach is that you can't do funky things by sewing these parts separately. I've thought about using this wondrous green grass/fuchsia knit from Vogue's $1.99 a yard table and orienting the bottom part in one direction, the upper half another. Think wayward traffic patterns. That's not possible with the simplified plan.
2. Line the front part with self-fabric so that I don't have to worry about using my beloved Lite Steam-A-Seam2 and making that V-neck just so. It'd be much easier to sew two fronts together face to face. Flip one section over like you're tossing a pint-sized acrobat at the Olympics. V-neck done! Perfection achieved (I think)! I'd probably still twin-needle stitch the back neckline. Then attach my label. Ego trip accomplished.

Conclusion: I adore this top, particularly the first one. It looks great with low-rise jeans. I don't have to worry about sitting down and exposing any flesh and/or underwear. I also don't have to add inches on the pattern for my long-waist, which I usually do. This top is also fabulous with low-rider yoga pants. Now I'm officially in love with this pattern (should I say we're married on Facebook?), I'm ready to make one more, then it's time for new adventures. Maybe the pull-on skirt in this same pattern? We'll see.

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