Sewing Classes and Lessons

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Silk Tops from Connie Crawford Butterick 6187

It's official.  I'm a Connie Crawford convert!  Have you tried sewing with any of Connie Crawford's patterns from Butterick? They are advertised as modern, ready to wear sizing.  I had tried one many, many years ago, and it was not a success for me, so I didn't buy any more until I saw this one, Butterick 6187.  I'm so happy that I gave it another try, as this one fit so well!


If you are new to sewing, you may be very surprised by the sizing of patterns by the major pattern companies.  They don't usually correspond to ready to wear sizing.  So, if you usually buy a size 12, you would most likely need to make two or even thee sizes larger in a pattern. As someone who has taught sewing to beginners, I can tell you that this is really a huge hurdle for people to get over.   I tell people to not worry about it, that it is just a number, but I know that for so many people, this is not easy.

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:

The pattern is really pretty straight forward.  Here is a view from the inside so that you can see how the facing is constructed.  It is sewn into the sleeve seam which helps to keep it from flopping out. 



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. 

The teal was sandwashed, whereas the periwinkle wasn’t, so I was curious as to what the difference would be.  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.  

When I got my order, I could definitely tell the difference from sandwashed and non-sandwashed, and the polyester type.  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 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.


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. 


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!


Happy Sewing!

Ann



17 comments:

  1. Gorgeous tops and beautiful colors for fall. Thanks for the information on Connie's patterns, I will have to check them out.

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  2. I love these so much! They are great.

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  3. I really like that top style. It's flattering and interesting without being over the top. I have used one of the Connie Crawford patterns and it didn't really work for me but I'll try again I think.

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    1. That's how I felt about it too- it's interesting but not as dramatic as some of the asymmetric designs I've seen. If you try one of Connie's other patterns, please let me know how it worked for you this time.

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    2. Great tops and they work so well with jackets. Great for the summer and great for the fall. Actually, with a jacket or sweater, you'll be able to wear them year round.

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    3. Thanks, Rhonda. I hope to wear them a lot!

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  4. I love how you've done these. I tried this pattern and I think I went about it all wrong- it almost looked empire waist when I was done- your style lines are much better. I need to dust this off and try for one like yours!

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    1. Thanks, Anne. Hmm.. You mean it got more fitted at the waist? That is kind of what the line drawing looks like. If I had done a tighter fit, it might have also looked more empire. I'm not sure what to call what I've ended up with, other than "draped".

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  5. Really love these tops Ann! So very pretty and I must admit, silky fabrics are my nemesis! I must learn to sew with them!

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    1. Thanks, Sue. Yeah, me too! Just start out with something simple like this, and with your skill, you'll end up with something fantastic!

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  6. I just cut out Connie's CS 1302 armsyce princess blouse block this week and the muslin has a lovely shape--it has an absolutely beautiful fit in the neck, shoulders, upper chest and bustline and has made a believer out of me too. I had never used any of her patterns or products before but after reading many reviews I decided to purchase this pattern as well as her videos, sewing construction book & materials for pants drafting. The information in the videos is excellent, her years of industry training/experience flow so beautifully, obviously in her teaching. I am buying her other two books & I'm so glad I took the plunge, her materials have been worth every penny! :-) (& FWIW, I have had the same experience with Peggy Sagers--when I started buying her videos, watching all of her webcasts & tried one of her patterns, my sewing experience has skyrocketed -- it all added up to better understanding, better fit & less frustration. I can hear my daddy laughing & shakin his head, "You get what you pay for Sis") :-)

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    1. That's good to know! I will check out her books and videos. I can't wait to try one of her pants patterns.

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  7. Ann these blouses are beautiful. I just bought this pattern last weekend for much the same reasons, I am hoping it will work for me too. You look great!

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    1. Deb! So good to hear from you! I'm glad to hear that you are sewing clothes too!

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  8. I love the feel of silk. Your's are such a pretty colour. Very beautiful tops! I haven't done any Crawford patterns yet, but I do love Sandra Betzina's patterns. I always figure it doesn't matter what size I use - one up or one down - there are many alterations I have to make here or there so the number doesn't matter, by the time I'm finished it is now MY SIZE! :) Great to make clothes that fit!

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