Hi! I’m Rachel and I have a recently-rediscovered passion for sewing.
And so here it is! My completed Simplicity 8523 E. I intended to photograph this is in my local area but I thought it would look even better on the balcony of our holiday apartment in Barcelona. I hope you agree because here I am enjoying la bella vista!
My body shape study was of great use as it helped me understand and ascertain the best fit for me. One of the key discoveries was confirmation that my upper body is a little longer than average, something I’ve long suspected when shop bought t-shirts have sought to expose my mid-riff but not that of the mannequin!
The lengthening of the bodice definitely did the trick here, as the top ended correctly at hip height with a short side split (for want of the proper name) allowing the top to flare and not to strain at the hip.
The second alteration was the introduction of two long thin darts on the back of the top with the aim of reducing gape at the neckline. With no real upper body muscle to speak of and, barring the odd length, no real swimming ability I have always had quite small shoulders so encouraging my makes to fit in this area is likely to be a perennial challenge for me.
The sunshine in this image is making me feel very glass half full so I thought I would show you that I achieved my aim first of all before going into detail:
When assembling my bodice it became apparent that the darts I originally placed were not quite long enough as my back curves in to the neck a little earlier than expected. I adjusted for this, lengthening the darts by an inch and re-drawing them to meet the new point. They were now very long thin darts but worked well to gently pull the neckline in and ensure the perfect fit.
Here’s a closer look at those darts:
On to my more general points on assembly, Simplicity 8523 E was an absolute dream to assemble consisting of only 5 pattern pieces. The pieces were clearly marked and – well as you may expect – very simple to trace out. There was also a very handy line indicating the point from which to lengthen the bodice.
I did suffer a couple of tricky moments when putting together my sleeve, this was probably the only point where the instructions were not particularly clear. I struggled comprehending the idea of putting in three lines of basting stitches and pulling the ends of the threads to fit to sleeve to the arm hole without creating a gathered sleeve. I finally got my head around it with the aid of my trusty Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing although there are a couple of very slight gathers on each sleeve which I couldn’t quite smooth out.
In my confusion I also stitched my sleeve on inside out on my first attempt – major face palm moment although on the plus side it was very smoothly attached!
I’m not entirely happy with the facing of my V neck at the tip of the V, as you can hopefully see below I have a lot of excess fabric there and the facing is not lying particularly flat. It’s not too much of a pain in the meantime as you can’t really see it on the right side but I would definitely appreciate any suggestions for tidying this up.
On a final note I would just to say how much I love this fabric – it feels very Ted Baker but for a fraction of the cost!
I tried my best to line up the pattern pieces using this very handy pattern matching tutorial from Sewaholic. This post was really handy and whilst I don’t think my seams were quite as perfect as Tasia’s it’s a definitely improvement and something I intend to work on as I continue sewing.
That’s everything for today, now back to breakfast…
Cast your mind back to my recent completed make the Anna dress. As you may remember, my Anna was quite a test and I had a few hiccups with the bodice, squishing my assets in the process!
I managed to rescue my Anna after some frantic rework and was very pleased with the result, but now having completed my make I’m ready to work out how to avoid this in future. As such my next project Simplicity 8523 E is all about establishing fit and understanding my body shape.
Simplicity 8523 E is designed to be slightly loose fitting so why pick E you may ask?
I’ve chosen E as I believe looser fitting clothing can often be more difficult to get right than a fitted piece. As someone with a fairly curvy figure, a baggy fit can can often result in an unflattering outfit which hits all the largest parts of my body and only makes them seem bigger. My aim with E is to make a loose fitting top which still accentuates my figure and feels very feminine.
To first establish fit I measured my bust, waist, neck and back and found the following:
Bust = 34″ or UK Size 12 or European Size 38
Waist = 30″ or UK Size 16 or European Size 42
Hip = 38″ or UK Size 14 or European Size 40
Back (neck to waist) = 18″, no corresponding size as 0.5″ longer than the longest option!
Having purchased a pattern in UK sizes 8, 10 and 12 I was getting a little worried here but having looked at the finished garment measurements I chose to cut to a UK Size 12 which resulted in garment measurement of 38.5″.
As suspected in my Anna post, I do have a longer back length than average and so having established that the final garment length would be 23.75″ I decided to add an additional 1″ to length to ensure fit.
Slightly off topic here, but apologies for the can of custard in this image, I haven’t gotten around to purchasing proper pattern weights!
My main concern with cutting to a size 12 all over was the potential for a gaping neckline. My back does curve in towards the neck and I don’t have particularly broad shoulders. I have regularly had difficulties in finding clothing which fits in this area.
I heeded my own advice from my previous post and made a muslin of the front and back pieces of the top checking for both length and neckline fit. As suspected I found the top gaped ever so slightly at the neckline. Using a set of pins I marked the size of the gape and went back to my muslin, inserting two long, thin darts at the neckline. These darts made a huge difference to fit in this area, the muslin fabric curving to meet my neck.
Alterations complete, I set out to to cut my fabric. Come back soon to see the finished article!