When it came time to choose a pattern to make from the newest Willow and Co collection I embraced my inner selfish sewer and went with the Valencia Tunic because:
1) I really do love to sew for myself
and2) look how freaking cute it is!
My decision was pretty easy, even for an indecisive person like myself (although those little girl patterns are pretty darn cute and tempting). For sizing, I went with a straight size XS based on my measurements and I didn't worry too much about my usual grading out for my hips since the top is sightly A-line and very flowy. Also - confession time here - I didn't make a muslin. For all you gals who always make one, I commend you, but the fact is that I only make one about 25% of the time mostly because a lot of the clothes that I make are not super-fitted and there's a little more wiggle room in terms of fit. Also, I'm lazy and I hate any sort of prep work. Just ask my husband who has the unenviable job of doing all the prep work before we paint any room.
Now can we talk about this fabric combo that only came about thanks to an off-hand comment from the lady cutting my fabric at the fabric store? The green rayon fabric was originally purchased with this project in mind, as it's light and drapey and perfect for this top. And while this top lends itself to some great fabric combos between the yoke and the body, I was initially going to make the top in just one color because I thought it would be more wearable. But while cutting my fabric the lady mentioned how good these two fabrics look together and I thought "you know what, lady who I've never met before? You're right!" And it just so happened that I had juuuust enough left-over for the yoke after I made a different project from the navy blue linen/rayon fabric. I should also say that all my past sewing attempts with rayon have been total fails and I usually find rayon really hard to sew with, but combining it with linen made it very manageable and somehow I muddled through with the 100% rayon fabric too, probably because it was a bit thicker than the past rayons that I have worked with (may they rest in peace).
Because I only had a little bit of the navy blue fabric to work with the yoke lining and all the bias bindings are made from the green rayon fabric. And while the pattern says that you can use store-bought bias tape I went ahead and made my own because I never like the way store-bought bias tape feels, especially in what is supposed to be a drapey garment. I cut my bias bindings 1 inch wide and sewed them with a 1/4" seam and also added some under stitching to keep them in place better. I also cut a little extra bias binding so that I could bind the neck instead of using the collar piece that the pattern comes with. I didn't initially intend to make this modification, but once the shirt was mostly sewn up I couldn't help thinking how nice it might look without the collar so I went ahead and left it off. Sometimes it pays to listen to your gut.
Also, two other tips about this project - sew your buttons on a bit loosely since the button tabs are thicker because they're made of fabric. I didn't do this and the button are pulled pretty tight on the yoke. I may go back and sew them on a bit looser...or I may just learn to live with them. Also, be careful on the length of this top. I'm 5'6" and I think the length is perfecto but if you're shorter you may want to shorten the body a bit (or fully embrace the tunic).
But you know what this project really taught me - respect your tools. For Christmas this year I got new sewing scissors and they are super-sharp and super-fantastic. But I snipped a tiny hole in this top when cutting a thread off and that was not super-awesome. The hole is really small and barely visible since it's in the front gathers. And I put a little Fray Check on it as soon as I realized my stupidity so I hope it doesn't cause the garment to fall apart the first time I wash it.
Really sharp scissors cut holes in fabric. Who knew?
Many thanks to the ladies from Willow and Co for providing me with this pattern. As always, all opinions are my own. As are all the stupid mistakes I make when sewing my garments :)