We recently had an unseasonally hot few days here, and it became quite apparent to me that I don’t have enough clothes in my wardrobe to see me through the hotter weather. So, I’ve started to look at adding to what I’ve already got. And I haven’t really got a lot, I’ve been out of the workforce for quite a long time, and I need to build up a new wardrobe of clothes that are suitable for the office.
I started with this top. It’s another design from Ottobre Magazine, issue 2/2015, the most recent women’s spring/summer issue. I chose design number 10. This top is basically a t-shirt, but made from woven fabric, instead of knit. I’ve been keen to try this design ever since this issue of the magazine was released earlier this year.
The fabric is a drapey viscose crepe with a black background and multi-coloured marble-effect swirl printed design. As this is a print, the black background does look almost faded. The fabric is very light weight – perfect for warm days, but not see-through at all. It has slight one-way stretch, but I wasn’t able to take advantage of that because of the direction of the print. I wanted the swirls to go down the body, not across.
The design for this top features a stylish pleated detail at the left shoulder. This gives a lovely drape to the fabric, I imagine that if this were made from a stiffer, crisper fabric, like linen for instance, the effect would be entirely different, I think I will have to try that. The pleats are a little hard to see because of the printed pattern. Here is a look at the inside:
This top was incredibly quick to put together. For starters, there are only 3 pattern pieces: front, back, and back facing.
The front is cut out flat from a single layer of fabric because it is asymmetrical. The back, is cut on the fold, as usual. The back neck facing was supposed to be cut on the bias, but because this fabric has slight one-way stretch I used that instead and cut it out using that stretch across the grain.
There are no sleeve pieces, this is a short sleeve top and the shoulder extends over the shoulder slightly, giving just enough of a sleeve with no requirement to cut an extra piece. This makes it a very simple and easy piece to sew.
The order of construction was unusual for this top because only the back neck is faced, it is a narrow facing. I honestly couldn’t work out the instructions that Ottobre provided for attaching this, in the end I did it my way.
Firstly, I stitched a narrow hem onto the front neckline. I did this by first overlocking the raw edge, then folding that under and stitching, then folding it under again and stitching a final time. This created a nice, neat hem with no rough edges or loose threads, and it required no pinning and therefore was quick and easy to do.
Next, I did the pleats, following the directions provided by Ottobre. I think I didn’t quite transfer the markings from my traced paper pattern piece to the fabric, the finished shoulder seam was slightly longer than the matching shoulder seam on the back bodice piece, so I had to sort of scrunch it up to make it fit. But in the end it looks fine, so I’m not too worried about that.
Then I attached the back neck facing. Very carefully, I aligned the finished front edge with the seamline separating the back bodice piece from the facing and stitched the shoulder seams. I folded the facing to the inside, which put the wrong sides of the fabric together, folding it over the shoulder seams to cover them at the neckline, and again stitched a narrow hem. I did leave this hem a little wider than what I did for the front though, only folding it over once. This gives a nice, clean finish to the neckline, all the way around.
Next, was the side seams and a small hem around the sleeves. I did the sleeve hems exactly the same way that I did the front neckline.
The top was finished by doing a neat, simple hem at the lower edge.
The hem looks a bit crinkly there, but I assure you its not, it hangs very well, this is just the right sort of fabric to do that.
I do intend to make this top again, maybe in a different kind of fabric, a stronger, less drapey fabric would provide greater definition to the pleats and would give it a completely different look. However, I will size it down. I made this in the correct size according to my hip measurement – which is my widest point – and in the magazine, the top looks to be fitted around the hips…
…but its not, its actually a bit more “sack”-like than I was expecting. There is no shaping at the side seams, and only a slight dip in the hemline. Otherwise its pretty much straight up and down. As I stated earlier, its basically a t-shirt, but for a woven fabric, and I have so many woven fabrics in my stash that would suit this pattern really well.
I would recommend this pattern for a beginner sewist, it was nice and easy to make, with no zips, buttons, plackets, set in sleeves or anything else to make it complicated. The style of the top comes from the clean lines and tiny hems. The pleats, although I did muddle them slightly, are clearly marked on the pattern and explained really well in the instructions.
I love the simplicity of this top, it was super-quick to put together, the pattern is also, in a sense, largely a blank canvas and could be completely reinvented by the addition of different embellishments or trims such as piping, lace or an appliqué.
I have really enjoyed wearing this top so far, it ended up being really comfortable. I think that even though its a little bit big for me, it will get a lot of wear this summer.
I know that I’ll be making quite a few more things for myself over the next few months, leading into our hot Australian summer, so I hope that you’ll be back to see them.
Thanks for reading.