I snaffled a polyester top for £1, from an RSPCA charity shop, on a bit of a whim. It’s navy blue, and a very simple, boxy shape, which really shouldn’t suit me. But flowy polyester is surprisingly forgiving to a matronly bosom, so it became an instant, much-worn, summer hit.
So much so that I dashed off a paper copy of the pattern and worked out the construction method, to make more. Just five major seams and four edges to finish. Could it be simpler? There’s a metre of grey and white patterned silk out of the stash, possibly Vivienne Westwood, that a friend passed on from a remnant sale – I’ve been trying to think of a good use for it for years. Perfect weight and just enough of it. Simple – you’d think.
Problem one: the pattern features wide stripes of contrasting tartans, one light, one dark. If I cut the fabric so the dark tartan is centred on the garment – great, looks good. If I cut the fabric with the light tartan in the centre of the garment – makes me look wide as a house. Only problem – the fabric isn’t wide enough to accommodate the better-looking approach. *Sighs* This fabric is too good to waste on an unflattering garment. I have to give it my best shot.
So. I slice 30cm off one side of the fabric and piece it to the other side of the fabric. This requires some pretty hefty pattern-matching – and also means a blimming great seam down the front and the back. This is before I’ve even cut out one garment piece!
Problem two: at some point, someone has hacked a carrot-shaped wedge hacked out of the fabric that, now I’ve pulled this clever piecing-manoevre, falls right in the middle of the shoulder, at the front. Suddenly I’ve got to adapt the super simple design to accommodate a bloody 10cm dart at the shoulder. Hold on, I thought this was supposed to be simple! And I haven’t even started on how hard it is working with silky fabrics. I have new-found respect for everyone who works with this misbehaving stuff.
Still – as you can see from the picture – I stuck at it, got it done, and will wear it tomorrow. Kudos to anyone who can spot the stitching lines where I pieced the fabric and added darts. But no prizes.