Friday, January 11, 2013

Yellow pleats. please!


Yes, my title is swiped shamelessly from Issey Miyake’s famous 1993 collection, but I reckon that is OK since this is an Issey Miyake design  ;)
And you’ve probably noticed that it is yellow.  A yellow top.  Very yellow.  Quaite quaite yellow.  As yellow as.
I’ve just been feeling very yellow-philic lately.  Don’t bother to look that word up, I just made it up just then.  “Philic”, meaning “attracted to” of course.
Oh, you’re welcome.  Don’t ever say this blog is not ed-you-cational!
I’ve been hunting for yellow fabric for ages…. and it just doesn’t ever seem to be “in”.  And I don’t mean pastel primrose yellow, which is inexplicably always represented but which is too dreadful on me: I wanted intense!  Saffron yellow!  Fierce yellow!  Bold yellow!
Finally I spotted this satisfyingly ferocious, yellow silk in the Fabric Store, in Melbourne, during our trip away last September, and snapped it up!  Then came the decision of what to make it in… a decision swiftly and easily made when I laid eyes upon this Issey Miyake pattern, Vogue 1142.  My yellow silk is that very flimsy and flighty stuff, the sort that slithers across the table with the slightest breathe, so I knew it would be a good choice; not too bulky when tripled up with this pleat-tastic design.
Oh, another made-up word.  Honestly….
I wrote a pattern review, below, but there is a kinda major issue with making up this pattern that I thought it worth mentioning separately… the pattern instruction just says “fold pleats in place, and press” and then those pleats are not even mentioned again, like bob’s your uncle and that is all that is needed.
Hello? The sharpness and evenness of those perfectly spaced pleats is only, like absolutely integral to the visual success of the design imo.  Wouldn’t those merely pressed-down pleats simply wash out with the very first wash??? Or, even just fall out on their own, with wear?   And then your top will just be a formless flowy thing; which admittedly could still probably look quite pretty, but will not be the tiniest bit sculptural and would have lost all the character of the original.  I really like the sharp sculptural lines of the one on the cover.
Accordingly I took the precaution of edge-stitching each and every pleat down immediately after pressing.  This step was fiddly, and accounted for the bulk of my time to make the top; but I think it is essential to keep those pleats nice and crisp for forever: so therefore it is worth it.  In fact I just hopped over to Pattern review to check out the other reviews and noticed that no one else mentioned how they tackled the permanency or lack thereof, of their pleating; and I am curious as to how their pleats fared in the wash??

Some deet shots; there is a heck of a lot of topstitching in this top;
edge-stitching on the outer folds of each pleat and the inner edges too,
the side seams are flat-felled in wide seam allowances
there is strategic stitching, artfully placed on the outside of the pleats, to fuse them together
and also bar-tacks at the vulnerable side-seam/armhole point as well as the upper edge of the side seam split, to add strength to spots that are subject to strain during wear.

Details:
Top; Vogue 1142, yellow silk
Shorts; Burda 7723, white linen, details and my review of this pattern here
Sandals; Misano


Pattern Description:
Loose-fitting pull-over top has pleats and stitched hems. Wrong side of fabric shows.
Pattern Sizing:
American sizes 6-14; I cut the size 10
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you had finished sewing it?
Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Ohh, the instructions are very easy to follow...  In my opinion a lot of extra top-stitching is essential in order to prepare this garment to stand up to normal washing and wearing.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I absolutely love the design concept; the way a couple of almost-rectangles can be tweaked here and there before being… well to put it frankly; pretty much slapped roughly together, and magically become transformed into a rather romantic, artistic and very unusual blouse.
Fabric Used:
Very thin and slippery silk
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
After pressing each pleat in place, I edge-stitched each and every fold of each pleat, to make it a permanent fold.  Yup.  Each, and.  Every.  Fold.  To not do this would be to lose all those pleats with the very first wash.  And since I spent about five minutes carefully measuring each fold before pressing; losing them was not an option I wanted to consider!
In fact I cannot understand why the permanency of the pleats is not considered and addressed in the instructions…
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, I probably will want another one of this summery and airy little top sometime.  I recommend this top pattern to the meticulous seamster who craves romance and drama in her wardrobe, but still likes to be comfy.
Conclusion:
It is super comfortable and very forgiving to wear, and nicely easy breezy for summer.  On top of that, it is a delightfully unusual, undeniably cool and very funky garment.  I feel rather artistique in this top   :)

47 comments:

  1. that is a lovely top, I am a big fan of pleats in any shape or size. Your first photo is a stunner, is that an abandonded Christmas tree there on the beach?

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  2. That is so lovely on you, Caroline! Issey would be proud. I hope you are staying cool down in Aussieland!

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  3. Very arty top - and very, very you! Your expertise in creating those pleats is a credit to you...J

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  4. I don´t know how you do it! such a slippery fabric and still you manage to make all those pleats, the top stitches, the lot!
    By the way: I like your made-up words. I feel very tempted to make up my own English words everytime I write a composition, only I don´t feel entitled to it :D (and I guess it would lower my marks)

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  5. Lovely - what a gorgeous colour and such beautifully photographed against that blue sky.

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  6. You have used the right colour yellow to make this top. It's gorgeous, flowy and romantic.
    This pattern was made better with the edge stitching you did.

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  7. I know that tree! Beautiful photos, the light shows up the shape and colour of the top perfectly. I was already intrigued by this top from your drawing of it. Well done on both sewing and photography!

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    1. Thank you Lucy, and yes, I thought you might recognise that tree!! :D

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  8. I do so adore close up shots of self-sewn garments - the details mean everything to me :)
    A gorgeous creation, in a particularly lovely fabric :)

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  9. Beautiful top in a lovely vibrant color. Great thinking ahead about how to hold those pleats in place forever.

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  10. Love the yellow top - great shade of yellow and suits the pattern perfectly. The tree is intriguing...

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  11. That is so beautiful. You are braver than me to wear that to the beach. I would be too worried about getting salt water on it!

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  12. I bought that pattern and looked at the instructions and pattern pieces and went, "Huh?"

    But, if your yellow version didn't bring a smile to my face, then your use of "Bob's your uncle!" surely did.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob's_your_uncle

    I had a professor who used to do a bunch of complicated derivations and then say "Bob's your uncle!" right after the last step (instead of QED). Fun memories and a fun top.

    And then there's the Wodehouse association, which always brings a smile.

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  13. Fantastic top! Fantastic colour!! Great thinking ahead to get the pleats to stay permanently.

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  14. Is blogger playing spoilsport, I had posted a comment earlier and it has gone missing....? Anyways, here I am trying it one more time, to share my envy for you Carolyn! I really envy you and wish I could manage more time to get some serious sewing hours, may Be when my daughter grows up , I will find more hours, till then. I will try pushing it hard, btw,I plan to buy brother innovis 950 and brother 3034d serger, would like to know your expert opinion on the same, what do you think? I plan to launch my kids clothing line y this valentine's ...fingers crossed

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  15. Your top looks so cool, in both senses of the word.
    Your pleat manipulation is masterful. I can just imagine the sobs of other seamstresses after the wash ruined their pleats ;)

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  16. Gorgeous top and perfect yellow for you. We should have heard the wails of frustration when all the other reviewers pleats had fallen out, how could they not have. Ah Sienna has had her summer clipping, doesn't she look like a puppy again.

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  17. Great colour and interesting design. Beautiful photos as usual.

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  18. It is an amazing artsy top! I love pleats and this is a great version of them. Your finishing skills always amaze me!

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  19. What a fantastic top! I think the time you put in stitching those pleats in place was definitely worth it.

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  20. Sensational Carolyn, the pleats, colour and everything about this beautiful top are perfect on you :) very clever indeed, thanks for sharing.

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  21. It's an interesting, but still wearable top. I love the blue ocean against the yellow.

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  22. An interesting looking design. I must say though that yours is much better looking than the original. I really like the yellow. It is a great representation of the southern hemisphere sun at the moment.

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  23. beautiful yellow! that's totally the kind of colour I'd love to make many tops out..

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  24. Carolyn, I am truly in awe. The choice of design, the colour and fabric and the execution are masterful. It's so good to see someone doing challenging sewing, but with cutting edge design too. I love Issey. And yellow. And it totally suits you too. Hope you find somewhere to show it off to best effect. Keep blogging. You rock.

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    1. Thank you so much Bibliophile! your comment made my day :)

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  25. ojjj wow, it's so beautiful and interesting. I really like it. May I do this same top?? I love it.

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  26. Wow! What a cool project. It is very beautiful, beautifully made, and the colour really is perfect.

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  27. Beautiful top and color! I've had intentions to make this one since it came out and never gave the pleats any thought, thanks for the heads up. You can permanently set pleats. I believe for silk spraying it with a 50/50 water-white vinegar solution and pressing will do it. Test scraps first. There is also a press cloth made by Sullivan's, "Rajah press cloth" which claims to do the same. I believe pleats can be permanently set in silk, linen and poly. In poly it is more a matter of ironing a tick too warm but protected with a press cloth. I made a pleated skirt about five years ago from a poly with a faux shantung texture. https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B1pnnUqtOuc9cE91NktKa1YweDg/edit
    I've worn it ever since. Every time I get out of a car in the heat of summer I expect the pleats to be gone, but no, still there, unharmed. I can't say which method did the trick as I went ahead and used all three and was still skeptical. This inspires me to try the top and setting pleats in silk. Really inexcusable that the instructions brush it under the rug.

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  28. Fabulous top Carolyn. Beautifully made and worn. I don't envy you all the edgestitching but understand the need!
    Your photographs are, as usual, gorgeous and Sienna looks very happy.

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  29. What a beautiful top, and your photos are gorgeous too. I've seen this pattern envelope before but I hadn't realised it was such a pleat-defined top - so much more interesting than I had realised!

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  30. Maybe I should had made this pattern instead and have no controversy.. Lol I love yellow a d the style is so relax and happy

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  31. I love seeing the patterns I look at made up by you and in this case it sways me to not purchase it. Not because I don't like it - only because I am too lazy for this amount of work. Well done.

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  32. love that top on you and its just perfect for Aus. Enjoy

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  33. You look rather artistique in this top! I just love it. Have always liked the pattern, love the gorgeous fabric you chose. It looks simply divine on you!

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  34. The sunshiny yellow and the cut of the top is so pretty and carefree. Love love love your work.

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  35. Ok, you have introduced me to several words I had never heard of before reading your blog, but so far I've been able to figure them out. I must ask - what is a deet shot? I can make an educated guess, but I'd rather be sure... Thanks!

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    1. That is nought but plain slang, sorry! short for "detail" :D

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  36. Oooh! Sunshine yellow & a great Issey Miyake. This is lovely!
    I can't see how you could avoid the edge stitching, the ironing afterwards would be horrendous otherwise.

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  37. This top is fantastic and a gorgeous colour!

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  38. I love that you see so much potential in a pattern, that you look way beyond the pattern sleeve and bring to us this little piece of awesome, the colour is delish and I just love the cut. I can imagine it longer and belted too. Just gorgeous and thanks for the deets on the pleats :)

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  39. What a gorgeous top in a perfectly gorgeous colour!

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  40. :) I am definitely going to look for this pattern!

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  41. Ive just pulled this pattern from my archives to make this top.....so thanks for your review - its gonna help. stax.
    A word on pleats though (since Im a self-confessed pleat perve), when pressing, mix your spray water with part vinegar & those pleats will not stray.

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