Simplicity 1920 ~ Third Time Around

Sometimes the simplest of patterns brings the most satisfaction.


simplicity-sportswear-pattern-1920-envelope-frontSimplicity 1920  is one of those coordinates patterns – “Misses’ Skirt, Top, Jacket, Scarf and Belt”. I bought it early last year and sewed two tops, two belts and a skirt at the time.

First version sewn in a cotton knit. I wear this top a lot. The second version is in a chambray coloured linen.

I like the shape of the tops – the deep scoop neck works well with my figure, and the belt adds some interest and allows me to somehow create a waist.


I actually pulled this pattern out again because it would work well with a linen knit that I purchased from Fabric Mart Fabrics earlier in the summer. I’m kicking myself for not buying more because it was just $9.99 a yard at the time, and now I can’t find a 100% linen knit for less than $25.

The fabric is very soft and drapey. The knit has no recovery, so you can’t really use it for a pattern that requires much give, instead it lends itself to loose, flowing garments – JJill or Eileen Fisheresque.


This pattern has ease, but it’s hardly loose and flowing. And it’s also short. Well, not really short, but short enough that you can’t wear it over pants that have a lower rise.

IMG_3355So I took the pattern and did a bit of pivoting and sliding – pivoting from the shoulders and adding 3/4″ on each side, and sliding to add 5″ to the length. Of course pivoting means that you’re incrementally increasing the pattern from the bust down, so I did taper back down toward the waist. Still, I added a good 4″ to the width at the hip.


The linen knit is very easy to work with. It cut well, stitched easily, and pressed beautifully. I sewed the garment on my regular machine. For seam finishes, I did a mock flat fell seam for two reasons: first, to provide some structure, and second because I thought that the top needed some additional seaming to add interest and make it look less like a t-shirt.

The steps for this top are so easy: staystitch neck, bust darts, stitch shoulders (I did add clear elastic to the shoulder seams), add neck band, stitch sides, narrow hem on sleeve caps, hem top.


The neckline is a simple band. Since I wasn’t sure how much give the fabric had, I cut a piece of leftover fabric into the shape of the neckline, then also cut a strip of bias to use as a neckband. I stretched it different amounts and basted before deciding how much give was in the fabric. It turns out that there was not a lot – but enough to keep the neckband close to the décolleté once finished.



When I sewed the neckline, I decided to hand stitch the band to the inside, just because it would have been difficult to catch the fabric band and make it look tidy. It took some time, but was worthwhile.












To make the sleeve cap turn sharper and cleaner, I stitched a row using fusible thread, turned under 1/4″ inch and pressed, then turned under another 1/4″ and topstitched.

On the hem, I again wanted to add some seaming so turned the fabric a quarter inch and pressed, then again 1 1/4″ and topstitched. This also added some weight to the hem so it seems ‘beefier’. Because the hem can stretch, I used a very narrow lightning bolt stitch for the topstitching.


Once the top was completed I sewed up the belt, using my handy-dandy tube turner stick thing and it worked well. The belt was interfaced, and top stitched.

Time Required

  • 1:30 – Tracing Pattern, Altering Pattern, Cutting Fabric
  • 3:00 – Sewing top and belt


This is a loose top – it’s pretty much the opposite of form fitting (especially without the belt), but it’s comfortable and the shape seems to be right for this fabric. The first night I wore it the temperature was about 93F/34C and the top felt airy, cool and very comfortable in the summer weather. Although the fabric is not completely opaque, I can wear a nude toned bra without it showing through. This is not a fancy top, but the fabric feels really lovely against the skin so you feel elegant.

I’ll likely make it again, and will definitely jump on the linen knit if I ever see it again at a reasonable price.


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