Today, driven by the need for normalcy and fun, motivated by the cheer of the first day in about 25 that didn't rain from morning to night, I sewed a top.
I'll take a moment and contemplate with incredulity. I actually sewed something. For the first time in a freakin' long time.
More to the point, I traced the vintage pattern (Simplicity 3302), I cut out fabric, I made self-fabric bias tape, I marked the fabric and then I sewed the crew-neck vintage, dolman sleeve shirt.
Alas, my friends, the finished product sucks!
Don't worry for my mental stability. I'm totally ok that it sucks! Seriously, it's the pattern - it's not me.
What I love about this project is that I managed it, with enough energy, from start to finish. It actually only took 4 hrs. That's super fast for a top, IMO. Too bad it's unlikely that I'll ever wear it.
I won't show a photo. I mean, I cannot be seen at this point (my vanity prevents it). And the top, on my dress form, is an exercise in blandness. It might as well be a sweatshirt.
I made it in a stable black ponte (thank you Susan!), a lovely fabric that really didn't benefit from the design. What a beautiful, warm knit. BTW, if you have been sick for a while, and you're scarily pale at the best of times, do not wear black anywhere near your face. Egad. You know they say that black can wash you out. It is sadly not a myth.
But back to the pattern. And, more importantly, the experience.
Today, I decided to approach this project with maximal creativity and minimal limitations. Frankly, I opted not to care about all of the things that usually concern me. I actually just used the fabric (in its various phases of assembly) as a tool. When I didn't like the tightness of the neckline on the assembled garment, I cut an inch out of it, on the fly. Side seams? Serged off inches at a time. Back seam? Same deal. I made the sleeves and hem shorter than the pattern instructed. I lengthened the bust darts.
Effectively, I just kept trying it on (like a cook tasting her dinner as she makes it) and saying: Well, that's gotta go, or, I suppose I'll bias tape the neck instead of facing it. Why does anyone face anything? Really.
It was an exercise in creative freedom and I LOVED it. Energy plus experience plus confidence plus nonchalance, brought me tremendous pleasure.
Sure, it didn't produce a great end result, but I did get the thing to fit really well. It's just kind of ugly.
Alas, I couldn't mark the paper pattern (not that I'm too inclined to make this again) with my myriad changes. At a certain point, you cannot freestyle it and chronicle your experience simultaneously. The two activities are utterly at odds. Since I don't love the pattern, I'm not too concerned. Were I to make it again, I'd take careful notes and go more slowly.
I did remove about 6 inches of width below the bust to the hips. Even at the bust, I had to remove fabric.
I appreciate the darts and the visible arm seam (the result of the dolman / kimono cut on). But seriously, even on others (whose tops have worked out much more elegantly than mine), I'm kind of underwhelmed by the style in general. I mean, it's no peplum :-)
Interestingly, I didn't find the fitting to be particularly difficult. I might have increased the width, as well as the length, of the dart, just to provide more bust shaping, but the dolman top is a bit of a casual (dare I say sloppy??) look. It's not about precision in the arms. It's more about perfection of ease. And that perfection is entirely subjective - and based on one's own general shape.
At any rate, I'm happy to have had this day of sewing enjoyment. Lord knows I have more clothes than I know what to do with. So a learning experience, and a new challenge, have been just the thing.