it seems like at least once a year i have a sewing project which is basically a recipe for disaster. you know which one i’m talking about. the kind where i keep making bad decisions, using wrong kind of materials, doing wrong stitches, and the list goes on. this time my mistake started 4 years ago, when i bought this polyester crepe chiffon fabric. since it’s crepe, it’s a little bit stretchy and since it’s chiffon it’s also very thin. i fell in love with the colours (who doesn’t love rainbows?) plus i saw a Japanese name on the fabric. 😀 (though as i tried to Google it, i couldn’t find out who that is. “T. Yoshida”? anyone knows?) i knew i wanted to make a buttoned-up blouse out of it, and for 4 years it was just waiting for the perfect moment.
and so when i saw my co-worker S wore this chiffon blouse from NewYorker, i knew what i wanted to make. i thought that since i’ve been working with polyester crepe, viscose, and cupro fabrics, i would be able to tackle sewing chiffon crepe fabric.
and since i thought it would be a piece of cake, i decided to use a pattern that would allow me to add some piping to the shoulders, both front and back. i just got the piping band from my trip to Bali the last time, so i wanted to try it out now. the pattern is #113 from BurdaStyle magazine 10/2013.
as you can imagine, i already started cursing when i “copied” the markings to the fabric using pins… because they ALWAYS came off seconds after i put them in place. the correct way to do it is to sew it by hand. i, as a super lazy seamstress, decided to forget it.
and then there came the sewing time… and the first up were the piping bands. oh. my. goodness. this was a huge mistake. now i knew, but it was too late. there was no turning back, because i am one stubborn seamstress. *sigh*
the rest came down the hill from then on. the hem was a wreck, the button plackets were all over the place, and the arm holes… where do i even begin? i decided that using bias tape was the easiest way, but after sewing them on the darned chiffon kept fraying & coming out of the bias tape! argh!
at that point i was ready to give up. but then a small part of me did not want to let it go. instead of throwing it away, i still wanted to be able to wear this. so i did what i should have done before i even started sewing this… i searched the internet for tips on sewing chiffon (i.e. the correct way).
and of course it turned out that i did everything wrong. but whatever, there’s always a reason to learn new things!
it is said that you’re supposed to sew chiffon only with new (= very sharp) needles. also keep the stitch lengths short, since chiffon is a very flowy & loose fabric. with those two tips, i remade the arm holes and hem. i also went to several clothing stores to see how they usually finish the hems of chiffon clothes, and it seems that most of them are finished with an overlocker/serger, and then turned around just once before stitching it normally. that was what i tried next, and it did give much better result than trying to fold the edge twice before sewing it.
for the armholes, after restitching the bias tape on them i decided to fold them inwards and sew them again to avoid fraying. i think (and pray) it’s working much better this time.
unfortunately there was nothing that could help make the pipings smoother (don’t tell me to redo them, i really don’t have the patience) and since they are stiffer than the chiffon, they always make funny shapes on my shoulders. W-H-A-T-E-V-E-R.
now let’s move on to the good part. after all those trouble, being able to wear the blouse and it actually looks okay made me teary-eyed. the silhouette is just like what i hoped it would look like, and i love how versatile it is.
when i first tried it on and showed it to my husband, i was sure he was gonna say that the blouse looks like some “stereotypical” Jamaican clothing. but instead, he said it reminded him of a bird. ha! well, i think that’s much more flattering.
but to me, i still see it as a rainbow, and having succeeded into “saving” this sewing project from being a failure, i am feeling quite optimistic that maybe one day i will be able to fly somewhere over the rainbow.