Thursday, June 26, 2014

Purple Ponte Strapless Top and Twirly Skirt: Sort of Vogue 8849

OOOOhhhh. I just have been dying to share this one with you all!

Strapless baby! Isn't that just so sexy. And the skirt is so fun to dance in. The top is Sort of Vogue 8849 (I'll explain that below!). The skirt is pretty much freeform, no pattern necessary!

We had a very special milonga (for you non-tango folk, a milonga is a social dance where people dance argentinian tango) this weekend, so I used it as an excuse to make a new outfit.

I've been scheming about making a strapless top for over a year now! I bought the plastic boning when Joannes had a closeout sale ages ago, and I bought black corset mesh from Emmaonesock just out of curiosity. The purple ponte I bought as a possible alternate for my maid of honor dress but didn't end up using it (I made this instead). And Vogue 8849 just jumped into my hands one day during a sale at Joannes... I've since seen several bustier top patterns, but since I had it I thought I could make it work.

Actually it was pretty darn easy to adapt the pattern. Since I was working with a knit, I looked at the final body measurements on the pattern and chose the size that would have no ease (which was about 2 sizes smaller than I usually cut). Lauren at Lladybird just did a great tutorial on where to find that measurement on major brand patterns (scroll all the way to the bottom, it is a loooong post).

Next, I traced the bodice pieces. Then I measured the distance between my waist and mid him, and lengthened the bodice pieces by this amount. I then measured my hips and calculated the difference between my waist and hip measurement. I halved this, and added that amount to the side front and side back to make the bustier flare at the hip.

It sounds complicated, but the truth is you could almost just eyeball it and draw it out. Especially if you are working with a knit-- stretch is very forgiving! I then basted it all together and tried it on, and ended up taking it in about 1/2 inch on the front seams and 1 inch on the side seams, which I should have guessed since really wanted negative ease with a stretch fabric. But I wasn't going for super tight, just tight enough to stay put!

I cut another set of pieces from the corset fabric. It is really cool stuff, stretchy but with perfect recovery. I should have taken a pic before I sewed it up, so you'll just have to image this-- on the inside, I sewed strips of corset fabric to make channels for my boning. I put in 6 pieces of boning-- both front princess seams, both sides, and two in the back. The side boning I offset to the back by an inch so that it didn't fall right on the seamline to make adjustments and putting in a zipper easier.

I've never worked with boning, and the boning I had is just the stuff you can buy at Joannes. I wasn't sure what to do with the ends of it (I guess there are plastic caps but I didn't have any) so I padded the ends with a bit of scrap fabric. I started out with one layer, then I ended up doing a double layer of scrap ponte. On the underarm pieces, I ended up going back and adding another layer of fabric over the end of the boning, they were poking me!

I used an invisible zip in the side seam. A couple of things I read suggested this method of using a zip that was super long and then putting a snap on the inside. After you put the top on, you just tuck the end of the zip up inside and snap it in place. Pretty cool! I was worried it would be uncomfortable, but I actually didn't notice it at all when I was wearing it. And it beats trying to zip up a separating zipper under your arm.

The skirt is stretch silk with a folded over knit waistband, yoga pants style. I had a remnant of gorgeous Naeem Khan silk from Emmaonesock, and I paired this with some purple stretch charmeuse from Mood. I made a rough circle skirt pattern on paper, and pieced the fabric together pretty randomly. The Naeem Khan silk is just sooooo gorgeous, the pictures don't really do it justice.

I thought I might have trouble putting a knit waistband on a woven skirt, but it turned out not to be a problem at all. The stretch of the silk helped make easing the waistband very easy. I did use a zig-zag stitch to prevent having stitches pop when the waistband is stretched. I think it would be fine with non-stretch too, just a bit more gathered.

You really can't go wrong with a circle skirt made out of floaty silk! And it is super-comfortable with the knit waistband-- just like my favorite pair of yoga paints.

I mostly let the imperfect legnths of my piecing determine the length, but I did guide it into a bit of a high-lo hem, with the sides being longer than the front and back. I hemmed it with a simple rolled hem. And I put in a slit on one side just because I thought it would add a bit of extra interest to the swirl of the skirt.

I had a GREAT night of dancing on Saturday night. There is nothing like an outfit you feel awesome in to help bolster your confidence on the dance floor!



  1. What a beautiful outfit! I see you are sticking with the side zip. Cool idea about the snap.

  2. I'm all over the side zip! Even for the side zip, I have to do a bit of a zip and twist to get it in place... a back zip would mean at least 45 degrees, ouch!