Monday, May 2, 2011

Off-the-shoulder tops

I am still here. Still sewing, creating, just not blogging. A new bug bit me. Actually a few. I was sick for 5 weeks can you believe! Flu and then a very nasty stomach virus. I am finally better now. The other bug is Facebook. After many years I finally joined the social networking craze and found a whole lot of old schoolfriends. Really awesome!

Anyway, I missed my blog. And my sewing friends! So I took some pics and decided not to bore you with the almost 20 (!) peasant style tops I made since my last blogpost. I will instead share the other sewing craze I have been busy with. It was literally a crazy quest. I saw a picture of an awesome top on a romance novel cover. And I wanted to make one. Here is the cover pic.

Isn't this a gorgeous top? I searched the Internet for a pattern. No luck. I did find one very good tutorial here This lady had a really awesome picture tutorial and a free pattern! Go check it out.

Sadly, this pattern did not work for me. I had some issues with my underarms bunching up, no matter which parts I sewed first. If any of you do try this lady's pattern and get it right, please drop me a line and tell me where I went wrong. So I started looking at my own patterns and started modifying them. This is my first attempt...

What I did was to take standard bodice and sleeve pattern pieces from other patterns I have.

All I did then was to fold down the top parts of the two pattern pieces, as shown in the picture above. I also shortened the sleeve length. The armholes must fit perfectly.

I forgot to mention that I used a back bodice pattern piece. Here are the cut out pieces, ready to sew. I added a band for the top that will fit your shoulders. I sewed the sides of the bodice pieces together and also the sleeves. Then I fitted the sleeve pieces inside the bodice piece, right sides together, and sewed that together.

This is what it looks like all sewn together. All that needs to be done now is sewing the neckband on - not a strong point of mine - and the hems. Pretty simple, hey?

Here it is on! Getting closer to my quest for the perfect off-the-shoulder top. Close enough that I tried another one...

This one a bit longer to wear with skinny jeans or leggings. Pretty nice. But I was still not happy. I then had a brainwave. I often see sewists use store-bought tops they like as a basis for a pattern to make more of a top that fits well. So I went hunting in my closet...

And found this top. Love it! Fits very well and almost exactly what I am looking for. It will need some modifications, but it's close.

So here is the pattern I drafted from the top. The sleeve was drawn using the same principle as used in the peasant top tutorial I mentioned a while back. You draft the sleeve using the armhole part of the bodice as a basis so you have a perfect fit. Can you see the similarities between the sleeve pattern piece and the bodice piece? The armhole and neck part is exactly the same.

And here is the grand finale! The top I wanted from the start. In my favorite fabric too. I still need to work on making the neckband on my next top a bit tighter, but I am very pleased with the result. Hope it inspires you to make your own off-the-shoulder top too!

I have a few more cut out and ready for sewing on my cutting table. Thank you for all the lovely comments about my peasant tops post in February! Here is the link for the peasant top I used as a basis for my pattern: This pattern's bodice is not shaped. I modified mine a lot, so play around until you get the result you want. Happy sewing!