If you’re reading this you’re probably aware that Sarah @sarahcsewing and I are hosting an Instagram Challenge to sew your own Republique du Chiffon Nellie shirt. We have shared our Nellies already along with step-by-steps and a few tips we learnt along the way. This is documenting my 4th Nellie (2nd one for my 16yr old daughter) and a few more tips and daft mistakes I made along the way! Some of this you probably now know so I’ll keep it as brief as possible. Hard. As I do tend to go on!
RdC patterns have no seam allowance included. You need to add whatever s.a. you prefer. They recommend 1cm (2cm for hems). The pattern layout does show which pieces need allowances added to, i.e NOT the ruffle x4 or the arm bindings x2.
I made the smallest size, graded it in at the sides, shortened the length by 3” and narrowed the ruffle and managed to get it out of 1m of fabric. Check your size by measuring the pattern pieces- don’t rely in the size guide!!
RdC patterns are basic. But I like that. It gives you the flexibility to choose how you finish your seams and because of its simplicity it makes modifications straightforward. And boy have I seen lots of lovely ones!!
Attach shoulder seam. I used french seams, but took them up by 2cm as Eilidh is quite petite.
I make the facings at this point. Adjust shoulder seam accordingly by that same 2cm and turn back the outer edge, press and stitch. I didn’t interface but I think if your fabric is very lightweight in comparison to the weight your ruffle will be it might be an idea.
Now for the ruffle. This is where I messed up in my haste and overconfidence! I had already cut the 4 ruffles to the width I wanted. FORGETTING TO ALLOW FOR SEAM ALLOWANCES!! How stupid was that on my 4th one! (The answer is “very!”)
So. With no more fabric it meant I had to use EXTREMELY small seam allowances. I sewed them together at 0.5cm and then realised I didn’t have enough width to run 2 rows of gathering stitches up so only managed one. Hint:- you need them!! My ruffle curled up like hell. It was so difficult to fight with. I was so annoyed at myself!
I still didn’t have enough seam allowance so I had to attach it a little way in from the front edge. It was such a pain and took SO long! I think it would be more noticeable if it was a plain fabric but thankfully the pattern masks any slight wobbly bits!) Don’t forget to start the ruffle allowing for your hem allowance at the bottom edge. The ruffle finishes at the top centre front. It’s lucky I love this wee top so much and knew it’s potential or I’d have thrown it away by now! Once the facing is stitched on and gathering stitches removed it makes it alot more secure. Thank goodness! So glad that bit was over! Easy sailing from now on!
Press the facing away from the shirtthen back the other way to the insideI topstitch close to the edge and tack the facing in place to the shoulder seams. Next up finish the side seams in your desired way. Again I french seamed.
Fold up the hem twice so it sits in line with your ruffle bottom and stitchThe armhole binding instructions are non existent so this is the way I chose to do it. Press the binding in half lengthwise wrong sides together and pin to the armhole all 3 raw edges together starting at the underarm seam. Stitch 1cm (1/2 way in) and press to the outside. Then press again to the inside. Stitch near to the edge. I used my buttonhole spacer on the full ruffled edge starting at the centre front. People have also used snaps. Or even sewn it up completely with no openings as it can probably get over your head (check that first though!!) I’m so in love with this wee top- so is Eilidh!! Have lots if variations planned. Now come on Summer…!!!