I have finally finished Gertie’s bow-tied top, but let me tell you that I don’t think I will be sewing this one again. Or at least I need a fair bit of time to get over the sheer frustration I experienced over the past week before I contemplate sewing another. There were expletives. There were tantrums. And there was one point where I wanted to stab myself with my dressmaking shears, or poke my eyes out with my beautiful glass-head pins. Why so bad? Let me explain.
First of all, let me say that I love Gertie: I love her style, I love her book, I love her blog. I am in awe of seamstresses out there that design, have become published and are living their dream. If only I could be as talented! But, and this is a huge but, the instructions for this pattern are hard to follow. Now, yes, I admit that this is probably not entirely Gertie’s fault - when one condenses a dozen sewing patterns into a book, the instructions are going to be relatively brief – but damnit, it took me ages to work out what the hell each instruction meant. Granted there were a page of pictures (of minute proportions – the size of a postage stamp) that went with each step, but really, I think I was better off without the pictures as they didn’t help one little bit.
Close up - pretty polka dot Japanese cotton
Another problem I had is that I am petite. I know from other pattern designers that they work on an average dress size of a 10-12 and then either down-size or up-size which sometimes results in a not-so-great fit for us petite things…. But some of my pieces just didn’t line up. The dart lines didn’t line up (almost like there was a problem at the printer?), there were odd curves on some of the pattern pieces that were within the seam allowance (hence would just be cut off), and I thought it was particularly odd that there wasn’t enough room beneath the back darts to hem the bottom without hemming part of the dart. The collar also didn’t fit onto the neck-line – I figured this one out: because of the 5/8” seam allowance, it meant that the length of the collar should equal the length of the neck-line 5/8” in and not the curved edge (probably an inch difference). To combat this, I either notched the curve before sewing or cut off some of the seam allowance – I ended up shaving off ¼” on both pieces so that I could ease the collar on. All in all, frustration to the MAX.
Weird curved lines on the back facing within the seam allowance
Anyway, enough of my bitch. This top is finished (thank goodness) and I can actually fit into it (it looked teeny tiny when in construction), although the collar is slightly constrictive. The top is way too short to actually tuck in unless I was wearing a high-waisted skirt but I think it looks OK out. The bow tie didn’t get ‘tied’ as such as I found it didn’t sit right, and my choice of buttons may have been a mistake as they dig into my back when I lean back in my office chair. Bitching aside, I do like the end result, and I did wear it to work, but I am not sure if this will be in high rotation. Maybe I’ll revisit this top in a Liberty once my frustration levels have dropped. I need to make something I know will work next as I am feeling somewhat deflated.
Oh, and thanks to Penny, who took these pics during our lunch break and added a bit of 'culture' to my photo shoot.