Simple Summer Top

July 14, 2011

I left you all hanging by promising a project with the blue fabric I picked up at the thrift store last week.  Unfortunately, I may have to disappoint, because I didn't end up using it.  I was planning on copying the red shirt, but once I unrolled the blue fabric and started ironing it, I realized it was way too heavy for a top. It would be great for a skirt that needs a little structure, but it would have looked ridiculous as a shirt.

Instead, I rummaged through my stash of fabric and came across this pretty green cotton print that was light and flowy - perfect for a summer top.  I'm not sure about what this weight of cotton is called or who makes it since I picked it up last summer on the clearance rack at Fabric Land in Canada.  From what I can tell, I think it's similar to a voile.  And I think I paid $2 a meter for it.  In any case, it made a lovely shirt.  After I finished sewing, I put it on and wore it for the rest of the day.

If you are interested in making a similar top, I can assure you that it is easy.  This is a one nap (i.e., 2 hour) project--the best kind in my opinion.  I was sewing, taking pictures, and blogging about it all in one day, so I wasn't organized enough to draft a pattern.  But, I can share with you the measurements for the back pattern piece.

The front piece is almost identical, but I made two changes.  The first was to cut the neck hole about 1 1/2" lower in the front.  Tops are usually more comfortable when the front is lower than the back.


The second difference between the front and back pieces was a little room I added in the front.  I used the pivot technique to do this.  I'm not sure if you can see in the picture below, but I stuck a safety pin in the top folded corner (the center of the neck), and rotated from there.  I added 5" total to the front piece along the bottom hem (sorry for the blurry measuring tape - like I said, I was racing against the clock to get things finished before the little one woke up from his afternoon nap).  By pivoting on the top corner, all the lines stay the same on the side so that everything will still match up when sewing the front and back pieces together.  

This really was the easiest top to make.  It was just a front and back piece, but I decided to also add a neck facing.  I thought this would look nice, and would ultimately be easier than fighting with hemming along the curved neckline or using bias tape to finish the top edge.  If you've never cut out a facing before, it's simple.  Basically I just cut the same shape as my neckline and made the piece 3" wide following the same curve of the top edge.  The light blue dotted line in the measurements diagram shows this. 

To sew it all together, start by sewing the front and back pieces together along the shoulder and side seams.  I finished these seams with a simple zig-zag stitch because it's fast and I didn't need it to look fancy on the inside.  Next, sew your facing together at the shoulder seams.  Sew the facing to the neck, being sure to match right sides together.  Press the top edge flat.  At this point, I thought I was clever and stitched the seam allowance down to the facing.  This keeps the facing from flipping up, and keeps the top layer nice and smooth.  I also added my tag to tack the facing down even further. 

At this point, all that is left is to hem the bottom edge and the sleeves.  I kept things simple by pressing the bottom edge under by 1/4" and then again by 5/8".  Then I sewed this down with two rows of stitches.  I did the same for the sleeves, except I made the hem smaller (only about 3/8" the second time I turned it under) and only used a single row of stitches.

Here is the finished top.  I know in the first picture it probably looked huge, but if you are like me and mostly wear knits, it's always a bit of a surprise to see how big woven tops look.  I typically wear a medium, and this fits perfectly (the style is meant to be a bit oversized).

Sorry folks, I was too lazy to get out the tripod for these pictures.

And if you are wondering why I needed to add all the extra width to the front piece, here is why... 

My three year old took this picture, so please excuse the unnecessary highlighting of my drain pipe.

No, not a big lunch, but I'm expecting my third baby.  I have been unsure about the proper blog etiquette to announce a pregnancy, but I guess this is as good of a way as any.  I'm 18 weeks pregnant, and we are hoping to find out tomorrow what we are having (boy or girl that is, since I'm very confident it's a human baby).  Any guesses?   

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