I spotted the rayon Rachel Comey Dune Top on the 11 Honore website for $575. I really liked the sort of reverse notch collar and felt it would frame my face well as it mimics my jaw line. After asking on Instagram I was directed to Lekala 4711 which is an almost perfect match. A few details are missing: yoked back, sleeve cuffs, high low and split hem — but otherwise is ideal.
I have heard of Lekala’s custom size ordering but knew it wasn’t perfect, especially if I wanted accommodation for my bust. I entered for my upper bust, bicep, waist, hips. For additional options I did say narrow shoulder width, short neck and larger arm. I like that I could account for stomach projection, but I had no real idea what to do with my protruding seat.
Fabric: For this project, I used a red silk stretch charmeuse from my stash. I have about five cuts of silk charmeuse that I’ve avoided using until this year. The cuts are at least ten years old and were planned to be shells under suit jackets. Well, I was scared to sew with slippery silk charmeuse and I stopped wearing suits every day. The fabric proved challenging but I’m really proud of myself for finally starting to sew it. But, in some lights and angles, you can see that my bust points aren’t as smooth as one would want.
Pattern: Listen. It’s a $3 pattern. If it’s well drafted, I have no complaints. I could not recommend Lekala to anyone who isn’t WELL versed in construction techniques. I truly sewed this on my own. The collar instructions didn’t make any sense to me and I had to wing it.
To make my FBA, I added in a French dart which might be my new favorite way to get bust shaping into a garment with cut on sleeves. It allowed to to add width and length but keep the easy pull over look. My darts were way too high and I shortened one by 7 cm. I have some darting happening above my bust, but I don’t think there’s much I can do about that.
I basically made up how to sew the collar and lapel. The directions made ZERO sense to me. I sewed a sample first. Then totally sewed it differently on the actual garment. The pattern isn’t well notched tbh and I managed to put the collar together backward the first time. I had to resew the collar after I’d graded and trimmed my seam allowances, so the size is distorted. I also topstitched the lapel down using a “fine” thread since it showed my bra the moment I moved (I now own some slim tanks so maybe I’ll unpick this stitching). I’m pretty salty about how the collar isn’t well matched, but it’s on me. I would add a notch here, indicating how the collar and lapel should line up.
The sleeves are pretty spiraly. I have a few theories. First, I’ve read dropped shoulder sleeves will always have drag lines. When entering my measurements, I said the bicep should be larger in addition to putting in my bicep measurement. I think that’s not needed? My biceps are 14.5″ but it’s not (as Oprah calls them) a set of flags. So I don’t need extra ease, I just need them to fit. I may have cut them off grain a bit? Or because it’s silk charmeuse, it doesn’t have enough structure to support the sleeve. I also think the drop is a little too wide and I would try shortening that by about 1″.
I also made the top high low by shortening the front by 6″. I used guidance from the Bunka “Blouses and Dresses” book to sew this. Basically, you serge the blouse side seams down to 2cm past where the slit begins. Sew the side seam with 1.5 cm seam allowance. Then 2 cm from where the slit begins, you’ll sew at 2 cm seam allowance to the slit. From there you press and topstich the slit and hem into place.
I hemmed the sleeves using a “narrow hem topstitch” technique I found in the Singer Guide to Specialty Fabrics. I did not do this on my garment hem and I have rahgrets, lol.
Whew. Overall, I’m pretty pleased. I’ve always wanted elegant silk blouses. I love the collar design and it suits me well. I think two will be enough. I don’t have a silk blouse life anymore, but it’ll be nice to have something to wear out — when we start going back out. I’d give this effort a solid B- overall, but hope to improve to an A- in my next version, which will be black. But maybe not silk charmeuse because I don’t think I have a more-than-one-silk-charmeuse-blouse life 😆.
It’s a beautiful colour on you and really looks like a $600 blouse. Great job!
I’m blushing! Thank you! I’ve been watching a lot of non American TV lately and I just love the beautiful shirts and silk blouses I’m seeing. I’ve worn tee shirts and sweatshirts only this year and this one made me feel like a million bucks.
It does look absolutely lovely, and suits you very well. Good pick for the colour.
I have lots of suiting fabric in my fabric cupboard and wonder about where to wear it!
I destashed so much suiting a few years ago. I just realized I didn’t have a suit fabric life anymore. That said, I kept a few special pieces for that tailored blazer I keep saying I’m going to make some day.
As you know, I really love this neckline! The blouse looks perfect to me, and I admire your courage with the silk charmeuse.
That color is great on you and a lovely blouse. I think a silk top or tunic is super versatile in a wardrobe. And the stretch charmeuse doesn’t wrinkle so I find it good for travel. It is fussy to sew and you chose a tricky pattern to use. There was a McCall pattern a few years ago that had that very similar neckline I made it and always worried that the collar section would come undone after clipping into the seams. By the way – I suggest don’t unpick where you stitched the front closed – it is super easy to snag on the charmeuse and might show needle holes.
I can see that costing $575. It sounds like a bear to sew, but what a beautiful garment. It must feel very luxurious to wear, and the fit looks much better than you describe :),
When I was done with this, I thought, “You’d have to pay me $500 to sew this again.” I think I’m going to try it in linen this spring and wear it as a tunic.
Oh! Good advice. I’ll leave the collar alone. Thanks, Beth!
Beautiful color and your bravery in taking on a tricky fabric is rewarded with a blouse that is attractive on you. Congrats. Karen
Thank you, Karen! I think the pandemic made me sew it? I’ve been trying not to buy new fabric and this was one of the few plain blouse materials I had in my stash. I do feel like a conquered a real sewing fear though.
The colour is great! And I think you can blame a lot on the fabric. I LOVE charmeuse but it’s so hard to manage, in my experience.
I’m also now terrified of spilling something on it. I need to find the right cami to wear to so I don’t sweat right through it.
What a color, and with that shine! So elegant and vibrant. Sewing with charmeuse, though, you earned it. 🙂
Hahaha! I avoided it for so long, and just dove into the deep end. Thank you so much. I do feel elegant and vibrant.
Beautiful neckline, I can see why you were drawn to recreate this RC look. And thanks for the intro to Lekala. I’d heard of them before, but didn’t realize their patterns were so customizable in terms of measurements. I might have to go take a look.
Yes! It’s really great. I kind of want to try this pattern again, but remove the “Tweaks” from them and just use my measurements. I’m curious to see a difference.
I love the idea that you don’t have a more than one silk charmeuse blouse life. I guess you could decide to wear them anyway – dog walking in silk charmeuse sounds appealing…
It’s so dang humid here or I would sign up for that. I did get to wear it for a holiday happy hour video call and it was a great Zoom top.
You did such a beautiful job and that color! I get the frustration over silk. Lekala is new to me. For that price I would give them a go. I love tops with personality and this one has it in spades and I can see why you wanted to make it.
Yes! Finding a good top with personality is a real triumph I think. While this fabric made me want to commit a murder, I would absolutely make this again. And for $3, it’s nice to have low expectations, lol.
I do love a red silk blouse, and I LOVE yours. The pattern turned out well, nicely done! That notched collar is beautiful!!
Thank you! The collar is the whole shirt for sure.
I love lekala. They have been my go to for a couple of years now. Once you’ve made a couple of them, you figure out what little tweaks you need (the extra options are fantastic once you figure them out.) But yeah, the instructions are terrible. I really like this on you, the color is amazing, and I don’t see the sleeve twist, but I know how annoying it feels! I think I need to look at this pattern, it might be a good use of some of my Challis stash. 😜 FYI to anyone reading this and hoping they can get that singer book you mentioned; they have reprinted the whole set (I think) in paperback. My local fabric store sells them. I’m going to have to see if they have the tricky fabrics book. I hate rippled hems on slippery fabrics that show up after the first wash. 🤬
Wow, that color and the cut and your sewing work (and you!) are gorgeous!! 🙂
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