Saturday, April 26, 2014

Mellow Yellow "quick" top

When I ran into trouble with my last make (the Starry Night dress), I put it aside for a while -- the things I needed to unpick and fix just seemed like too much to do. Fortunately I did finish it and love it, but, when I first put it aside, I decided I needed a quick, simple top that would be easy to whip up, as compensation.

Why I didn't just choose a pattern I've already made, I do not know. I chose instead New Look 6217, planning to make the loose fitting woven tee. I had a large swath of mustard-coloured fabric, some kind of polyester blend I think, but I liked the weight and drape of it. Plus I'm trying to use up I went on the NL 6217 adventure.

Another example of the pattern pics unconsciously shaping my
fabric choice -- mine is nearly identical to the View B on the left!

I didn't measure the pattern pieces or even think about it, I just snipped it all out according to my size on the pattern envelope. I think I cut 14 at the neck and shoulders and graded to 16 at the sides and bottom. Anyhow, the putting together of it was really, really easy. It's just a few pieces -- one for the front, and 2 for the back -- there's a centre back seam with an opening at the top with button closure.

(As an aside: When I had really long hair I used to avoid this kind of design element -- no matter what I did, my hair would get tangled up in the button. One more reason I like my really short hair -- now I can wear this style)

It calls for a bias binding at the neck. I was going to be clever and sew on a contrasting ribbon that I have had for a while and looked very pretty with the fabric. BUT. Not thinking ahead, I stitched it right on, but when I tried it on, I realized that the ribbon was too heavy for the fabric and was pulling it away from the body. It looked weird and not very nice at all. Plus I noticed that the (beautiful) button and thread loop (the first I ever made, and I am sure it will be the nicest one I ever make, it was perfect, sigh) were sitting funnily on the back of my neck and making the fabric on either side of the opening bubble out.

I was going to take a picture so I could show you my woes, but in my annoyance I forgot. Here's a picture of what it looks like now that I've fixed it.

I kind of like that front pleat 

There were a few fixes for this. I got out my trusty seam-ripper and took off the ribbon. I fiddled around with the blouse and realized that if I pinched out an inch at the front neckline it sat much more comfortably. So I basted in a pleat there. And the back, well, I decided that since it was just a trial I'd use a mysterious technique I recently noted over at Pretty Grievances , a mini "hunch dart" in the back. I pinched out 1/2 inch on either side of the back opening and stitched it down. It looks okay -- here's a pic, before I ironed it (it lies more smoothly now that it has been pressed)

From a distance, not so bad

Closeup! Look what I decided to do...
the button is very pretty, though!

I also decided I was just going to turn under the neckline and topstitch it instead of binding it. I think it actually looks quite good. Except I do think that the neckline is still quite wide, and I might add some lingerie straps in there to hold it on my shoulders properly. All in all, I do think that I can still wear this despite the unexpected changes. Other than the neckline I do quite like how it feels on, loose but not completely shapeless, and light and flowy for summer.

After I finished this one I wondered if I could remake it with my changes pre-made on the pattern. So I got out the pattern, and some very lightweight cotton from the stash and tried again. This fabric is very light, like a handkerchief cotton, and the print is crazy. I bought it for, I think, about $1/metre thinking it would be useful to practice on -- this was before I started buying old sheets for the purpose. Anyhow, I folded out 1 inch at the centre front, tapering down to nothing by the bust line. I then folded out a 1/2 inch horizontal bit at the back opening as I had on the original. I also decided to cut the back on the fold, as there was no need for a button other than for decoration -- it slides right over the head easily. So I also folded out 1/4 inch at the original seam line to narrow it just a bit. I cut it and sewed it, hemming the bottom and sleeves with a narrow hem, all within less than an hour, and found some cream bias binding in the stash to finish the neckline. This may sound odd, but it's the first time I've ever actually used bias binding to do this. I used Colette's method from the Sorbetto pattern to connect the ends of the binding. It seems my alterations have worked, as this second attempt fits quite wonderfully, and despite the crazy fabric and my intention never to actually wear it, I have worn it, twice already!  So I guess it was a good learning experience -- I think that this is one quick pattern that I'll make again now that it fits well -- it's very quick and would be useful for summer in a couple of solid colours.

Here's the result of the second try:

It really does fit better all around. 

And the back is nice and smooth, not gaping at all

March and April have been quite a "learning experience" sewing time. I hope that my next planned make is a wee bit easier on me :)


  1. The front pleat - a favourite solution of mine for a quick fix for fitting problems. Both tops look. Well done for deciding to make the top again using what you had learned from the first top to improve the fitting issues - that's something I'm starting to do more often.

    1. Yes, pleats do come in handy ;) I thought I'd make it again right away so I didn't forget what I had changed...I need to keep my sewing notebook up to date with my alterations!

  2. Love this. I will have to try the pattern. Looks like a nice quick project. Your finishes are beautiful! :)

  3. Thank you for all your tips in your blog! I am a beginner and have this pattern and your tips as to what you did with it to alter are great! Especially that the button is just decorative so not really needed. Hoping to make today...

    1. I hope you made this and that it looks wonderful :)

  4. Did you ever use the jacket in this pattern/ That's what I'm interested in.

    1. No, I haven't -- though it looks like a good general kimono style. I hope you'll try it and share the results!


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