Friday, March 25, 2011

Progress on the Blue Cheetah Top

"Blue Cheetah" sounds cheesy, but the fabric is actually really pretty.  But, it is really slippery!!!  First I straightened the grain, using this Threads tutorial.  This fabric ripped pretty easily, but straightening it was a bear.  I used my Wiggle Weights, which I bought at the SewExpo in Puyallup a couple of weekends ago (if you're not from the Northwest, say "Peeyou-ollop" - if you are from the Northwest, you know how to "Do the Puyallup!"). 

 Cutting was equally tricky.  The two layers move against each other, so I used lots of pins and the weights.  I cleaned up some of the straight edges with a rotary cutter.

Here's my sewing machine, which I hauled out of storage a while ago and used the manual to open it up and clean it out.  When I get around to it, I'll have it serviced to make sure it's oiled up right and running properly.  after my experience with this fabric, I think that may be sooner rather than later.


Okay - here's the scoop on sewing this pattern.  What I ended up with was a very nice shell. 

The ruffle never worked - or I couldn't get a nice enough final product to want to sew it onto the neckline.  The first version was a single layer with baby hems.  Either my technique or my machine created wads of bobbin thread on the underside.  If I can figure this out, I will do a new ruffle.  It may be the tension, or may be that I need a stabilizer. If anyone has suggestions, I would welcome them.  I liked the overall look, but the end product was so unsightly that I just threw it away.  I don't know if you'll be able to see it in this photo:

Also, because the ruffle is sewn to the neckline with a seam through the gathering line, the thread shows.  It may have been better to use a brown thread to match the cheetah, but that would have shown against the ligh blue!  In the second version, I doubled up the ruffle, so it was sewn with a 3/8 in. seam all around and then turned and pressed.  It seemed like a good idea, but I couldn't get it to gather.

So, I've decided to wear it as a plain shell and attempt the pattern again with a lightweight cotton woven.  I think I need to get better at working with slippery fabrics!  And, learn a little more about adjusting tension, thread weight and needle size.

What worked:  Learned how to do French Seams (on side, shoulder and back seams).  Learned how to do Baby Hem (on bottom hem).  Did a good job on straightening the grain.  Bias self-binding on armholes looks wonderful. 

What didn't work:  Ruffle!  Ironing (there was a small disaster on the first ruffle, when I reached the melting point on the fabric).

Next project - pleated skirt for Spring/Summer, using a mid-weight woven!  No slipping!  Thanks for reading and thanks for your comments!


  1. Great top! Did you get my response to your question of pin fitting???

  2. I haven't seen it, but I'll check your blog. Thanks!