It was a classic case of: Girl finds Red Tag cutout micro-suede, girl buys it for $1.85/yard, girl dreams up the perfect Nicola wrap top from Victory Patterns to make with said fabric. (*want to win your own Nicola Wrap Dress & Top - enter our Sew Yourself Some Love Giveaway!)
THEN... a world of cold hard micro-suede truth crashes upon girl.
For instance: did you know that suede is sewn like knit? Edges don't fray (YAY!), and it's got a lot of stretch. Sadly, I also learned that it should be sewn with a specialty needle and with as few stitches as possible (riddling it with holes ruins the integrity of the fabric).
So, looking back at it, picking a wrap top with EIGHT darts probably wasn't the best choice for this fabric.
This Nicola-Wrap-Experience confirmed what I've already come to learn about sewing women's apparel:
I don't know what I don't know.
For instance, I thought I was supposed to cut out the darts in my pattern pieces and fabric. (Hint: you're NOT supposed to do that.)
I'm also learning the different types of apparel fabrics, and how they impact the shape of each garment. This suede has significant drape to it, which means there's a slightly wider, more "risque" opening than product photos (which use the recommended fabrics) suggest.
But here's my biggest takeaway from this project: women's apparel patterns are meant to be modified. (Speaking of which - check back tomorrow for the tutorial from last week's woven skirt maxi modification.)
Outrage! Infamy! Or just plain common sense. We're not all built the same, and no off-the-rack clothes fit us all the same, so why should patterns? ...Which brings us to my favorite part of today's post.... the skinnies.
I ADORE these skinnies - they are the Jamie Skinny Jeans from Named (if you maybe haven't heard of Named, they are this insanely awesome Finnish Pattern Company with cutting edge modern designs inspired by the runways). These Jeans are an absolute labor of love, but they're also heavily altered. (In the sense that my toothpick legs called for an increased seam allowance all around.)
So when sewing women's apparel, initial muslin versions are not only suggested... they're mandatory. (Having a friend on hand who speaks the language of "alterations" is also highly recommended! Outseams? Inseams? Girth? Words my children's apparel experience has left me totally ignorant to.)
Shout out to my good friend Krystle! She's a Rep for Designer Jewelry by Sara Blaine - and an expert stylist!
I've now sewn each pattern in my 5-pattern-challenge. I can't wait to come back next week to show you all just how versatile these patterns really are! Which patterns do you want to see me cover next week?
Until then, what are your biggest tips for sewing women's apparel? (Maybe ya'll can save me some grief in week 3!)
Becca DuVal is a lifestyle photographer based outside of Richmond, Virginia. She juggles life with two kids, two rescue dogs, and her super-fine husband. She's a hard-core DIY-er who loves sewing, crafting, and tackling home decor projects far outside her skill level.