Every winter when it starts getting cold, I become completely obsessed with velvet clothing. I collect inspiration pictures on a dedicated Pinterest board, and one of my favorites is this Urban Outfitters turtleneck top in silver velvet, which is a fun and casual take on an otherwise pretty dramatic fabric. During my latest Fabric.com order I was a few dollars short from getting free shipping, and, thinking back on this outfit I decided to throw in a yard and a half of silver crushed velvet, in the hope of recreating something like it. Upon consideration I figured a scoop neck would be easier to wear than a turtleneck, especially in such a cheap non-breathable fabric, and I decided for the Nettie bodysuit which I had gotten in a PDF bundle a while ago.
Nettie is a dress and bodysuit pattern that is basic but very versatile, with several sleeve and front and back neckline options. It’s the bodysuit version that lured me in: perfect to wear with high-waisted skirts without ending up with fabric bunching at the waist, and I like that the cut has a lot of butt-coverage. The dress version didn’t resonate with me at first, but now that my Givre dress has been such a phenomenal success I’m starting to understand the appeal of bodycon silhouettes. For this version I went with the long sleeves and the front scoop neck that I find very flattering, paired with a high back to avoid having issues with the shoulders falling down.
But Camille, you said bodysuits didn’t bunch up at the waist, so what’s up with yours?
… weeeell technically, mine is not really a bodysuit. And that’s because I completely messed up the pattern + fabric pairing. While I was ordering this fabric, I didn’t pay attention to the fact that the description only mentioned horizontal stretch, not vertical, while the instructions for the bodysuit version of Nettie recommend using a 4-way stretch fabric. Once I got my hand on the fabric, there was no denying it: it had no vertical stretch whatsoever. I thought maybe if I lengthened the bodice it could still work, even though it might not be very comfortable, so I eyeballed it and added 2 cm. Ha. Ha. Ha. Nope. Once it was assembled I realized I needed at least 15 more centimeters just to close it at the crotch! So I cut it at the hip to turn it into a regular shirt: tucked into a skirt it still works and I guess I’ll make a bodysuit another time.
And what’s the deal with the weird neckline?
The Nettie’s neckline is supposed to be finished with a knit band, like the Plantain shirt. Except in this cheap fabric with very poor recovery, my first attempt with the serger was a disaster, resulting in an unequal band width and clusters of thread and poorly cut fabric chunks in some places. I tried saving it but the more I was trying the worse it got, so I ended up giving up and cutting off the knit band right at the seam. Thankfully I had in stock some dark grey fold-over elastic, with a slight shine that worked well with the velvet. At that point I thought this project would end up in the trash anyway, so I added the elastic in a hurry, just to see what it’d look like, and I was surprised to see that the result was actually wearable! Since I had to cut the neckline the scoop is deeper than it should be, especially at the sides. Because of this, my bra straps easily show if I’m not careful, which is a common problem with Nettie to begin with apparently. But apart from this for a last-minute save I’m pretty happy!
The sleeves are also finished with fold-over elastic, because with the lack of vertical stretch of the fabric they ended up a bit short and I didn’t want to lose even more length by hemming them. I think in a fabric with the correct amount of stretch they would be the right length for me, we’ll see next time, I might lengthen them a bit just in case. Another consequence of this fabric: the sleeves are slightly uncomfortable, and there are drag lines on the sides of the bust which I think wouldn’t be there in a more fitting fabric.
Despite all of this I think this shirt is pretty cool. In this silver velvet I feel like a retro-futuristic cosmonaut (though it’s a pain to photograph!). I guess given the poor quality of the fabric and the construction it won’t last very long, but I find if fun to wear and I didn’t pay a lot for the fabric, nor spent more than two hours on this project all in all. Surprisingly I’ve already worn it twice in ten days, as it seems that my winter wardrobe was seriously lacking statement pieces for going out, and for now this fits the bill just fine 🙂