It was a joy to stitch up this lovely rayon/lycra digital print fabric that I ordered from marcytilton.com using Katherine Tilton's Vogue 8691 pattern. I just cannot seem to sew without snapping pictures because the teacher in me is just created to share my sewing experiences, so here we go....
Below, you'll find pictures of the final front and back of my Butterfly Tunic. I felt the print needed some accent color on it to define the areas and give some pizazz. The best choice I had was sitting right in my own fabric stash! I'll wear this with navy narrow-legged pants.
The big changes I made in my garment from the pattern:
1. I added what I call the 'Chico Twist' for the neckline, accented with a single cross-wise 3/4" wide strip of the aqua knit. The pattern's neckline did not attract me at all. It seems to be a piece almost the same length as the neckline, and thus would just 'stand up', but yet not really - and I really don't like that look. The How-To's for this 'Chico Twist' as I call it can be found in my pattern: Nifty Necklines. Find that pattern design booklet HERE. If you don't already have this great booklet for a myriad of fun necklines, the link is for the PDF version. Personally, I think that the less expensive PDF version is great for my design booklets, as there are no 'pattern pieces' included anyway, but rather the HOW-TO's to create each look.
2. Accent Color Addition.
The final neckline look was achieved after several tries...ultimately a 3/4" crosswise strip, pulled, then stitched on with a narrow zz stitch right over the seam line of the twisted neckline finish to the garment.
The aqua at the hemline is an additional underlayer of fabric. I trimmed the original butterfly flounce layers about 2" less deep after cutting both the aqua and butterfly fabrics out per the pattern pieces. See the picture below for how that looked - not quite right in my humble opinion...there was too much aqua exposed, the proportion wasn't right to my eye as the parts were too close in depth, to equal. So, I went back and trimmed the aqua down by an inch. That did make the garment a bit less long than designed, but it is still PLENTY long on pretty tall me.
This aqua accent is really in 3 different locations on my tunic: at the neck, the sleeves, and the hemline. The color picks up exactly the aqua in the print fabric, so the eye travels around the garment, 'connecting' it all together. As I learned in my design studies, this is creating 'rhythm' in a garment - something for the eye to follow to connect all the parts. YEAH!
3. Construction Improvements: Adding OOOMPH
To both accent the vertical princess and center front/back seam lines, I wanted to add twin needle stitching with aqua thread. The directions with the pattern instruct pressing seams open and stitching with a twin needle centered on the seam line, but this just didn't yield a good look with my fabric. After some experimentation, it was clear that not only pressing the seams both to one side, but adding some body to the seam allowance of the uppermost layer would be best. My choice of needle for the topstitching is the Schmetz Twin Stretch: 4.0/75.
While there was a Design Studio Sewing Tip as shown below, I didn't feel that 1/8" wide fusible web would support the hemline lapped over the flounce/ruffles enough. I added a 1" fusible interfacing piece all around the hemline of the print tunic to give it some additional body before lapping that raw cut edge over the seam line of the flounce/ruffle hemline pieces. See the pictures below. I also carried through the twin needle stitching with aqua thread as I had done on the seam lines for the stitching of the flounce/back ruffle to the tunic.
All-in-all, I took a solid day to add my extra touches and stitch up this garment. Here is a photo of the back neckline where I added a bit of 'interest', as the lap of the aqua rolled trim just didn't look 'good' - so I made it into a little accent.
I did prewash and dry the lovely digital print fabric, as suggested by Marcy at her great fabric website: www.marcytilton.com. However, when washing, I will do so on cool, gentle, and hang on a padded hanger, NOT putting it into the drier. While lovely and luxurious-feeling, my experience has taught me that even the best, most expensive rayon fabrics WILL pill and fade if they are put into the dryer. You might want to read my Blog posts on that topic: Starting April 8, 2017, then April 9 and 11. Find the first post HERE.
This garment will be my 'Easter' best for services on Resurrection Sunday. While growing up (and for years with my own young family), Easter always called for a new dress (and even bonnet and gloves). The picture to the left is from a collage of photos of my siblings and I growing up here above my desk. This one is of my big brother (now in heaven), Roger, and I all decked out for Easter Sunday morning. I can tell you that was a pink furry coat and my brother's suit was grey. Don't miss that Sunday School attendance pin on his lapel. I'd say this is a much better picture of Roger than of myself. Oh...the memories! My heart still yearns for dressing up in our best for worship. For me, it shows respect,and I still dress my best on Sunday mornings - though without a hat and gloves these days. How about you?