a simple dressy top

I’ve been looking over the body shape analysis over at Inside Out Style, and I figured that I was likely an X (hourglass) or A (pear). If I’m an A, then the wisdom would be to keep hips free of ornamentation, show the waist, and add fullness at the shoulders to balance out the hips – so I bought this pattern:

Butterick 5497

But then I kept reading the blog and found other body shapes, like the 8 (similar to X but carrying weight higher on the hip). I then looked at how she measures shoulder width, and I think my shoulders may actually be wider than my hips. So I’d be a V (inverted triangle). In short, I have no idea, so I’ll just have to make up the damn thing and see how it looks.

I picked up some interesting black synthetic knit with silver thread in it. I don’t expect it to be particularly comfortable (I rarely wear synthetics) but that’s OK because it’s meant to be a special occasion top.

Black sparkle knit. In real life, it reads much more black. The sparkle is silver - not sure where the aqua tone came from.

I didn’t make a muslin but started mucking with the pattern right away. I’m doing the long-sleeved version (view C) and I noticed that the sleeve is drafted at a rather low angle for being so loose at the top of the sleeve and so narrow at the wrist. My worry was that this would constrict the range of motion.

Butterick 5497 diagram

Because I can’t leave well enough alone, I redrafted it so the top of the sleeve is on the horizontal. Hey, while I’m at it, why not put that horizontal on the fold? The shoulders are supposed to get some ruching by means of short lengths of elastic stitched into the SA. Only I don’t have an SA there now. Not sure exactly how this will play out, but I’ll think of something when I get there.

My first draft is not made of win. The measurements suggested that the length would be fine from shoulder to below bust. Not so much. It looks sloppy and dumpy, but if I hoik it up an inch or two, it’s not bad. And then I could just shorten it using… that seam I just drafted out of the pattern. Oh well. I guess I’ll have to rip out the under-bust seam. There’s a funny curve on the front seam, which bows up towards the bust. I’m sure this is supposed to have some practical application, but the effect is to create an extra flap for drooping. Not good. Since I’m ripping that seam out anyway, I’ll straighten it out like I wanted to when I first eyeballed the shape.

As this top wasn’t going terribly well, and because I’d like to make a pair of pants/trousers by early May, I thought I should put this project down and start on the trousers. Was going to get rolling on it last night, but oops, somehow this fabric escaped the pre-wash. Washed it and hung it up to dry this morning, and thought I should at least pull out the pattern pieces and see about marking the fabric. Oops, I have no idea where that pattern is aprรจs move.


About Zena

I sew sometimes.
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5 Responses to a simple dressy top

  1. Big in Japan says:

    Simple knit tops are always so good in theory…. from one who knows… and then the ripping begins, things get stretched out, edges start to roll, blood pressure rises, the selection of curse words dwindles… Trousers! Yes, I need trousers too!

  2. TanitIsis says:

    Ha! I don’t rip knits, I cut ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I would call you more of a petite hourglass, Zena… Visually your proportions are pretty balanced top and bottom. Jen would be an example of a pear.

    I think running the elastic along the fold in the fabric for the ruching would be fine, as long as it doesn’t irritate your shoulders. It looks like it could be a really pretty top.

    • Zena says:

      Hmm, I hadn’t thought of cutting. Yet. I’m sure if I started ripping, I’d end up picking up my scissors in anger ๐Ÿ˜‰ Also, it’s black thread on mostly black fabric, which can be crazy-making.

      OK, you’ve confirmed my original thought. The horizontal proportions are fairly balanced, though I’m not busty, contrary to many definitions of hourglass. The vertical proportions, not so much ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I’ve had a couple ideas about the ruching:
      + elastic attached with a line of stitching, as you suggest
      + gathering to a piece of self fabric, instead of elastic
      + making a casing for one or two length of elastic, or self fabric, or strings
      We’ll see how it goes when I get there ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Marie-Christine says:

    Definitely can’t rip knits. And you shouldn’t hang them. Ever, really, but especially when you’re prewashing, because then you’re sure to make something that’ll end up too short, as you’ll be cutting the fabric in maximally elongated state, which will disappear with the first wash.
    As to freedom of movement, it might be a consideration, but 1) not in something that loose 2) not in a knit. So you may be better off just trying the pattern as is :-). Always good policy anyway, just so you can learn something about what works and not. Make it first in a fabric that’s either not so expensive or that you aren’t so attached to (with same weight and drape). It’s a better use of the time spent re-drafting up front.
    Like the fabric, and the pattern. Beware though that you’ll need to stabilize the front neck (with clear polyurethane elastic) or you’ll end up needing a very good bra indeed.

    • Zena says:

      FYI, I was talking about “hanging” the trouser fabric, not this knit. And when I say “hanging”, I generally mean air-drying as contrasted with putting it in the dryer.

      Yes, this shirt is loose, but it’s snug at the wrist and under the bust. If I try put my arms out straight (to the front or the sides) and the shoulder seam runs at that original angle, it’s going to tug.

      As with my other T-shirts, I’ll be drafting my own neckline. The neckline on this pattern is much looser than I like and looks like it would slop around when you move your arms.

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