Like many fellow stitchers, I'm a big fan of Rachel Comey. Not necessarily the Vogue Patterns edit - although I have four of her patterns, I haven't made any of them yet - but her RTW collections are ... well I can never come up with the right fashiony terms ... but her designs have a nice amount of structure; play beautifully with pleats and gathers; draw attention to the most feminine parts of a woman - wrists, neck, décolletage, shoulders, waist, ankles; and have the kind of silhouettes I am always drawn to.
I mean, just check out this collection of jumpsuits - is there one that wouldn't be fabulous to wear? The frustrating thing is that $500 for a jumpsuit is not even aspirational, it's so far out of my league it's ridiculous.
So that of course means trying to emulate the beautiful designs created by RC in my own way, which is what lead to this top.
The design is based on the Reunion Top from the A/W 2017/18 collection:
The thing that really drew me to this top was actually a combination of the dolman sleeve and the way it curves into the ruffle. That combined with the pretty structural fabric, which has the most beautiful texture. The absurdly small photo below captures everything that is wonderful about this.
Now, before I move on I should just point out that I am not a peplum person. I know this is a peplum but as I can't bring myself to wear them and I think they look awful on me, I'm going to refer to that GIGANTIC peplum as a ruffle, OK?
I had the pattern drafted last fall, but couldn't find any fabric that had enough weight and interest to make it work. Until I went to The Fabric Store whilst in Sydney and found this heavyweight knit. I don't know what you call it but it is so lovely, really quite stiff - almost like a french terry but without the fluffy backside, with very minimal stretch. I think it holds the shape of the pattern quite well and creates the amount of volume I was hoping to achieve.
I haven't got the balance of the pattern quite right as while on the flat everything sits OK, when I wear it it appears to go up in the centre front and back. I did dip these points down on the pattern but obviously needed to do it a lot more, or reduce some of the volume there. And while the ruffle is enormous, I could probably have made it bigger for more gathers too.
I made cuffs and interfaced them, which I'm really happy about as they look nice and sharp even when the rest of the top creases like nobody's business. As I used a knit and drafted a much wider neckline, I didn't bother with an opening at the back and just created a simple neckband at 90% of the neck opening measurement and then did a single line of topstitching to hold it in place, which I'm pretty pleased with as well.
I also deviated from the original design in not including pleats on the shoulder. This might have helped balance the volume better and prevent the CF and CB lift, but on the model, it looks kind of awkward and I didn't think it would really work with this fabric.
I've worn this a couple of times - happily managing to get both chocolate and wine stains out of it - and I really like it, but I do spend quite a lot of time rearranging the shoulder seams as it slips forward and back. My drafting skills / patience for working out the kinks in a design / willingness to make several muslins needs some work.
But I did achieve this lovely curve (that needs a better press) to the sleeve. So there's that.
Any thoughts on Rachel Comey?
And how I would better have drafted to stop the front and back hem lift?
See you soon x