Manequim 04-2012-216, Cowl Sleeve Top

Manequim 04-2012-216 Thumbnail

Melissa made this top a while back and I was very intrigued.  It's a twist on the cowl top with the cowl at one of the sleeves instead of the neckline.  I thought it might be a good pattern for a special piece of silk that just can't decide what it wants to be.

I found the magazine on eBay and getting it was a drama.  The Post Office left me a peach notice slip, which I dutifully signed.  The next day they left another one, which I again signed.  Then they sent the package back to Brazil.  Then I had to pay shipping *again.*  Finally, it got to me.  I was *quite* annoyed with the USPS and sent them an email, which they assured me would be answered in 24 hours.  Three months later I'm still waiting.

Anyway, tracing this pattern was crazy!  The pattern sheets are about as dense as the new Burda sheets, but actually slightly easier as most of the items only come in one size and therefore have only one set of lines.

This is in 5 different pieces, as I recall, that you then have to connect once you have them traced.  The final pattern piece is HUGE.  This photo does not convey, but I can tell you that I cut on my dining table, which seats 4, and the pattern piece is hanging off the edge.  HUGE.

This top comes only in size 44, which is somewhere between a Burda 42 and 44.  I wear a 34-->38 (transitioning from bust to hip) in Burda, so sizing was a concern.  Before I started tracing I naively thought I might be able to do some grading but seriously, no. 

So instead I went slapdash, my default mode.  I figured I'd need to narrow the cowl armscye and generally make the whole thing smaller in circumference.  I also thought I'd probably need to shorten it between shoulder and armscye.

I folded out width as follows:
 -Shortened at non-cowl armscye in front (1 inch)
-Narrowed back neckline (1 inch)--I still ended up putting in back neck darts
-Narrowed the cowl armscye (8 inches) tapering as I reached the hem (4 1/2 inches)

Attempted Tissue Fit

I thought it might be helpful to do a tissue fit.  Ha!  There are some disadvantages to tissue paper, LOL.  I first tried to do it on my body, but I really couldn't get any information out of that.  So then I put it together on my paper tape dress form.  Um, yeah.  Without drape, it was really impossible to tell what was going to happen in fabric.

So I just went ahead and cut it out in this very drapey silver poly satin from the G Street $2.97/yd table.  I bought it for lining.  Before I had it cut, I shook it vigorously to try to create static electricity.  When none developed I was satisfied and bought five yards.  Well, I think that was just a particularly humid day because it is indeed extremely staticky and therefore not useful as lining.  Grrr.

Band Show-Through

As I was putting it together I determined that I should have shortened the shoulders in the back, so I took up an extra inch there.

All in all, the fit isn't too bad.  Because it's meant to be a drapey style the same size can fit a fairly wide range of figures.  Melissa found to her surprise that the cowl sleeve doesn't reveal her bra.  It does on me, unfortunately.  Not terribly much and only if I lift my arm up and away.

Neckline and Armscye Finish

This fabric was not fun to cut--very difficult to keep on grain.  I sewed it with French seams, and finished the neckline and non-cowl armscye with bias tape.  I tried cutting bias strips of self fabric, but it was just too wiggly to get it right, and the fabric doesn't take a press very well.  Although it doesn't look like it in the flat, the bias tape does not show in wearing.  I topstitched the bias tape in place 1/4" from the edge. The cowl armscye and hem are turned and stitched.

I gathered the cowl armscye shoulder by hand and then hand-stitched a decorative band in place encircling it.


Alas, this pattern will not do for my special silk.  I really like the cowl armscye and think the drape is especially interesting from the back.  But the front is pretty plain and blah.  I don't think it looks quite as bad as in the photo at left, but not a whole lot better either.

The pattern is quite interesting--very Japanese.  The patterns in the Drape Drape books are generally one piece like this, which creates interesting drape as the grain moves around the garment.

I won't be making this again, so if you'd like the tracing (let me be clear--the tracing, *not* the magazine) let me know in the comments below.  Please make sure I have some way of contacting you; to protect your email from spam harvesters add spaces and write out words such as "at" and "dot."

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.


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