JCC – Detail Post: Item 3

Ah, the most anticipated, then most frustrating piece: the halter top.

Vogue 7639. I loved the lines on this pattern. I made the long sleeved, long hemmed version in a white stretch cotton a few years ago. I don’t wear it very often – really, most of the places I go it’s pretty out of place. Plus it doesn’t like to sit nicely when I’m sitting – a combination of the length and the fact that, actually, it doesn’t fit all that well. I made it before I got picky about such things! I had already known not to bother with the boning (thank you Pattern Review!).

So I thought – hey, let’s try the halter top. It’s shorter, there’s no upper back and shoulders to fit, and it looks much more relaxed ;).

(fitting mirror montage – and I didn’t bother taking pictures of the first attempt!!)

Uh huh. Right. I came to believe that the less fabric you’ve got, the better the fit has to be or the whole thing goes way off keel.

The major adjustments:
– took an inch off the top, where the collar attaches (should have built that into the upper pattern piece for a short torso, but I didn’t want to have to cut out yet another set of pieces! this worked out fine because there was so little fabric up there anyway)
– small bust adjustment (was already done for the previous version), plus I split the bust dart into two, staggering the ends, to try and soften the “pointed” look)
– still had to take in the side seams at the top by quite a bit

(shown horizontally, both side seams one above the other, yellow chalk line for new seamline!)
– SWAY BACK ADJUSTMENT. This is what gave me the most headaches. How to alter for the curve of my back, without over fitting, yet still having enough length to put the hemline back down where it was supposed to be. I ended up pinning out the folds in a horizontal dart, transferring that to the back pattern pieces, and redrawing them, adding the length on the bottom. What came out required the centre back to have it’s own seam line, all the back seams to arch out pretty quickly, and the back side seam to be more vertical. It’s still not quite right, but at least it looks a heck of a lot better.
Photo of the back seams by the time I got them figured out:

After all that was sorted, I got down to the sewing bit. Didn’t help that I was on the last day (or two?) of the contest!! The sewing machine obviously knew I was under a deadline, because it started throwing fits:

Topstitching – there is LOTS in this pattern, and regardless of the tension or needle I kept getting these loops popping up once or twice a line. Some I stopped, pulled back, carefully started the topstitching in the middle of a run. Some I took the tip of a seam ripper and gently eased the excess into the surrounding stitches.

The invisible zipper (put in instead of the row-of-hooks tape (trust me, that’s annoying to have to put together in the morning!) – I’ve done lots of them, and with my regular zipper foot, but this was not cooperating. Finally said FINE, and pulled out the hand sewing needle! You know what? Pretty easy that way. And probably almost as fast, if you count the inching-forward method I use with the machine to make sure I’m keeping right in that hollow. Then, to pre-empt the bubble at the end of the zipper where it joins the seam, I did that seam by hand too.

Alright! In the home stretch. Collar. Went together no problem! Attach to top – ok. Now sew facing on. The only picture they have in the pattern notes has you hand whip stitching the facing to the sewn-on collar stand, as normal – well that’s no problem. Except that 3/4 of my collar stand is all by it’s lonesome, because there are no back and shoulders! I could assume they want me to whip stitch the whole thing… but blanket stitch would probably look nicer, I thought:

(at 4pm on the last day of the contest? collar stands are reeeally long!)

But in the end??

It’s a good thing.


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