Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Shearwater Kaftan - finally!
First - it is really not that easy to get a good picture of yourself while standing in the mirror, trying to show what you've made without looking ridiculous. Oh well! You can see the shirt, right? So I know this pattern for Toni Coward's Shearwater Kaftan was making the rounds in the blogs last year but I just got around to making mine this year - better late than never right?
I've learned to not use my favorite (or most expensive) fabric to make the first of anything. Got to get through that learning curve first! So when I saw this fabric at IKEA (I know, go ahead and laugh) for $6 a yard and it seemed reminiscent of VERY expensive Japanese gauze I thought it would be perfect to try this pattern with. It also seemed summery and fun, not my normal colors or patterns but good for this time of year.
So it went like this - one nap to make the bias tape, one to cut everything out and two to sew - not bad for my current work-during-nap schedule! I like it except it's kind of tight through the shoulders, which I hate in any shirt. So on the next one I'll use the XL for the shoulders and the L for the body of the shirt (it fit fine through the hips). It also could have been affected by the lack of stretch this fabric had but I'm going to size it up anyway. The other thing I didn't get was how Toni used the bias tape to finish the neckline - it just seemed too complicated for me (sorry Toni - it's really a lovely pattern!) so I did it the way that made sense to me and also finished the sleeve edges and bottom hem the same way. Oh and did I mention that I shortened the sleeves to be 3/4 length? Yup, sure did. Measured 18" down from the top middle of the sleeve and drew a straight line across. Worked out fine!
So for my bias tape finishing I cut my strips 1 1/2" to start and then folded them in half and ironed them to make 3/4" single fold bias tape.
Then I pinned and sewed the tape to the RIGHT side of the shirt fabric - this shows one of the sleeves. I tucked one end back inside itself and then inserted the unfinished end of the tape into the folded end and sewed the whole thing down with a scant 1/4" hem.
Next I fold the bias tape INSIDE the shirt, so that it's flat against the wrong side of the shirt fabric. Then I iron it all nice and flat.
Then I sew around the edge of the bias tape (sewing on the inside so you can see the bias tape) just catching the outer edge of the folded bias tape. You can see the stitch line on the sleeve here - I did use to 2 different color threads so that the white wouldn't show up on that nice dark bias tape.
So used this method to finish my neckline, sleeves and the bottom hem - it's easy and makes a nice clean finished edge - nothing to fray in the wash. Nice if you don't have a serger.
I also like the design element it adds! This is a great way to hem skirts too - way easier than trying to turn and fold and iron AND keep the hem the same size all the way around.
Next one a little bigger on top and nicer fabric - but I'm definitely planning on wearing this one by the pool in the very near future :-)
Now maybe something for my poor, neglected (HA!) child...