Ami offered to send me a copy of the paper pattern shortly after she released it at the start of the year. While I was looking forward to making it and could see where it would fill a gap in my wardrobe I wasn't as enthralled by it at first glance as I am now I've made up a couple of versions! It is cut beautifully, and the result is both flattering and comfortable. I can just about squeeze it out of a metre so I'm really excited that it might also be the perfect pattern for using up a lot of the fabrics in my stash!
One of the things I was most impressed with about the pattern were the instructions. I already knew from reading Ami's blog that she has some serious sewing skills and experience with techniques up her sleeve and it really shows in the depth of information provided. The instruction booklet felt like a little textbook. There are six sets of instructions in total, one for each of the three variations using both knits and wovens. I first tried out variation 2, with raglan sleeves in a lovely berry coloured silk georgette from Mood Fabrics. I cut the size XS which I was a little wary about as only a bust measurement is given but as it has a relaxed fit this turned out perfectly. For me personally it has just the right amount of ease.
I really love the shape of the neckline; both the width of it and the way it cuts down just beneath the collar bones. The neckline is also the aspect of this project that I'm the most proud of! I followed the instructions exactly and despite using a delicate silk it's the best binding finished I've ever achieved! When I realised how narrow the binding would turn out I was slightly apprehensive of this step but, partly because the georgette pressed so well, it was fairly painless.
I've decided that despite usually being very lightweight silk georgette is one of my favourite silks to work with. The slightly textured and matt nature of it means that it seems to slip about less than a crepe de chine or chiffon might. I cut this out using my shears without any extra measures like cutting sandwiching it between tissue paper and had no problems with it shifting off grain. I used plenty of pins within the seam allowances and took the sewing nice and slow. It's also a pretty resilient fabric so I've been washing it on a delicate 30 degree cycle in my machine with no trouble. If you are intending to wash your silks by machine make sure to pre-wash your fabric in exactly the same way to prevent any unexpected shrinkage or damage when the completed garment in washed.
For my second version I chose variation 1, which has kimono style sleeves and I used a soft cotton jersey which I picked up in the recent £1/m Cloth House sale. It is printed with a silver foil effect which I love but unfortunately a fair bit of the silver wore off when I pre-washed the fabric. I quite like the more subtle look it now has at least and the wear doesn't seem to have continued with further washes. Who can complain when a £14/m fabric is knocked down by that much anyway! I've still got over a metre of this one left so answers on a postcard for what else I could make with it please!
I had the same straightforward experience sewing up this one as the first. A different pattern piece is used for the neckline for the knit versions (as obviously it's not cut on the bias like a woven and it's shorter so it will be stretched out to lay flat). I really like the slim width of the resulting neckband. I used my twin needle to finish this off although it is not called for in the instructions. I just like the way this looks and also like how it helps keep the seam allowance securely tucked under.
As has become normal practice for me with knits I used a narrow zig zag to assemble it, then finished the seams on my overlocker. The jersey was really lovely to sew with and responded well to a nice hot and steamy iron. The instructions were much more explicit about the cuffs on this version and after pressing I slipstitched these in place by hand as described.
I do prefer my woven version to the knit which I think is down to the weight of the jersey being a little heavy for this style of top and not hanging quite right. I'm keen to try out one of the other variations in a lighter weight knit. Both of these have been in and out of the wash at least a couple of times already and I can see them getting a lot of wear over the summer. I so enjoyed making them and already have another waiting to be cut. I'm looking forward to seeing what Ami releases next!