I’ve finally finished the realFrancesca Variation yesterday, and I even wore it out of the house! It took much longer to assemble it than I thought it would, almost two full days of cutting, pressing and sewing. There were 24 panels/pieces to sew together , excluding facings and interfacing, so I can see where the time was spent and why I wouldn’t have been able to make it up in an afternoon like I had hoped.
I decided to alter the back skirt panels the “proper” way, letting it out at the seams and shaping it to the hem, and I also tweaked the sleeves to get rid of the excess from the last toile. Sadly, the sleeves were a bit too snug after my tweaking so I made a cut-out where the ties are sewn and bound the cut edge with some green bias binding I had in my stash- it’s a passable fudge but I’ll modify the pattern to account for that for next time.
I pinched out 1-1.5cm on the lower shoulder seam, at the outer edge, tapering back to 0cm at the neck edge. I took a similar amount off the sleeve head as well to make it fit. Those adjustments took care of some of the wrinkling across the shoulders BUT I should have checked where the bust panel notches were before I sewed them on, they’re slightly uneven and I think it’s because of my uneven shoulder height. All those adjustments aside, I really do like how it turned out. I like the shape and the colours and the fabric. I love the rolled hem on the overlay and the pleated panel under it. I plan on making it again but will probably make two more at the same time to make it worthwhile- set it up as an assembly line, much more efficient!
I’ve finished the second toile, this time with the sleeves. It’s a big improvement in how it feels when it’s on but I’m still going to change a few more things.
The neckline was dropped but I think I can get away with being a bit more chop-happy for the final version. It’s still too high, I think, for the contrast bust panels to look nice.
The band under the bust has been levelled out, I’m happy enough with where it sits now. I think I’ll end up adding elastic between the two princess panels at the back and do away with the zip altogether.
I have wrinkly-pooling-foldiness happening at back waist. Can’t be bothered correcting that the “proper” way so I’m going to combine the back panels into one piece, add another 5-10cm and gather it where it attaches to the band.
The sleeves have a huge amount of ease! The difference between my armhole measurement and my sleeve head is 7cm- yikes. I think I might make a feature of the excess and keep the gathering theme going by making it a bit of a puff sleeve. The circumference at the sleeve hem is also a bit large, so I think I’ll add some elastic between where the ties finish, just to pull it in a bit.
Once it’s made out of a more drapey, floaty fabric I think this will be a winner. I’m quite pleased with how it’s coming along.
Sadly, no fabric shopping for me this weekend *wails!!*. With any luck I’ll get out to the fabric shop on pay-day though.
First toile made and pattern modifications have been noted down so I can alter the pattern pieces today and cut a second toile.
I need to let it out (more than I thought I’d have to) across the hem, I’ve split it open down the front and back to give me an idea of how much I need to add. I’ll add it evenly throughout the panels. I think a total of 16cm will be enough.
I need to add some length to the front bodice and remove some length on the back bodice- the band under the bust is tilted. Fingers crossed- removing some length on the back bodice and adding some width will be enough to remove, or at least minimize, the wrinkling you can see on the back skirt panels (I’m sure some of the wrinkles you can see is just from bad pinning).
I might lower and widen the neckline a small amount. It’s a nice height now without the contrast detailing but if I’m adding more fabric with the contrasting bust panels I can do with enlarging the neckline.
I haven’t added the sleeves to this toile and I’ve left off the contrasting fabric too. I will add the sleeves to the next toile but I think I’ll skip the contrasting fabric again, it’s not needed for tweaking the fit.
I’m going to transfer all the alterations to the pattern pieces today and if I have time cut out the second toile. If all goes well I should be able to sew it up by tomorrow and then go fabric hunting this weekend for the final version. I’ve already seen some gorgeous printed cotton voile online and I’m hoping they have it in store.
As pointed out on The Sewing Forum, I do have wonky shoulders and I know I need to fit for that. Generally I just pin out the excess just before I insert the sleeves but someone made the suggestion of using a small shoulder pad. It’s something I’ll mill over while I make the next toile.
Tsk, tsk, absent blogger, naughty girl not posting for a year. Let’s just pretend I never left and get on to the good stuff.
I saw a post on The Sewing Forum featuring BurdaStyle’s Francesca Variation top and I fell in love with it straight away. It looks to be a great blend of the bohemian spirit and a little bit romantic and sweet which is very much to my taste in fashion. What’s more, it’s available in extended plus sizes- meaning it goes up to a size 60 (euro sizing), rather than stopping at 52/54 like most of their downloads.
Oh- before we go any further- the real push over the fence was that it’s a FREE download. Sure, I still had to print it out and tape it all up, and annoyingly, it’s only available as US letter paper size (hello??!? the rest of the world uses A4!)… but I loved the look of it so much that I did just that.
I spent the evening having a look online for some fabric to make it out of and found a few very nice cotton prints at Lincraft online that look to be about the right scale of print compared to the made up, modelled version on BurdaStyle. I plan on dragging DH out fabric shopping at our local store after I’ve done the toile. Below is my mood board for inspiration, it helps to keep me focussed.
Speaking of the extended sizing for this pattern- I am pleased to say I can fit in to it! Yay! Going by the completed garment measurements I’ve traced off a 54 bust tapering through to 60 hips. Even if it’s a little bit snug at the start of summer I should get a seasons wear out of it without needing to cut a size smaller.
I’ve sewn up the bodice to check for fit. I will need to take it in along back back centre seam from neck to shoulder blades (rounded back alteration) but other than that it fit’s ok. I still need to attach the waistband, skirt panels and sleeves but I am omitting the bust and skirt insets (contrast fabric) because they’re not needed in the fitting stage. I’ll post pics of the toile once it’s finished. 🙂