Community · Finished Project · Sewing

The ‘Sweetheart in Turbulence’ Peplum for the Sew Weekly Reunion

Sew Well - Sweetheart in Turbulence for the Sew Weekly Reunion

Sweet Dress Book - Sew WellThe Facts
Fabric: Gray curtain fabric from FabMo, floral nylon mesh jersey from Tessuti, silk organza from Thai Silks
Pattern: Sweetheart bodice dress “R” from the Sweet Dress Book
Year: 2013
Notions: Gray invisible zipper
Pantone challenge colors: Turbulence (gray) with accents in Mykonos Blue, Deep Lichen Green, and Vivacious (pink)
Time to complete: I’m never good at keeping up with the hours since I sew a little here and a little there. Plus, this one sat in purgatory for quite awhile…
First worn: Today
Wear again? Probably not
Total price: I’m also never good at keeping up with how much I spend on fabric. But, the gray curtain was basically free, and I didn’t have to use much of the other fabrics, both of which were purchased on sale, so I’d say (fortunately!) not very much in this case!

As you can probably guess from the title of the post and all of the details listed above, I made this sweetheart peplum for the 2013 Sew Weekly Reunion. It’s a good thing I had the challenge to motivate me because otherwise I think this particular garment would have already had its good bits salvaged and everything else would have been in the trash. I’d compare this particular garment to one of those art pieces that’s fabulous from afar but a mess up close.

Things started off so well. The theme of this year’s reunion was to make a garment using at least one of the Pantone Fall 2013 Colors of the Season. It sounded simple enough since I knew the colors and had even already written about them here. I dug through my stash and found a gray (wool?) curtain that I’d picked up from Fabmo back in the day. I thought it was perfect for the Sew Weekly Reunion because it was not only a great match for the fall color “Turbulence” gray, but those Sew Weekly ladies were always refashioning crazy things like curtains into fabulous garments. I also found a floral mesh knit that not only had the same gray but also pulled in many of the other fall colors as well.


As for the pattern, I began with the sweetheart bodice dress “R” pattern from the Sweet Dress Book, and I had a lot of fun making pattern modifications after tissue fitting. I lowered the sweetheart neckline and slightly reshaped it so that it would end right at the bottom of the armhole. I also lowered the empire waistline so that it would hit right above my growing baby bump. Finally, I swapped the gathered skirt for a some-fraction-of-a-circle skirt.

Cutting was also fun, and cutting is typically my least favorite part of sewing. I decided to cut both the back and front on the fold and moved the zipper to the left side seam. After cutting the floral mesh knit, I decided to underline it with silk organza so that it would be able to withstand the weight of the thick gray curtain. I hand basted the knit and organza together, and from then on out I treated them as one.

The sewing also started out pretty straightforward. I snipped into the center of the sweetheart neckline so that I could sew the mesh/organza to the wool, and it went together with little problem. Then I went to press the seam, and that’s when I realized this project wasn’t going to be as easy as I’d thought. The curtain just would not hold a nice press. And, I couldn’t use a lot of heat for fear of melting the mesh. I gave it the best press that I could then ran a row of topstitching just under the sweetheart neckline to keep everything in place. I did the same to the back and to the peplum. To finish the neckline and the armholes, I made bias binding out of silk organza. When I was hand stitching it into place on the inside of the garment, I was careful to only catch the silk organza underlining so that my stitches wouldn’t show from the outside.

But, even with every careful stitch I knew things just weren’t going well. I could tell the curtain just didn’t want to be anything other than a curtain. Also, even though I’d carefully matched and hand basted the mesh and the organza together, the two had not married well. There was just too much give in the mesh, which made for tiny little pulls around the armholes.

Sew Well - Sweetheart in Turbulence for the Sew Weekly Reunion

When I posted the above picture and an update of my progress last week, I’d pretty much given up. Thankfully, the online sewing community is such a sharing and creative bunch, and a lovely comment by Gjeometry spurred me into action again. She said,

Oh my gosh, it looks GORGEOUS on the dress form. That’s so too bad that it doesn’t look that way on. What about if you sort of ‘rock washed’ it, i.e., washed it over and over with some tumbling items to kind of beat it up and soften it dramatically?

So, I ran it through the washer and dryer with a bunch of pairs of jeans, and it came out oh so much softer. I decided it was worth hemming and throwing on the blog for the reunion, so I gave it a quick machine blind hem, and here it is!

That said, this peplum will likely be very short lived. The curtain may have softened a lot, but it’s still a curtain. And, it still feels like wearing a curtain, even if it is a thousand times better than it was before ‘rock washing’. So, I think the organza, mesh, and zipper will end up being cut out and used in future projects. Oh well. C’est la vie!

18 thoughts on “The ‘Sweetheart in Turbulence’ Peplum for the Sew Weekly Reunion

  1. Wow! It looks great. I love peplum tops. ANd I love refashions – from curtain to top is wonderful! ANd cutting is the worst part of sewing for me (and tracing Burda patterns isn’t fun either.)

    1. Yeah, the prep part takes so long for me. One day I want to have a dedicated prep table at the perfect height for working while standing. Right now all I have is the floor…

  2. Oh, I think it looks terrific!! I’m so pleased that my idea worked for it. I bet once your wore it a few times, It would totally soften up. You could always wear it around the house at first if you thought it was still too crispy to wear out. I love it though and also love the colour combination, just inspired!

  3. See and here I thought that you had thought ahead to have a great maternity top! You may want to hold onto it for a little while longer…cause it looks great on you and will probably be fantastic a few more months in! So I vote to keep it! Not that you asked…hahahaha!

    1. I had thought slightly ahead since I knew I would need a little more fabric around the belly by the time the reunion deadline rolled around. But, I’m constantly amazed at how much more my belly is already expanding every day! I have a few projects I’m already working on that aren’t maternity-focused, but then it’s going to have to be all maternity all the time!

  4. I know you mention you may not wear this again, but I think it is adorable. Thank you for sharing your “wins” and “struggles” in your blog posts. I was beat up a little bit today after spending a not-so-productive day sewing. I was struggling with a pattern and the pattern won. I love your projects, and your posts encourage me to keep learning! Thank you!

  5. Ok…I don’t know how I missed your great news! Congrats on expecting a new little bundle! I agree with everyone that this top looks cute(it really does) but you are the one who has to wear it and if you don’t feel really great in it ( especially now that you are pregnant) than trash it!! Thanks for sharing this “struggle” because the rest of us can learn from it! Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s