I made this top a couple of months ago but it’s taken me a while to make the time to blog about it. Summer holidays are impossible for finding any computer time! This is designed as a maternity/nursing top or dress, and you can find it here with the original artwork: http://www.simplicitynewlook.com/1469/ It’s a simple empire line knit top with an outer bodice you can stretch down, with an inner bodice that has cut outs for nursing access. It would be pretty easy to make it without that access, though, if you had no need for it.
I cut a size S, although my measurements put me more towards the M sizing, as I’ve learnt that Big 4 pattern sizing is always too generous for my liking. As I was seaming with my overlocker I did, however, taper out to the edge of the seam allowance over the hips, adding in just a touch more ease for my pear shape figure.
I used a lightweight maroon viscose jersey originally purchased from Ditto Fabrics last summer, along with the same fabric in a black and white polka dot print for the contrast pieces. It doesn’t look like they still have my colours in stock, but I think this one might be from the same original selection: https://www.dittofabrics.co.uk/plain-and-printed-jersey-fabric/plain-jersey-fabric. It’s an incredibly slinky fabric which drapes beautifully, but is a complete bugger to sew. I made a t-shirt from it last year and nearly tore my hair out trying to deal with its shifty shenanigans, but it is wonderful to wear so I persevered. I wish I’d chosen something easier for my first two knit patterns, but at least everything I encounter in future should seem easy in comparison 🙂
As you can see, I made a few changes to the original pattern. First up, since I’d already lost the worst of the baby tummy, I decided to forgo the extra fabric in the front lower bodice–basically I just cut the back piece twice. This might have been a mistake as the fabric is so clingy it shows every bulge, reminding me I really do need to make the effort to go running! Also, it shows everything underneath, from bra-straps to jeans fastenings. Hence jeggings 🙂
And as you can also see from the side and back views, I really should have done something to stop it riding up at the back. I’m not sure if I need a swayback adjustment, or if I need more fabric to cover my ample behind.
I went a bit wild with the polka dot fabric, using it in way more places than the pattern suggested. This was partly because I like polka dots, but mainly because this was really designed to be a wearable toile, and I didn’t have enough of the maroon jersey to cut all the pieces.
As for the instructions, they were easy to follow but pretty basic and I wasn’t entirely sure about the ways they suggested to finish the edges (folding over and zig-zagging). I finished the curved inner bodice edges with just a serged edge as I didn’t want any bulk to show through and give away the fact it was a nursing top. There was no clear elastic specified at all, but I added it to the shoulder seams, as well as along the neckline of both the outer and inner bodice pieces (as suggested in the Craftsy Sewing With Knits class). In hindsight, this might have been a mistake as I think I stretched the elastic slightly along the bodice edge, and ended up with some slight gathering there which you might be able to see in the next picture.
Also, it did very strange things to the inner bodice curved neckline, forcing it to flip out in an annoying way as seen in the next badly taken selfie:
You can also see the effect of zig-zagging along the edges. To me, it looks a little home-made, which I don’t always mind but in this case I’m not keen. Although that said, my Mum was amazed I’d made this top and told me she thought I must have bought it, because apparently “home made clothes don’t usually fit properly”. I’m going to take my fitting as a success on this one, then 🙂
As I wasn’t getting on well with the zig-zagging, and as my attempts at twin needle stitching had gone horribly wrong on this fabric for my original t-shirt (tunnelling galore!), I decided to try something different for finishing the armholes and hem. For some reason I was wary of trying a bound edge for the first time, so I looked into my Colette Guide to Sewing Knits and selected the raw edge rolling band, and dutifully cut the contrast fabric 10% shorter than the hole. However, either I didn’t measure carefully enough or this fabric needed more stretch, because it didn’t roll at all. I didn’t fancy unpicking all my stitches at this point, so I thought again. And I thought “why not try a narrow rolled edge on the overlocker, with a little lettuce leaf crinkling going on?” It’s one of my favourite finishes for delicate wovens, but I have to admit I’m not quite so enamoured with it on this knit fabric. Ah well. It does its job, at any rate, and at least I know it’s stretchy so I’m in no danger of popping the seams.
Verdict? Well, although I have a few reservations about the clinginess of the fabric, the colour choice and the methods used to finish the edges, I still wear this top pretty much whenever it comes back out of the laundry. It fills a much needed hole in my wardrobe: a dressy yet casual sleeveless top suitable for discreet breastfeeding. I’ve gone ahead and made a dress length version in the spotty fabric (will blog about that another time), and as I have enough contrast spots along with some more of this fabric in violet, I might even make another top like this one. But, you know, better.
What do you reckon? Would you ever sew a slinky knit this difficult to work with? Or do you have any tips for working with them?