I’m using an ITY knit recently purchased. Otto calls for a jersey knit which I believe is a single knit fabric like ITY. I wanted to use this particular knit because it matches perfectly with my new pants, Pamela’s Patterns #113. Fortunately it is wide. Like 62″. I’m able to fold the fabric in half, place the back on the fold and the sleeve next to the back. I cut these first, then lay the fabric out and cut each front separately.
I used a slightly different sewing order from my normal. I hemmed first. I kept thinking about the two layers in front. Heavy bulky hems just don’t hang right. Once the side seams are sewn, I won’t be able to hem the front separately. So I took advantage of the fact that this is based on a TNT with lengths and hems all figured and added. I hemmed everything at the cover stitch before doing anything else.
Next up was basting the right front tucks/pleats into place. Much easier to do it now then when working with one piece than later up when the top is more assembled and much heavier. I followed that by fusing bias tape to the shoulders on the back piece. When working with knits, I always fuse bias tape to the back shoulders, sometimes to the neckline and fronts as well. I just can’t tell in the fabric stage if a knit shoulder will stretch or behave well. If even a recovery test is satisfactory, once the garment is finished the test is really null and void because of all the weight that will be on the shoulders. I don’t like to fuss with elastic, the other good stabiliser for knit shoulders. Bias tape is the perfect answer for me. Bias still has a little flex, which I do want with knits, but the stretch is controlled and will support the weight of the garment.
But I used clear elastic to finish the entire neckline including the surplice. I don’t really care for stitch and turn finishes. They are IMO unfinished and ratty looking. However one of the tips I received for controlling the surplice gape, was to stretch elastic tape just slightly during application. Supposedly the surplice will be forced to snug to the body. I used the 3 step zigzag to attach the elastic to the wrong side. I stretched 3″ to 3.25″ all along the way. Then I turned it under and finished at the cover stitch. Voila, nice, clean finish even with a Turn and Stitch technique.
I serged the sleeves into the armscye and then and then serged side seams from bottom hem to wrist hem all in one swoop.
I suddenly realized that the garment was finished and I hadn’t checked the fit. I didn’t rip the serging only to baste the garment together. I threw the blouse on Mimie for a quick check. I must repeat that Mimie is not exactly a copy of me. I fit a muslin to my body, then cut the cover and fit it to my body. But when I added stuffing, the shape changed slightly. I removed some stuffing and then left it alone. I know from experience that the stuffing will pack down. Until it does, I keep in mind that working with Mimie is close and good for initial planning but not final fit.
On Mimie I discover that my careful drafted surplice; with it’s clear elastic controlling the stretch — Gapes a good 2″
While the neckline looked high in tissue, I’m concerned that in fabric it’s already too low. Also, the front droops oddly totally unlike the Otto original.
I know I’m going to need to try the garment on for final changes so I throw a few pins in the surplice and head upstairs to find my new pants.
I also choose a few vests to try with my new outfit (blouse + pants = new outfit – bling)
Ok when I was younger, I would have worn this.
I mean really younger, like 19 and wanting to look 21. It fits pretty well which is what you expect from a TNT. The odd drape isn’t quite as visible on me as it was on Mimie. As I got older I realized I wanted to be taken seriously at work. That low neckline would have to go. I pinned the neckline in front which just looked awkward. Later I pinned 2″ at the side and then on both the right front and the left front. Later still I increased from 2″ to 3″. This surplice, this fabric, needs 3″ removed in order to snug my body and cross high enough not to reveal any part of the girls.
For fun, I tried on the other vests and took pictures. I’m glad I did. I would have chosen these but regretted my choice:
The grey vest hides the pins, but the outfit has no interest. The brown vest just doesn’t color coordinate. It looks wrong. the Plaid vest might be OK. I need to take a picture without it being closed. In this view, I’m just not satisfied. However I would be happy with the next two:
I think the black has a little more punch. Which is too bad because I really should get rid of it. The black vest was sewn with a very loosely woven wool. It snags and up close is beginning to look bad. The stripe vest is OK, I wish it contrasted just a little more.
I finished this blouse by darting the surplice close to the side seam. I made 3 darts, 1″ each. That adds more mess to the draping. But is covered by a vest. I will never wear this blouse without a vest. I also just tacked the surplice together at the neckline. I made a little diamond which didn’t show in the pic I took. So I can and will wear this blouse. The pants are a different story. I’ll be updating that post
For the next version
- Remove the original surplice tucks. I don’t like the way they drape. While the Otto version looked better, I’m most likely to use the same or very similar fabric which will look equally bad.
- Add 3 darts along the surplice edge or
- Gather/rousch the Surplice edge or
- Use a casing and elastic to gather the Surplice edge
- Remove 3″ from the surplice edge
I like the basic style. I’m convinced that I *can* control the surplice edge. I’m sure to make this again, just not exactly the same.