Another quick sew project to make up for all of the lost productivity on my Donna Karan jacket … I pulled this one out of my pattern stash and located a knit fabric that I thought would compliment the style.  I chose a poly-rayon-lycra print from my stash, purchased this past spring at JoAnn on sale.  I don’t usually buy fabric at JoAnn, but I really liked this print and bought 2 yards.  This yardage was a tad shy of the yardage recommended on the package … but you know how I feel about that, if you read my post on getting the most use out of your yardage.

For starters, I *mostly* followed the layout instructions, except for the last drape piece (the one that goes under).  I accidentally started to cut the piece with the wrong side of the print (down instead of up), so it was backwards.  Oops … what now?  This is where my first deviation from the instructions occurred … I decided to piece this section together.  I cut along a line that would be hidden under the top drape, overlapped and pinned the sections, before using my coverstitch in a twin needle configuration to sew them together.  Once that happened, I cut and used the piece normally.

My deviations did not stop here.  I was also unimpressed with the construction steps, so I assembled most of the top in an entirely different order.

  1. Sew basting for ruching
  2. Sew drapes to neckline in one seam (vice separately).  First, I pinned the pieces at the center of the neckline “V”, with a small piece of stay tape, and stitched about one inch on either side of the pivot point with a sewing machine.  Following that, I clipped to the “V” and sewed the entire length with my serger configured with a 4-thread overlock.
  1. After attaching the drapes, I pressed the seams out and under-stitched the neckline
  2. Bind the back neckline.  One of the techniques in the big 4 that I strongly dislike is the use of a rolled hem in the necklines.  More often than not, the end result is very distorted.  I prefer to trim the seam allowance to 1/4″ and bind the edge with the method I describe in this tutorial post
  1. Encase shoulder seams.  This process is difficult to describe in words, so I took pictures.  I prefer to encase the shoulder seams in yoked or multi-layer designs.  I think this looks cleaner inside and out.  The process is to sandwich the back piece between the front layers, with right sides facing in.  Next, sew the seam with stay tape and carefully thin out any dense fabric layers.  Finally, turn out and press out any bulk using a tailor’s clapper.
  1. Put sleeves in “flat”.  This means sewing the sleeves in before sewing the side seams.  I usually only do set-in sleeves in coats and jackets.
  2. Adjust ruching.  With most of the top complete, you can see the effect of the ruching and adjust to your preference.  I decided that I liked more ruching at the narrowest part of the waist.
  3. Sew sleeve and sides all in one seam
  4. Hem sleeves and bottom edge

Results …

I think this top is really cute, but it does seem to run big.  It could be because I used a 4-way stretch with a lot of recovery.  I normally cut a 12, even though I measure a 14.  In this case, I should have cut a 10.  Also, the extra pull from the drapes tends to pull the side seams forward.  I think a second layer in the back would help balance out the tension between the front and back pieces.

Would I make it again?  Probably not.  I’ll likely use elements of it to draft another top with fewer design issues, but it did offer some good drafting ideas to work from.