I gave away a top I made today. I took a quick photo before giving it away. Try and ignore the silly expression (I was in my friends house, with my husband taking a quick photo, being photobombed by three small twirly children whilst my friend and her sister looked on – not the ideal photo shoot). The thing is the fit.
The top is the day to night drape top by Maria Denmark (yes, I seem to have a bit of a thing about her patterns and tutorials at the mo). With Birgitte sleeves, as suggested by Maria, because I don’t wear sleeveless tops. I made it in some petrel couloured jersey from a local shop that I now realise is very similar colour to one of the photographed example top’s on her website – this was not intentional! I’m not sure of the fabric content, but it’s very slinky and drapey and feels cold to the touch. It is, as I thought, quite a good choice for a drape neck, but it’s also a little clingy on me.
But then that could be down to the size I cut. I steeled myself to do a full bust adjustment on a drape top. I was a little intimidated. But the pattern suggests using the same method I used before and I figured I just had to ignore the odd looking neckline and concentrate on the FBA. So, I measured my upper bust – 99cm, which corresponds to a large size (with bust measurement 102cm – the medium is 96cm), like I cut for my Birgitte’s. Then I measured my full bust – 103cm. Which is only 1cm above the large bust pattern size. Surely not. I measured again, and again, same answer each time. Surely a 1/2 cm FBA on my pattern piece is not worth it, especially when the pattern says a FBA is not needed for a C cup as there’s plenty of room in the bust.
So I blended a large top half of the pattern out to a 2XL waist/hip (which I needed) and cut and sewed that. The result is too annoyingly too tight around my girth despite my novice attempt at blending pattern sizes. Also, I see drag lines going horizontally across my cleavage (this is practically all I can focus on when I put the top on). Surely that means I should have done a FBA? What was I thinking of? Why not add 3cm like I did on both the Birgitte’s and the Kimono t shirt – after all, they’re the same pattern designer.
So, I’ve given it away. Despite two friends telling me it looked nice. You know, I think I could live with it if I’d bought it, but it will just bug me no end every time I wore it if I kept it, knowing that I’d spent ages learning to fit t shirts for my bust and then not doing so on this one and then it not fitting properly. I’ve no idea what was going on when I measured myself. In the future, I will just do a 3cm FBA on all Maria Denmark t shirt patterns until my shape changes. End of.
Oh, and sewing the pattern. Well, that was quite straightforward. The pdf came together easily (not sure if that’s Maria’s skill, a fluke or the fact that the paper size didn’t have to be translated to A4 from letter). It’s just two pieces, but I used the Birgitte sleeve too. What I didn’t do was use fold over or invisible elastic as instructed. I didn’t have any, I wasn’t confident of getting some locally, I didn’t need it on the armholes as I was using sleeves, I couldn’t see what good it was doing inside the drape and I thought I could live without it on the back of the neck. Oh and just possibly I was feeling a little impatient to get it done and didn’t want to wait till the shops were open and possibly wait longer still as if I had to resort to ordering online.
That decision made starting difficult. I had though to make the top up and then decide if I could be bothered with finding elastic to finish it, but the instructions started with adding the elastic finish to the neck before doing anything else. A quick search later and I found this tutorial from Fehr Trade on cowl tops. Here the edges aren’t finished with elastic, horray, but the shoulder seam is stabilised with tape, which I don’t have. I used some hemming tape before on my Coco tops but I’m not sure it was quite the right product to use and I’ve since lost it.
So, in true prolificprojectstarter slapdash style I decided that my folded over seam allowance for the back neckline was my facing and I followed the Fehr Trade buritto method for the shoulder seams. It was a little confusing when pinning as they kept rearranging themselves so I wasn’t sure which was the right side, but it worked fine. Then I just folded over and sewed down my back neckline, after all that worked on my drape drape asymmetric top and no one has ever noticed. And inside the cowl? – I left a raw edge. So, sue me, it won’t show and I’m pretty sure it won’t fray either.
The sleeve attachment took a little jiggling. I cut the large Birgitte sleeves and they didn’t seem quite the right size for the armscye, but a little stretching (the joy of sewing with jersey) and it all worked out. It was also a bit wierd working out how to attatch around the cowl facing, maybe it would’ve worked better if I’d followed Maria’s instrustions, but I got round it. Then it was just hemming the bottom and sleeves, which I did with my double needle (still need to get some jersey interfacing to improve the look of that, ho hum, another thing I can’t get locally).
In conclusion, construction was fine and dandy (if a little quick and dirty) but the fit was off – due to anomolies of measuring and deciding I didn’t need a FBA and exacerbated by clingy fabric. Anyway, my friend is very pleased to have a new top, she hadn’t tried it on when I left it with her, but she has an old shop bought top of mine that I gave away as it was a little too tight in the bust and so kept riding up (some kind of princess seam going on there) and that fits her fine (she wear’s it often, which is good to see as it’s a nice top), so I think it will be fine. And as she’s slightly taller than me I know she will appreciate the long post baby tummy covering length of this top (one day shops will catch on and make them for people to buy!).
I have had enough of t shirts for a while (except possibly for a long sleeved one) and intend to focus on my new knit dress obsession (whilst still ignoring the pile of half finished stuff), but I will try this one again at some point, with a FBA, possibly emailing and asking for advice on sleeve sizing first, and quite probably not in blue (I never intended a new wardrobe full of blue t shirts, I like blue, and I was lacking blue t shirts, but I’m thinking I probably have enough now).