This is a free PDF pattern you can access online, even if you don’t subscribe to the magazine, which is a nice contribution to the sewing community, and a great way to introduce people to the magazine. I’m not sure where I first saw a picture of this cute top, but I loved it immediately and pinned it to my “Sewing Patterns” Pinterest board for future reference. This summer, I made this top twice: first from a vintage sheet that had quite a bit of body, and second from some Cotton + Steel rayon, which had a lot of drape. I made a size E at the bust and graded out to an F at the waist and hip.
Version one (front: above; back: below)
Version two (front: above; back: below)
I was so impressed with the directions and thoughtful design of this pattern. The directions and illustrations were very clear, and each piece was carefully and thoughtfully drafted, allowing you to cut bias strips that would perfectly fit the top and come to a neat point in the back. I didn’t use those pieces in my versions due to lack of fabric and my desire to use up bias tape I already had, but I was so impressed with this level of detail. The shirt is made of several pieces, allowing you to easily color block or create fun pattern placements.
For my first version, I decided to try to use up things I had in my sewing stash. I pulled out some vintage sheeting I had thrifted when I first began sewing, odd bits of bias tape, and some lace pieces my Mom had given me for the shoulder panels.
This top is quite cropped and is drafted for a B cup. I’m a larger cup size, so I think that added to the cropped quality. You can see how short this is on me, and how, in this stiffer fabric, it stands away from my body, making the ruffle at the bottom really noticeable. This is cute and wearable, but I knew that if I made it again, I would want to lengthen it.
Other aspects of the pattern that I liked: good undergarment coverage due to the width of the shoulder pieces, and a nice rounded front neckline and v-shaped back neckline. Also, if you, like me, don’t have quite the required amount of fabric, it’s pretty easy to piece the ruffle.
Between version one and version two, I came to the realization that I have very forward-set shoulders. I didn’t realize that was a thing, but I found it in my trusty Singer Sewing Reference Library fitting book (The Perfect Fit). I have found that when I make sleeveless shirts, the front armhole often cuts into the front ball of my shoulder. The book said that if your shoulders are in front of your ears, you have forward shoulders. I had my husband look at me from the side and he said that my shoulders were way in front of my ears. Time to learn about forward shoulder adjustments! I’ve searched for a solution to the problem of sleeveless shirts cutting into the front of my shoulders for the last few years. No one seems to really know what to do, and I never find information on the internet about it. I was hoping that this would help, so I started with a minor adjustment.
I think it made a difference! Version two is a little bit better in the shoulder area (and to be fair, this shirt didn’t cut in very much–just a little). I also lengthened version two by two inches. I made this iteration in some leftover pieces of Cotton + Steel rayon from a shirt I made my Mom. This version looks really different because, in addition to my adjustments, this fabric has a lot of drape.
I really like Cotton + Steel’s rayon. I haven’t completely fallen in love with rayon challis as a substrate because, while soft, something about it just doesn’t feel durable. It’s also not my favorite to sew, but this rayon is smooth and tightly woven, and is great to sew with. I highly recommend it.
I used some random bias tape I had on hand again, because I didn’t have enough fabric to cut out the bias strips included with the pattern, and I pieced the ruffle.
I had plans to make a third version in some Alison Glass Mariner Cloth that I got at Pintuck & Purl. It would have been really fun to play with the stripes, but as you’ll see (hopefully in the next week or two), I ended up using it for another top. I wanted to see how this pattern would work with my changes in another fabric with more body, but I realized that I didn’t need so many tops of this style in my closet, at least not right now. I would certainly be up for revisiting this one in the future, though. Trying out this great pattern from In the Folds has made me curious about their other offerings. I think it is so smart of designers to put out really quality work, especially when a pattern is free to consumers, because it’s a great way for sewists to try a company that is new to them and get a feel for it. I’ve tried free patterns that weren’t well done that have turned me off to certain companies, and I’ve tried good ones (like this one), that have made me excited to delve deeper into any of their other offerings that might fit my style or intrigue me.
One last thought, which is really more of a question/request. If anyone has any experience with forward shoulder adjustments or knows what I should do to solve my woven-tank-top-armhole-cutting-in problem, please tell me your thoughts or point me to resources in the comments. I did try a major forward shoulder adjustment on a top I haven’t blogged yet, but I must have done something wrong or adjusted too far because I ended up making the shoulder seams on front and back different lengths, so I went back to the minor adjustment.
That’s it for this project! I have a few more summery projects to finish and share and then I’ll start making things that will transition between seasons. I’m happy to have the warmer weather a bit longer though–I haven’t forgotten what winter feels like yet.
- Megan Nielsen’s blog is where I learned the technique of sewing over a cord or string to gather fabric.
- The Twig + Tale blog has several interesting tutorials like this one on how to create a concealed pocket in a lining. This one on adding side pockets to one of their shirt patterns is also pretty cool. Add all the pockets!
- I really want McCall’s 7330 jumpsuit in my closet, I just don’t feel like fitting and sewing it. Can I just snap my fingers and make it happen? Maybe a jumpsuit is something I need to thrift…