Sometimes when you sew, everything just goes right. Your invisible zip goes in first time. You put a sleeve in without getting any tucks in the fabric. You finish a seam just before your bobbin thread runs out. This is not one of those times. And just so we’re clear from the off, it’s all my own fault, and not that of the pattern. I made a fundamental stupid mistake which threw everything out, and meant that my first Papercut Coppélia top was a disaster.
Before we get into that, let’s wind the clock back a little bit. The Coppélia has been on my sewing list since October but I didn’t manage it in 2017. This year I want to try more “new to me” pattern companies and this resolution seemed like the kick up the rear I needed to get this top made. I’m not a huge one for novelty prints (although I have been known to dabble), but I spotted this cute silver polar bear print knit in my local JoAnn and thought it’d be a good match for the pattern. I had visions of it being a Christmas jumper with a longer shelf-life.
Anyway, I decided Version B (the faux wrap top) would be the perfect pattern to kick off my sewing for 2018. I had to make my usual adjustments based on my measurements – blending out a couple of sizes to accommodate my hips. This was where I made my mistake. In hindsight, there were plenty of clues that would tell me which way up the front wrap pattern piece should go – notches, grainline, the cutting line for Version A – but I missed them all because all I saw was the pattern title, which ran perpendicular to everything else. Of course, I just assumed that that was the right way up, so I went on my merry way and began cutting everything out. Of course, I only realised that I’d altered the wrong side after I cut everything out and had run out of usable fabric. Arrgh.
So my mistake meant that my polar bears were running vertically rather than horizontally on the front two panels, and those panels weren’t quite wide enough to meet the back panel at the side seams. It meant that my snuggly polar bear jumper was not meant to be, but I did decide to treat it as a muslin and managed to stretch the jersey to fit at the side seams. Then I decided to put the cuffs on the sleeves. I had a complete brain fart with them and ended up sewing them every way but the right way, unpicking them at least three times and putting a hole in them in the process, not to mention when I got one caught in the feed dogs. Still, I persevered and I managed to get the muslin done. It was fine to check the fit, but not really wearable outside.
Despite all that, I was determined to get something to show for my efforts, so I went back to JoAnn to pick up some more jersey. They didn’t have much of a selection – the shop is badly organised and the majority of the knits I could find felt synthetic or were just plain horrible. I eventually settled on this grey, medium-weight jersey, which I felt would fit in my wardrobe quite nicely.
Taking all my mistakes into account, I was super-careful with my second attempt, and even then it only took me about three hours to complete it, including cutting out and a quick lunch break. It is a super-quick pattern with easy-to-follow instructions. I machined all the seams that would be concealed – i.e. the cuffs, and the neck and waist binding – and overlocked the rest. Once you close up the side and underarm seams it starts looking like a proper top and before you know it, it’s all done. From that point of view, I’d recommend giving it a go.
I did have to slip stitch the neckline closed, though, because when I pulled it down you could see a little bit too much of my bra – not a problem with the muslin. I think this has had a knock-on effect on the neckline at the shoulders, which doesn’t sit flush. I’m not sure how to fix it, but I’ll take it in to my next Make It Happen session at Drygoods Design to get some professional help (!). That little detail doesn’t bother me too much, so I’ll still wear this version; it’s just something to put right for next time.
Anyway, after I got over those earlier setbacks, I actually quite enjoyed sewing the Coppélia. It’s so quick and simple, that it feels quite satisfying. This jersey is quite thick, so I think I’d like to try it in something a bit more lightweight to see how it turns out, but till then I’m happy this one had a happy ending.