Way back when I made my first Orla top, fresh from Tilly and the Buttons, I imagined how it could be in a chiffon. I am a huge chiffon fangirl- pick the right design – I usually go for polka dots (Link to my Sarah shirt, Simplicity 2154) or vintage florals (link to my anti-climax top’ Butterick 3082) – & it can be conjured up into the most special looking of tops, suitable for dressing up or down. I mean it is ethereal, willo-the-wisp type fabric, yet it has all the benefits of a polyester – easy care & easy wear. I must sound like a broken record, but I know that making something that can be easy care easy wear (ie no ironing) extends the usefulness & wear of this garment exponentially in the badger wardrobe of lazy style.
Let me reveal to you just how much I wear my chiffon tops mentioned above. My Sarah shirt, barely a month old has been worn weekly – particularly underneath a grey v neck sloppy jumper & my grey ultimate pencil skirt. This is the most cosy of outfits & has seen me through various occasions – going to the theatre, going to a kind of informal job interview, looking a bit country chic at home & also going to see my very first 20 piece ‘Big Band’. My my anti-climax top’ (read the link to find out why it has that name) is a semi smart & going out stalwart. I wear it with an office skirt, tucked in with cardi when needed. I wear it untucked with jeans & my faux suede jacket to gigs, or same top combo with a denim skirt. The secret for me is the retro styling matched with the retro floral. Sometimes there is a place for a simple blouse that has a reasonably high neck. It sits at just the right level not to be uncomfortable & strangling. Just the last time I wore it, I was complimented (by a bloke- for real!) on how nice my top was.
I have bought my chiffon at various times from the Birmingham Rag Market, & after using this piece, have only one more length left. It ‘s red & floral is likely to be a So Over It Pussy Bow blouse in case you are wondering …watch this space…
So the Orla top, by Tilly and the Buttons, has joined the wearable & desirable chiffon league in my wardrobe. Without the collar it has a similar neckline to my anticlimax top- also having those lovely neck darts (I adore neck darts, they always seem to work so well on me & get such a snappy fit!).
Remember Orla also has the suavest set of bodice darts ever – back darts plus curved French darts in the bodice front. They might be showing up just that little bit more in chiffon – great excuse for tidy seams & finishing. Speaking of which, I sewed all seams as French seams- both because chiffon can fray & produce irritating whiskers but also because the seam finishing would potentially show through the garment’s sheerness. I also took advantage of my overlocker for sewing the first part of the French seam as this trims off all of those pesky whiskers to create a lovely even thin seam for enclosing inside the second part of the French seam.
What I also envisaged when I first made my Orla in chiffon decree, was that I would change the back opening from the exposed zipper to a single button opening – keeping the back as one piece if I could. Working slightly on the fly, after I had cut out most of the pieces, including the single back piece, I had to design the button opening. As a design feature, I thought a nice keyhole opening would be cute & also be the simplest to manage on a single back bodice cut on the fold. I redrafted the back facing to be cut on the fold with a circular hole in the centre. I made a rouleau loop to pin into place between facing & bodice before sewing. I did not cut the back bodice keyhole until after I had sewn the facing to the back bodice, thus using the new facing as the template.
Everything else was as per Tilly’s clear & beautifully photographed instructions. I do like the hem facings for such a shaped hem as this – it really makes for a satisfying solid feeling finish.
So I was able to pair this top with my easy black circle skirt for the special birthday party I told you about. Wearabilty of chiffon is enhanced with an under layer! It would be too transparent to wear without the defence of a camisole or vest. Not having a black camisole or strappy vest & not wanting to rely on my only black slip, I hastened to make a Savannah camisole vest, a Seamwork pattern, out of black tricot.
I thought about embellishing it with lace, but did not have enough black stretch lace in my stash. Besides, something like this that will be a little on show will be best plain. Classier. Savannah can be made from woven fabrics cut on the bias.
I figured that using a stretch fabric I could get away with cutting it straight grain, which is what I did. I used my twin needle for sewing any of the horizontal seams- the hem & the top edges. Side seams were sewn using my overlocker. I made straps out of folded fold over elastic which I also stitched using my twin needle. By far the fiddliest stage is sorting out the straps, but all in all a perfect make. I’m very pleased with the end result & the fit is more roomy than SoZo’s camisole vest (which I had also considered, knowing what a great pattern that is). The fit, in this instance, was what I was after as in a manmade fabric like this, gives a bit more breathing space.
Wearing the three together, predominantly three black garments, did make me think about colour. It has been a while since I have made black clothes. But strangely enough, it is still so wearable, despite thinking that navy is the new black, somehow, there is always black, isn’t there?