Making Colette Patterns Jasmine Top – Part 2

My finished Jasmine top (photo by Kofi Natambu)

For this post, I pick up where I left off in Part 1 — I had sewed the front and back pieces together and attached the collar.

Now I tried on the top to see how it fit. I was swimming in it. It was way too wide. I think I was overcompensating on the size because the instruction booklet says, “Colette Patterns have less ease than other patterns to provide a closer, more tailored fit.” I didn’t want the top to be too small so I opted for the larger size. It fit well in the shoulders but everything from the bust and below was too wide. I was swimming in it.

So I went back to the my machine to sew another seam about a half-inch from the current seam to see how that would work. I left the bust darts as is.

Adjusting the sleeve

I made these adjustments on the fly. I didn’t mark where the new seam would go. I just looked in the mirror, pinched the fabric where I thought the seam should go and then went to the machine to sew the new seam.

I tried it on again and the fit was good. Then I looked at the top to see how this adjustment would affect the sleeves. I needed to adjust the sleeve width or the sleeve would be wider than the armhole.

My down-and-dirty adjustment? I basted the sleeve seam to match the width I adjusted on the top. Then I pinned that sleeve to the opening to see if that would fit and luckily it did.

My next step was to pin, baste, and sew the sleeves in place. (Note: The sleeves are slightly gathered at the top, a very nice detail.) Once the sleeves are attached, you hang the shirt up overnight. In a bias cut piece of clothing, you need to let the fabric settle so you’ll have a straight hem.

The following day — as you can see from the photo below — the hem really needed to be trimmed. I took my Gingher rotary cutter and sliced off the excess fabric. Then I was ready to iron and sew the hem!

The hemming instructions said to “[t]urn the lower edge under 1/4″ and press”; then “Turn again 3/8″ and stitch. ” With narrow hems, I like to baste them in place before sewing with a machine. This helps prevent the fabric from getting slightly off as you’re sewing and then you have either too much or too little fabric as you  get to the end of the seam.

Though the pattern says that any lightweight fabric will work (silk crepe, silk twill, cotton shirting, etc.), the pattern likely works best with fabric that has a soft hand. The shirting I used didn’t drape  very much, even with a bias cut — as a result, I felt like I needed to wear a belt with the shirt to make it work.

Pining sleeve in place

 

Trimming the hem

 

Basting hem in place

Making Colette Patterns Jasmine Top – Part 1

I bought this “Jasmine” top pattern from Colette Patterns earlier this year. For fabrics, I decided to use a striped cotton shirting, a remnant I got from Britex Fabrics a while ago. I thought it would be a nice contrast to this feminine style and make full use of this bias-cut pattern.

The instructions mentioned that the pattern was fitted so be careful to pick the correct size (the pattern goes from size 0-18) and to be precise in cutting the fabric. I decided to go with size 10 because I have wide hips.

This was the perfect project to use my new and elegant Gingher rotary cutter. It cuts like a dream!

My Gingher rotary cutter (notice the stainless steel washers as pattern weights)

For pattern weights I used these large stainless steel washers I got from Home Depot – a tip from The Colette Sewing Handbook by Sarai Mittnick (lots of tips and plenty of patterns in this book).

The front and the back are each made from two pieces cut on the bias. So if you’re using a striped fabric, the stripes will at a 45-degree angle, making a V where they meet at the seam down the middle. the stipes are tiny on this fabric so I didn’t worry about matching them up. There are also bust darts in the front.

Once the front and back pieces are done, then they get sewn together on the side seams. The next step is the neckline.

The only slight problem was the center loop that you thread the tie pieces through.

The center front loop

The pattern cutting layout indicates that you’re supposed to cut two pieces of this 3/8-inch strip of fabric. But the pattern instructions say that the seam allowance is 1/4-inch seam, which doesn’t make sense. The illustrated instructions indicate that it’s supposed to be cut on the fold. So I cut another loop, doubling the width to 3/4-inch wide.

Other than that minor snafu, it is an easy pattern to sew and the instructions are clear. Part 2 will focus on the sleeves and adjusting the size.

Front of Jasmine bias cut top