A finished Esme top


This week’s been full of the sweet triumph of finishing stuff, largely thanks to my ancient endowment policies finally maturing with a little bit surplus to my modest expectations. Thus I came back from a visit to my family with a shiny new machine that doesn’t clonk or snarl up, and a renewed will to Finish All the Things.

Three circle skirts with elastic waists and fishing line hems for a carnival favour? Check, with the wee beastie overlocker coming in very handy for the hems. Vintage slip converted into Wendy dress for Small Girl’s friend’s Peter Pan themed birthday party? Check. SewLiberated Esme frock that seems to have been unfinished forever? Oh yes, checkitty check check.

Let’s talk about Esme. She’s a very pretty top despite some frustrations during the making process. There were some errors/omissions from the pattern instructions and printed pattern. Some of these were picked up in the errata, some weren’t, so there was a little bit of cussing on my part followed by a very prompt and helpful reply to my (non-cussing) email asking for help. I am always impressed when pattern authors answer email as it’s a level of service that you rarely see from mainstream providers. I should say that more experienced needle-people would probably sail straight through this pattern and that the instructions (and very detailed video) were on the whole clear and helpful. I’m very confident that most of the issues I had will be fixed on subsequent print runs. The other issues I think were specifically due to my fabric and my machine. I chose a very lightweight silk/cotton fabric, somewhere between chiffon and lawn in weight terms. My clunky machine was too heavy handed to edge-finish the delicate fabric before sewing, as the pattern specified, and I didn’t have the overlocker at the time. So I neatened them as I went, but this eluded my abilities on a tricky facing section and there are a couple of short inches of unfinished seam L I modified the cuffs slightly, I wanted more of a tailored finish than the pattern instructions provided. It’s questionable whether I achieved it or not as the cuffs are where my machine started misbehaving again, and I put everything aside until the new machine came home and I could finally get sewing again. I think I may have missed a pressing on the first cuff, but hopefully no-one will be looking closely enough to see my wonky edge. At that point I was ready to abandon any and all aspirations to fine tailoring, so the buttons are sewn on without buttonholes. It’s fine.*

*Except it doesn’t suit me at all. Why didn’t I remember that I can’t do most light and floaty cuts? All this prettiness just floats over all my best assets. I need tailored and fitted darn it. Full credit to me for pressing on despite the universe clearly trying to tell me that it was not a good idea. It might just work over a pair of skinny jeans. Perhaps.


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