I was meant to blog this weeks ago, it’s been a long journey but with a happy ending…
Yes that look on my face says it all – it’s been an epic journey. This is my Lolita Gunmetal.
I was mention to blog this when the pattern was released… which was errrrrr some time ago… oops…
I’ve had a range of challenges, apart from it arriving in my inbox at my busiest time of the year (suck it up princess Lizzy)…
Officeworks printed my pattern and RESIZED it to fit – despite my very clear instructions not to do so. Unfortunately my store requires you to leave the file and come back to pick it up. as it turns out – even if you are there they still get it wrong. You can’t upload and order via their site as it resizes to fit. So you have to go in and then go back for the job, it’s a 24-48 hour turnaround. Painful. Unfortunately I was in a rush (too much family/work stuff going on & me not thinking clearly) and whipped up a test run. It was a bizarre shape and then I realised why…
I returned to Officeworks to explain what had happened. They didn’t offer to replace the job, I am so over the store I didn’t actually care. They offered to print it on the spot. I explained how to print it, I stood there and she printed the first page. She went to print the second page and said “Oh I better resize that onto the page“. “No,” I said, “Never resize my printing, they are patterns and useless to me printed as a resized file“. She printed the second page… and yes she had printed the first page incorrectly – but didn’t tell me that! No, I discovered it when I got home. I was really angry because she must have know the first page was incorrect and didn’t rectify her error.
Did I go back? No. I did send an email to Officeworks head office. Whatever, there is a Xerox shop across the road, I email a file to him and he calls me when it’s ready. Yes, he doesn’t resize to fit if I request. I know. Radical customer service.
Thirdly, and this is the corker, I finally ordered this sweet cotton viscose ‘Ring Around Roses’ fabric from Tessuti… and then sewed it up with a 5/8in seam allowance instead of a 3/8in seam allowance. Needless to say it with all those princess seams it didn’t fit… well not in a flattering way!
I was challenged to source fabric for this project, it’s actually hard to get decent stretch fabric where I live. It’s either a solid colour or polyester (note I do not wear polyester, not even RTW designer polyester, I prefer my skin to breathe, I know, old fashioned of me) – I initially planned to make a sexy gothic version. The pattern lends itself to it… however I hesitated as it’s really SewNotLizzy.
I’m loathe to just dismiss something “Oh that’s not my style“. The interesting thing to investigate is how to own the look rather than slavishly recreating someone else’s style. I really liked the idea of stripes but often find stripes harsh to wear – when I stumbled across the floral stripe fabric on Tessuti website I could just see it working beautifully. A sweet ‘country girl’ top. Yes, it’s a little like Grandma’s bathroom wallpaper but only if you let it be. I don’t think Gunmetal is for wallflowers…
My version is a little different to the pattern. The pattern using a sheer, lace or mesh overlay on the ruched panels, the mesh is attached to the fashion fabric and the top is also lined – with the fashion fabric or a contrast if you wish. I simply used the stripe fabric and a silk blend jersey as a lining. I do not put buttons or D-rings/lacing on the centre panel as I felt the floral pattern was sufficient.
I’m not much of a frill girl and I was even more scared about ‘making’ frills from the fabric itself – I hate raw edges on my clothing so that wasn’t an answer for me. I did buy some lace trim but in the end I wanted those floral stripes as the frill so I just had to figure out how to do something with my overlocker other than neaten seams or sew stretch.
Hands up if that’s all you use your overlocker for? Me too… until this top. I took a deep breath got out my manual and figured it out… and it’s embarrassingly easy.
I have a Brother 3034D overlocker. You simply…
- Turn off your machine.
- Lift the foot.
- Turn the wheel until the needles are in the highest position and the loopers are extended (note I had to read my manual to figure out what was what – I know hilarious, I could thread it and neaten seams – and that was all I cared about until now!).
- You unthread and remove the left (outermost) needle.
- Open the front and remove this part (you might need to give it a little tug – sorry the kids are in bed and I don’t want to dive into the sewing room to find my manual to find out its name – I’ll update the post in the morning!)
- You need to adjust your stitch width and length (the dials have R on them for this purpose – go figure) and away you go.
This takes no time once you get the hang of it. I was quickly changing the machine between the two sewing methods by the end of the project and will be using it a lot more! I also hemmed my sleeves and peplum with this rolled hem method. Love it. It’s dainty for those finer fabrics and adds some body to the hem.
If changing the overlocker dials freaks you out – take a photo before you move them and use it for reference when you switch back. Worse case – read the manual – it’s actually helpful! I discovered stuff about differential feed and whatnot for sewing different fabrics – go figure. And that little piece you just pulled out? It slides back into position easily enough – it’s clearly meant to come out as there is a storage space for it inside the door of the overlocker…
MY CONSTRUCTION TIPS
My main piece of advice is to take this project slowly. Don’t rush as there are fiddly bits but your patience will be rewarded. I found it easier to work on the ironing board or a flat surface, especially with the ruched pieces.
After all my disasters I was so keen to get this version right… so I pinned, machine basted and then overlocked my seams. Yes it takes longer but it provided opportunities to adjust the gathers and seams. It was worth it.
Go a size up – I didn’t and it’s a very neat fit. My fabrics have a bit of give in them and the lining is very fine so it’s quite wearable but less stretchy fabrics might be challenging.
I was naughty and went against the grain for the centre front panel – I like the visual effect…
I’m glad I made it and have the pattern. It’s a flattering top, the comfort of knit with the benefit of princess seams and feminine details. Yes it’s a challenge but the reward can be great!
WIN A GUNMETAL PATTERN
Simply comment below and let me know you would like to go in the draw. I’ll announce the winner on Friday 10 January – heck I’ll even throw in the d-rings Amity sent me that I haven’t used. I know, I spoil you.
Yes this is a PAPER VERSION. You don’t need to worry about your home printer or Officeworks.
The Gunmetal Sewalong starts this week – so while you might not get it in time – you will have a great reference to make your own version.
Please leave an email – otherwise I can’t get in contact with you.