Thursday, February 8, 2018

Papercut Moana top using Gertrude Made solid cotton barkcloth

My peplum kick is showing no signs of slowing down. After firmly believing that peplums and I were not for each other, I met the Peplum Top by In the Folds for Peppermint Magazine last year, and have since churned out 2 tops plus a dress version. For me, these are perfect summer wear and I could easily have a wardrobe full of them, should that not be cause for an intervention.

So despite the fact that I probably have reached peak peplum, I felt duty bound to try the Moana pattern when we recently started stocking New Zealand’s Papercut patterns in the shop. The Moana is a double duty peplum top and dress pattern, with exposed zip at the back, slight high/low hem, front and back darts plus facings. The frill is cut on the bias rather than gathered for less bulk around the waist. All together it’s… well to be honest it’s a fair bit of detail for a sleeveless top. But that makes it feel a little bit fancy too, and I could certainly do with a touch more fancy now and then.

I used an 100% cotton barkcloth from The Gertrude Made essentials range in ‘Rust’. This fabric is a gorgeous, textured, stable thing that was a joy to sew. It worked brilliantly for the bodice, but in retrospect, it isn’t the greatest fabric choice for the narrow peplum of the Moana. I’m hoping it will relax downward somewhat with wear ‘cause its a bit too sticky-out for my liking at the moment. A drapier or lighter-weight fabric would totally get around this problem. Because the barkcloth is substantial, I opted not to interface the facings, instead just finishing the edges before sewing.

Construction & Adjustments
Papercut patterns come in beautiful die-cut brown paper boxes and are printed on nice light recycled paper, both of which makes the tracing experience really rather nice. The patterns are well drafted too, and being produced in NZ means the seam allowance is a delightfully easy to remember metric 10mm.

I cut 140cm of 150cm wide fabric and had around 30cm left, so if you’re using similarly non-directional cloth, best test how much you need before you buy.

I’ll admit that I was lazy with this top and decided not to muslin. In the process I was reminded (again) why that’s rarely a good idea. 

First, there was a fracas with the zip whereby I changed my mind about which length/style of zip to use after having already prepared the opening. This left a gap at the base of my zip which necessitated a cover up using a “design feature” (cough) patch. I was hoping the patch would disappear and look intentional, but looking at it in the photos now, it's too big and obvious so I’ll be needing to change that. I wasn’t on board with the idea of wearing something with an exposed contrast zip either, but I have to say I don’t hate it. Who woulda thought?

Dodgy Instagram photo - evidence of underarm triangle. Please excuse bingo wings...
Second, I ended up with a fair whack of excess fabric at the front underarm. I suspect that the most likely reason for this is that the bust dart sits way too high on me (of course I would have discovered this had I made a muslin, and then moved it down…) After turning to Instagram for help, I ended up basting out a wedge of fabric at the underarm - and it worked well enough. Ideally inserting another dart above the existing one would have been a better solution but I couldn’t do that without changing the line of the front armhole. The bust dart is still comically high, but it’s wearable now. Lesson re-learnt. Muslin!

The only other thing to note about the Moana is that it was a bit of a bugger hemming those extreme curves on the frill. The instructions suggested either rolling the hem, a small double turn (which is what I did) or a simple finish then stitch down. I think the latter would have worked best for this fabric. I’d also recommend stitching down the facings at the side to avoid any flipping.

Other than the completely avoidable problems I had sewing the Moana, I’d have to say it’s a lovely pattern. Does it suit me? I’m not sure, but as a sewn thing, I like this top a lot. The dress looks rather nice too - the gathered skirt option is particularly tempting. But first? A muslin!

The Papercut Moana pattern can be found on our website right here, and the Gertrude Made barkcloth here.

- Fiona + Jane xx

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