The truth is, either I have reached Danielle saturation, or the top hates me. I tend towards the former. But however, there is some good news: the top is finished and here for your delectation and delight...
What's more, it actually turned out exactly as I had imagined, and I think the print and gingham contrast rather well. But my god, it wasn't without a fight. Right from the very beginning, before the thing was even cut out, the fight had started.
I bought the big gingham and forgot to wash it.
I put a wash on and put in every other fabric that needed washing but forgot the gingham.
I had a mid-sewing brain-wave and went and got some tiny gingham. I forgot to wash that.
The waist band ended up more than half a cm deeper on one side than the other and looked horribly and obviously wrong, so I too it out and sewed it in again. And it was still wrong. So I took it out and sewed it in again.
I top-stitched the waist band. I didn't like it. I took it out and did it again.
And then there was the invisible zip. Suffice to say, it got sewn in 3 times, the final time by hand, and I now have a hole in my finger from so much hand sewing.
See what I mean?.
So as you know, this is Danielle 4, an evolution that has been going on over about the last 2 weeks and several tops. The original garment is Burda's Danielle dress which is lovely and simple (see I've forgotten my trauma already) and infinitely customisable. i was actually wondering last night how many evolutionary steps would be needed for Danielle to end up as a pair of trousers.
OK, probably stretching it a bit there.
Anyway, all that really remains of the original Danielle is the arm holes and bodice darts. I cut back the shoulder to widen the neck, and worked out a crossed-front bodice (which I blogged about here ). I had had it in my mind to do the skirt on the bias, and used my trapezoid skirt pattern from Danielles #1 and #3 (also blogged about here). It was a bit nerve wracking because I wasn't sure how much fabric I would need, and even when I measured out all the pattern pieces, I still had my doubts, because cutting on the bias takes up oodles of fabric, but in the end I managed fine with 1.5m, and had enough over to do the waist band in gingham as well if I'd wanted to.
The in-your-face red stuff is something I bought a few years ago from Hickeys in Dublin. I think it must have been in the remnants box. It's one of those fabrics you have in your stash, that you know is fabulous but is just waiting for the right pattern to come along. It's not really a colour that would work as a top for me (too bright a red), but I think there could well be a skirt in it somewhere.
All I can tell you about it is that it says John Kaldor on the selvedge and is cotton. A crisper cotton than the gingham so it wouldn't have worked for the skirt of this top (not floppy enough) but as the waist band, it was fine.
What else? In all the previous Danielles, I have used a 16" zip in the side. But having caught myself putting the tops on a couple of times without opening the zip at all (I forgot it was there! blush) I decided that I would use a shorter zip just through the waistband. And instead of having the zip opening all the way to the armhole and finished with a little button and loop, I sewed the armhole shut. So in this top, the zip opening runs from about 2" below the armhole to about 2" into the skirt panel. It's probably a 6" zip. It works fine.
I think the final change was the small gingham bias binding. I started cutting bias from the big gingham, but it was soon very obvious that it wouldn't work. There wouldn't be enough of the 'gingham effect'. See what I mean?
In fact the more I look at that big strip, the more it makes me thing of Harlequin costumes, and that's a bad thing.
So I went and got some of the small stuff. It feels like a poly-cotton to me. But ooh, look, gingham bias...
What is it about gingham bias? It's so lovely I want to roll around in it.
As with Danielle #1, I put that on the neck and armholes. I have found that I don't need to cut away the seam allowance on the armholes before I add the bias binding, and I think conversely, I could have cut away more on the neck (I took off about 5mm, rather than the full 1.5cm). Danielle #3 had taught me that binding the hem wasn't such a good idea - the result was too sticky outy - so I just hemmed that by hand (which also contributed to the hole in the finger...)
And the waistband? Well, I thought I'd be a bit alternative here and top-stitched it like this...
White thread outside the waistband, on the skirt and bodice pieces. And I wasn't sure. So I slept on it. And I slept on it again. And I decided that it was completely crap and had to come out. So now it looks like this, black thread on the waistband, and a hundred times better...
So now it's finished and I hope that Mr G will get home early enough tonight to take some photos of me in it so that I can add it to the Flickr pool .
And you know what? I lay in bed last night thinking, I don't have to sew tomorrow, and that feels like freedom! I feel like I have been sewing non-stop for the past two weeks and whilst I have enjoyed it, I think yesterday's zip trauma just exhausted my Danielle enthusiasm. So a bit of a Spring Top catharsis there. Oh, I still have plenty of things to sew, and I have already started taking the waistband off my first pair of Burda trousers (there'll be a post about them in a little while) but for the moment - well, at least this morning - I am free. Free!
Of course, true to form, whilst sewing Danielle #4, I had some variation ideas, but I think for now they area only going to get as far as this post. So. Possible variations...
- not cutting the skirt on the bias
- not cutting the skirt on the bias, but using a gingham waistband cut on the bias instead
- having the back cross as well as the front
- making like Danielle #3 and having the print as the skirt instead of the waistband (then I think, the waist band would have to be on the bias to work best visually... or perhaps a solid colour)
But those are all in-my-head variations only. The next Danielle will be the dress that I started as a muslin for Danielle #4 , but that will only happen after a trip to Ikea (I need more Bomull for the skirt) so it may be a while. And probably just as well. Foof.