Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m a bookworm. Always have been, always will be. Handbags are chosen on their ability to carry purse, umbrella, brush and book at all times, lunchtime at work (all 30 minutes of it) involves eating whilst reading and getting to sleep without reading…..just not possible.
Which means that this fabric could not have been more perfect for me!
I mean, just look at it! Piles and piles of books! Heaven!
I found this lusciousness in Miss Matatabi‘s Etsy shop. If you haven’t yet discovered Miss Matatabi, she’s based in Japan and has the most amazing selection of fabrics, generally sold by the quarter or half metre. I’ve seen several bloggers using her so ordered and was very pleased both with delivery times and the quality of the fabrics I chose (you didn’t think I just picked one, did you? 😉)
Print aside, this is a lovely Japanese cotton with a smooth finish and a lovely drape. Realistically it’s probably a little light weight for an October make but I just couldn’t resist it – it’s been in the stash a while, I finally managed to match it to a pattern and I was making it! Thankfully the office tends to be pretty warm so I wear short sleeved tops all year around with layers.
So here it is.
The pattern used is New Look 6808, a pattern I’ve made a couple of times before and have amended after each make. The first version, true to the pattern, was this one in elephant print lawn.
Love it, worn it loads, but it’s too wide round the neck, to the point where I improvised a kind of inverted pleat in the centre neck after I’d worn it once (wouldn’t recommend this on a top with a facing BTW!)
The second one, with that tuck amount taken out of the front neckline and the back piece (which is cut on the fold) narrowed by 2cm simply by shifting the pattern piece over before cutting, is this one.
Bit hard to see but the fit was much improved (fabric was also from Miss Matatabi).
It does however give me the impression of having a rather matronly bosom, not something I’ve been accused of before! I had another look and decided that the problem was the height of the bust darts. I used the tutorial in the Great British Sewing Bee book to cut apart my traced pattern and shift everything up a bit!
I also increased the width of the darts on the front piece in search of the fitted look I was after.
The main other change I made was to replace the neckline facing with bias binding, and I’m so glad I did, it’s so much neater. I was a little lazy and used shop bought black bias instead of making my own, something I’ve only done once and found tedious in the extreme! It is definitely rougher than the main fabric, but it’s smooth enough for this use.
I went with french seams throughout, even on the sleeves, which I found a good tutorial for doing last time I made this top on Grainline Studios blog. I’m really pleased with the finish throughout: the only place I’ve had to finish the edges with zigzag is around the invisible zip (the pattern calls for a lapped zip but I’m happier with an invisible one).
I have to say, I feel great in this top, it is exactly what I was looking for. The colours are a bit different for me (I wear a lot of black and blue but not tan generally) but actually I like it in this print. Could just be the books again of course!
The only think I might try and change on the next version (because who doesn’t make at least 4 versions of everything?) is the fit around the hem: with the deeper darts I’ve ended up almost with pleats at the bottom edge? It I think some of that is the lightweight fabric. I’m prepared to forgive it!
So how about you, do you have a go to pattern for tops? I’m hoping my next make will also end up a tried and true for me – Tilly’s new Orla top is waiting to be cut out and the envelope art looks like my perfect winter top!