This top has an uncertain pedigree. Part Colette Sewing Handbook, part Colette Patterns and part Farbenfreude.
The sleeves are from the Taffy blouse in the Colette Sewing Handbook. I wasn’t keen on the bodice of the top as it stood and ties on the back plus a mischievous two year old do not make a happy combination!
I’d already sorted the fit of the Jasmine and liked the bodice which is cut on the bias like the Taffy. I also like the open shape of the neckline.
Finally there is Farbenfreude’s sewing plans post which put the whole mishmash into my head! As you can see though I have omitted the collar detail on my version and stuck with the sheer fabric and french seams of the taffy along with the bias bound finish on the neck and sleeves.
I traced my altered Jasmine bodice and the sleeve and armscye of Taffy and then spliced the two together. I started trying to work the maths out and draft the armscye myself and then had the realisation that splicing the two patterns together would be about a billion times easier!
The fabric is an ombre dyed sari my Mum brought back from India years and years ago on one of her journeys out there to help inoculate street children and children in the slums (she’s a nurse and quite incredible in a lot of ways). I think she told me it was silk, but a burn test proved that she may have been had… It’s synthetic and burns extremely well. It also hurts like you wouldn’t believe if a blob of said burning fabric lands on your skin. I’m gonna have a scar to commemorate this top!
The sari has the ombre effect along both edges and then the hand done block printing starts along one edge before being added to the second edge. Finally there’s a solid panel of printing at the other end of the sari. The front was cut from the area with no printing and the back where only one edge was printed. The sleeves were cut from the solid block of printing.
It was a complete nightmare to work with as it shifted about as soon as you looked at it! Once I remembered the tip about spray starch though everything became somewhat more manageable (I can’t remember if that came from a Colette Snippets email or the Sewing Handbook). In effect you spray the fabric with the starch and then press it which crisps the hand up making it much easier to work with. I used Dylon Spray Starch as that’s what I could lay my hands on here in the UK!
Once that was done the construction was straightforward (apart from the usual mind meld effect that french seams always have on me). I was going to use self bias to finish the edges but even with liberal amounts of starch, it wasn’t going to happen so I used purchased purple bias instead. I also used bias at the hem instead of turning and stitching it as per the instructions for Taffy and Jasmine!
This is definitely an evening top with a cami or vest style t underneath as its soooo sheer! White (the only colour I have in the above mentioned garments) does not work! It needs to be dark blue or black – something that closely matches the colour of whatever you’re wearing on your bottom half otherwise there’s a sudden change of tone and it just looks weird. Hence no photos of it being modelled! This will also be hand washed rather than chucked in the machine as I don’t think the printing would survive and the fabric is so delicate it would snag very easily.
Adjustments for this version:
Same as my Jasmine
Adjustments for future versions:
Maybe reduce the length a little?
Maybe. It would have to be an opaque fabric so I could get the wear out of it as unfortunately I have little occasion to wear such a flirty number these days!