Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Preview of the Salme Peplum Top Wearable Muslin

Egad, I'm loath to show hanger shots of anything, much less this very drapey top, but it won't fit on my dress form (the dress form's shoulders are too wide) and I'm too wretched-looking from this cold to even dream of being seen on the internet. (I promise to take a real-life photo soon.)

So, to get it over with, here are some inferior photos of the wearable muslin I'm calling Peppy:

It's really hard to get wrinkles out of this without adding more wrinkles. You can not see them when the blouse is worn.

Here's the bias tape I made in lieu of lining this muslin

I'm pretty proud of the workmanship inside. Not bad for an unlined garment with lots of shaping. And I was working without a pattern. That blue thing is a little button.

The peplum, wrong side. I'm very happy with how it turned out - both in terms of drape and in terms of workmanship.
OK, in the end, (of course) it does not fit perfectly without so much as an adjustment. I like to get excited over the impossible.

But it's a very wearable muslin because the changes it requires are evident and none of them is too complex. Note: I haven't made the next version - which I will do in exactly the same way (unlined) - so I haven't posted yet about an alteration I've discovered in my bodice fitting travels. Stay tuned - that piece is mega-long, I mean, riveting.

What Doesn't Fit Optimally in This First Attempt (To Be Adjusted):

There's an argument to be made that I should have constructed the size 10 (I made the 12), but I have a theory about why the 12 was the better size to start with. It goes along with the post about that alteration (see above). Having said that, on the 12, here are the muslin 1 fit issues:
  • The shoulders are slightly too wide and create a fall to the neckline that is slightly too long (I'm being picky)
  • The side seams need to be taken in, but symmetrically. Because I was fooling around with fit as I went, I do have larger SAs on the zipper side than on the (first-to-be-seamed) other side. This won't happen on my next go around. It was an unavoidable muslin-hazard.
  • There is pooling in the lower back
  • I used an 8" zip (I had it on hand and this was a stash-busting exercise). The pattern called for a 10" so now I have to wiggle the waistline over my tits to get it on. Next time I listen to to the instructions.
Even with these detractors, this thing makes a fine wearable muslin and I'll get some use out of it - at least until I make a better one, which will hopefully be very soon. It's next on my list.

The Good:
  • This is a freakin' gorgeous pattern that yields a versatile and elegant result.
  • It works well on a small frame with large breasts.
  • The peplum is very a la mode.
  •  I've figured out how to make it without lining it - now I have options (I find lining too thick in most scenarios). Note that I made my own bias tape - Lord how I've resisted being lured into this. And I used Tasia's very useful method for applying it. Takes the miserable part, of tri-folding the tape, out of the equation.
The Less Good:
  •  From where I'm sitting, there's not much to hate here. I know that the instructions (when I finally follow them to make the lined version) are not going to be particularly detailed. On this topic, there are few useful technical drawings so I'd say the pattern instructions are its main detractor. (Note: I reserve the right to change my mind.)
  • It's deceptively simple and, by that, I mean it looks very easy to make but it's not. (See below.)
Why This Isn't a Beginner Pattern or a Pattern for a Beginner:

Rightly, this pattern is marked Intermediate, though a keen beginner might think: "Hey, there's not so much going on. I can deal with three simple pieces and no sleeves! But take heed, beginners. I do suggest you wait till you have a year or two under your belt (or until you've sewn quite a few tops) before you take this on. Note: I'm generally not one to suggest people limit their imaginations. I'm just trying to give a realistic interpretation of why this may not be a piece of cake for a novice.

I've already discussed how the instructions aren't detailed. Beginners tend to rely on instructions more than other resources, based on what I've read and seen and done, and they can't rely much on sewing technique or on the experience of the drape and fall properties of fabric and ease.

The beauty of this pattern is in the graceful fall of the garment. In order to achieve it you need a) the right fabric - having the right weight and sheen and feel and b) solid construction abilities i.e. a steady hand, a nice stitch.

Furthermore, make this too large or too small and it will really undercut the impact. I mean, you can mess with the fit a little, but its beauty is in how it displays your own form and symmetry (or the impression of symmetry if you use your excellent fitting skills). Beginners aren't universally naturals at alterations.

In terms of actual techniques you need to know - without much help from the instructions - there are all of the beginner ones such as seaming and cutting and darting etc. And then there are these:
  • Lining a garment
  • Cutting and draping a bias cut peplum onto a straight grain bodice.
  • Inserting a zipper into the side waist of the straight grain bodice that continues into the bias-cut peplum - which means you really need to interface the seam allowances, preferably with organza.
  • Hemming a very wavy peplum. This is not for the faint of heart. It requires easing a very large length into a considerably smaller length. It took me more than an hour to do and I have done this numerous times, in numerous garments, using numerous techniques. Note: If you understand how it works, it's not hard. But it's time consuming and it's a learned-skill.
So, I hope this gives you a preliminary perspective on a top that hasn't seen much play in the online sewing universe. You have to trust me when I say that, even with bad photos and required alterations, it's a very attractive garment and it's got a lot of potential.

What do you think?


  1. Excellent pattern review and much appreciated. Pretty muslin too!

    1. Thanks Gail! I don't know if this is the best sloper for your shape - but it is a great pattern and you'd be more than up to altering it to look perfect on you, I'm sure.

  2. Can't wait to see it on! Thanks for your review and thoughts on the techniques :)

    1. Let's hope I look something other than hideous / half dead very soon. I say, let's bring on full healing that leaves me looking gorgeous within 12 hours! :-)

  3. Thanks for the pattern low down. I've been drooling over this pattern since I first saw it. Think I'll stick to the Vogue version.

  4. Ooh! For a hanger shot, it's quite attractive! Can't wait to see it on you - speedy recovery!

    1. Thanks Clio. And I am feeling much better now.

  5. Totes beautiful! Love the colour and silhouette.

  6. I can't really tell because it's on a hanger, but great job on the insides. I really admire finished projects with garments as beautiful on the outside as well as the inside.

    1. Thanks Janice! I really appreciate this comment because I really am trying to improve the wrong sides of my garments.

  7. This has hanger appeal in spades. Can't wait to see it on you...I hope you're feeling better. Beautiful finish and a very thorough review, which is really helpful, especially for new pattern lines. Thank you.

    1. Thanks Evie. I'm feeling all better and I really am enjoying this pattern. Of course, I'm about to rip this muslin apart and make it the same size as muslin 2 :-)