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The Mesh Butterfly Challenge: Ruffled and Glitzy Separates

Threads magazine - 162 - Aug./Sept. 2012
Perfect for a night on the town when paired with sequins, this blouse would look great for day with white jeans and a tank top.

A s soon as I heard the word “mesh,” I knew I was in trouble. Because I’ve never sewn mesh fabric, my thoughts ran wild. Could it be interfaced, pressed, hemmed? Another fabric I rarely work with is knit. My style is clean with uncluttered lines when I’m designing my patterns, but I knew that wouldn’t stand up to the competition for the this challenge! I decided the first step was to remove as many seams as possible to eliminate potential problems.

I wondered: Who was wearing this garment and to what occasion? I planned a short skirt, shell, and blouse. All three sounded so boring! I let my mind wander. Hmmm. How about a sequined skirt, not all-over sequins, but in a random pattern; a sleeveless shell of layered fabrics, with black mesh draped over the sequined fabric for added interest? If worn separately, any of the pieces could mix with almost any wardrobe, but when worn together, they would be a fun and youthful way to get dressed up.

blouse pattern
To simplify the blouse silhouette for the mesh fabric, one pattern piece was made by joining the side seams and darts under the armhole. Pattern: Cutting Line Designs 11226

I just finished a new pattern called The Blouse Perfected (Cutting Line Designs no. 11226), but it had too many seams and had to be simplified. I merged all the details in the blouse pattern: removed the pleats, the yoke, and the side seams, but created a slight wedge-shaped dart under the arm where the side seams used to be. The sleeve could be sewn into the garment flat, and the underarm seam of the sleeve then could be sewn and continued to the tip of the dart. The garment would have no side seam from the dart tip to the hem. Cool idea, but it was still too plain, so I added cascades of flounces randomly around the blouse bodice in varying widths and at different angles. With no side seams to contend with, most of the flounces could be sewn completely around the blouse.

cascading ruffles
Cascading ruffles surround the blouse. The absence of side seams keeps everything light and airy.

I left the cascade edges and blouse hems raw. The mandarin collar was supported by a sheer interfacing, and the center-front edges of the blouse were turned twice to form their own interfacing.

I found a black sequin knit (SpandexWorld.com) with additional thread chains and sequins sewn along the chains. I was thrilled when the fabric arrived. The selvage had overcast satin stitching, which was perfect for no hemming. I used my In the Trenches skirt pattern, no. 10304, shortened to just above the knee, and joined the side seams to mimic the blouse without side seams. The hem circumference is 1 inch narrower than the hip circumference at both center-back seam edges, creating a pegged silhouette, which makes the wearer appear slimmer.

In the original double-layer shell pattern (Burda 7520), the inner and outer shells are cut in one piece from the same fabric. For the black mesh shell, I joined the two layers around the hem circumference. I then followed the directions supplied with the pattern for armhole and neckline finishing. All of the pieces can be worn in a variety of ways, and the mesh blouse fabric has a fabulous way of taking on the other colors with which it’s paired.

Louise Cutting shares her expertise in the Threads Industry Insider DVDs. Find her Cutting Line patterns at CuttingLineDesigns.com.


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