Bagheera, in technicolour

You guys remember a couple of weeks ago when I shared my recent fabric purchases – there was that Gucci panther face silk? Welllll here it is! Transformed into a Grainline Scout Tee.

I got this 2.7m piece of gorgeousness off an eBay seller earlier this year. I thought verrrrrry carefully about what to make with it, as I think this might be the best print I’ve ever seen in my life and didn’t want to regret my choice. I wanted to, if possible, make a couple of things from it – one for warmer weather and one for cooler weather – so that I could wear the print all year round ?☀️?❄️

I considered making a jacket or coat (because you know I LOVE coats) but got a little nervous about using such a delicate and expensive fabric – it’s silk twill – as outerwear. I pictured myself catching the fabric on something and plucking it ??? So I decided on making tops instead, as I could wear these everyday for work (and under a jacket, for safety and protection, if needed).

For the ‘warmer weather’ option I went for a simple t-shirt – the Grainline Scout.

I chose the Scout for this pattern because I didn’t want to make too many cuts/darts into this totally awesome print… I did also consider making a long sleeve shirt (which I may actually do with the leftovers) but I’m not *totally* happy with any pattern that I’ve tried to date and If I was going to use this fabric for it, it would need to be the most amazing shirt pattern in the world. I’ve just bought the RDC Hedwige shirt, which is next in line for the shirt trials.

So the Scout.. you may remember that I made a trial version out of some cotton that I had kicking around (which I got from the cloth house warehouse), before I cut into the silk – this one:

That first version turned out pretty well, and actually regularly gets worn for work. It’s nice to have a top that *looks* like a t-shirt, is actually a bit smarter than a t-shirt but just as easy to wear.

The Scout is a really quick make, and you can French seam the entire inside so it’s also a nice tidy sew too (inner nerd = happy ??) If you use pre-made bias tape (or cut your tape from a different fabric), you can get a scout out of just a yard of fabric – perfect if you want to splurge on some special cloth. (The Ogden Cami is my other sub-1-yard project, if you’re looking to use up leftovers). The fabric requirements of the Scout – 1 and 2/3rds of a yard for most sizes – include cutting a diagonal strip for the bias tape, which is why it seems so excessive.

The reason I made a tester version (which isn’t something I usually do) was not only because the fabric was so precious but because I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to get my arms into sleeves of a woven top. I was worried they would be tight and I’d have to go up a size to get a good fit – I have a few RTW shirts that are a smidge tight on the arms, so I wasn’t sure if this was dodgy sizing on their part or whether my arms are on the Hulk side ??‍♀️

As it’s a quick make, I didn’t mind *too* much having to give it a trial run – It wasn’t like I was having to make a toile of a coat with 20 pieces or anything ?

The bit that takes the longest is the bias tape neckline… And that’s the one place I really need to practice my technique on. Sometimes (most of the time), once I’ve put the bias tape round the curved front neckline, it stands up – outwards, away from the body – rather than laying flat. Aaaarrrgh ??

On stable cottons, I don’t seem to have the same issue – it didn’t happen on the first version (anyone else find that the first versions you make of a pattern are better than the subsequent ones?) On silk however, it seems to be a different story. Doesn’t matter whether you stay-stitch first, or sew the bias in two passes vs adding understitching in between, you end up at the same place. I also tried clipping the seam allowances before stitching the tape for the final time and that didn’t help either. I even tried pressing it on the ham. (Can you see the lines of stitching I’ve already unpicked?!)

I followed every technique I could find on t’internet, including this one on the Grainline website, especially aimed at the Scout neckline. Nothing helped.

Guess I just need to keep on practising…. or chanting and making blood sacrifices, or resort to witchcraft… ??‍♀️

We tried really hard to get good pattern placement on the front and back, but not waste too much fabric in the process. Because EXPENSIVE AND PRECIOUS FABRIC. And by ‘we’, I mean the husbeast, because he gets proper OCD about things like that so I just let him get on with it. I swear he spent about an hour shifting those pattern pieces around a millimetre at a time before he cut into it ??‍♀️ The boy did good though, because I got the pink and purple on the front (win!), the side seams sort of match (ish, in terms of rough colour placement, anyway) and even the sleeves continue in the rainbow pattern.

Despite not having bust darts, the Scout actually fits me quite well (32D, in case that helps anyone). If you wanted to add bust darts though, I reckon it would be quite easy to do – and you could always flare out the bottom edge of the sleeve ever so slightly if you wanted a bit more room there. Even for me, the sleeves as they came are not tight, or restrictive, so if that’s your main worry – you might just be ok.

The Scouts I have made so far have all been woven, but I have cut one out of the jersey leftovers of this Kielo dress:

Named Patterns Kielo wrap dress Ganesha fabric

I’m interested to see how a knit version turns out… I’ve seen a couple on the interwebs and they look pretty good, although I will confess that I generally hate sewing with jersey. I love how jersey garments feel to wear (ie – super comfy) but I just really dislike the shifty/stretchy-ness when you’re trying to cut it out and sew it ?

The Scout has definitely earned itself a place in my go-to pattern list. Sometimes the simple things can be the best can’t they! I’ve only ever made one other pattern of theirs – the Archer Shirt – which despite being a really popular pattern amongst the sewing community, I didn’t get on with very well. The fit wasn’t great, the sleeves were huuuuuuge and it just didn’t look that good on me ??‍♀️

But this Scout pattern has redeemed Grainline for me. I have since made another Scout from some Liberty lawn (to be blogged soooooon) but this Gucci one remains not only my favourite Scout, but one of my favourite items in my wardrobe. I get so many comments on it when I wear it ?

So… exciting times – by the time you read this, I’ll have landed in New York. We had some proper grief over the Airbnb that we booked though – long story short, we’d had it booked for nine months, and a week before we were due to arrive the host cancelled our booking. THANKS, HOST.

Airbnb were most unhelpful in helping us find alternative accommodation, which we were struggling with because at such late notice, the only places available were at least double the price we had paid for our original booking (and I’m not even joking – it was *literally* double the price. NOT COOL). After many, many phone calls to their call centre, they agreed to give us a 10% coupon against another booking – equating to £150 – which obvs doesn’t go far when you’re going to be £1500 out of pocket if you want somewhere to stay. Then they promised 50%, which still isn’t great but is better than 10%. When it comes to actually *getting* that coupon so that we can actually book somewhere (times ticking, remember, and we had already seen the two cheapest places get booked up in the meantime), this seemed to be an almighty struggle too. Their call centre is literally the most unhelpful I’ve ever encountered.

In the end, we booked a newly listed place that popped up – because we couldn’t wait any longer – and would continue fighting for money back in the meantime. But there were definitely a couple of days where the trip was called off and we weren’t going, because it seemed like we wouldn’t get a resolution and I was just too tired and stressed out to care about going anymore ☹️

It took the husbeast going on a Twitter rampage, tagging their CEO, to actually get a response – we then got a ‘senior case manager’ who saw the trouble we’d been having (ie, the millions of calls I’d been making to their ‘helpline’) and he straight out refunded the difference in price between the two bookings so we had somewhere to stay and weren’t out of pocket. YAY!

So we do get to go to New York after all, which means the trip to Mood Fabrics is BACK ON! Expect to see lots and lots of posts from me about where I went and what I bought, all with loads of fabric porn, of course ?

If you’re based in NYC, I’m having a little sewist meet-up while I’m there – full deets on my Instagram (or on the NYsewcialhour feed) Be fab to meet as many of you guys as possible!??

Next week on the blog… THE HUSBEAST IS BACK! Y’all loved his last post so much that he’s done another ? Funnily enough, it’s a Scout tee too. Also silk (Prada, dahling ??‍♀️). I guess you could say we had a Scout-off?

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  1. October 7, 2018 / 7:09 am

    Uber cool. As for the neckline issue. #1, press the tape into a curve before you start #2 DO SOME OF THE SEWING BY HAND! Sometimes machine sewing is the worst thing you can do to a posh fabric. Ease it in by hand, no troubles AT ALL. Come now, Mrs Nerd, get past this and embrace the requisite handsewn parts of the job! lol For a perfectionist, you do reject a lot of the couture stuff rofl

    • Sarah
      October 29, 2018 / 9:06 am

      Hmm, yes pressing the curve beforehand might have helped. I’m actually not averse to hand sewing, but I usually do the things that I *cant* do on the machine, but I guess I need to get out of that mindset. Would you do the first pass of the tape on the machine, or do that by hand as well? What sort of stitch would you use for that? I’m not sure my hand stitching is particularly straight ?

  2. Angela Dent
    October 7, 2018 / 7:30 am

    Stunning as always and ten out of ten for the pattern placement!

    • Sarah
      October 30, 2018 / 8:43 am

      Thanks Angela! I think I have to give the husbeast the credit for the pattern placement though, as he cut it out ??‍♀️?

  3. October 7, 2018 / 7:42 am

    The shirt shows the fabric off perfectly! ???
    Hope you’re having an amazing time in NY! ????

    • Sarah
      October 30, 2018 / 8:44 am

      Now I just need to decide what to make with the rest! ??‍♀️?

  4. October 7, 2018 / 8:21 am

    Super beautiful! I love everything about it! (And some fabric envy here?)

    • Sarah
      October 30, 2018 / 8:45 am

      Thanks Wis! ? that fabric is really something isn’t it. I just can’t make up my mind what to make with the rest, it needs to be something special! ?

  5. sarahshandmadewardrobe
    October 7, 2018 / 9:45 am

    Love this! It might be worth considering using iron on stay tape around the neckline on a fabric like this. Hope you’re having an amazing time in NYC- so jealous, i’ll get there one day!

    • Sarah
      October 30, 2018 / 8:46 am

      Thanks Sarah! Hmm, I hadn’t thought of that – I’ll give that a try, thanks! NYC was AMAZING, defo get there one day if you can! (And pack an empty suitcase ?)

  6. Alison
    October 7, 2018 / 10:54 am

    Love love love this top!

    As the Demented Fairy has suggested too, my gran always taught me to hand sew ‘posh’ fabrics as machines aren’t kind to them.

    Thanks for brightening up my Sundays.

    • Sarah
      October 30, 2018 / 8:47 am

      Thanks Alison! ? and that makes me so happy to hear that I brighten up your Sundays ☺️☺️☺️
      Yes, I think I need to polish up on my hand sewing techniques and give that a go… ??

  7. October 7, 2018 / 2:44 pm

    Another great blog post Sarah 🙂 Love your Scout! I have had the same problem with silk bias tape neckline results being less than stellar but I think I for one am going to take dementedfairy’s advice and press it into a curve and then hand sew it in first – I like that! I have such a LONG herstory with the Scout. It was the first thing (or one of the very first) I made when I returned to sewing 3 yrs ago. It didn’t turn out great but I didn’t know about fbas then. I donated the Scout (in a very cool octopus print cotton) and threw out the pattern. A year later I learned fba and was getting more and more proficient at it so ordered the pattern again. I went to town with french darts, arm hole darts, fish eyed darts in the back and a hem facing. The end result is a stunner for a flattering fit. I need to make more of those – in silk like yours….well not LIKE yours but silk anyway 😉

    • Sarah
      October 30, 2018 / 8:52 am

      Thanks Kathleen! Wow what a journey you’ve had with the Scout… and it’s good to hear that I’m not the only one that’s revisited patterns again once skills have improved. I need to really (REALLY) go through my wardrobe and be honest about the makes that don’t get worn anymore… maybe over Christmas lol.
      It’s fab that you’ve got such a good fit on your Scout now – yes, make LOADS of them now! ??
      Ps – was the octopus cotton by Cotton and Steel by any chance?!

  8. Brenda evans
    October 7, 2018 / 6:39 pm

    Love the Scout top. So pleased you finally got to NY. Hope you both enjoy !!!!!!!……

    • Sarah
      October 30, 2018 / 8:55 am

      Thanks Brenda! This Scout is definitely one of my favourite things I’ve ever made. And NYC was *fabulous*!! ????

  9. Moira Anderson
    October 8, 2018 / 7:18 am

    Absolutely stunning Sarah, well done. Love reading your blogs. Enjoy NYC!

    • Sarah
      October 30, 2018 / 8:55 am

      Thanks Moira! So glad that you enjoy reading the blogs ☺️?

  10. Alyssa Wesselmann
    October 12, 2018 / 12:03 pm

    What a fun shirt! It looks great and the general color matching across the seam lines is excellent! As for bias tape, this tutorial from Brooks Ann Camper has been incredibly helpful to me, though it is for double fold bias tape rather than single –

    • Sarah
      October 30, 2018 / 8:58 am

      Thanks Alyssa! Ooh, that tutorial looks really useful, I think pressing the tape into shape BEFORE sewing it to the curve is something I need to do (currently not doing that). I’ll try that on the next attempt, and will report back on how it goes! Thanks! ??

  11. astridbreel
    November 3, 2018 / 9:02 am

    This is just perfect ? the husbeast did well on his pattern placement!! I might also take inspiration from you – I have a couple of pieces of fabric that should be big enough for 2 projects and although I know what 1 of them will be I’m holding off making things until I know what the 2nd one will be so I can make sure it will all fit on the fabric. The end result is the fabric remains uncut…. I should just make the thing! ?

    • Sarah
      November 5, 2018 / 9:04 am

      Thank you Astrid! ?
      Haha… I feel you… but if you know what one will be, just be brave and cut it! It will work out in the end, I promise ☺️ you’ll find the perfect pattern that you have *just* enough fabric left to make! ??

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