Wednesday, 3 September 2014

A Match Made in Shantung and Lace

Amidst the frenzy of redundancy, job connections and getting the young people back off to school, there seems to have been little time for blogging; yet among the manicness of it all, I have managed to retained a smidgen of sanity (based on the fact, I weren't that sane before!) within the sanctuary of the sewing room; never have I been so grateful for the  focus and positivity of sewing.  So with out further ado... 
There's been so much beautiful lace around this year and as usual I'm a bit slow off the mark. I picked-up this cotton open weave lace fabric quite unintentionally when out shopping with the little Wyatt...There was the usual roll of the eyes as if to say " do you really need that mother" but hey  we all know how it works, strike while the iron is hot and inspired! just need to educate her in the artful practice (although that could come back and bite, ouch)  
Question for you...Do you normally have a clear idea what pattern you will use when you pick a fabric, or just go all gung-ho and hope further inspiration will hit later? Me, I generally have a reasonable idea on a pattern, but not "sew" with this one (owww bad pun sorry).  I just knew I wanted to try out lace and thought this would make-up a decent top of sorts.
Due to the open weave, and to spare others the sight of bare flesh, I also purchased a cream shantung (whoooo how decadently posh) and thought of using it as a lining in some way. 
When it came to making up, many a pattern was pulled out, mused and cogitated over. The more I inspected, draped and handled  the lace, I realised that I didn't want to distort its pattern with pleats, darts or seams, then hey-presto! McCalls 6926 View C, looked as though it would do the job.. minus the 80's hip tie!  
I played a round with attaching the shantung as an interlining, but felt I could end up with a heavy and boxy tunic, completely missing the intention of a light 'n' airy number. "TING", light-bulb moment, a completely separate camisole-top would let the lace show itself off and I'd gain with an extra wardrobe piece that could be utilised- come on now admit it, just how useful is a camisole! I have now worn this with umpteen items, cut another ready with plans for many other variations, mainly down to the fact that, not only is this a great staple.. allow me to plump up the plumage here...I actually managed a "successful" FBA, pushing the dart to the seam!! hallelujah its a miracle
I used the under slip from McCall's 6883 as a template, traced off the upper section, applied the slash and spread principle and rounded the dart leg at the seam. The cami was cut on the bias so the beautiful spring allows it to mould to the body! I went with the matt slubbed side as the right side facing and then the shiny, as the contrasting bias trim and straps. I am particularly proud of the bindings, all self-made, with the straps continued from the front and back trim! oh and a tiny-whiny rolled hem - sorry didn't take a pic of this.
Thought I'd let Valerie model this one,
certainly  best to keep a close up of my chest
 and the bulgy bits that go with it  under wraps! :)  
The lace top itself, with just two pattern pieces has little to offer or dwell upon regards to sewing techniques and ability challenge. The improvisations came with neck, arm and bottom hems. Facings for the neck were obviously out, so more bias strips were cut from the shantung and used to edge the neck and sleeves; wider on the sleeves. 
When it came to the hem I was a bit stumped, 
  • An open weave the lace couldn't be cut to scallop it along its own design
  • A bias edge would look 'naff' 
  • Machine stitching ran a high risk of puckering up!
  • Option left...hand-stitch.

I'm actually starting to get a bit of a dab-hand at the old hand stitching or at least I don't loath it quite as much these days, may-be the endless road of my Westfalenstoffe hem was a cure! A great advantage of hemming lace is that your stitches literally disappear, and the lace retains its 'give' and recovery.                                                   

End result, well I really like this, it's such as easy duo to wear and its simplicity enables it to be dress up or down- I might even try it over a contrasting coloured cami.  
On my last visit to the fabric store, I picked up the same lace but in black...its been reduced to £2.00 a metre! rude not too- so if your signed up and attending the "sew Brum" on Oct 4th you could scoop up a bargain! 
TaTa for now- thanks for dropping by and reading 

Amanda X