Crinkled Cotton Barcelona Top
I love crinkled fabrics. Not only are they interesting, but they hide a lot of things that you don't want to show, including your stitches!
I wanted to make a summer top that would look and feel cool, and also travel well without fear of wrinkling. So I selected a lightweight cotton crinkle fabric. The trick to this fabric keeping its shape is that there are some nylon and spandex threads woven into the reverse side of the fabric that actually create the crinkle and keep the texture totally in tact.
I thought I had better pre-wash the fabric, thinking it would shrink a lot, but in fact, there was very little change. And then I was worried that the crinkles would press out or flatten, and again I was surprised that the fabric looked the same as when I reeled it off the bolt. All was good.
I did do a few things differently, though, as I cut out and constructed the Barcelona Top. So if you decide to try making this top using some crinkled fabric, here are some tips:
- I wanted shorter sleeves than that pattern calls for, so I ignored the standard lengthen and shorten line on the sleeve pattern and simply measured down 10" from the sleeve dot at the top of the cap, added a 1 5/8" hem allowance and cut off the sleeve.
- I liked the selvage on the fabric, so I placed the pattern piece in such a way as to feature the nice ruffly selvage edge as the finished edge on the cowl. I set the pattern piece off of the edge of the fabric the hem allowance distance plus another 3/4".
- I used a rotary cutter to get the best clean edges as I cut.
- The best option for marking crinkled fabrics is to use the single strand knotted tailor tack method. The dot at the bottom of the cowl insertion is THE most important marking on the Barcelona Top pattern.
- Rather than turning the hems twice as is instructed in the pattern, I used a serge and turn method. I serged the 5/8" turndown off using a 3-thread stitch formation, then pressed the hem up 1". I tested my stitching many times on scraps of fabric, adjusting the differential feed until the serging no longer stretched out the edges and the stitching line was completely flat.
- When sewing on my sewing machine, I found the walking foot to be essential. Without it, my stitching stretched the fabric too much.
- I used Fusible Stay Tape (in white for the actual garment!) to secure the shoulder seam and back neck and prevent excess stretching when it hangs.
- The crinkled fabric was way too fussy to even attempt making a narrow drawstring, so I cut a 1"-wide strip of cotton jersey on the crossgrain, and then stretched the strip to get a nice curled tube. No sewing needed!
It was one of those nights when the sewing goddesses were on my side. I started the project at about 4pm on a Sunday with the idea that I would get a little bit done and work on it throughout the week. At 7pm, I took a break to prepare dinner, and I finished the top at 10:30pm. Off to bed with a completed top ready to wear at Sew Kansas July 2016!