Couture Lunacy

Exploring Fashion One Thread At A Time

The Southwestern Top

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While I’ve been mooching around trying to talk myself into actually making something in the sewing room, I finally got the energy to cut something out and start on it. For once I had the right color thread to sew it! That seriously makes a lot of difference.

The pattern I used is a version of

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this one by Marcy Tilton. I’ve made many tops from this pattern and I like it much better with the excess “wings” removed. With the wings on the top seemed too long and bulky in the thigh. I mirrored the side without the excess for drape, cut the pattern to match that non-draped side and then did a full bust adjustment on the top. You can see my explanation of a full bust adjustment here http://wp.me/p3i7tb-P.

Once that FBA was done, I had to “rotate the dart” because I don’t want a dart in a knit fabric that’s going to look odd. I rotated the fullness created by the FBA to the side bottom. This gives a nice shape to the top. It has a drape at the bottom creating a nice line from the bust down. It skims my stomach and hips which are definitely areas I want skimmed!

I love the fabric. I was a bit hesitant about the direction until I notice that most of the stretch is lengthwise so I had to use it in that manner. Had I tried to cut the top crosswise to have the pattern vertical, there wouldn’t have been enough stretch for the top to be comfortable.

So far I’ve done the shoulder seams to which I always add clear elastic and then fold over the seam allowance and topstitch toward the back. After that’s done I can trim the seam to neaten it up.

I cut my neckband two inches wide and sewed it into a circle. Then I did an overcast on the two edges because the fabric rolls a bit and the overcast stops it. On my Bernina this is stitch #31 and I use it a lot.

To step back a bit – the neckband needs to be shorter than the length of the neck, otherwise it won’t snap to the edge and you will get a baggy-looking neckband. Not good. On this top I first tried a band that was 75% of the length of the neck. That was too small for the style. It didn’t suite the nice flowing shirt so I cut another one 90% of the length of the neck and that’s what you see here.

The neckband of this top takes the most OMG panicky breathes while sewing. I mark the band in quarters and place pins in the marks. Then I do the same with the neck line itself. This way I distribute the stretch of the band evenly all around the neck. I have also overcast the neckline partially as a stay-stitching, but mostly because it gives a finished look inside the garment once the neckband is applied.

After stitching the neckband on, and congratulating yourself that you don’t have to take it off, all I do is press the seams down toward the shirt and “stitch in the ditch” created by the original seam. This forces the seam allowances to stay down when wearing and gives a nice finish.

I have only to put in the sleeves, sew the side seams and hem and I have a great top. This is a good three-season top because it is an ITY knit. I shudder at the thought of wearing it in 90 degree weather!

Here’s the pictures so far –

More to come ……… I’m getting new ideas ……… the more I sew, the more I want to sew ………….

I’ll show you the bottom drape once the sides are sewn up ……. you’ll be able to see the line of the top better!

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Author: Jennifer

I came from a family who made things. My father was a carpenter with a passion for making furniture. My mother sewed, crocheted, cooked and made a home on a shoestring. My grandmothers both quilted. As a teenager, I found batik through a wonderful art teacher who allowed me the freedom to batik yards of fabric. I then cut them up into a pattern and wore the item I made. I was ecstatic. I painted in my teens and twenties and my parents gracefully supplied me with oil paints and turpentine. When I needed an easel, my father took me to the shop where he worked and made me one. When he found unused and unwanted canvas, he brought it home and stretched it for me with wood from his shop at home. I was indulged at every step of the way. I wasn't ever told that I could not do something or that I should not do something. I was given freedom to chose my path in life. A blessed life I have lived, for sure.

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