Sunday, June 7, 2015

Revisiting a TNT Pattern (Butterick 5450)

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Since 2013, I have made a total of 8 garments using my favorite pattern Butterick 5450. In 2013 I made four dresses using mostly summer prints in woven cotton and linen. You can read them herehere and here. I also made a holiday dress and the top version using fabrics more suited for fall. And when I participated in Pattern Review's Sewing Bee, I used that pattern to meet the refashion challenge.

And the latest addition to this ever growing collection was sewn out of desperation. Leave it to the husband to give me 48 hours notice of an event that we needed to attend. Why not wear one of those Butterick dresses, you may ask. Well, because of the print and fabric they looked  a bit too casual looking. But a more important reason is the fit. Looks like my sweet tooth finally caught up with me. I had to go one size up for this latest version.

 This beautiful silk twill fabric has been in my stash for several years now. I purchased this from Gorgeous Fabrics and could not decide on what to do with it. Being silk, it has a sheen to it and is quite lightweight. 

To add some body to the main bodice fabric, I decided to underline it with a woven fusible interfacing, specifically this Pro-Sheer interfacing purchased from Fashion Sewing Supply. I love this interfacing as there is no need for pre-treatment.

I just cut the bodice patterns out of the main silk fabric and the interfacing, fused them together and then treated them as one.

For the bodice, the pleats had to be folded from the outside (the right side of the fabric). I didn't want to put any markings on the silk so I just finger-pressed along the pleat lines on the pattern while it was pinned to the fabric.

For the skirt portion, I used another fabric from my stash but I cannot remember where I got it from. I did not label it so I'm not sure what kind it is but it is medium weight woven, feels like twill but with a silky sheen. It looks like dark taupe in color and coordinates really well with the multicolor bodice. 

So here is my dress and I'm so happy with how it came out. 

Vogue 1440 Donna Karan Collection Top

I don't usually wear button-down blouses especially collared ones but the unique yoke back on this top pattern immediately caught my eye and I decided I needed to have this in my wardrobe.

I made a muslin using only the essential pieces--the front, back and yoke. I skipped the collar and the facings. Based on my bust measurement I should have chosen size 8 but I always find that the big 4 put too much wearing ease on their patterns so I muslined a size 6. I needed to shorten the top by 3" (taking off 2" along the lengthen/shorten line and 1" off the hem), take in 5/8" from each side seam along the bustline to prevent gaping along the armhole and raise the bust dart about 1/2".

For the real version, I used a linen blend fabric from Jo-ann's. It is a beautiful shade of rose and has a lovely drape. Made of 55% linen and 45% rayon, it is not so sheer and lightweight.

I also sewed a second version using leftover stash from a previous project. Pictures are shown below.

The pattern instructions were very detailed. In fact, they were so detailed that they tended to be confusing at times. For instance, in step no. 3, it says "To form fly, with wrong sides together, fold right front along remaining foldline, bring stitching lines together, press." The bolded was not really necessary as folding along the line automatically brought the stitching lines together. This makes it sound like an additional step that needed to be done. Anyway, that's just me nitpicking. On a positive note, all the tiny details make for a well-constructed and cleanly finished top. Here are pics showing some of those details I loved.

Back vent

Center back seam
Hidden button placket

Here are some sewing notes I wrote down that may be helpful as they certainly helped me when it was time to sew the second version.

1) When laying out the front pattern pieces, make sure the right side of the fabric is facing out. Same with the pattern pieces. That way, you make sure the right and left side are cut out correctly.

2) When transferring the markings, it is okay to put the markings for the foldlines on the wrong side. However for the buttonhole markings, it is best to mark them on the right side.

3) When altering the length, make necessary adjustments to the placement of the buttonholes.

4) When doing the French seam, I sewed the seams 3/8" from the edge wrong sides together, trimmed to a scant 1/4" then sewed with right sides together 2/8" (1/4") from the remaining edge. I am still wondering why the pattern instructions state to sew 1/8" from the raw edge, then sew along the seamline.

5)  Be consistent with the edgestitching on the armhole and yoke facings so that the stitches match when it's time to sew the shoulder seams together. I had to rip seams several times when I was sewing the first version as my stitches didn't match. See pic below.

It was better the second time around!

And here are finished tops. One in rose linen blend and another in mustard yellow with cream eyelet accent on the yoke back.