Monday, March 29, 2010

J. Stern Designs Top

I finally have some SWAP progress to report. I got a bit of creative blahs and didn't want to touch the stuff I had waiting on the cutting table, so I opted for a top to replace the previously sewn black silk blouse that was in my original plan.

I've said before that I wanted to sew more independent pattern maker's patterns. Well, I had a whole bunch of pre-owned independents that I almost bought, and quite frankly would have only sewn at a later date, but at the last minute decided instead to order a new pattern. I'd spotted this top pattern (top right under patterns) and loved it.

My logic is that even though these patterns may cost more, if we don't buy them new, we're not actually supporting the pattern maker and these patterns might not be around later. I don't see it as supporting the economy, but rather supporting creative people and helping them to prosper.

On the subject of support....I got a lovely note in with the pattern and pointed in the direction of Jennifer Stern's blog. Take a look, it has general sewing and fashion stuff as well as tips and alternatives to her patterns. I read through all the posts on the top before starting and used her invisible zipper tutorial when inserting mine.

So onto my top, I chose to make the version with the mandarin collar and keyhole opening. I used a pink-peach crepe and ivory charmeuse for binding. I've strayed off my original colour scheme, but I brought this fabric back from my stash in South Africa and thought this was the pattern I wanted for it. My other intention was to use a deep red, the remnants from the red silk blouse, for the binding, but I realised that the darker colour would shine through where it overlapped.

This pattern has some interesting features, at least for me. Firstly it has these pretty lined cap sleeves. I used the charmeuse there too. I love that its lined, so I didn't have trouble with unsightly hemming and it just looks so neat and pretty. Also gotta love the soft charmeuse on the arms.

The back has an interesting dart that I haven't seen before. It is created diagonally upwards from the centre back seam with some slight gathering. It adds an nice detail to the back.

I also inserted my first invisible zipper. I used the tutorial provided by Jennifer on her blog. I think it worked out well.

I had a mandarin collar evening dress once, that had a frog closure, I sure loved that dress. So I did the same here. I'm not sure if that would count as the unusual/distinctive closure requirement for SWAP??

For those who know my last name...I did a double take when I first saw J.Stern Designs or talk of Jennifer Stern, I'm also Jennifer and my last name has just one letter different. So I suppose that's got to mean I have to buy some more patterns. Maybe the jeans??


  1. You did a wonderful job on that top. So feminine and soft and I love the use of the frog.

  2. Oh, I forgot to tell you.... I made this dress from New Look 6785 and it was all a mistake! I took one look at the pattern envelope and surmised that it was for a knit. Never even looked at fabric suggestions made by the pattern company. I was so disappointed in myself, but I was not about to waste one of my first NY fashion district fabrics. After I got this fabric home last summer I was overwhelmed by the size of the butterflies on this chocolate brown knit. I said, "what in the world was I thinking to buy this big print", mind you I also bought it in another color so you will be seeing the print again. I didn't discover that the pattern was sized for knits until after I had cut the fashion fabric. Egad! But Ebony consoled me by saying "you can make up a knit using a woven pattern but not vice versa". Well she was right it turned out great! Moral of the story: I NEED TO MAKE SURE I STOP AND READ THE PATTERN ENVELOPE!

  3. what a lovely pattern and it looks so slimming