Category Archives: 2010/2-14 ShirredTop

#14 2/2010, Shirred Top

Why I hesitated over this garment. Starting with the back:

Which is admittedly, not bad.  I might prefer that the shoulders be a little narrower but I do think they turned out the way Otto intended. All the drag lines, if they can be called that, are emanating from the shirring. That’s the way it should be. I believe there is more than sufficient ease across the hip. I like the length. Really nothing bad to say about the back view.

Onto the front…

…where you can start to see my concerns.  The pattern called for elastic and casing at the neckline; shirring at the empire line. My fault for not doing both. I’m surprised that I didn’t notice the width at the neckline either at the tissue stage or the first trial. There was plenty of time to correct my oversight, if I’d just noticed.  My real issue though is that my bosom assumes some prominence and unfortunately my tummy does as well.  I have to handle empire styles carefully.  The right amount of ease, such as the CLD’s Ebb, creates a beautiful, flattering fit. The wrong amount and people start asking “When are you due?”. Not a question I want to hear or answer. Again, the length is fine, the ease across the hip and tummy is fine. My problem is with the shirring which you really can see from the side:

It can also be seen that the front hem rises which supports the preggers assumptions.

For this version, I’m going to release some of the shirring.  I’ve had garments, long ago, where the shirring snapped but didn’t completely unravel and disappear.  I’m hoping to make a few judicious slices in the elastic thread without destroying all the shirring and shaping.

If I make this garment again, several things need to happen.

  • The bodice between shoulder and bust needs 1″ additional length (1/2″ back and front).
  • The front neckline needs to be raised.  I rarely wear bosom revealing clothing.  It’s one of Burda’s design elements which I detest. Otto has been really good for drafting acceptable neckline depths. I’m surprised at this departure, which BTW wasn’t really visible on the model.


    • Yes I see it is low, but I don’t see the tops of her chi-chis. BTW this garment was acceptable on her for a couple of reasons, one being that she was shown with new child.  It’s actually refreshing to see a new mother with a new mother’s figure.

Continuing with the thoughts of what I need to do for future versions:
I need a flatter front. It doesn’t need to be straight up and down like the Ebb, but less curvature under the bust means less apparent jutting of my tummy.


  • I need to remove some of the ease in front.
  • The shirring needs to be about 10% vs the 30% I achieved — more testing time at the CS ’cause I’m not shirring with any other method.

I still think this is an interesting garment.  Love the way Otto used the plaid. Love the fact that my CS has another purpose. I do plan to make this garment again, next summer.


Style 14, 2/2010

As I was saying, I’m intrigued by the style lines and traced the pattern using my multi-sizing i.e. 38 shoulder and neck, 44 bust, 46 waist and hip; then  added seam allowances and cut my fabric.  That gave me enough time to sample Shirring on the Cover Stitch.  I cut a scrap 10″ by 4″ and stitched 3 rows of shirring equidistant apart.  Then I hit the sample with steam.  I didn’t actually touch the fabric, just held the iron above and let the steam pour down into the fabric and elastic thread.  As expected the shirring pulled up nice and tight.  I calculated that it shrunk about 30% which I thought would be fine for this garment.

Beautiful, eh? But now a niggling concern defined itself and I decided I needed to review the pattern. See my upper torso measurement  between shoulder and bust correspond with Otto Size 38 but I’ve been noticing that the more recent Otto pattern fit wonderfully as far as the width but are  too short between shoulder and bust. The armscye is much too short and the bust dart is above my own.  Curiously the 2006-2009 styles did not exhibit this same fit.  I’m not sure if I just wasn’t noticing or if Otto actually changed their block. What I do realize is that even with Otto, I need the narrower upper torso, but I still need the same length as if I was a 44 everywhere.

I pinned my tissue together and having a dressform with nearly identical measurements and shape, I pinned the tissues onto my dressform. Immediately I could see that the armscye and bust dart issue would be created if I sewed this just as I had cut.

I didn’t have enough fabric to recut. I considered adding some kind of a 1″ strap across the shoulder but I didn’t really want to change the design lines. Instead I opted to trim the existing armhole 1″ deeper. This turned out to be the better decision from a second stand point: the neckline is too low for me.  Had I made the neckline exactly as drafted, I would have been exposing the upper curvature of my bosom. Not the summer look I was going for.

I stitched the shirring at the empire line; gathered the front shoulder pieces the old fashion way (i.e. long basting stitches)  and  made a quick basting and trial fitting. I serged the back and front shoulders together and stitched a 2.5″ band (folded in half) to the neckline. Of course it stuck out to high heaven.  I was planning and did insert elastic in the neckband but seeing it on Mimie (my dressform) I decided to miter the front corners of the neckband.

I finished the armscyes with bias tape; serged the side seams and cover stitched the hem.  At this point it was done and really other than the time spent testing shirring on the CS, was an easy garment.

Tomorrow, my final pics and why I hesitated over this garment.

Style 14 Issue 2/2010

This is a charming design with some interesting sewing details mainly the neckline.  I’ve had it on my to do list since I first received the magazine, although I do have some reservations about its style and my body.  I started it now because I realized that it was now or next year and I wanted to try shirring on the cover stitch now.

It took a while for me to adapt to the weather in South Dakota.  We are completely out of sync with any other area I read about.  For example, winter doesn’t seriously start until about a week before Christmas.  We’re always guaranteed a “White Christmas” followed by bitter cold in January with but a weeks break sometime in February.  March warms and becomes slushy but I’m still wearing heavy sweaters and long underwear until the end of April.  At which point, the heavy heavy gets moved to storage but I’m still wearing long sleeves and long pants for several weeks. Suddenly towards the end of May we have 1 week of spring weather with rain guaranteed on the US Holiday. Regardless of when the holiday is scheduled, those campers are guaranteed to be wet and miserable at least one day of their celebration. Then it’s summer  (I mean immediately and as soon as the storm is over) and the reason I love SD. Summer is usually punctuated with one or two weeks of extremely, 3-digit, hot weather but for the most part it is wonderfully warm. We get a hint of cool weather sometime in September with pleasant warm temperatures continuing mostly likely all the way until the populace starts crying “What are we going to do if it doesn’t snow by Christmas”.  I don’t know how you feel about it, but I’m convinced prayer works because we have snow every Christmas (sometimes a little earlier).

 Point is, and I do have a point, that it’s timely to be making #14 now.  I’m still looking forward to several weeks of pleasant warm temperatures and will both be able to play with my CS and wear the result a time or two. Or Three.

My fabric is a cotton voile. It’s an old fabric so I think it is 100% cotton however it resists wrinkles so I’m not too sure about either age or fiber content. I’ve avoided using it because I had 1.5 yards and I loved the color and print.  I knew it had to be a warm weather garment but didn’t want to end up with a large scrap when finished. Here lately, I’ve been adopting a “use it now” or “cut it anyway” attitude and decided this fabric deserved to be a garment now.