Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Beauty is Pain - Pink Silk Charmeuse V1170 top

When I first started frequenting my local thrift store in Iowa, I came across this Rachel Comey's Vogue 1170 pattern and really like the top's design. The blouse has a keyhole at the front with a knot and I think it's pretty sweet. However, at the time I was just using the sewing machine to make baby carseat cover and cushions, but that didn't stop me from starting my patterns collection!

A year plus (plus) later, as I felt more confident to try different patterns, I opened the said pattern's envelope to check out the pieces, but alas, the instruction portion were missing! Had to put it aside and work on others the way I usually do - very slowly! :) One day I decided that as it might take forever before I can work pattern pieces without instruction, I ordered the pattern online during their monthly sale, chose the fabric from my stash and hunt down buttons at my favorite thrift store..

It could be that while I was waiting for the pattern to arrive that Carolyn shared her Rachel Comey's blouse made in lovely ivory silk charmeuse! I'm super excited by this, because she always share her thoughts on the construction and I've learn A LOT all the time from her blog. THANK YOU, Carolyn! It doesn't hurt that she takes lovely photos that inspire me to sew as well.

Took me a couple of months though before I actually made the pattern adjustments and cut the fabric, and then after starting the project having to pack it for the move here to Seattle.

And I finally completed it the day before yesterday. Hooray!

Indeed it's a pain to make. But so lovely to look at. Slippery silk, raveling fabric and the tiny hems for the ties on the sleeves... That ties portion are a nightmare for a novice like me (and those ties were started before packing for the move back in May, finished while in tiny crammed Seattle inn room in late June). I do wish I have an overlocker/serger to make them nicer (rolled hem) like Carolyn's. Definitely on my wishlist!
Since I don't have an overlocker/serger, what I did was just just like how one would sew their hems, though I had to trim the seam allowance smaller, turn and press and then I zig-zagged it down as in the above picture. Not the neatest sewist around, but the zig-zag version I assure you is much neater than the different ways I tried! :)

I also had the chance to practice my French seams again. Much better this time around, although still not as tiny as I would like.

As for the back side, I ended up not making a full back button closing like I intended to. I found the instruction for that part pretty confusing, and I loathe to mess up the look or the fabric, so I sew the back seams up and left the upper part open and make a one button loop like so:

I finished the back with my rendition of Hong Kong seams... *I still need to learn how to make proper and neater HK seams... i might need to unpick my HK seams and do a turn and stitch finish instead. it is kinda bulky looking on this fine fabric.

Now on the the critique of this project: Let me get this straight, I do love the blouse. It's a labor of love I suppose. It's not my first silk charmeuse blouse, I made a caftan top from floral silk charmeuse back in April, so I anticipated the difficulties I might encounter with the fabric. However I do have some negatives that I will try and be more aware of in the future. Firstly this silk has more shine than I normally would like in an outfit, and that's what you get when you buy fabric online and not able to actually see and touch them before making your purchase. :) I usually prefer a more matte finish, and this is because I have a darker Asian complexion with a tendency to be shiny, and wearing shiny light colored clothes near to my face make me uncomfortable. Hehe. And also, because I have (still) a tummy that I think shiny light colored outfit would and could not conceal, I will steer clear of it in the unforeseeable future.

Then, take also into account that I do not know how to properly make pattern adjustments. Many times I just wing it. I might refer online or in a book on what to do, and then the info just get mushed together in my brain and I will make up adjustments that sometimes work and sometimes not. :) While I did with some "success" added what limited fabric it comes with (I might have purchased just 1.5 yard or 2 yards of this fabric, and it has a small 44-45" width only) to my bias top's width, I did not (or was not able to due to the limited fabric width) add to the length of my top. And I do need to add extra length to it since I won't be wearing it or any top tucked in and prefer it to at least hang loose to mid hip or at most cover my bum...

I will have to figure out how to wear the blouse outside the home... When and if I do, I will take a photo ;)

Now, on to the next project please!


  1. You did a very nice job with your blouse. I know what a pain sewing that type of fabric can be. You put lots of thought into it and work too.

  2. Your top turned out so pretty. I hope you do get to wear it, even with the shine factor that pink is such a divine colour and I imagine would look lovely against your complexion. Thank you for the shout out, and I am glad my review of the pattern helped :)


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