Sunday, 3 November 2013

Spooky sewing - the 'Happy Skulls' woven t-shirt

During last week's spooky festivities, I was sitting at my desk when I heard whispers from the fabric shelf. "Hey, Clareeeeeeeeeeey...". As any dumb girl in a horror movie, I didn't run straight for the front door, but instead I thought it best to head straight for the voices armed with just my french curve. At this point I'd also like to add I had perfect hair, cleavage and the pertest bum-bum - basically this:

As the whispers continued, I tip-toed closer. The room was silent bar the tinkering on a random piano. I lifted my french curve, and prodded a heap of jersey. Nothing. I mouthed "omg" and breathed in and out so that my amazing cleavage went up and down a couple of times. I took another deep breath and lifted up my precious chambray, which was quivering underneath a puddle of oxblood faux leather.


After nearly crapping myself, I exhaled a huge sigh of relief. No mini psychos in hockey masks, but my happy skulls fabric from Toronto! "Do you remember us?" Oh happy skulls, how could I ever forget you? Let's whip you up into some spooky goodness straight away!

I bought this awesome chiffon when I was in Toronto in the summer. I think it was about $6 p/y and I found it while I was mooching around Designer Fabrics on Queen Street with the wonderful Catja, Andrea, Gillian and Sara at our Toronto meet-up on my birthday. Catja and I even made a great jingle, aptly named "Happy Skulls" of course, which we sung at the cash register. We're not crazy, we just really like buying fabric with smiling skulls on it!

Inspired by the lovely Fiona's awesome scout tee, I decided to draft my oven woven tee-shirt complete with cool pleats across the bust.

To achieve this, I used my basic bodice block which I lengthened, closed the bust dart to release the waist dart for a looser fit, and then added five pleats using a cut & slash method. If anyone is interested in how I did this, let me know and I will write a tutorial. These pleats can be added easily and are useful in sheer fabrics for providing extra coverage over your bust area.

This was actually my initial intention - to hide my bra and make the top more practical to wear as the fabric is very sheer - but in the end I decided to underline with an ivory white polyester I had leftover from a project a few years ago. The skulls and underlining are joined at the shoulder seams, neckline and armholes, leaving the side seams free so that the top has a flowing movement to it. The sleeves are not underlined.

Inside view: ignore the tacking stitches still in the sleeve hem!

I finished all seams with a french seam and hemmed the bodices and sleeves with a narrow hem. The neckline is finished with bias binding I made from the skull fabric. I had to experiment on scraps for ages as both fabrics had a tantrum when it came to stitching. In the end I had to go down to a 60/8 sharp needle, which resolved the kicking and screaming, and mainly the skipped stitches.

This project took a little longer than anticipated owing to the delicate fabric, french seams and trying to pleat impossibly slinky material, but for me, the outcome has been so worth it. I really love this top. It's fun and feels great against my skin. These photos were taken in Greenwich park and I'm teaming 'Happy Skulls' with my leather-look trousers from Zara and leopard print Vans.

What's one of your favourite things about Autumn right now? For me, it's LEAVES!


<Playlist: Spooky - Dusty Springfield>

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