Saturday, 25 April 2015

Completed: Seachange Top

I know that most of you have never met me, and so don’t really know me. But if you are a regular reader I can bet you know at least 2 out of the 3 following statements to be true:
  1. I don't like to wear or sew with polyester
  2. I don't like to wear cropped tops
  3. I don't like to wear voluminous sleeves
So, you may be surprised to hear that I made a top that features all 3!

This is me, firmly out of my comfort zone!




Last Friday I had plans to meet some friends for dinner. On Wednesday it occurred to me that I should make something new to wear. So Wednesday and Thursday evening were spent making a new top. At about 10.30pm on Thursday, with literally just the hem to go, I decided the top I was making wasn’t really destined to be a “going out for dinner top” after all. Lily Sage and Co’s Seachange Top had been on my mind anyway, because Debbie had just released the pattern. I loved the top when she first blogged about it – particularly the stripey version with the play on stripe directionality (something that’s been appealing to me a lot recently), but a cropped top with huge sleeves is not really what I wear. Certainly not every day. It occurred to me, though, that it might work for me in a dressier context. Like dinner the following night. I realised I had the perfect fabric in my stash and though I’d give it a go.

Love how the wind caught the sleeve here
It seems that the Gods of Baby Naps were smiling on me last Friday. I bought and printed the PDF on the Thursday night, but I did everything else: sticking the PDF together, cutting the pattern, cutting the fabric, sewing the entire thing in less than 4 hours over 2 naps. I have paid for it though - Baby Boy hasn't slept through the night since!
The pattern was a good one to panic sew. Kimono in shape, there are very few pattern pieces and no sleeves to set in. With sleeve and bottom bands there are no hems to measure, turn, press and sew. Plus no fastenings! However to counter that, I did pick a super slippery polyester to work with. I like to keep things challenging.


The pattern goes together really nicely and is well drafted. I did have some issue with the sleeve bands, but I’ll come to that in a minute. Other than that it was a cinch. There is absolutely tons of ease in the top. So much so that I did consider sizing down, but since I was making it in a non stretch woven, I wanted to be sure to be able to get it over my head, so I went with the size S which matched my bust measurement. In hindsight I could have gone down to the XS but I don’t think it matters much. I did consider lengthening the top but I like the cropped style and thought that in a longer length the top might lose something, so I stuck with cropped and instead I cut the largest size length. But honestly the difference is literally millimetres.

With my fabric, French seams would have been nice, but I didn’t have the time so went with overlocking the raw edges. It’s fine, but I forgot that the giant sleeves mean you can see the overlocking where the sleeve bands are attached, particularly as I used grey overlocking thread to save time changing it (never takes me less than an hour to change my overlocker thread. Sigh.). Debbie doesn’t suggest any particular type of finishing, so something to bear in mind if you want to make this.


So, sleeve bands – yeah – they ended up being about an inch longer than the sleeve. I cut them smaller to match, but then one ended up being too small. I have no idea what happened, but I was slightly slapdash in cutting the bands in the first place, so they may have been off grain and then stretched, maybe? I managed to make it work in the end, but one sleeve has a small tuck at the bottom to accommodate the slightly too short band. I might be able to make a top in 4 hours, but I never said it was perfect. 


The only thing in the construction methods that I would question is how Debbie has you attach the neck binding. She has you join the short ends, then fold it in half and sew, exactly as if you were attaching a neckband on a tshirt or sweatshirt. But then you fold the neckband under and topstitch it down. It does work and all raw edges are enclosed but it means you have 5 layers of fabric at the neck which starts to get a bit bulky, even in a drapey fabric. If I were to make this again, I would just go for a standard bias facing.



The fabric is John Kaldor and has been in my stash forever, but I do remember I bought it way back at the start of my sewing career from Remnant Kings in Edinburgh. I love the painterly print and it is for that reason alone that I have kept the fabric. As you know I am not keen on polyester and several times have gone to donate it to a swap, but at the last minute kept it. I’m glad I did. I think its perfect for this top. Something about the name Seachange makes me feel it is destined to be made in shades of greens and blues. Yes the poly is a bit sweaty, but with giant arm holes its not too bad. And it doesn’t appear to be too staticky either.  But then I haven’t washed it yet. Yes, I did not listen to my own cautionary tale and did not prewash. There wasn’t time. Fingers crossed this one won't shrink.






What really helped in this make were a couple of new tools and a new trick. Firstly the trick: I sewed over the pins. I've never done this before but it really does speed things up and helped with managing the slippery polyester. Secondly the tools: last week I finally spent the Remnant Kings gift voucher that I won in their #merrystitchmas competition. Instead of buying loads more fabric, I bought (mostly) tools:

clockwise from top left: polka dot linen look cotton (well, some fabric slipped in), tailors ham, freezer paper, magnetic pincushion, rotary cutter, needles, thread. Giraffe and foot: model's own
The rotary cutter was invaluable. I only have a teeny tiny cutting mat, bought years ago for craft purposes, but it was still much more accurate than trying to cut with scissors. And the magnetic pincushion, as Hazel said as I was buying it, is a life changer!!!

Not sure what caught my eye, here.
I was a bit worried about how the top would look on me. Debbie is tall and slim with broad shoulders and this style looks amazing on her. OK, I am relatively slim, but I'm not particularly tall or broad. However I think it looks good. I wore the top, as worn here layered over black cami, with normal mid-rise jeans. I think if I were to buy/make some highwaisted jeans or trousers, I might be more comfortable wearing it without the cami. I might test that theory at some point. Similarly I'd like to try it with a skirt, or even culottes! In the meantime, though, over a cami the top works well. And for a night of sitting down and eating, it was perfect. I felt quite cool and a bit edgy. Kind of how Debbie looks in it, to be honest! So, overall, although it will have limited wear, I love this top. It did take me out of my comfort zone, style wise, but fortunately it was a gamble that paid off. I love the idea of a striped version, but it would need to be in a luxe fabric as another going out top, as I don’t ever see myself wearing this shape as every day wear. A version in silk would be beautiful, but a lovely rayon or viscose could work equally well.

What do you think? Would you make and wear this? If so, how would you wear it?

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26 comments

  1. Personally, I think you look absolutely gorgeous in it. You can totally rock that for everyday as well as going out x

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    1. Why, thank you Rosie! I would love to rock it for every day, but I'd spend my life getting caught on door handles and such like. Thanks for the vote of confidence, though!

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  2. I love this! I recently made a kimono top which is similar in style and I love it. It's great for wearing out. I like this style of sleeve and have a few tops with them, but i have one thought if you make it out of a thicker material it is hard to put a jacket on over and you when I manage I feel like the hulk.
    But your top is beautiful. The fabric reminds me of Japanese calligraphy! So prefect. The colours really suit you. I recently ordered a tailors ham and it made necklines so much easier, especially binding. Xx

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    1. Thanks Jen. I remember seeing your kimono top on instagram. And yes, the tailor's ham is great, isn't it?

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  3. I think this looks lovely with your colouring and I too have been admiring the slightly edgy style. I usually steer clear of large sleeves for the day - I actually love them, but I am the type of person who gets caught on things (like door handles!) when I wear them and also I did nearly set fire to some long gypsy style sleeves when I was cooking on a gas hob once. So yes I need to be careful! Being shorter sleeves I might consider a 'special' t-shirt from this pattern as well as a 'going out' top. Your fabric choice is perfect x

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    1. Yep, with you on the door handles 100%. Thank you. x

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  4. This top looks amazing on you, a stripey one would be fab as well! This is the kind of top I would love to wear but wouldn't love me :) x

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  5. This looks great, and well done on making something so stylish on such a tight deadline! The stripey versions caught my eye too so I hope you make a stripey version!

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    1. Thanks. I will keep my eye out for striped fabric! You would rock this top too. x

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  6. Well, you should venture out of your comfort zone more often - it looks amazing on you! (How funny that it ticks all those no-go boxes...) And to make something so lovely in that kind of time frame - with two little ones in tow - is doubly impressive! Hope Baby Boy's sleeping through again for you very soon :) x

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    1. Ha ha thank you. If I hadn't rushed it, it definitely would have been lovelier, but I'm happy enough with it. x

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  7. It looks lovely. I love the fabric. I'd like one in something drapery. I think I'm too lumpy for the stripes one even though I like it

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    1. I think you'd be surprised. The top is so boxy, there isn't much opportunity for lumps to show. Plus you could always lengthen it. Thank you.

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  8. Fantastic. The print of this fabric is great it does bring to mind the sea. I hate wearing poly as a day to day rule. But I think as you have proved here for occasional going out wear you cant beat it. Go you a top in four hours!

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    1. Thanks Louise. I surprised even myself!

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  9. This is FABULOUS. Wahhh. I love the shape of it. You look super glam. I've never seen this pattern before but I have to check it out. Fabric choice is perfect too.
    Have been thinking of a rotary cutter as well, I might need to pick one up.

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    1. Thanks Elaine. The pattern is probably very you. I can totally see you in it. And it's only just released! A rotary cutter is so worthwhile. x

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  10. I really like your version - such a gorgeous print, and I'm sure SeaChange's floatiness counteracts many of polyester's annoying tendencies. I'm wearing mine over a 3/4 sleeve top atm, it layers well. Yours looks wonderful.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, I can see this layering well. If only I wasn't prone to things like getting stuck on door handles!!!

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  11. Would you mind me sharing this on SSB in the future? I credit, link to your post and let you know when featured.
    https://facebook.com/sassysewingbees

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  12. Thanks I will let you know on this post.

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  13. I just came across this make featured on the April Indie Pattern Update - it's beautiful and has inspired me to buy the pattern and give it a go :) Hope I can find some fabric as lovely as yours x

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  14. To be featured on SSB tomorrow. Thanks for permitting.
    https://www.facebook.com/SassySewingBees

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