I don't really pay much attention to fashion trends and I don't often feel the pull to try them out. The "Cold Shoulder" style was never really on my radar... But after testing Beausoleil from Itch-To-Stitch Designs, I'm looking at these fun peek-a-boo shoulders with whole new eyes.
From what Google tells me, the cold shoulder trend is an evolution of Brigitte Bardot's signature "off the shoulder" style from the 50's and 60's. Personally, I find the cold shoulder look to be much more wearable: It's interesting, flattering on most women, age appropriate at just about any number and it's both modest and sexy at the same time.
Beausoleil is both a dress and a top meant for woven fabrics. It features A, B, C, D and DD cup sizes plus, as always, the downloadable file is formatted with PDF layers so you can print only the size(s) relevant for you.
Additional Design Features include:
- Cold Shoulder Kimono sleeves with cuffs.
- Bra-friendly shoulder straps
- Center Back lapped zipper
- A-line skirt with patch pockets on the dress view
Getting The Right Fit
For a long time, I've been a pretty standard size 10 with Itch-To-Stitch patterns. So naturally, I jumped right in and made my usual size 10C muslin, straight off the printer. Here's what I ended up with:
OK. Now before you freak out and worry that the ITS draft model changed, let me explain: I've been working really hard the last several weeks getting in 40 minutes of cardio every day, drinking a boat-load of water, cutting out bready and starchy carbs (I miss you naan and rice...sniff) and eating lots more healthy fat. The scale hasn't really moved all that much and so I ended up committing the #1 cardinal sin in sewing...
I DIDN'T MEASURE MYSELF FIRST.
So much better, right? While my waist is still measuring in at a size 10 (I may have been fudging my waist numbers there for a while....ahem), my bodice and hip measure smaller. My current size is now 6D-10-8. I decided to sew the top as a 6D-10-10. The little extra room at the hip making it easier for the top to lay over thicker jeans and skirts.
The things I did to fine tune my fit were:
- 1/2 inch forward head adjustment to move the shoulder seam forward and stop the top from sliding back.
- Reduce bodice 1.25 inches at L&S line to bring the narrow part of the bodice in line with the narrow part of my body.
- Lower the darts 1/2 inch
- Reduce 1/2 inch at CF, tapering to nothing at the sides. Sort of like a front swayback. Sometimes my forward tilted pelvis feels really droopy, this adjustment made me feel more balanced.
A Workshop For New Skills
I've been pattern testing pretty regularly for Itch To Stitch. (One whole year this coming fall...). Looking back, I'm realizing that each of Kennis's patterns is like a sewing workshop. I learn new skills with each one and I'm finding that both the quality and the fit of my garments improves with each experience. Like many previous patterns from Itch-To-Stitch, Beausoleil provides detailed instructions focused on obtaining a high-end RTW (Ready To Wear) finish. Steps are presented in a logical way with plenty of supplemental details for the more intricate techniques.
I have never made a lapped zipper before. The purple one here is my very first try. I didn't even test on a muslin first. The instructions in the pattern are very good, but an additional, full color tutorial is available HERE. The pattern PDF contains a hyperlink to the post, so you don't even need to bookmark or search for it. Just click inside the instructions to be taken right to it.
In addition to the Lapped Zipper tutorial, there are also links for detailed assistance on Moving Darts, Grading Seam Allowances, Understitching and creating Bra Strap Holders.
Would you look at that facing finish on my zipper? WOW.