|I mentioned once before how I was unimpressed with Butterick's then-new releases, with one exception. The pattern in question is Butterick 5797: a lace shrug and several variations on a Hot Topic-esque corset. The fabulous Victorian Kitty of Sophistique Noir contacted me asked me to make the shrug for her. (Most of my readers, if not all, are familiar with her blog. And if you aren't, do yourself a favor and educate yourself. You're welcome.) I'm love to do custom work, so i said sure and the sewing commenced.|
She selected a fantastic Chantilly lace, but because we're in different, we decided it would be best if I made a muslin before I cut in the fancy fabric. The fabric you see here in the embarrassingly ugly muslin was a chiffon left over from my Halloween costume last year (which I will be posting at some point prior to this year's, I hope), and pink satin that was from the princess dress I made for my niece's costume last year. It's a good thing I made the muslin, because the sizing here was a little wonky. Use caution for this pattern.
After the sizing problems were sorted out, I proceeded to the actual shrug. One thing to note here is that some lace has a pattern that runs parallel to the selvedge and sometimes its perpendicular. Double, triple, and quadruple check before you start cutting. Also, use care when cutting lace because even if it doesn't have elastic, the open design leads itself to stretching. Use weights if at all possible. (Fabric weights are available in any number of stores, but I use paperweights, my cell phone, a glass of water, one of the kitties, etc. Whatever is heavy will do just fine.)
Another oddity about the pattern is that it called for the seams to be straight-stitched and then zig-zagged to finish them. Generally, with sheer fabrics, one uses French seams. We discussed it and concluded that was the better way to go. I'm glad we did; I think the regular seams in the muslin look sloppy.
The sewing of the garment, after the seam and layout irregularities, is pretty straightforward. There are fewer pieces here than you would expect, which cuts sewing time down drastically. The collar, which is satin (I had it in my stash; I am sure it is a great shock to all that I have black satin laying about in my stash), does not call for the internal seams to be finished. I am always antsy about satin fraying, so I finish my seams most of the time. The inside of the collar does need to be hand-sewn so that the stitches don't show through on the right side.
The trim was also hand-sewn on. It's a velvet ribbon wrapped in black braid. I got it at my local JoAnn's and I can't seem to find a picture on their site. Honestly, this was the most time-consuming part of the whole thing, though even that didn't take too long. I knocked off most of the actual sewing in an afternoon.
Level-wise, I would recommend this for a sewist who has tackled tricky fabrics like lace, satins, and sheers before. Once you're comfortable with that, this isn't too complicated to sew, though it will take patience with hand-sewing. I would say even a beginner could handle this, assuming they have the aforementioned skills with lace down.
I am happy to do custom work, repairs, or alterations. If you're interested, contact me at spookyseamstress AT gmail DOT com.