On Saturday I'm going to a ball. First I hadn't thought about making a new ball gown, but of course the closer I got the more I wanted something new. Due to various things I have also gained quite a lot of weight over the last year, so I knew that my old ball gowns would probably not fit very well. Thinking about what I wanted to do I put up some considerations:
1. It should be practical, not just something I'm going to wear for just one evening
2. It should be comfortable, and with my shoulder problem that meant nothing that would close in the back.
3. I wanted to work from my stash.
In my stash I had a gorgeous emerald green brocade that my father bought in China some time in the 90's. He did quite a few work trips there and brought back wonderful fabrics. He tended to buy nice silk brocades, but it's been hard to find something to do with them. The emerald colour goes really well with my current hair colour though, so that settled the fabric. I would not be able to get a whole dress out of it though, and for practicality I decided to go with a top in the brocade and just a plain black skirt.
For the top I bought Butterick 6134
I liked the raised swan neck collar, which givess it a hint of oriental design, but without being and obvious mandarin collar. The seams also gave it a bit of an edgier design. I also liked that the pattern was marked "easy".
The pattern calls for the top to be made of a lightweight vowen or stabile knit fabric and a hidden zipper in the back. I of course made it in a heavier fabric, and I changed the zipper in the back to a dividing zipper in the front. I also flatlined all the pieces to cotton voile but since the fabric was already heavier than called for I skipped the fusible interfacing on the collar facings.
All the pieces went together really easy, and the raglan sleeve meant that I didn't have to fuzz with setting the sleeves. There were issues with the fit though. I cut out my size according to the measurments. When I first tried it on it was way too big from the waist up, but too narrow over the hips. The pattern is clearly made for someone with a more pillar-like shape than I have. I did take in a lot on the upper part through the center back seam, and some in the side seams.
The upper seam is the original, the bottom one after fitting
Quite a lot of the shaping in the back is made with two large darts. I Think the darts would have been better if they were highter up. I usually have to lengthen bodices, but with this one I felt that it was too long for me from the neck and down to the waist. To make it bigger over the hips I simply ripped up bart of the sideseams and made two slits in the jacket.
I am happy with the final result, but I can see that it would have looked better in a softer fabric. The collar stands up quite dramatic instead of being smooth around the neck, and there is some wrinkling going on that would have been hidded if the fabric had had any stretch in it. Still the overall effect is a nice party jacket, that I can wear both as a top by itself or as a jacket with a tight top underneatch.