So incredibly seasonally inappropriate for New England right now!
In addition to finally getting some lights and playing with my new posing app, the photographer at work gave me a crash course in fashion/portrait lighting and posing a couple of weeks ago. I decided to try to apply what I learned! Hence gratuitous amount of photos…
Here’s a couple of “guts” photos showing how the zip and facings are put together. Style Arc has a line drawing that shows this, but I often find it easier to view a photograph. (And you can see how much shaping is built into the bust!) Not my most beautiful work, but it gets the point across.
My bedroom/sewing area got above 55°F degrees for the first time in a month, so I celebrated by making this top. Between the constant snow and general bitter cold – lots of single digit and subzero days – I’ve done hardly sewing this month. (If one more person asks “is your wedding dress done yet?!” I’m going to scream. Who wants to sew, let alone fit, in a room that struggles to get above 50ºF/10ºC degrees? I’ve been practically living in fleece yoga pants.)
The Style Arc Saskia bustier has vertical princess seams and 1/2″ wide straps. It closes at the center front with a zipper. The zipper is placed a few inches below the upper edge, so the neckline slightly opens up to a V. There’s no boning, but it does call for a stiff fabric (such as denim or brocade) to maintain the shape. Pattern pieces are included for a lining, which is optional. (I chose to not line it.)
In an email exchange sometime last month Style Arc offered to send this top to me for free. I said yes because I have always had a weakness for bustier and corset style tops. They were really popular in the late 90s/early 2000’s and I always loved how they highlighted my waistline and upper body.
The fabric I used was a medium gray Theory stretch denim from Mood. It is a medium-to-heavyweight denim and has a stiff hand with lots of body.
I recommend using a fabric with lots of body for this top. When I made it up in muslin the fit was totally different. There were all sorts of weird wrinkles due to the fabric collapsing from not having enough structure on its own. I decided to just go ahead anyway with making up the top out of the denim (which as you can see, was very reasonably priced). I made the side seam allowances 5/8″ instead of 3/8″ for a little extra fit insurance and cut it out, only to discover that I didn’t need the extra room after all.
For interfacing I used Pro-Sheer Elegance Medium from Fashion Sewing Supply. My zipper is a #5 brass zipper from Cleaner’s Supply I had in my stash. Topstitching was done with silver jeans thread, also from Cleaner’s Supply.
- Took a 1″ vertical tuck at the center back. (I must have a narrow mid-to-lower back. I’ve found this is a normal alteration for me with strapless tops.)
- Added 2″ to the hips at the hem
- 1/2″ swayback alteration
- Took in the side seams a total of 1″ due to the stretch of the denim.
- Moved each front princess seam inward 1″ for my close-set bust. Had I used a non-stretch fabric I probably would have moved them inward just 3/4″. I left the straps in their original position, so instead of lining up with the princess seam they are about an inch to the outside.
For an ultra-fitted look I could have done a little bit more shaping at the waist, and under the bust, but I chose to leave it as-is. The result is very fitted but not as tight as a formal strapless bodice be, and there’s slight positive ease at the waist. This will be a casual warm weather top and I felt like a little bit of extra ease would make it more comfortable to wear during the hot summer months. Adding boning would have made it fussier than it needed to be.
One thing I found disappointing about this top was the upper neckline edge. The front notch didn’t match the line drawing. The line drawing shows it as a very angled notched V. The upper edge is actually cut straight. It is only angled due to the natural gaping from the lack of a zipper and pull of the fabric. It is slightly off center too because the edge of the zipper overlap is slightly to the left rather than centered. I also had a lot of trouble getting the front zip overlap to stay smooth at the top – it kept wanting to pull outward rather than staying flat. Part of this is due to the bulk of the #5 zipper pull (which is why I don’t use them in jeans anymore.) I tacked in some 1/2″ Rigilene boning at the center front edge, from the neckline to just above the waist and then shaped it with an iron, in an attempt to get it to stay a little bit more flat. It is better than without it, but is still not as flat as I would prefer.
Despite the neckline issue I think the design lines and fit are very flattering, and it is comfortable to wear as well. The fit over the bust is very good, and once I took a 1/2″ tuck at the center back the shaping there was spot-on. If I made it again I would use a #3 instead of #5 metal zipper and angle off the center front to make it look more like the line drawing. I would also shorten it a few inches so it looks more proportionate when worn untucked with fuller skirts.