You guys know I like Peggy Sagers? I watch her videos as they stream or as soon as possible thereafter. Last Monday (July 13) my calendar popped up with the reminder to “start a sheers project”. This is my year of sheers. I promised myself to either find ways to use sheers or donate them all. So I’m thinking sheers and Peggy streams an amazing YouTube featuring
Sunny’s top #113
It was a “Could have had a V8” moment. Of course, layering sheers on the outside (instead of hidden within as a lining or facing) would also reduce transparency allowing me to use a sheer as a blouse. I didn’t buy 113. It’s the idea rather than the exact execution which excites me. In my pattern stash I had New Look A6281
I’d picked this up back in Apr or May long before summer arrives in my neck of the woods. I was thinking this would make a cute Summer Dresses. I wondered now if I could use it to make a blouse. But I ran into problems. First the back is one layer. I’d already decided this sewing was going to use a sheer. So the back would need layers as well. My other problem is that I want a tank top. I wasn’t sure I could lop off the bottom layer and the layering would look as good. Besides, I’d have to fit this pattern and I already have a perfectly lovely fitting tank: Loes Hinse Madagascar Tank. NL A6281 is based on complete copies of the base layer. Sunny’s top has a complete bottom layer, two overlaps that need to be carefully aligned on the bottom layer and then a reverse facing which is a copy of the base layer between shoulder and under bust. It’s stitched right side to wrong side of the bottom layer and then flipped up and over. Secured in place by either sleeves or armscye finish. NL6281 has the horizontal bust dart (my preference) in all layers. Sunny’s Top 113 contains a french dart only in the bottom layer. The Madagascar Tank (can I call it LH1012?) contains shaping in the side, center front and center back seams. No darts, but lots of shaping.
The first thing I did was tweak LH1012. I had noted that I still had some armscye and neckline gaping. I increased the shoulder slope 1/4″ and trimed 1/8″ from the CF (narrowing to zero at the hem). To cut,I placed the front which eliminates the front shaping Loes drafted. I cut the back with the center back seam. The back contains important shaping I wanted to retain. I’m not really chesty (38B). It’s my backside that’s shapely.
For my layers, I cut two copies of my back and front pieces. Just laid out the tracing paper in stacks of two, placed my pattern on top and rotary cut new copies. To create the angles seen in the layers of NL6281 or Sil 113 I really need to make full size pieces. Right now I’m more interested in playing with the concept of outer layers to increase opacity than I am of copying an exact style. I guesstimated an attractive proportion and cut curves in my half patterns. Then I cut my upper layers. I started with 1.75 yards of 58″ wide sheer fabric. Finished with large scraps. Ok the merchant called it burn-out semi-opaque. To me, if you can see my body through it, it is sheer.
Sewing was a breeze. I serged shoulder and side seams of each set (1 base layer, 2nd longest and shortest layer). Then I basted the base and 2nd layers together at the neckline and armscye. The top layer I basted along the neckline, right side to the wrong side of the base layer. Turned it to the right side and tried it on.
I had noted that the LH1012 neckline had a tendency to gap and even attempted to tweak the fit before starting this version. But I’m also guilty of not stabilizing any of the necklines. Both probably contributed to the gaping I saw at the first try one. Also at this time I noted that despite my best guess, the proportions were not close to optimum:
The side and front views were not better. I played with folding up a hem and decided upon 3″. I planned to leave these unfinished as Peggy recommends and so neatly trimmed 3″ from the bottom layer.
The neckline required a bit more effort. I opted to serge the necklines and then attach 1/8″ elastic to the serged edge. Yeah, I know some of your are skilled and attached the elastic at the same time as you serge. But I’ve never really developed that skill. I can’t serge elastic without managing to clip it now and then. Also, I want to be able to adjust the stretch as needed. I used a 4mm wide x 10 mm long standard zig zag with my beading foot to trap the elastic to the serged edge without stitching into the elastic:
Interesting enough, I was trying for a 1×1 or slightly less (like 1 to .98 application ratio). I tried the blouse on again with the intention of pulling the 4″ ends I left in place to adjust the gathering the elastic creates. The neckline fit perfectly. All I did was secure the ends.
I had intended to leave the hems unfinished but couldn’t stand the unfinished look. It doesn’t look intentional to me. It looks like a mistake or forgot to do it or at the very least ran out of time. I set my serger for the 3-thread edge with a 2mm stitch length using standard serger thread. I love the finished edge:
I think too, that it adds just a bit of weight to keep the layers hanging in place instead of catching in places.
I love the finished look. It is modest i.e. covers up underwear and body. Flirty. Feminine.
Definitely feel inspired to use this technique again. I can see changing the number, shape and length of the layers. As well as adjusting neckline or adding various sleeves. I will point out that a similar effect can be achieved with ruffles and flounces. The only thing I’d change at this point (and maybe future) is eliminating the center back seam of the upper layers. I like having the CB seam in the bottom layer. This is one time I whole heartedly agree with Peggy. Shaping in at least the base layers keeps the final garment from being a sack. You’ll see more of these from me. For Sure.