Even though I've personally come to terms with this issue long ago, I often struggle with patterns for woven fabrics because I need so many adjustments from the standard draft - a full bust adjustment, full bicep adjustment, round back adjustment, forward shoulder adjustment, plus length. So many adjustments! That's probably why I choose knit patterns more often, as a stretchy fabric will let you get away with not making these adjustments for the most part.
And I think that I'm really pretty much your average shape, so I'm guessing that I'm hardly alone in needing these things. So, when a pattern says that it uses ready to wear sizing, I'm giddy at the thought of being able to cut and sew something that fits right from the envelope!
You can see from the sleeve pattern that this really is a different draft. I am comparing it to a standard sleeve piece from a different pattern for woven fabric. Connie's draft is on top, and the standard draft is on the bottom. If I put the shoulder markings together, you can see quite a difference between the two.
I do fall right in between the medium and large in the size chart, but I much prefer a looser fit, so I went with the large. In fact, I'm sure that some people reading this will think that this top is too large on me, but if you look at the critical area of the neck, shoulders, and bust, you can see what I'm happy about. The ease around the midsection is more of a personal preference. I'm blessed with an ample tummy, but I prefer to not advertise that fact. Here is is from the back:
Fabric Mart had some beautiful silk crepe de chine that I was salivating to try. Since we are going into fall, I wanted something in a deep rich shade, and couldn’t decide between a deep periwinkle and a deep teal, so I ordered two yards of each.
While I was waiting for it, I went to the J.Crew outlet that is nearby because I knew that Fabric Mart also carried some polyester crepe de chine from J. Crew, and I wanted to compare it to see if there was enough difference in quality to warrant the price difference. The polyester version sells for $6-$7 per yard, whereas the silk version sells for $20-$25 per yard.
The sandwashed silk crepe de chine had much more texture- a little pebbly and seemed heavier. The non-sandwashed was smoother, but both of the silk fabrics still had an interesting way of absorbing and reflecting light. Compared to the polyester crepe de chine, they were softer and richer feeling. It's hard to capture this quality in photos, but here is one that kind of shows the light reflection:
Working with the crepe de chine was easy- it didn’t roll, took pressing well, and didn’t stretch out of shape. However, it does have some downsides- wherever you touch it, it will wrinkle, and you cannot hide any mistakes that you make with it- little tucks or waves show up prominently. I’m generally not a very precise sewer, but with this, I had to take my time, and be super careful.
It also does show water spots. I started out using steam in my iron, but then saw a couple of places where the water had dripped from the iron, that were still visible even after it had dried, so I turned off the steam for the rest of the way. Working with a print would have been way easier. I am a little concerned about perspiration stains with these, so I found this interesting article on line about how to get perspiration stains out of silk which uses cream of tartar and aspirins of all things!
To transition these to cool weather, I tried them on with a few cardigans. This cardigan is using a Fabric Mart knit from last year that had a Missoni type weave.I'm excited that I learned about a new fabric, and got some great new tops in the process. I will probably be hand washing these in cold water with a drop of baby shampoo for future care.
I didn't make the grey cardigan below, but you might recognize the fabric that I used from my pants in this picture from this post about the convertible skirt.
If you are thinking about trying silk crepe de chine, I would recommend starting with a simple design, and go slowly. Definitely fit your pattern by making a muslin out of a cheaper fabric before you start sewing with the real stuff. When you are sewing with it, make sure your sewing area is clean and dry so that no spots show up inadvertently.
The Sandra Betzina Today's Fit patterns from Vogue also have a different draft, and I have been very happy with them as well. I think that Marcy Tilton does as well, but I'm not quite certain. Do you know of any other designers with the major pattern companies that are using different sizing? Such as Mimi G or Lisette? I haven't tried those yet.
Have you sewn any of the Connie Crawford sewing patterns? What was your experience? I've bought several more now, so I hope that they are all as good as this one!