Behold, readers, the Salme top I have been trying to finish since last spring. I have gone through three different fabric selections, an untold number of body/sleeve modifications, and the entire English lexicon of swear words to bring you (and me) this deceptively simple woven tee (which I am finally happy with).
To fully appreciate the top in it's final incarnation, I feel it's necessary to draw up a quick tally of all the permutations this project underwent before it could finally be shared with the world:
The goal: to make the pleated Salme top in a light-weight, cream-coloured, opaque woven fabric (can you sense the odds stacking against me already?).
Version A - I started with an organic cotton silk which, unfortunately, I did not have enough of. Even more unfortunately, the store I bought it from had run out as well. Soooooo, I cobbled the back together using two pieces seamed down the middle which I found super annoying (call me anal, but when the main feature of a simple design is bold horizontal pleating, it seems jarring to have a vertical line added down the back). Once past the pleating and side sewing, I tried it on, only to discover that the thing fit like a box. Specifically, it fit like a box that billowed around my (modest) chest and hugged my hips. Of course, if you look at the pattern piece for the body, you will notice that it is in fact a perfect square. So why I thought it would magically shift to accommodate my (narrow) pear shape, I don't know. But it didn't, so this version went into the scrap bag.
Version 2 - This time, I chose a not inexpensive silk linen. I modified the pattern pieces for the body to be more of an a-line shape, and all was fitting beautifully until...I put the sleeves in. There was so much tightness across the back shoulders that I couldn't even relax my posture into my usual slovenly lady slouch. I also couldn't raise my arms forward without some major degree of discomfort, and as I do teach first grade when not pursuing all these fabulous projects, the thought that immediately leaped to my head was "how the hell am I supposed to tie kids' shoelaces if my arms are stuck at a 30 degree angle?". Onto the scrap heap!
Version 3 - At this point, I was rapidly running out of options for fabrics that matched the colour I wanted and met the whole opacity criteria. So I picked up an organic tencel and decided to interface it with white rayon voile. Seriously, what was I thinking? I'm not going to bore you with the details of how ridiculous and laborious this decision was...suffice to say that there were wrinkles and drapes where none should be, and that by the time I had finished the bottom hem, it looked like I'd used a bedsheet. So this version too was banished to the scrap bag.
Once I'd set all three tops aside for a reasonable amount of mental recovery time, I decided I'd choose the one that had come closest to being right and work like hell on it until it was as close to perfect as possible. So I went back to version 2, the silk linen one, and set to work drafting and cutting new sleeves that would hopefully relieve the tightness across the shoulders.
And it worked. AT LAST. The final version is comfortable, lightweight, with a nice bit of drape and no transparency (or, as the guy at my favourite fabric store likes to put it: "no free entertainment!"). It is not totally without it's flaws (I did a bias binding on the neckline instead of a facing, and it could definitely be smoother), but it's wearable and I like it and it's done.
And of course, now that I've figured out how to make the pattern fit, I'm thinking it might look nice in charcoal with longer sleeves :)
Anyways, I'm hoping to be less of a stranger around here, now that the first-month-back-at-school madness has simmered down somewhat. I don't want jinx the frequency of future posts by promising anything I can't deliver, but I do have a few things that are nearing completion and that I'm looking forward to sharing, so check back in a week or so!