Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Pattern Review: Pattern Fantastique Calyx Smock

When Pattern Fantastique released the Calyx pattern late last year, I suspected it would be only a matter of time before one passed through my sewing machine. So tempting were its nice deep hem facing, raglan sleeves and loose, heat-wave friendly cut. Another PF pattern, the Aeolian, has been a firm favourite of mine (ahem, 6 and counting…) and so the Calyx called as an appealing alternative.

From the front.

Inspired by Nita Jane (owner of PF) and her talk of a denim Calyx for layering, I chose to make this version in some of our 6oz washed cotton denim. It’s a lightweight fabric that has good drape but is still quite sturdy. Certainly not the floaty tencel I had originally thought I might make this in, but I guess that leaves options for next time! And there will be a next time. When I first saw this pattern I could only imagine it being made up in something super lightweight & very drapery (tencel, washed linen, cupro) because of all the gathering at the neckline. But NJ encourages the use of different weights of fabric from the floaty to not so floaty (corduroy!) Somehow, the cleverly drafted proportions of the Calyx seem to make this pattern work in a variety of fabrics, despite all that gathery volume.

From the rear.

I sewed size 12, even though my bust measurements put me closer to the 14. This is a great fit, and there’s still loads of ease. 

The Calyx comes with a bunch of different variations: top and dress lengths (with in seam pockets), a couple of sleeve lengths, optional cuffs and faced or turned hem. I opted for the short sleeved top.

Tie back and that nice wide facing.

Straightforward, and quick to sew! Nita Jane classes this pattern as intermediate, which seems a fair call.

I strayed from the (very thorough) instructions in two minor places. Firstly, I opted to stay stitch instead of using stay tape to stabilise the bias cut edge on the sleeves. The pattern suggests a particular kind of stay tape with built in basting thread (which sounds like rather an excellent product we reckon!) but I had none. Because this denim was already fairly stable, I didn’t think this was too much of a risk, but if I was going to make this with something very lightweight, I’d probably want to use stay tape or apply some lightweight interfacing to stabilise the seam. 

The other place I strayed from the directions was when it came to applying the bias to the neckline. The instructions call for sewing the tie end of the neckline bias tape in kind of tube, then turning them inside out, which would give a lovely clean finish. But, because denim, I just pre-folded & pressed the ends of the ties rom the right side and topstitched over the whole lot. I’d already done some light topstitching on the raglan sleeves so felt that a little more wouldn’t look out of place.

The Calyx also comes with an optional hem facing, which I cut out but at the last minute decided to go for the narrow turned hem instead. I love the look of the wide hem but made the call against any further volume the extra fabric on the hem would bring to the party since I was already using fairly substantial fabric.

I am so pleased with my Calyx top. It plays nicely with jeans so it’s the first thing I’m reaching for at the moment when we are lucky enough to score a cool day. I love the tie closure. And the back pieces fold back on themselves to make a great wide stitched-down facing which is such a pleasing detail, especially in a solid coloured fabric. All around thumbs up! 

The Calyx Smock pattern can be found here, and our 6oz washed cotton denim is here.

Fiona & Jane xx

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