Thursday, 17 May 2012

"Think it will work? It'll take a miracle" Miracle Max not available for Simplicity 2892.

My sewing journey is going on 4 months old and I can feel my sewing skills toolkit get satisfyingly bigger as each project is completed....turn the machine on - tick, sew a straight seam - tick, unpick said straight steam that really wasn't straight - tick, learn to read a pattern - tick, sew a zipper in - tick, learn to use bias binding - tick. 

A lot of the skills I've picked up is due to the wonderful community of sewers that are out in all corners of the globe and who are willing to share.  But this week it wasn't a sewing skill I learnt but more a philosophical set of lessons.....something I can imagine Mr Miagi saying to Daniel-San if it was the Janome Kid, or Yoda to Luke if it was Sew Wars......
  • Know your body shape and know what style and colours are most flattering for you before you commit to a pattern.  Don't get sucked into the pattern cover or think I could make it work if I just change this - there are thousands of patterns out there and guaranteed there is a better pattern for you.
  • That being said if you embark on a project - don't give up and throw it in the bin.  There are always options for a garment even if it means unpicking it and setting the fabric aside for another project.
  • Mums are the greatest!!  Don't go it alone - if you get stuck ask your Mum, friends, random stranger in the street for ideas.
So I think you are getting the picture about this weeks project.  It was Simplicity 2892 and it just didn't work for me.  The back story to this is I have this gorgeous piece of charmeuse fabric that I want to make into a top - so I am trialing different top patterns to see which one wins the grand prize of being made up in the special shiny fabric.  Simplicity 2892 is the first one I tried and I decided on View C because I liked the idea of a defined waistband. 

Admittedly there were many flashing warning lights going off with this pattern.  The very round neckline, the lack of sleeves and the blousiness (aka degree-of-pregnancy effect) and that was just from the picture on the front.   Did I pay attention to any of this.....obviously not.  Instead I focused on the glowing reviews at  Only a couple of negative comments about the length of the top which I figured was no biggie for someone as shortwaisted as me.

Construction started well  I used a modifed back pattern from the top I made using Simplicity 3750 which does a crude 'WBA' (weird back adjustment).  The pleats were wrangled into place with confidence.  Binding the armholes was a cinch and while the neck facing does sit a little funny (most likely a slight misalignment from the pleating) it wasn't something a nice hot iron couldn't tame into submission.
Neck facing - aka the skate ramp.

The problem came with the band.  I made an assumption based on the line drawing of the pattern that the band sat below the waist possibly just above the hips.  I shaped my band accordingly and even changed the straight edge to a sloped edge to compensate for my pear shape.  On trying the final product on I realised my error from the amount of skin being flashed by the side slit above the band.  It dawned on me then that the top is meant to really blouse over the band so that you don't see any skin through the side slit and most of the band is covered up.  Which means the band has to sit on the waist.   Which means unless I want to go all Kath and Kim and bare my middle aged midriff the only way to wear this top is with a high waisted pant/skirt.  Also, as I had sized the band for my wider hips it was now too large to sit on the waist.....gah.
When you compare both bodice and band patterns it is blatently obvious where the band has to sit..doh!
Where band is meant to sit...I wore it with a dress...enough said.

Back to the sewing machine....take 2.  I am not working the high waisted look so I shortened the slit on the side so less skin would show when I wore the top.  The end result I think photographed well but it was uncomfortable to wear and wouldn't sit in place.  Everytime I sat down the band would just ride up my back.  I figured out this was because the band was trying to sit in no-mans land between the waist and the never was going to work like that.

Forcing band to sit just below the waist...looks OK...but high risk of skin exposure from riding up
Ready to consign it to the bin I had an online video chat with my Mum on Mothers Day.  Showing her the top she made a suggestion to remove the band completley and come up with an alternative finish to the bottom of the top.  Long story slightly shorter - I ended up making a casing for a tie and added some additional fabric below to make it sit comfortably at hip height.  Its not perfect but it is certainly wearable.
Adjustable tie means I can change where the top sits to increase or decrease the blousiness of it.

BUT...that being said, round necklines do not suit me and sleeveless does not suit me.  And while I briefly thought "maybe I could just make the neckline more angular and add sleeves from another pattern" I quickly realised thats a lot of effort when there are better patterns just crying out for a short, pear shaped, shortwaisted, sway backed, small busted, narrow shouldered, square faced person like myself to just give them a go!  So I will not be visiting this pattern again any time soon.

And now to throw up the white flag for help - seeking advice from fellow sewers.  Out of this weeks dramas I have 3 questions.
  • Does anyone have a favourite go-to top pattern that they use that would be suitable for a pear shaped person and ideally a V-neck or boat neck style?
  • Do you have a recommended book/website for making pattern adjustments particularly around the shoulders?
  • Is there a trick to make a tie casing?  I admit I butchered this one up and no you won't be seeing any photos of the inside of this top!

So in summary
Pattern:             Simplicity 2892
Fabric:              A lisette cotton from spotlight - really light
                         I used leftover red cotton fabric for the tie/band
Instructions:     Actually really good by Simplicity except I think there could have been more detail
                         on sizing the band (maybe they could have put a waistline line on the band so its
                          obvious where it would sit)
Modifications:  I shortended the top slit at the back considerably.  I didn't need it that long and it
                         looked funny.
                         I replaced the band with a constrast casing and fabric tie at the side and additional
                         main fabric for the bottom hem.
                         I used flat elastic rather than cord elastic because my needle wouldn't go
                        through the cord elastic.
Total Cost:      Cotton was fairly cheap from spotlight and I used under a meter so would guess all
                        up it cost me $10
Happy Dance on Completion:   No....lets just leave it at that.

Title Reference:  The Princess Bride, by: William Goldman


  1. Well done you, it looks great on you. I agree its better without the band. Mums always know best with these things. I consult my mum when I get stuck too.

    1. Thanks Katy. Must admit I was ready to give up on the whole thing, stick it on a coat hanger in the back of the cupboard and never wear it. One video phone call later and Mum's to the rescue!

  2. I thought the top looked rather nice on you. I bought this same pattern three weeks ago and made one top today in version D. I plan to make another one tomorrow but may decide to go with the version you made except to leave off the band entirely. I have a belly and don't need to accentuate that any further. :)