Can’t Elope

First, real and urgent: here’s an efficient way of contributing money to multiple bail funds and advocacy groups, and also an article (with further reading linked) that I found useful.

Now, back to trifles – sewing. I like to buy fabric in person (who doesn’t?), but the coronavirus stay-at-home order has put a geas on that and will for a while. I live in the most densely populated city in New England and we’re taking reopening slow (except for protesting! Okay, trifles again). Anyway, I made a misstep when ordering the fabric for this top. It’s perfectly nice in terms of quality, and I’m often attracted to these pale oranges and buttery yellows, but I couldn’t ‘try it on’ in person so I forgot that they’re a little nudie on me.  


Much like Rogelio de la Vega, I don’t pop in peach. Actually it’s ‘Cantaloupe Check’ by Carolyn Friedlander, so I guess I don’t pop in cantaloupe. Oh, well! The fabric is soft, stable, and firmly woven, with no wrong side; the layout left a lot of scraps, and the 1/4″ square checks made it extremely efficient to cut and sew those into masks. And I got to try a new-to-me pattern, so the time and materials weren’t wasted, really! Except for paper, since it has a wasteful layout. If they marked both necklines and hems on the same boxy body piece it would save at least a dozen pages.

The pattern is the free Fibre Mood Frances top, and the war on trees aside, it’s fine. I like it on the model a lot, but her fabric is much drapier! My cotton is poofy, not drape-y. Add the check and I might be a farmer, possibly in the dell? The shirt as drafted is almost exactly a box.


Except the front hem is curved, a little optimistically for my shape!


Given that I wear my shirts knotted or tucked, I could have skipped it. Still, that wouldn’t have conserved much yardage. Because the sleeves are grown-on, I needed a full 2 yards of 45” wide fabric to fit the pattern pieces, with a lot of wasted space whether I cut them on the straight grain or the cross grain. But I really, really liked the look of those elastic cuffs. (No way the Fibre Mood model is comfy with them stuffed into a blazer, though.)


By the way, if you know a way of French-seaming a right-angled armpit without clipping into the seam allowance, please let me know! I couldn’t find one. I stitched the seam a couple times for extra strength, but I still feel funny about the two tiny raw spots when everything else is enclosed.


The shirt tips back on me. I have to fiddle with it more than I’d like to keep it symmetrical/covering my bra straps (the peep through the large armscye of my quite sensible bra is fine; I pick my battles). I briefly considering elasticizing the waist as well, which I think would keep it in place, but that would be a deliberately poof-forward solution!

One random thing I liked about this pattern: the neck binding length is provided. It saved me a step (normally I pin, measure, un-pin, join my binding in the round, then pin, then sew…I could skip right to pin and sew, nice!).

I’m wearing this shirt with the first shorts muslin of my Perse-phony pants draft. The buttons are waaay under the overlap (too far!), but as the denim relaxes, I’m having an easier time getting in and out.


The back pockets are in extremely the wrong place. They were the spontaneous product of a couple large scraps and a desire to hide my pointy dart ends, but seeing these pictures, I might actually care enough to drop them a good 3”.


I love my butt! It deserves better!!

I have no grand pronouncements about the Fibre Mood Frances; I think I still kinda like it, but my iteration needs a new home (or I could get a tan, but actually I can’t). I’ve got some ivory rayon leftover from a long-ago project and I’m waffling over trying again in that.  And if I do, you’ll hear it here first on Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me!


And, why not make that donation recurring? See you next time. xo

Pattern: Fibre Mood Frances

Pattern cost: $0.00

Size: M

Supplies: 2 yards of Cantaloupe Check cotton, $18.00, Gather Here; 3 yards 1″ elastic, Gather Here, $5.40; thread from stash

Total time: 4.75 hours

Total cost: $23.40

14 thoughts on “Can’t Elope

  1. It’s annoying when simple, cute tops are bothersome in the wearing. Looks good on you, in my view, but if it’s not comfortable, well hmm, that is a drag. I’ve not yet made a fibre mood pattern, but it seems to me in reading of others’ experiences and viewing their projects, that fit is often not that great. I’m curious about why people are enamoured with them at the moment. But I’m still trying to reserve judgment. Anyway, I kinda like you in can’telope.

    That’s such a cool idea to be able to donate to a collection of charities, especially when it is a recurring gift. I don’t know if we have anything like that in Canada, but I’m going to look.


    1. What a great idea! Also, I didn’t know you lived in Canada – I’m jealous now! 😉
      Yeah, I think maybe Fibre Mood just felt *new* – they did to me, at least, when I first saw them, and they had enough patterns published already that it was fun to browse. That said, my experiences with them haven’t been terrific. Not awful, just not terrific! So it might remain browsing. I’m considering my first Lekala pattern, have you ever tried those?


      1. I did try Bootstrap patterns, but haven’t sewn one for about 5 years now. I also tried pattern drafting software. I spent a lot of time looking for the magic bullet — the way to have paper patterns automatically fit me when I sewed them up. Then I gave that up, and started fitting and adjusting as I sewed (I will not waste my time on a muslin unless it is for something incredibly important), after making very modest adjustments to the paper pattern (for example,I always do a forward shoulder adjustment on sleeves and do come kind of FBA). I’ve found that fitting as I sew works best, largely because the fabric makes such a difference in how something fits and in how comfortable (or not) I am with misfits. That said, some patterns are simply drafted better than others, and so are more likely to take my adjustments well. It has to do with the overall shape of a pattern, how the various parts go together and work on real bodies. On those patterns I know I can make the adjustments I need and the final product will still be balanced. I keep my eyes open for those patterns and then try more patterns from that pattern company.


      2. I found your comment!! It got stuck in internet limbo! Thank you for the thoughtful reply. 🙂 I definitely have pattern companies I like for pants, but still no ‘magic bullet’ (a great way of putting it) for fitting a bodice. It’s good you know your adjustments; I need to figure those out for my top half, too. Guess I just have to do the work.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Argh, I just spent half an hour reflecting on your question about Lekala and writing a reply, only to have it disappear when I posted.


  2. Thanks for both those links – The writes of the Vox article says a lot of things that I’ve been trying to communicate with a certain family member of mine…
    I think the top looks great, but yeah those armholes would be a bit annoying for me!


    1. The top has been washed and folded and it’s on my goodbye pile now. :} If you want to start a fight with that family member instead, The Reductress has some great headlines at the moment, ha!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m hoping for an answer to your “right angled” French seam conundrum. I tried this on a rayon haori style jacket. I was hoping to sew the sleeve in flat (Frenched) and then French the sleeve and side seam together in one fell swoop. No go. I had to French the shoulder and side seams separately and then set in the sleeve, Frenched. (It had to be an accurate opening.) This really stumped me since I can French the circumference of a regular sized sleeve. Go figure.
    Just waiting for a rational explanation… :=)
    And “donation pile” sounds a whole lot better than my disparaging “it’s a wadder”. AND I’m fascinated by lots of the Fibre Mood designs. AND I’d love to find one of the magazines!


    1. Re the French seam thing. It’s true that French seams are better suited to straight seams or gentle curves. But usually you can do a good enough job of French seams that involve right angles if you use quite narrow seams and then clip or notch at the angle (depending on which way the angle goes) before you sew the second time around. Well that’s been my experience but maybe there’s something I’m misunderstanding about these situations.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. My library (when it reopens) gets Burda…I wonder if they, or yours, would be open to a Fibre Mood subscription? It might be worth asking! 🙂
      Your solution sounds like it made for a beautiful finish! With the advent of these boxy/drop shoulder styles it’s been a while since I actually set a sleeve in the round. I remember finding it tricker, but it’s a great alternative if done well. But why oh why can’t it just be SIMPLE? 😉


  4. i’ve also been flummoxed by my attempts to french seam a right angled armpit- specifically the Closet Case Kalle. i tried to do a super narrow french seam, but it was still really stiff and not pretty. my work around was to clip it so that it would release in the right direction and then i bound just that little 3 inch section with some bias tape. in the future, i would start by sewing wrong sides together, increasing the stitch length at the armpit and going back to normal after passing it. i would then clip it on either side of the armpit, press it open, remove the basted section, and turn it and stitch right sides together- regular stitch length the whole way. then i would clip again- this time for a smooth curve of the armpit. finally i would bind that clipped section with a little bit of bias tape and call it good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hadn’t thought of a short area of binding – so much less commitment than binding the whole seam, but no raw spots! I’ll definitely keep that in mind, thank you!


  5. The best trick I’ve found if I really want a French seam instead of a flat felled seam on a sharp curve, is a mock French seam (sometimes called faux French). Google pulls up a bunch of great tutorials, and it really is the next best thing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s