I remember looking around on patternreview one day and thinking “There sure are a lot of engineers around here.” Now that I’ve done a bit more sewing that doesn’t surprise me. A large part of sewing seems to be engineering: getting your garment to stand where it should, fall open where it should, to stretch when you move but hold it’s shape through many days of wash and wear. Most of my sewing failures are engineering failures: a jacket collar that’s too stiff or a dress that stretches under its own weight. Maybe it’s because I am a scientist, not an engineer, and I generally build things that I expect to fall apart shortly after my next experiment.
If I were an engineer, I think I would have approached this garment differently. Like not making it out of silk charmeuse, for instance. Also, I might have remembered that woven garments need extra space in the back for your arms to move. I would have interfaced the outer panels of the top, rather than the facings, because the outer panels have to support the weight of the lower panels. And I would have interfaced the lower panel at the top to keep the pleat from pulling the fibers apart.
But since I was making this up as I went along, here’s what I did to fix things: I left the sleeves open at the bottoms so they wouldn’t pull so much when I reach forward. I hand-stitched the facings to the front along the seamline to help the top maintain its shape. I fused a little piece of interfacing over the part of the pleat where the fabric was tearing. And I promised myself not to buy silk charmeuse ever again.
Unless it’s really pretty.