Cielo – a heavenly project

img_2525The Italian translation of cielo is the sky or heavens. The meaning in Spanish is the same (due to the shared Latin root – caelum) but that doesn’t seem as relevant because this is a review of a pattern from the Closet Case Patterns Rome collection. Anyway the obvious pun works just fine here, because this really is a pretty heavenly pattern.img_2455

The only Closet Case pattern that I’ve made before is the Bombshell swimsuit. That was one of those projects that I made about four years ago – when I knew I didn’t have the skills to accomplish it but figured “to hell with it” and just gave it a go. My swimsuit is far from perfect, but I wear it still and I love it. It’s a brilliant pattern.

I don’t know why I’ve not made some of the rest of the CCP catalogue. It’s not that I don’t constantly drool over them. The Clare coat, the Morgan jeans, the Charlie kaftan and the rest of the Rome collection have been on my mental ‘to make’ list forever a long time. When the Rome collection was published last year I was keen – but as ever, there are just so many things to make <ooh shiny thing>.

img_2513So what finally got me there? It was the pouffy sleeves of the Cielo that took me across the line with this one. They looked fabulous in the line drawing, kept popping up in different blogs that I follow, and seemed even better in the Instagram selection that I researched. And now that I have those sleeves to waft around in for myself, it’s hard to imagine wanting to wear anything else!

img_2447The fabric and the pattern were both purchased at the Stitch Festival last weekend. I bought the pattern from Sew Me Something – and I really have no memory of where the fabric came from. There were so many stalls – so much wonderful fabric – and I was like a child in a sweet shop. What a dangerously lovely day! I ended up buying far too much fabric, all prints despite a firm commitment going in to only buy solids, and for the most part, no clear idea of what they would become.

This piece was different though – I had my pattern already purchased, and the moment I handled it, I knew she would be my first Cielo. The fabric is a light, very drapey viscose (at a guess – I’m rubbish at identifying fabric types). It doesn’t hate or particularly welcome an iron, and feels like it will be dry a few minutes after it’s been washed (fingers crossed, with little ironing required – in which case it will definitely be my favourite thing ever).

The steps of construction were straightforward, with nothing particularly tricky. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t blunder my way through it though. I traced the pattern pieces on Friday evening, while waiting until the right time of the morning to be my eldest daughter’s taxi service back from a club. I was quite happy spending that quiet time tracing – and only realised that when pretty tired I should probably have triple checked my work when I realised that half the lower sleeve had been traced on to the worktop, not the paper.

img_2454Next I managed to cut out one of my huge sleeve heads with fabric that had a hidden cut out – you know when you fold it and you’re sure that you know where the lower fabric edge runs, but there’s one bit that’s cut out? That was me. And it was right in the middle of the sleeve head. It’s such an enormous pattern piece that I didn’t want to just recut the piece (it would have been so wasteful), so instead I recut the top of the piece about 3cm down, to lose the chunk that was missing – I knew that it would make the sleeve a bit shorter, and possibly slightly less pouffy, but as the cost was only about 2cm across the gathered section, I decided it was the best way forwards.

img_2460
Let’s reflect that this is a bleached photo with the flash …

The final mistake was in using black thread for my gathering stitches – seriously, am I a complete amateur? My eyesight (or lack of it) is hilarious to my children, but still I thought it best to put in gathering stitches that were black thread on a black background – and which I really could barely see.

And yet, despite these errors – you know I just really loved making this top. It’s not just because I could see she was a lovely thing as I was making her – but also because the pattern was really well put together, easy to follow and fun. I had to walk down to our local sewing shop (Sweet Seams) to get some more black thread mid afternoon on Saturday, and I realised I was walking along with a big grin on my face – because I was in the middle of a really lovely sewing day. And let’s just celebrate the fact that I went into the shop, bought the thread and nothing else, and left again. I know, I’m as surprised as you are.

Learning points – well the obvious ones would be to avoid all the errors above in my next Cielo with careful cutting/measuring, using a contrast colour for the running stitches and so on.

One thing I adapted in the pattern was the length – when I’d finished but not hemmed the top I tried it on, and it was really as short as I wanted it to be – perhaps too short already. I therefore cut a 2 inch band and added it to the bottom. I really like this – both the finish and the length on me – and perhaps just the fact that I had to lengthen something! At 5’2″, that doesn’t happen very often.

So one of my Stitch Festival fabrics sewn, and I’m really happy with it. What will be next??

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