I’m obsessed. This week I’ve been unable to get to sleep two nights out of seven because I just couldn’t stop thinking about sewing. The intricacies of sewing bags, how to get the perfect fit on clothing… it’s driving me bonkers! One pattern that has been haunting my sleep is the Seamwork Astoria, the myriad of mistakes I made when I sewed it up first time around, and how to rectify them next time.
I actually made this top in August, but I have yet to blog about it
because I don’t want to admit my mistakes to you all because I’ve been so busy, but the time has come to fess up. Read on to find out how I ruined this lovely pattern…
I cut a Medium on the arms and bust, grading down to a Small at the waist. Aside from the slightly saggy sleeves, the fit is actually quite good. I must be honest, the fit is pretty much the only factor that makes this muslin remotely wearable.
I don’t have a twin ballpoint needle so I hemmed the sleeves with a zigzag stitch, but that does make the sleeves look a bit scruffy close up. Next time I’ll invest in a twin needle and hem the sleeves properly rather than taking the cheap way out!
I also had fun and games trying to attach the neckband. This was the first time I had worked with stretch fabrics, and I didn’t quite get how to stretch the neckband as I was sewing… long story short, I had stitched the neckband down 90% of the way around and had a lot of spare body fabric at the back that didn’t fit in. I ended up putting a dart in at the centre back to get rid of some of the excess fabric before stitching the rest of the neckband in place.
I recently discovered Annika Victoria (thanks Elena!) and she has a wonderful video on her YouTube channel about how to make a high neck crop top in which she inserts a neckband similar to the one on the Seamwork Astoria. Her tip of inserting pins into the neckband and the body at the sides, centre back and centre front is genius, and really helps you match up the body and the neckband accurately. You can see Annika inserting a neckband at 4:29 in the video, it’s a brilliant technique.
The picture below was taken in River Island on Monday and was intended to show my boyf the fit of the culottes… I didn’t buy them in case you were wondering, it irritated me too much that they didn’t have pockets, and one leg had a border at the bottom when the other didn’t! Poor pattern matching skills there, River Island, tut tut. I do like the fit of the culottes though, they made me want to give version 3 of the Megan Nielsen Tania Culottes a go (with the addition of side seam pockets, of course!)
Anyway, back to the Seamwork Astoria. The reason I wanted to include this photo is to prove that I’ve actually worn my Astoria outside in the real world, but I felt so self-conscious about the stitching, the saggy sleeves and the additional centre back dart that I think it will now be relegated to my pyjama/loungewear drawer.
My fabric choice was incredibly poor. Although the colour is gorgeous, the fabric is not good quality at all and it barely has any stretch recovery. It is actually a refashioned viscose jersey maxi skirt from H&M that doesn’t fit me anymore, and I’m not sure whether the effects of gravity or my clumsiness had an impact on how damaged the fabric was. Is it possible that my tripping over the skirt has ruined the fabric?! The fabric now seems to have patches where it’s thinned out and lost its stretch… I’m sure there’s a technical sewist term for this, but I’m a beginner and haven’t learnt all the jargon yet. You can see me wearing the skirt in its previous life below, before I lost 5 stone and relegated my entire wardrobe to the refashion pile!
This photo is from before I started blogging or going to the gym, so don’t judge the terrible posing, poor background choice, overly bright camera flash and chubbiness too harshly, okay?
Despite my sewing and fabric choice mistakes, I still love the pattern. The cropped length is incredibly flattering and it looks great with high waisted skirts, trousers or indeed midi length culottes. I think a lot of the mistakes I made in construction are down to a lack of experience with stretch fabrics, but having successfully made a Seamwork Mesa this weekend (stay tuned for a post about it next Sunday!) I’m feeling more confident with jersey, so I’m definitely going to make another Astoria. Next time I want to use my favourite of all the stretch fabrics, Ponte de Roma, perhaps in this glorious maroon colour from Girl Charlee. I’m also wondering if the Astoria would be a good candidate for stretch velvet or scuba? If you know of any bloggers who have made a scuba or velvet Astoria please leave me links below, I’d love to see!
Do you own up to your sewing fails on your blog? If you do, please leave some links below!
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Until next time,