Confident BeginnerA Jack of no Trades
Colette Aster in Three Ways
If you have followed the blog up until this point, you should be aware that I have an ineptitude for picking out fabrics. I either try to cheap out and use something super random, or..well..let’s be real there is no other scenario. I just don’t believe in myself yet, so I fear using fancy fabrics for things I may fail at! When I purchased my Aster pattern earlier this year from Colette Patterns, I was adamant about having a non-curtain based piece of attire. However, after reading said pattern, I came to a truly shocking discovery:
INTERMEDIATE. WAT. I was the most unready for this sort of task. I didn’t buy the domain name: imaverygoodseamstress.com or look-at-me-i-can-sew-things-with-ease-because-i-have-intermediate-sewing-skills.com. I was completely perplexed by my sudden gusto, and obviously wanted to test out the waters with some mid-range, mid-priced fabric first. Now, I bought this a looong time ago, but I think I went with a basic black cotton poplin, or at least that is what I wanted when I went to Dressew to purchase the fabrics for myself. What did I actually get? Who knows (unless you know about fabrics, then, well, you probably know).
I was lucky enough to have an Aster partner in crime, my friend Shauna, and we rocked out a muslin version in order to bust up all of the kinks. I found the pattern to be mostly easy to follow, save of one or two trixie points. The cuffs for the long sleeve version were incredible easy to follow and were fairly breezy for something that seemed so complex. I have done the Colette style placket 3 times previously, so that was also pretty chill, and the pleats (for the long-sleeve version) are a very interested addition to the design of the shirt, and easy to comprehend.
However, that damn yolk twisted me up something terrible. I think I may have gotten secretly jenky instructions because:
Step One of attaching the yoke back to the bodice front was place right sides together and sewing at the shoulders! (I bet all of you intermediate seamstresses are shaking your heads right now, you know what’s up).
I am not a strong woman, I do not think for myself especially when the word intermediate is being thrown around. I followed blindly and failed. However, I guess this is what a muslin is for.
For all of you keen kats out there, you should place the right side of the yolk to the wrong sides of the bodice and stitch, but you can find these instructions clearly in the Aster Sewalong.
Anyways, all issues cast aside, I was ready to dig in! Long sleeves first:
I had made my muslin in the wrong size, so initially I had focused on making a garment that would fit correctly, but neglected to make it fit how I wanted it to. I made the long sleeve pattern with no alterations, and found that it was a little short for my liking. Who wears a shirt that ends at your hips? Not Natasha, says I. Not Natasha at all. Considering this was the first time I had ever set in sleeves and I still lack a tailor’s ham, I felt fine with how poufy my shoulders turned out, but this is definitely something I will work on in the future.
OH SNAP, just looking at this picture is making me re-live button-holes. God damn, who the hell likes button-holes?! No one. Unless, of course, your machine is good at sewing those little guys, then it’s cool. I put my little baby through a-lot, and she was not having that stitch what-so-ever. So yeah, that was my rant about button-holes. #movingon
Man, I really should have ironed these shirts before taking pictures. Things you learn when you have a blog. Anyways! I don’t have a lot of half sleeve shirts, because I have never felt super comfortable in them. They were either always too tight on my upper arms, or too baggy in the shoulders, or just made me look like a hella tomboy. Also half sleeve shirts just mean that I have to awkwardly pull up my sleeve to wherever it can go to answer some weirdo’s questions about my tattoos. However, I am super jazzed about this shirt. I added 2 inches to the bottom and dang what a difference. I have definitely made that a necessary alteration to any further Aster I make. The hem sits comfortably below the hips, so no one is privy to whether or not your fly is zippied and you can bend down without any plumber’s butt action in the back. Definitely a necessity. I used a really heavy interfacing in the sleeve cuffs (as that is what I had available) but next time I think I will use a lighter weight, so the cuffs dont STAND OUT as much as they do now. And yeah, snaps forever. Fuck those dumb buttons.
From the time it took me to take off the previous shirt and put on this shirt, we lost the sun entirely in our yard, which is why my face has a creepy batman look to it. Although my troubles with knits are well documented, I wanted to try it out again just to see if things could get better. And they totally did! Now, this is a thicker knit then I had used previously, without a lot of stretch, so it held up really well with this pattern. I wanted to make the flutter sleeve with a more fluttery, flowey fabric, and this mystery knit (of course) was on point. It is super soft and luxurious, and feels like a pillow when I wear it. Being that there are not a lot of technical aspects to this version, I felt that I could proceed cautiously with a knit for this pattern. In some cases I was right, and in some I was quite wrong. My pleat in the back was destroyed when my fabric slipped whilst I was serging it. I had basted it at 3/8”, but serged it at 5/8” which gave the fabric enough wiggle room to fall out of place. In hindsight, I probably should have pined it a few times down the center to ensure that the fabric wouldn’t slip. As the fabric is barely stretchy at all, I didn’t worry about doing any fancy hem (slash I don’t have the machine to do fancy knit hems) and they turned out just fine. I did have some issues with my top snap, which you keeners may have noticed. I put my snap too high and there is too much thick fabric for it to secure properly, so in the picture it is being held together with a pin. I’ll fix it…eventually. Also, you laser eyes out there may notice that the bust darts seem out of place, but that is just because of my batman pose, they are a-ok in real life.
Considering I sewed this pattern to death, I might take a break for a while and try out some new shirt patterns; however I do think a patterned Aster is somewhere in my future. Maybe a long sleeved fluffy plaid for the winter months, or a Sarah Watts pattern sometime soon?! Who knows. Now that I am an intermediate seamstress, bitches better know I CAN DO ANYTHING.
PS. Thank you to my ever reluctant but always forced into compliance photographer, Brian.