somewhere over the rainbow

rainbowblouse2

self-made blouse and boyfriend jeans, Esmara tank top (worn underneath blouse), Crocs boat shoes.

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.

newyorkerlongshirt

picture borrowed from NewYorker website.

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.

image borrowed from BurdaStyle.com.

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.

rainbowblousedetail1

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.

rainbowblouse3unfortunately 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.

rainbowblouse4same goes to the button plackets. i could probably have redone them as well, but la-dee-dah.

rainbowblouse1now 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.

rainbowblouse5if i unbutton the last two buttons, i can tie the front parts in a knot and leave the back part long. oh, the awesomeness of the design!

rainbowblouse6when 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.

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10 thoughts on “somewhere over the rainbow

  1. Congrats for having the courage to handle this kind of fabric, and succeeding in redoing the “gone-wrong” parts 😀
    Well, now I guess nobody can see the slight irregularities (and “who cares…”hahaha). Main thing is, it looks so good and nice!! It still is a big success!!

    • thankies! it IS difficult, i was regretting it 90% of the time when i was sewing it! this was by far the most difficult kind of fabric i’ve ever handled. even organza and tulle is easy compared to this. thank goodness there were tips on sewing chiffon around the internet. 😀

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