The more I sew from Pattern Fantastique, the more I like their patterns. You possibly remember that I have already sewn a number of Aeolian tees and Celestial dresses, and my Falda jacket is worn frequently. Guess what – numerous Calyx smocks are now on my agenda!
This is a pattern that I’ve been eyeing off for some time – Anna has a particularly lovely version. When a proportion of sales were being donated to bushfire relief last month I finally invested in the pattern. From the pattern website: The Calyx Smock (Pattern #104) is named after a part of the flower where petals and fruit form. Balanced between the decorative and utilitarian the idea stems from a memory of my Mother’s hairdressing apron she wore in the late 70s combined with the handmade gathered smock she dressed me in at the same time. Fabric: The Calyx Smock is suitable for many woven fabrics. From fine sheer light-weight silks for some full floaty romance to mid-weight Denim paired with a Glacial Skivvy when winter layering is needed. The limit is to fabrics too thick to bind after gathering: Thick denim and jumbo cord, coat weight fabrics. There are five lovely examples of this smock on the Pattern Fantastique website, with both the dress and the top version shown. Each version can be sewn with a shorter, almost cap length sleeve, or an elbow length sleeve with a wide hem that can easily be turned up to make a cuff if preferred.
The hem is finished with a wide, shaped facing, although you can just turn a simple narrow hem if that suits the fabric better – or just if you want to! I like a wide faced hem, so chose that finish. Wide hems just add that bit more substance and shape.
The neck binding extends into ties at the back. I often skip these types of closures and just cut pieces on the fold – I have a small head and rarely have to undo them to make dressing easier – but this time I did as I was told and included it. I’m glad that I did – there is a centre back seam, also widely self-faced, that adds a nice bit of detail and also makes the opening easy to do and fairly hardy.
The neckline gathering and binding was the most time-consuming part of sewing this top. The instructions included exact measurements for how much to gather up each section, which was really useful. Then it just took lots of pinning and patience to get it all right! If you sew this just make sure that you don’t rush it, especially the part when you turn the binding to enclose the seam allowances and stitch it in place. I did this by machine after using a million pins; some people might find it just as easy to hand-sew the binding in place.
Isn’t this fabric lovely? When you look at it close up it has a jacquard woven through it, with the colourful print over the top. It’s lightweight and floaty and was perfect for this top. I think it was originally from Joy’s in Geelong, who are no longer in operation. I sewed size 12, without any alterations.
Now I need to decide which fabric to make my next Calyx from! I do have some hand-woven printed silk that I bought in Thailand that needs to become a garment – maybe that will be it. Although I’d also like to sew the dress version. So many things to sew, so little time to do it all in!