The finished garment
Another great version of the Swirl top. I still prefer the Meandering Chrysanthemum version best because of the fabric but I think this one has finally cracked the dress to top conversion. I wore it all day and it stayed on my shoulders no falling to the back and the neckline doesn't expose my underwear or fall off my shoulder.
The fabricThis fabric is described as A Liberty of London silk from the Lisson Georgette range - A bold abstract digital print in autumnal shades of amber, green and aubergine. The fabric design is called Windswept, in the amber colourway. A nice light drapey fabric weighing 35 GSM and 140 cm wide. Once again from The Fabric Store. A sale purchase with zero time in the stash bought on Saturday, washed on Sunday, made on Friday and worn on Saturday.
The patternThis top is a modification of the Starfish Swirler dress from the book Home Sewn by the New Zealand Fashion Museum. I liked the idea of the versatility of the dress but it looked horrible on so I will stick to making my Swirl top version.
The pattern alterations
The second time I sewed this it morphed a bit more from the dress pattern with lengthened side seams and sleeves, a narrower sleeve plus a smaller head opening. It should be noted that in the original Swirler dress the head opening is sufficiently large to be the waist opening if the dress is worn as a skirt. For this version I made a few more tweaks which you can see in the pattern below.
I altered the shape of the neck to more of a scoop than a boat neck. I also altered the shape of the kimono sleeve again so that I wouldn't have as much excess fabric under my arms. A tiny dart was made in the pattern at the shoulder seam tapering to nothing at the sleeve hem - this seems to have been enough to keep the top in place for my forward shoulder and I don't need a dart in the actual garment.
This pattern is great for a floaty difficult to handle fabric because there is only one pattern piece to cut on the fold. Plus the floaty fabric drapes well and stops the top looking like a tent.
I fold the fabric in half matching the selvedge then anchor it onto my cardboard mat with pins along the folded edge and one end using the grid on the mat to ensure it is on grain. By sticking the pins in at an angle the pattern can be laid on the fabric with the pins still in place. The pattern is anchored to the fabric using pattern weights and I use my micro serrated Kai scissors to cut out. I find that this enables me to cut the garment out without the fabric slipping around and I don't need to use tissue paper.
How long the sleeves are depends on the width of the fabric and the selvedge. With this 140 cm wide silk fabric I have bracelet length sleeves. I also couldn't use the selvedge as the finished edge of the sleeves because it was white but I did use it as the finished edge of my hem so only turned the hem up 1/4 inch.
The sewingThis version was made entirely with the sewing machine (my vintage Singer Featherweight) with french seams, self-bias binding for the neck edge and double folded hem. I did want to use my adjustable hemmer foot for the hem but I just don't seem able to hold the fabric so that it stitches consistently. I have the same problem with the hemmer foot for my modern Bernina, so more practice is needed. By the time I finally sewed the hem I had stretched the fabric so I stretched it more as I sewed to get more of a fluted edge.
The bias binding is sewn to the right side of the neck edge then folded over to the back and hand-stitched in place. The hand stitching was the last step in the making process finished just after midnight.
Outfit of the day
I finished my Windswept top early this morning just so I could wear it today! It is worn with a very favourite pair of trousers from World, which were even made in New Zealand. Love it when I can support local manufacturing.
My boots are from Mi Piaci - the Martha ankle boot. Which can't have been very popular as they are only just over a month old and already on sale.
Because I was feeling so self-satisfied having made my new top in an evening (albeit a long evening) I paired it with my Singer Featherweight silver necklace from the Singer Featherweight Shop. The detail on this necklace is amazing, it even has a little black motor drive belt. To give you an idea of scale the pendant is 1 1/8 inch long, 1/2 inch wide and 5/8 inch tall.
There are matching earrings which I have bought in the past for a gift, as they are perfect for anyone who loves their sewing machine. I don't have a pair myself as that just seems a bit too matchy matchy.