Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Crackle Print Neoprene Top / Skirt Set

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Well hello! I feel particularly Taylor Swift-like in this outfit, which is significantly more Taylor Swift-like than I feel... in any other outfit. What can I say, she knows how to rock a midriff.

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I didn't ever think I would be interested in a crop top, to be honest, but something about the proportions is just so summer and just so great. It's such an itty bitty amount of skin, and as summer has progressed, it's grown on me. So I made this little set to jump on the bandwagon.

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This is made from a BEAUTIFUL digitally printed neoprene fabric from Mood Fabrics. I am obsessed with how soft and lofty it is. When I ordered it (back in, like, April. Fabric hoarder, guys.), I expected it to be more like actual neoprene for scuba suits, or the stuff Can Koozies are made of, you know, quarter inch thick. (Side note, is it Koozies are the only instance where I'm down with replacing C's with K's for the sake of cleverness. I mean. It's a hug for your drink. It deserves that kind of kitsch.) However, when the fabric arrived, it was this thinner, buttery soft fabric with a beautiful drape. At first, I was a little disappointed, as I had been planning to make something really structured with it. I set it aside, determined to love it because of this amazing print, but didn't know what to make for a very long time.

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In the time after it arrived, I periodically poked around to see what other sewists had made with this fabric, checking out the Mood Sewing Network blog (great reference if you aren't sure how a fabric behaves!) and searching on Pinterest. I mostly saw form fitting dresses, and saw that the fabric didn't press well, so lots of seaming didn't suit it. With that in mind, I settled on a fitted top and a fuller skirt, wanting to take full advantage of the fun drape of the fabric.

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The top was roughly traced from a cropped tee I already own, just plain and fitted. The skirt I based off of a pleated skirt pattern I made for my senior collection in school, skipping the pockets and zipper and instead adding an elastic waistband.

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The finishes turned out really great in this fabric. I faced the neckline, set the skirt waistband in circularly with the elastic caught in the seam, serged all seams, and then blind catchstitched all of the hems. I had aforementioned concerns about pressing, but for the neck and the hems, I put the iron on medium low, steamed the crap out of crease, and then clapped my sleeve roll ham on top and pressed down for about ten seconds. It worked really well! But I didn't even bother to try pressing the armhole seams, as you can see.

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Unrelated, but you can see my little balcony garden behind me here! I've had such a fun time adopting this new hobby this year. I have tomato plants, jalepenos, basil, lavendar, mint, kale, some cacti and some succulents. I also grew snap peas and cilantro but they died already (after a small harvest!). Such a rewarding hobby!

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