Sunday, July 08, 2012

FO: Raindrops on Roses Shell Top

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens... these are a few of my favourite things!

Oh... but summer would be good!  Just enough sunshine to let me wear this top without a cardigan... please?
FL dropped the camera in a puddle...

Pattern:  Simplicity 6238 from 1965, size 12, 32" bust
Fabric:  0.6m of rose print cotton from Ditto Fabrics plus a slice of dobby dot leftover from my Portfolio top and my Pyjama Party baby doll top.
Other:  Fancy lace-edged zip from the V and A shop online (they operate a lucky dip on the colour!)

Rain + my hair =  sheep

My initial impression was that this fabric was as soft and fine as an old-fashioned lady's handkerchief.  I was worried that it would be completely transparent, and that if I applied a strip of plain cotton fabric to face the hem scallops, they would look too heavy and clumsy and knock the garment off balance.
So I decided to copy the two-layered top from my Japanese pattern book Female Spring 2012, using the shaped contrast layer as an underlining below the rose print.  I thought the  texture of the dobby dot would shine through  like.. um... raindrops on roses...?

Well... only if I stand in extremely strong sunlight!

But the swiss dot is a very similar weight to the rose print, so the two work well together.  I decided to scallop the front hem but leave the back plain... because it already has a fancy scalloped-edge zip and too much of a good thing can be... too much!

I have been let down by vintage shell-top patterns before (here and here).  They can be deceptively simple.  The critical issue is often the dart placement.  Vintage underpinnings tend to... peak at a different point to modern ones, leading to all sorts of ill-fitting nonsense.

Friends - this pattern absolutely hits the apex!  I took the precaution of measuring the distance from my shoulder to the dart point before I cut the fabric and couldn't quite believe that it seemed to be right on target - but it is!  Woo hoo!

I took my time and finished all the seams by folding under the raw edge and stitching along the fold.
It felt strange to sew the zip on the outside of the garment, and I wasn't sure what to do with the bottom end, so I just tucked it underneath and stitched it in place.

The neck and arm edges are finished with white bias tape - I was having nothing to do with floppy facings, thank you!

Smug face!

At last I have found a vintage shell-top pattern that fits me straight out of the packet!
It is quite square, but not too baggy. It works tucked and untucked, with skirts and with trousers.
The fabric is beautiful and kinda vintage-looking without being too costumey.

Other notes:
The collar was my mother's in the 1960's.  I can't sew it on because it fastens with a hook and eye at the front and the blouse zips up at the back.
But that's OK, because I like having the option to wear the lace butterfly brooch (also from my mother) or a necklace.

Would I make it again?
Just try and stop me!

Now I am watching Jessica to see what she does with the rest of the fabric :D


Gail said...

This is awesome! I love everything you did to it. It's perfectly you!

Emma said...

I really love this. Beautiful simplicity, fabulous fabric and quirky, pretty zip. Fab!

Melizza said...

Finding the perfect top pattern can feel so good. The zip in the back is a very pretty touch. I've seen those zips at the V&A and wondered what I could use them for and now I know!

Marie said...

Oh, this is oerfection Roo! Truly! I love the fabric (I ordered a sample from Ditto and now regret not buying some yardage) and the style is perfect on you. The scallops, the cute zip and the added collar are such sweet touches. Love it on you!!!

christinelaennec said...

That is perfect on you, and I'm in awe of your technical prowess. I particularly like the lace-collar version.

Lynne said...

Ooo!! It's gorgeous! Yey for the perfect Shell-top pattern! I love the fabric, the collar and the lace at the sides of the zip (I am so going to remember that!) :)

Kirsty said...

Just gorgeous! I love it with the little lace collar and the zip is divine.

beate said...

great! gorgeous! perfect! wundervoll! the fabric, the cut, the sewing, this collar. on you.
and i wonder if i find this kind of zipper here in germany......

kbenco said...

That is so pretty. I love the scallop detail and the zip, and what a fabulous idea to have a swiss dotted underlayer.

Scruffybadger said...

I'm in love! It's so pretty but simple too. The scalloped edge is dreamy, as is that zip ...lace edged?!? Never seen before! And you know I love the fabric. Just so glad that the pattern is such a success....without a muslin, just a tape measure to work out if bullseye or not! V clever ;-)

sylkotwist2006 said...

What a lovely top! I was at the V&A yesterday, saw the zips, thought ooh gorgeous and now I'm seriously regretting not buying one! Suits you perfectly!

starryfishathome said...

It is absolutely beautiful, i really like the scallop hem. One day I must try that out.

jessica said...

Oooh, I likey! The print pairs so nicely with the scallops, but that zipper at the back is a real coup! (Roo scores a coup! OK, we pun and rhyme way too often in my family, never mind never mind ...) I can see this pairing so nicely with your cardigans, and it seems like a great summer top (if only the weather would participate). Also, that collar? Divine! Nicely done! I tried taking a nap earlier today and all I could do was daydream about what I could make ... heh ... rose fabric invades sleep!

Alessa said...

It's quite beautiful, and wherever did you find that amazing vintage zipper!? :) Sooo nice with the collar, and also with the butterfly brooch!