Hi Everyone! I hope if you’re in the northern hemisphere you’re starting to feel the presence of spring! Here in my little corner of Texas we like to skip the whole transitional season thing and move right into summer. After living here for 6 years I’ve finally resigned myself to this and just accepted the fact that I shouldn’t become to invested in cold weather sewing. The truth is I will always get much more wear out of an extensive warm weather wardrobe than I will wool coats – no matter how fun they are to sew!
This month I present to you this fun and fabulous little floral topper! I feel a bit silly calling it a “shirt” or even a “top” as its open-back, apron style makes it feel like I’m hardly wearing anything at all! For this make I used this gorgeous Italian Black/Blue/Green Floral Printed Cotton Batiste from Mood Fabrics online, which is now, sadly, sold out. However it’s sister colorway seems to still be kicking! This fabric was truly delightful! After all, what’s not to like about cotton batiste in a bold, charming, painterly floral? Easy to cut, easy to press, easy to sew, and easy on the eyes. I adored this fabric.
Right off the bat I knew I wanted to pair this fabric with Vogue Patterns #1507. This was a new pattern from designer Rachel Comey, who is one of my favorites, and the design just immediately caught my eye as something different. The version on the pattern envelope is lovely for showing off the style lines of this top, but in my heart I felt like this shirt longed to be made up in a loud print, perhaps to give it a bit of a Carmen Miranda flair! I didn’t bother with print matching for this make, instead I rather liked the haphazard way the print fell across the bodice and sleeves. And since the shirt is double layered I love how bits of the pattern peak through some of the sheer-er areas of the top layer.
This was such an interesting pattern to sew up! Generally when I see a design I can usually anticipate what the pattern pieces will look like and how it will all go together, but this one was so unexpected! The sleeve pattern was almost unrecognizable, and I actually had to read and follow the instructions to figure out what was going on! A refreshing challenge! All that being said, it wasn’t a particularly challenging sew. The only tricky part (or perhaps I should say tedious part) was that every piece – the two layers of both the bodice and the sleeves – had to be hemmed at 1/8″. And these were loooong, cuuurrrrvvved, hems! If I owned a rolled hem foot this may have been easier. I debated doing it all by hand, which I think would be a lovely touch should you decide to make this top out of a delicate fabric like silk habotai or chiffon, but knew it would take me ages. In the end I did it all the old fashioned way – folding a tiny hem and edgestitching it. By the time I got to the sleeves I was pretty pro! Well, at least there was much less swearing…
I’ve included some dress form pictures because the wind was doing me no favors during my photo shoot! I’m really happy I decided to use such a well behaved fabric, like cotton batiste, for this make, since so many pieces fall on the bias, and there was the tedious tiny hems… I could imagine this make being a real headache in a trickier fabric! Fit-wise I am fairly happy with how this turned out. I went one size down, however I think it’s safe to say that anyone thinking about making this could probably size down 2 sizes. The neckline is quite wide, even on me and I have wide shoulders, and from an engineering standpoint the shoulders are really the only thing holding this top on the body. So if you are narrow shouldered you might find this top to be… not the most secure! (Beware gusty winds, that’s all I’m saying!)
The pattern calls for french seams on the front of the bodice, a small bias cut facing for the back neckline, and bias binding for the back yoke and sleeves, however I finished my sleeves on my serger instead.
And here’s a closeup of those teeny hems!! Truly, this was the bulk of the sewing! As you might imagine, choosing a thread color for this project was a bit of a nightmare, since no matter what color I chose it was going to contrast with the print of the fabric at some point. I settled for off-white, and I think it looks okay, however an invisible, hand-rolled hem would probably have been more elegant. Nevertheless I don’t think the stitching detracts from the finished piece.
All in all I love this fun top! It’s a really great statement piece, perfect for dressing up basics. And the open back and “I feel naked but I’m not” vibe of this top is, I’m sure, going to be appreciated once the dog days of summer really set in!