Sunday, 11 June 2017

Merry May MAGAM top

I put my finished Merry May top for MAGAM (only a couple of weeks late!) on Instagram earlier and said I wouldn't be wearing it outside. Why?


I said earlier in the month that I was having massive problems with the darts. They just wouldn't lie nicely. I had them in and out and Lyn helped me fix them as best they could be fixed. There were a couple of problems with them, relating to fabric choice and to pattern. This was the same self drafted pattern I made for my last top, the checked one with the tartan trim. However, this fabric was very slippery and wiggly and I struggled with it (sorry, Rory - I've let you down!). It didn't like the darts, which kept twisting, even in Lyn's hands. This was made worse by the fact that these darts were French darts so very much on the bias. The original darts were folded upwards and this just didn't work in this fabric - they wanted to lie downwards, follow gravity I suppose! When I then let them fall, there was insufficient at the sides to catch in the seam and these were large darts so, on Lyn's recommendation, the dart was trimmed to about 1cm using the overlocker. Lyn did the trimming as I was scared!

I took the top to where I could and sewed up the sides again and overlocked the edges.
In my last top, I didn't manage to apply self fabric bias but in fact the commercial tartan tape was a much better option. In this top, I did manage to make and apply my own bias tape. So that's one positive thing!

The fabric frayed tremendously and this proved to be big problem with all the sewing and ripping out. I ended up having to deepen the front of the neck and the armholes too. There was no seam allowance. In future, I think I would have a seam allowance even if I then cut off, as that would give me a bit of leeway.

But why won't I wear it outside? It's comfortable, doesn't fit too badly BUT see this photo - a pull has occurred from top to the bottom of the fabric on the right side, presumably as the darts were being manipulated. I can't do anything about it, I'm afraid.

Lessons learned
  • ·        My pattern needs some tweaks, as my figure changes a bit
  • ·        Fabric choice is crucial - well I knew that but still haven't put it into practice!! During making, the darts were uneven from side to side despite cutting on one thickness of fabric from a double width pattern.
  • ·        Overworking and mishandling fabric is a disaster - and leads to stretching, excess fraying and to fabric pulls and ultimately an unsatisfactory garment. The bias tape is not lying nicely, either, which is very sad as my last top did lie nicely.



I knew about the pull but decided to finish the top, anyway. I could wear it under a jacket or cardigan provided I didn't take them off! I am making another top (commercial pattern) with the same fabric and I've already had fit issues but my experience here will help, I hope. This second top has bias tape on the inside so I've bought some silky commercial bias tape. I bought navy and red but the navy isn't dark enough so I'll probably use the red. I don't have enough fabric left, I don't think, anyway, to make my own self fabric bias tape.

Over the next few weeks/months (however long it takes) I will be posting about my search for the 'perfect' top (not couture, though). You know this will take a while as I am not one to churn out lots of garments.


Comments are invited, please! Including, please, what fabric do you think would be best for this pattern? TIA.  Hope the rest of your weekend goes well. I'm planning to do a bit of sewing.

MAGAM is the Make a Garment a Month Challenge hosted by Sarah Liz on Facebook and now on Instagram. Thank you for your hard work, Sarah Liz

16 comments:

  1. If you really don't like the top can you cut it with pinking shears into bias strips to use for something else? If not toss it. Not are makes are great for​
    wearing. Some die in the rubbish bin. When I have no wearables I usually try to salvage the fabric for bias tape if it's decent fabric if not I toss it
    Blessings,
    Baa

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    1. It's true - I hadn't thought of that. I could use strips for the other top I am making with this fabric. Thank you

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  2. With slippery fabrics that I know I'd wash afterward I resort to startching to make the sewing process more manageable. I'very done this with silk georgette too - not a fan of dry cleaning.

    As for darts I've resorted to hand sewing (small back stitches) when machine stitching was too tricky. And when I had to trim dart allowances I sometimes top-stitch the dart to keep it flat.

    I can't really see the pull you're referring to. The busy print hides it. Sometimes we're much more critical because we know the problems we encountered, but others can't even see anything wrong! So I wouldn't worry about wearing it out!

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    1. Thank you. Yes, the print is busy so the full length pull passing through the dart at an angle doesn't show well on the photo. I know I'm critical but I couldn't wear it in public.
      I washed the fabric but didn't think of using starch etc although I've read of this. I guess I thought I'd manage! Your tips for darts silk be useful next time@

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  3. Gelatine also works to stiffen fabric, if you can't find starch. As for pulls - I think you are talking about a thread pull - sometimes they show up as white. I find biro's or felt pens really good for disguising these marks! Test first though, some pens are iridescent and make the situation worse (don't ask me how I know....!). Still, you have a decent top for the house, and you have learnt a lot. I have to admit to liking wider seam allowances as per commercial patterns, as they do allow a bit of playing room. I know narrow seam allowances are the thing for industrial sewing, but garments are not played with in those situations - just sewn, so minimal fraying happens. Trimming is a pest, but sometimes a necessary evil for a garment that is to be fitted. And, sometimes good old hand basting works wonders before stitching. And sometimes I cut extra around a dart and trim to shape later if I am not sure what will be needed.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thanks Sarah Liz. Yes, I am talking about a thread pull which is showing up as white. Yes to the bigger SAs, though my side seams were 1.5cm (⅝") but I'd have liked them bigger! I ran into problems with armholes and neckline where there was zero SA. I did hand baste. I needed a lot extra around the dart but didn't of course have it particularly as I originally chose to have the dart pressed upwards which much reduces the available dart extension - with a big day like this, it reduces the width of fabric required. Biggest issue of course was over working the fabric. Yes, I've learned quite a few lessons!

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  4. P.S., thank you for the acknowledgement - and for spreading the word about MAGAM.

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    1. You're welcome. You do a great job! I haven't been active on MAGAM for a while and hope to change that. Next up - culottes Thank you!

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  5. Well I was going to suggest gelatin or sewing right through tissue paper. You would think I would have done that on a gorgeous silk that I just ruined! Your top actually looks nice. But I know how hard we are on ourselves. I am in search of woven top that will not gape at the armhole. I have enjoyed your sewing journey!

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    1. I'm sorry to hear you've just ruined a silk top - this was no silk!! It was an inexpensive fabric from Goldhawk Road, polyester I assume. The only issue I have with the top really is the long pull line down the right side as shown in the photo. It's comfy, fits reasonably well etc. otherwise. I'll have another go with a fluid fabric. I'll try out some of the tips I've had. Thank you.

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  6. I think it looks very wearable, especially with a little coloring in with markers. I was interested to hear about doing large darts with hand stitches. A great idea. I have made a muslin for a tank top for my daughter who has some fitting issues and will try the hand sew approach on slippery fabric. On one made with a cotton/rayon that is slightly gauzy, I decided to draft full facing pieces, rather than using the binding technique for armholes and neck finishes. This is much easier to manage without any chance of twisted or out of line bindings.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thank you. I'm sorry I'm replying late - I didn't see a notification. Your idea of using facings instead of bindings is a good one. This would give that area more support than I've achieved with this proves of external binding. I'll certainly be doing more work by hand in the future. Unfortunately, I did wear the top yesterday (and enjoyed the process) but found that the side seams near the bottom had separated/torn - not even where I had been altering and over working the fabric. Now the top is dead as although it wasn't right around the hips, there isn't enough space to alter. Oh well!

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  7. Sad about the pull in the fabric. I was going to suggest colouring the visible bits with permanent marker but I see someone already has! This has helped me out in the past.

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    1. Thank you. Unfortunately the problem is more major now - the side seams have separated and torn. You live and learn!

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  8. I have just seen your post and all the helpful tips and have learned a lot too. Sometimes I think it is a relief when a problem garment dies. You don't need to worry about it anymore and can move on. If you make anything else with this fabric I would try larger seam allowances and French seams. I think they are neater and support the fabric better than overlooking.

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    1. Yes, I've just discarded two other tops. Quite a relief. Just not getting any new ones though! Thanks for your advice. This fabric is no more though! In fact that's yet another top gone as I was making two with the same fabric. Four away!

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