Um, did I say in my last post that I wouldn’t actually use presets myself? I stand corrected. I had these lackluster photos sitting around for weeks, and when I finally sat down to edit them, I thought, “Ok, let’s see if a preset can help!”
Top left is my original photo – I’d tweaked the colour and exposure a bit, but it seems a bit flat. Everything else: a whole bunch of presets! I can’t actually tell which is the one I picked to apply to the other pictures… I think it might be the top right?
I ended up choosing a preset called “High Contrast” which literally just adds more contrast! When I edit photos, I might put the contrast up to 5 or 10, but this set it much higher at 50. That means the lights are lighter, the darks darker, and the mid tones are less prominent. It did wash out my skin tone and jeans a bit, so I used the brush tool to lighten and warm those areas a bit after.
This is the Style Arc Ginger top, which lured me in with its interesting twist effect! Which is, of course, totally lost in this print. Oh well! I’ve seen nice versions of this pattern by Jean Margaret and Thornberry, and 110 Creations did a version without the twist. I enjoyed the mental aerobics of making something unintuitive, with only Style Arc’s limited instructions for help.
Basically, the pattern pieces are the same triangle shape you’d expect from any cross-over blouse… but then the diagonal edged are seams together vertically for a few inches at bust height! That creates the neckline, and the excess fabric drapes in a twisted effect. The overlapping front hems are then sewn together in a (confusing) right-side to wrong-side way. I found the inner layer sagged out from under the outer layer, so I ended up topstitching a hem to make everything stay put.
In fact, the hem and finishing are my biggest beef with this pattern. The back is hemmed separately, the front hem hangs funny, and when the two are combined it just feels inelegant. There must be a better way to do this, right? (I’m wondering if a hem band would just be the simplest option?) I also need a bit more width across the back. Ideally, I’d love a back shirt-tail hem like most of the rtw versions of this style that I’ve seen, but that would complicate the hem even more!
I made a few adjustments along the way, and I few I’d make next time:
- shortened and angled the dolman sleeves
- stitched the neckline closed an extra inch. I still need a cami under it for work (if I’m every going to bend forward, that is!) so maybe next time I’ll just leave it open?
- the pattern has you turn and stitch the neckline, THEN sew the two sides together through the finished edges. I chose to sew the pieces together first on the sewing machine, then coverstitch the seam allowance back to finished the edge. I think that made it much cleaner!
- Next time, I’ll figure out how to remove the two pleats at the shoulder. I really don’t need extra fabric hanging down over my armpits and side bust!
You can probably tell I’m not enamoured with the pattern… but I am happy I made it! I wanted to try this chartreuse green for my fall Pantone capsule, and I think this top is as good a use of that ITY as I could have come up with. It’s a perfectly nice little top, and I could see it being very chic with a few tweaks.
I recorded an episode of the Love To Sew podcast recently, and one of the things we talked about was how valuable it is to take risks with sewing projects sometimes! This is a new colour for me, a new design, and a pattern company I don’t sew often… so it’s much more about the sewing process than the finished product for me! Now I can go back to my trusty TNTs for a while, until it’s time to experiment again!
On the podcast, I suggested that maybe 1 in 10 projects should be an experiment in some way – what is the right ratio for you? 1 in 5? 1 in 100? Every single time, or never?