Can this top be saved (or should it be scrapped?)

posted in: Finished projects | 30

Since I decided to give up on the Sewing with a Plan, i have been reKondoing. As a result I have restored my sewing area to its pristine, professional space. I thought I would embark on a small scale, quickly made project. A bit like having a juicy medjool date after a fast. Easing back into joyful construction.

While tidying up I found a bedraggled remnant of pure wool jersey. This was £5 from Misan;  soiled, chopped into, and creased. I love working with wool jersey; it’s a nice weight and very stable (compared to thin jersey). Pure wool jersey responds very well to pressing and doesn’t stretch much. It is easy to wear and comes in nice colours. But it is pricey. McCulloch and Wallis has a range of nice colours (you have to order it) at £60 a metre. Sewn with pure cotton thread,  the stitches just sink in, giving a good, crisp, snap. I know they say polyester thread is best with jersey, but I like cotton with wool. This is “color” 666, rather than “colour” – I got three reels on Clitheroe market, in Lancashire, and you have to wonder how they got there.

Coates cotton thread
Pure cotton thread

I bought the pink (you know I am fond of pink) thinking I would mix it with some other pink cloth, perhaps leather. But it has been in the cupboard for a while now, and I got it out last week. put it on the cutting table and wondered if I could make a jacket using my self drafted peplum pattern. I was surprised I could get most of the jacket out of the scant fabric. But either the peplum or the sleeves would have to go.

getting a jacket out of 60cms
Self drafted jacket pattern and 60cms of cloth

I asked for advice on Instagram.

Generally the idea of introducing a second piece of wool jersey was popular (Anne Whalley), but I don’t have any and wasn’t planning on buying some. I did have a good look at what I had in stock – the only fabric that went really well with the pink was some pink chiffon, but that ruled itself out fairly quickly. I had some stiffish (maybe furnishing) fabric, in colours which co-ordinated with pink, but it wouldn’t have looked like it belonged somehow.

I am afraid quite a few respondents said “drop the peplum”, or “peplums have had their day” or similar sentiments (Sewrendipity). Grace Royall suggested a shorter peplum.

Then there was the contrast sleeves brigade – leather sleeves (Daisy Crumpet), white lace sleeves (Sew Busy Lizzy), contrasting jersey sleeves, silver sleeves (foxglovesandthimbles)

And others noted that while the peplum was old hat, sleeveless jackets were in (2p and Charles).

I decided to go for a sleeveless jacket. Like thegirlinateacup I love a nice peplum. I never bought one in the shops when they were fashionable (a couple of years ago) because  RTW peplums are often stuck on too high. I like mine on the waist.

I was able to get the front, neck and arm-hole facings out of the piece, but the peplum itself needed lining in a different fabric. I used a deep pink sateen with a bit of stretch. And I found an open-ended white zip for the front, although pink might have been better.

deep pink lining
deep pink lining

I fear without an undershirt I  might look a bit like my birthday suit. My husband thinks it resembles another Star Trek outfit. Esme asked me if I was moonlighting as a chamber maid  at our local hotel. One thing my family will never let me become is at all conceited about my sewing. To be honest they sometimes undermine my confidence and make me wonder what the heck I was thinking. I guess, now it is done, that it was a mistake to not to include sleeves. And the white zip is nasty. I may try to alter it by adding sleeves, or trimming it. Or maybe just take it to the charity shop before I waste any more time.

30 Responses

  1. I love it…can see you in silver skirt with cocktails and lovely bare arms on hot summer day

  2. Can you dye it with acid dyes in cool water?

  3. I think you need to wear it with white to make the zip work. Or get rid of the zip. The fabric seems to stiff for the peplum too. Sorry but I’d be inclined to donate it.

  4. I don’t like peplums (naturally, as they wouldn’t suit my stick shape), but I do like sleeveless jackets, and I like experimenting with odd hemlines. Here’s my suggestion: remove the peplum from the front, which would also necessitate cutting the zipper, gather the peplum and have it from sideseam to sideseam along the back. It might drape beautifully. If you don’t like that idea, just make a waistband for the jacket from the peplum and have a short jacket. It’ll be nice. 🙂

  5. Jersey from Misan, I can see why you would want to do something with that fabric! Have you tried this on with other combinations? To my eye the darker jeans and top emphasise the lack of sleeves, pale colours might blend it into more of a total look.

  6. The only problem is the white zip! It’s gorgeous fabric and I like the way it’s made – peplum or no is just a matter of personal opinion. I think it suits you and it’s a good shape. The zip has just thrown it into knock knock, can I come in and rumple your pillows territory.

  7. I quite like it, and I can see Annie B’s suggestion working, but I get the impression that you have had enough for now. How about putting it away for a short time and looking again later when your current disappointment has gone.

  8. We have to experiment and sometimes magic happens as a result, ya gotta kiss a lot of frogs.

    I don’t show the family stuff I’m unsure of and never failures. I need to inure myself from critical assessment until I’m reasonably satisfied with what I’ve done as it can be disheartening and unhelpful, conversely when I’ve been a bit meh about some aspect of garment, I invariably get positive responses such as ‘no one will notice that it looks fine’. Although to be fair my chief checker outer is more familiar with Primark than Hobbs.

    Onward and upwards.

    • Thanks Annie. The family just say it like it is. I usually agree with them – to be honest that is preferable than having them say nice things just to be kind.

  9. I was wondering if you could wear it as a sleeveless vest with the zip opened? Even if you had to tame the peplum a little to straighten it all up. It is really quite nice.

  10. Stephanie

    I like this top. I agree with Esme though that maybe not the white zip I remember you weren’t crazy about pink and white in the context of your sequined dress. I could see this paired with a floatier or diaphanous item to soften the harder shape, maybe in deeper pinks and greens and with short sleeves.

    • Stephanie

      I also think light jeans ( blue?) would be cool with this.

    • You know I had the same thought myself when I put it in. I remembered thinking I really don’t like pink and white together! Even with tiling I chose a grey rather than white grout. Your vision is rather lovely of a dark green and pink floaty dress. I have one so I will try them on together.

  11. I think it can definitely be saved. I’m with your daughter on replacing the white zip. The peplum suits you. Although I’m picturing this with a short hem band replacing the peplum and then cap sleeves added – it would be lovely to pop on over summer dresses or a white shirt. The dark pink top doesn’t work with it right now.
    On another note, I think the bodice pattern would be lovely to use as the top of a dress 🙂

  12. I like it. I think if I were wearing it withe a darker top as in the photo I’d pin a similar dark broach to the jacket to tie them together. But the shape definitely suits you.

  13. 🙂 Those last photos are funny! But I think your family have been a little too mean here: the colour and style look great on you. Can’t quite tell about the zip, but I think I’d be adding sleeves, navy blue or grey?

  14. I love the colour but I would change two things. The white zip is a no no and I feel the peplum is out of proportion so I would trim it by half. Please please save the cotton reels when they are empty .

  15. I agree with the idea of replacing the white zip. With that small change and with different styling–less contrast–perhaps light grey, it will be a fun addition to your wardrobe. Don’t let the faux family fashionistas faze you. (Ugh, couldn’t resist.)

    A note on the thread. I have quite a bit of this old (my spools date from the ’60’s) U.S.made cotton thread. I am wary of using any cotton thread on wooden spools since the thread seems to break down over time. If you give it a good snap between two hands and it breaks, well perhaps it’s not for sewing.

  16. Hmm that white zip is a bit of the cheap side.. I would give it to a charity shop, thank the garment to have done his job in Kondon style, learn from the experience and make a better version you like.

  17. You are such a wonderful seamstress, I feel badly that this isn’t working out. I would use a thinner fabric (or none at all) to line the peplum…I think the cotton sateen is making it too stiff. As others have said, ditch the zipper. Maybe a silver or black with smaller teeth would look better (that could be my predjudice, I love pink and black). As far as styling goes, I think either play up the contrast and wear all black underneath, or all winter white or pale gray. I would love pale gray full-legged (no pleats) trousers, that would look fabulous, with a short sleeved pale gray tee. That pairing would also be great under your gorgeous lavender and silver coat. Thank you for making so many beautiful, inspiring things!

    • I think all these suggestions are spot on Martina, and you are right that the peplum has come up a bit too stiff. You are really good at this. It now has a beige zip. I will try it once more – if it doesn’t work I will bin it. Thank you.

  18. How about a crisp white shirt underneath, and treat it as a waistcoat. It could give a lovely shape? I think the peplum is great.

  19. I think you should have a look at New Zealand online fabric stores like The Fabric store and buy some New Zealand wool jersey . With the pound at its current value I think you would find that wool Jerry from NZ is quite affordable . If is very good quality and very washable . I use it all the time

    • I have had a look at the NZ sites, including the one you mentioned, and the fabrics are lovely. Nothing in quite the pink I have but lovely shades of soft lightweight jersey. It has given me some ideas for future projects. Thank you Mem.

  20. I really love it the way it is!

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