Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Not-Quite-A-Taffy Top

Don't you like how Gollum's arm is waving creepily behind my shoulder?

I've mentioned before that when you've descended into sewing madness, words like "jasmine" and "rooibos" no longer refer to types of teas; they're obviously Colette patterns. Well, this Taffy-ish blouse falls into that category, especially since real taffy is sticky, and this Taffy knock-off was made with could-stand-to-be-a-lot-stickier chiffon fabric. Seriously, trying to line up chiffon on grain is a nightmare. What I found helpful, though, was laying out fabric on my living room rug. The chiffon doesn't shift nearly as much, thanks to the friction provided by the rug, and when cutting, the shears just slide underneath the fabric, in between the carpet fibers. And I even managed not to cut up my rug in the process!

This is so fabulously 90s; there aren't even words. Also, it is
impossible to find this pattern on PR, and it's not old enough to
be on the vintage pattern wiki yet.
I had to steal this image from an eBay seller.
Ever since I've seen Taffies popping up all over teh interwebs, I've been immensely curious. I have enough sewing books already, and honestly wasn't super psyched about any of the patterns in the Colette handbook, so I didn't want to buy my own copy. I need to save all of my book-buying budget for that copy of The Crisis, a romantic Civil War novel by Winston Churchill (not to be confused with The World Crisis, a WWII book by Sir Winston S. Churchill), that I swear I'm going to find someday in a thrift store or used book store. Anyway, I was unsure about the massive sleeves that, though they look fetchingly similar to wings, I'm pretty sure my wide shoulders don't need. So when I found a Simplicity 8986, circa 1994, I got excited because in one hour I could have my very own low financial commitment, Taffy-esque, View E blouse.

And then I had to go and complicate things by trying to use up this dusty rose, sparkly chiffon that I had leftover from my Dulcie dress knockoff. I ended up cutting a medium in the hips, coming in to a small at the bust and extra-small at the sleeves (so as not to overwhelm my already prominent shoulders). French seams were pretty much a requirement, as there was no convenient selvage left to use. Also, the size of the pattern pieces and the remnants of my fabric meant that I had to cut it on the cross grain instead of the straight grain, thereby making the blouse even boxier. Also, my facings are crap. So much so, I have to wear this blouse backward so as to hide the ultra-ripply "front" facing under my hair. Still, I'm pretty excited by my rolled hems on the sleeves.

See, it looks more or less normal with my arms down.

But this way, you can see how shapeless is truly is.

Back view, somewhat uninspiring.
Please don't laugh too hard at the facing.

A nice rolled hem on chiffon is a thing of wonder and beauty.

Sparkly fabric and French seams!

Summary:
Fabric: 1 yard of 100% polyester crinkle chiffon, with silvery strands woven throughout
Notions: None.
Hours: More than an hour, since I used chiffon. Even so, I imagine that any fabric you'd want this blouse in would take longer to finish without a serger. I think this design pretty much requires a drape-y silk, satin, chiffon, or rayon something. And yes, I'm aware that satin and chiffon are not types of material, but rather types of fabric weave.
Will you make this again? I don't think this fluttery sleeve look is a good one for me, so probably not. And even though this pattern ends up pretty shapeless, I'm still tempted to try it again in the kimono-sleeve version, maybe in a rayon or something.
Total cost: Less than a dollar, since this is a remnant of a discounted by-the-pound fabric.
Final thoughts: Again, it's a basic top, but because of the sheer, sparkly fabric, it looks fancier than it is. It should be cake, but it's masquerading as frosting. This cake is a lie. Ummm, Portal references aside, I'm feeling okay about this top. It suffers a bit from an identity crisis not only in the cake/frosting realm, but also in that it looks sheer and airy and perfect for hot weather, only it's polyester and therefore doesn't breathe well. And the sleeves are too large to allow for a cardigan over it. Still, despite all that, it's a decent enough top and still serviceable. Kind of like yesterday's skirt. So far, slippery fabric week isn't going so well...good thing tomorrow's make is rayon instead of chiffon!

With sleeves like this, I believe I can fly! Wow, can you believe that that song is almost contemporary with this pattern?

Also, did anyone else watch the first episode of the History Channel's Hatfields & McCoys last night? I'm not really sure what I was expecting, but I found it almost unbearably sad, and we haven't even gotten to the worst part yet. And apparently I had no idea what class the families are, because I was expecting costume inspiration, and yet found none. They all just look so incredibly...disheveled. Also, I was distracted by how much Johnse Hatfield looks like Draco Malfoy. I half expected him to suddenly start sneering at the McCoy boys, "You wait until I tell my father about this! He's on the board of governors!"

21 comments:

  1. CUTE POST:) Your blog is so wonderful and I want to follow..do you have twitter or FB??

    If you want some décor inspiration from Sweden, check out my blog:)
    Have an awesome week.

    LOVE Maria at inredningsvis.se
    (Sweden)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No twitter, but I am thinking about a FB page for my blog...in the meantime, you can always just subscribe to the RSS or email feed.

      I checked out your blog, and it's cute! One day when I have a house I will find it helpful for decoration inspiration.

      Delete
  2. if you hate the facings... cut them out! use star wars bias trim!

    no. maybe polka dots?

    (i adore your fake taffy. it stays on your shoulders!)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I didn't have enough fabric left for bias tape, but for some reason I didn't even consider using a different fabric for it...hmmm...

      It only stays on my shoulders because I am secretly a linebacker, according to my grandma. Yours is gorgeous, though...I totally looked at yours and was inspired to use a sheer fabric!

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  3. I just adore you and your Portal references. I like the blouse, the fabric especially, but that necklace takes it to a whole new level of amazeballs. Seriously fabulous ensemble you are rocking there, my friend!

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    1. I figured I needed some bling to break up the expanse of dusty rose :) Thank you!

      Delete
  4. It looks great on you and I double what Oona says - use bias binding instead of facings, it's easier and usually looks neater

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    1. Yeah, I'm beginning to think I need to axe the facings...thanks for giving me the push to do so!

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  5. Cute! And your version doesn't look dated like the pattern cover. =)

    I rarely use facings on anything. I usually use bias folded to the inside to finish the edge (like oonaballoona mentioned). And on a top like this, you can topstitch through your bias edge and it will match your sleeve hem.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I was really, really, really trying not to look super 90s. And yes, I think I will do away with the facings. The more I look at them, the more they bother me.

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  6. Urgh. The void between Wordpress and Blogger just ate my comment. To paraphrase: I like your version of the top best. I would enjoy hearing more about the Hatfield and McCoy series since I don't have a TV but am incredibly curious about the story and how well they portray it on TV.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I thought the story was interesting enough, although I think it got really slow for my husband. I have more of a vested interest though, as I love anything about the South and anything with period clothing. I'm not super familiar with the story, although a cursory check-in with Wikipedia confirms that they are sticking to the story so far, but with some artistic license in fleshing out the details. It's not anything I want to have around forever in DVD form, but it's a pleasant (albeit sad and slightly gory) waste of time.

      Thanks for trying again despite the void...I know what you mean about the Wordpress vs. Blogger comment issues!

      Delete
  7. Um...what's a taffy blouse?
    -Sandra

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Oops, I should have explained better! The Taffy blouse is a similarly flutter-sleeved blouse in the Colette Patterns sewing book...I didn't provide a link since it's a pattern in a book, but here's a link to the PR page: http://sewing.patternreview.com/patterns/51127

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  8. The top looks beautiful!!! Perhaps if you modified the neckline, the boxiness would go away?! Awesome job on the French seams and matching up grain!!

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    1. Thank you! I think the boxiness is more in the torso area, but I don't want to take it in any further for fear of not being able to wiggle in and out of it.

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  9. Love the top. It looks very nice on you. I have always been under the impression tha the Hatfiels and the McCoys were good ole country boys - farm boys, which meant rough pants, rough shirt - probably wool - and long johns. Not usually anything to be excited about.

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    1. Thank you! And I guess in the back of my head, I knew they were country folk...but I was still sort of hoping that some nicer women's fashions might make a showing...

      Delete
  10. I made the one on the upper right in the 90's out of light weight knit :)

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