It’s autumn and the sleeveless tops need to stay in the closet. Fortunately, I had the right fabric and pattern in my stash!
New Look 6808 is described as “Misses Easy Tops with neckline and sleeve variations.” It’s a gently shaped top that has been heavily reviewed on Pattern Review. I don’t remember when or why I bought this pattern, but it’s been in my pattern box for a while. I suspect it was overlooked because that style of collar and those short-sleeves do nothing for me. Since I wanted something simple for a woven, version A was worth a try.
Unknown cotton, probably a lawn that I picked up in the summer of 2016 at the Atlanta ASG fabric sale, Common Threads. I paid $4 for 2 yards of fabric. It was just a dream to work with.
For this pattern I wanted a nice fit through the shoulders and chest, so decided to use Nancy Zieman’s Pivot & Slide method to increase the bust. So I cut an 18, then added 3/4″ to the bust on each side (so a total of 3″ to the bust), then tapered back down towards the hips, adding about 1 1/2″ on the waist and maybe an inch to the hips.
Have I mentioned how much I enjoy this method of altering patterns? It’s so much easier than doing an FBA and hacking apart a pattern. Next time I will likely slide the neckline in a bit. It’s wearable, but probably a wee bit too wide.
If you know how to do a lapped zipper, this is a pretty simple sew. There are bust darts plus darts in the front bodice and back bodice for shaping. This fabric pressed up beautifully, resulting in crisp darts and edges. And it was also forgiving when I had to pick out seams. What would Janine do if she didn’t need to pick out seams?
The sleeves are 3/4 length and have nice detailing on the cuff. I used my Frixion Erasable Gel pen to mark the stitch lines for the cuffs on the interfacing after it had been fused, and that led to a very precise seam and point.
For the hem, I first serged the edge then used my blind hemming foot and wound up with a very neat looking hem in record time. A thread that matched perfectly really made all the difference here.
The zipper. Ugh. I tell you what, the lapped zipper is the bane of my sewing existence. I just cannot get the hang of it. I tried to follow the instructions on the pattern which were basically to turn back one seam allowance by 5/8″ and the other by 1/2″ and then stitch the zipper. Well, that was all fine and dandy but I couldn’t get the upper edge (under the arm) to align perfectly so there was a bubble. Ripped it all out.
Then I thought I would follow instructions from Nancy Zieman’s website. They looked like good directions, but you need to cut the seam allowance larger (1″) so that little tip was too late.
I looked at a bunch of blogs plus the sewing books in my bookcase and basted two different ways but I couldn’t get either right. Fortunately, the fabric was stable so it didn’t stretch, but this was getting to be a bit tiresome.But I persevered and finally used the instructions that came with the zipper and that worked fine.
I still hate putting in lapped zippers, but at least I did it. Zipper-installation proficiency is one of my goals for 2017 so I’d better get the hang of this quickly.
Update: I’ve worn and washed these tops several times and have noted that the sleeve cuffs fall down. When originally constructing I had tacked the cuff to the seams but that isn’t enough. The cuffs really need to be tacked all the way around. Another case when a bit of hand stitching makes all the difference.
So my goal with this was to cut and start one evening and finish the next. The zipper messed up all of my plans! There really was no need for me to rush. I just wanted to see if I could do it.
- Cutting pattern, pivoting & sliding & cutting fabric: 1 hour
- Sewing (including endless zipper issues): 5 hours. Ugh.
This is one of my favourite me-made garments. The shape is perfect for these
days months when I’m not exactly in my best shape. The darts provide a hint of shape without being constricting. When I’ve spent some time at the gym I may add a belt.
The sleeve cuff detailing adds style without being too trendy (I’m looking at you, sleeve flounces!). There’s a shirt dress in my queue and this cuff may well wind up on that dress!
The fabric was just the right choice for this top. It reminds of something from Brooks Brothers, and $4 is a lot more appealing than $174.
This is a TNT – and I will be making 2 more of these in the very near future. Fabric is in the project boxes for the sewing retreat next weekend!