I don’t know about you, but I have been hunting for the “perfect” sleeveless top pattern for quite some time. “Perfect” is quite a tricky thing to define, but for me, there are a few boxes to be ticked:
- It should fit nicely around the neck and shoulders, without the requirement for a strapless bra (because who wants to be less comfortable when it’s hot enough for a sleeveless top?)
- It should be woven. This might be somewhat controversial, especially given my love of jersey, but I find woven tops cooler and generally smarter looking in the heat
- It should not be massively fabric hungry; I want to be able to use fabulous prints and they tend to be pricey!
- I should be able to pair it with jeans or shorts alike
- I should be able to make one in an evening, to allow for emergency pre-holiday sewing
- If possible, without sacrificing style, it should cover most of my chest and cleavage: I burn ridiculously easily so prefer to remain covered, thank you!
I’ve tried quite a few tops over the last three years, and the Deer and Doe “Datura” has been my favourite for some time. However, there does come a time when you’ve made a pattern multiple times and you look around for something new.
Enter the new Helen’s Closet pattern, the Ashton.
I love it.
I know it bears a similarity to a few other sleeveless tops, but I’ve made a few of them and this one has the edge.
For starters, the neck and shoulders fit me out of the packet. And I mean fit, with no gaping at front or back neck and no tightness around the armholes. This is almost unheard of and made my very happy indeed.
There are different pattern pieces for those above and below a certain cup size, with instructions for selecting the correct one for you (which is probably why it fits so well!)
It has different options for finishing, with pattern pieces and instructions included for both bias bound and faced neckline and hem. BIG win for me; I love an all in one facing, as it tends to give me a better finish. But if fabric’s short, bias binding is a winner!
There are two darts to sew but no fastenings, making this totally feasible as an evening’s project.
And it has two different lengths; one is a “standard” length, kind of mid hip finish and the other is a very on trend cropped length, perfect for wearing with high waisted shorts or trousers.
I made no less than 4 of these for my recent holidays, and I love all of them!
The first was made from a cotton lawn remnant I picked up at Sew Over It when I met my Australian cousin in London a few weeks ago. I had around 75cm of this fabric, and to make things work I made the one piece facing out of a plain black lawn which worked perfectly. I chose the cropped length, it came together easily in an evening and I love the way it looks with my black linen Flint shorts (to be blogged at a later date!)
The second I made from some fab cotton poplin I bought from Bobbins and Bolts. This Art Gallery ice cream print begged to be made into a holiday top; I had 1m of a clearly directional print and managed to squeeze another cropped version on, although I used shop bought bias for the hem rather than the facing pieces and the ice creams are upside down on half of the neckline facing! Paired with some chambray Pietra shorts (also still to be blogged!), I loved it and got several compliments (including one in mime from one of the characters from Inside Out who we met at Epcot!)
Third up was one using the last remnants of a piece of Liberty tana lawn. I bought a 3m piece as a remnant from them and have now fit both a Penny dress and this top onto their narrower than average fabric, again using a directional print.
I have to admit that the all in one facing on this is not as deep as it should be: I had to fold and refold to cut this out of the tiny bit of fabric I had and didn’t realise until too late that I hadn’t got quite enough fabric for one of the facing pieces. I made it as deep as I could and then just finished the bottom edge with the overlocker and hoped for the best: I seem to have got away with it!
Finally, I decided to give the longer length cut another go. I used the final remnant I’d bought from Sew Over It with my cousin, a beautiful tropical print rayon which gives the top a totally different look. I prefer this with the longer length; I think the shorter length lends itself to something with more body to show off that cropped shape, but the longer length wouldn’t feel as flattering to me if it didn’t drape a little more.
So there you have it; my new favourite woven summer top! The pattern’s great, the instructions are clear, it meets all of my wish list requirements: what more could you want?
Oh, and it’s Ashton August on Helen’s blog right now, so there are loads of additional ideas and hacks over there too; what are you waiting for?
Pattern: Helen’s Closet Ashton top
My measurements: bust 36″: waist 32″: hip 42″
Size cut: size 8, B cup option
Fabric: cotton lawn / cotton poplin / rayon
Adjustments made: nowt!
Future adjustments: nada!
Make again: And again, and again, and again…..