A sewing blog about building a functional, cohesive handmade wardrobe, one garment at a time.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A couple of woven tees

I'm usually a knits girl, but this summer my wardrobe seems to be crying out for woven tees.  I couldn't find exactly what I wanted, so I knew I'd be altering whatever pattern I bought.  I picked up a copy of Simplicity 1377 (now out of print) on eBay and got to work.

I traced out view D and made a few flat pattern adjustments.  I started with size 14, which corresponds with my high bust measurement (my full bust and everything else put me at a 20).  This top doesn't have a bust dart, but it's easy to put one in - I did so while also performing a 1/2" FBA.  My F cup actually would justify a larger FBA, however, after consulting the finished measurements I figured 1/2" would be big enough.  While I was slashing my pattern, I lowered the neckline 3" and did a 1/2" forward shoulder adjustment. I also flared the side seams out starting from the rib cage and ending 1" wider than the pattern pieces on both the front and the back for a total of 4" increased at the hem.  Then I did a quick-and-dirty muslin, and based on that, I lengthened the top 1.75" and lowered the neckline another 2".

It sounds like a lot, but all the adusting, cutting and muslin sewing only took about 90 minutes.  And it was WELL worth the effort.  I didn't get a perfect fit on my first try, but I did get something very wearable.

Although the fit was good, I had a lot of trouble binding my neckline on my first fashion fabric version of this top.  I chose to finish the neckline with an invisible bias finish, which I've done a few times before.  I did everything I was supposed to - staystitched, understitched, clipped.  Even so, I had to rip out the binding three times due to awful gaping.  By the time I was done, I had clipped the seam allowance at 1/4" intervals all the way around the neckline.  I also cut some of the width off the binding and ended up finishing it at 1/4".  It still wasn't perfectly flat, but I just folded a pleat over into the neckline and called it good.  I'm going to blame the fabric here, because I did not have nearly the same problems with my second version.  An Instagram consult yielded suggestions to shorten the binding, which didn't occur to me in the moment but which I will keep in my back pocket the next time I make this top in a drapey fabric.

This particular fabric is a remnant bin find at Joann's that I haven't been able to locate on their web site.  I'm guessing it's polyester.  It is very light and drapey and nice to wear but really not so nice to sew - I wouldn't dare sew it into anything with more seams than this top! 

Let me just take a quick moment to talk about fit and exalt the humble FBA.  Look at the back of this blouse.  This is a size 14 - the upper back is out of the envelope as I didn't start flaring my side seams until my ribcage.  Simplicity says this fits a 36" bust and drafts for a B cup.  My full bust measurement is 41".  I have ample assets in the front but I'm not crazy unproportioned or anything like that.  And yet the upper back of the size 14 fits me perfectly.  High bust size selection FTW!  I would have been utterly disappointed if I had cut the size 20 the size chart indicated for me.  FBAs are always worth it.

Immediately after finishing the gray top, I cut out another, this time in a long-hoarded voile.  While sewing it, it dawned on me that perhaps the neckline was just too wide.  I made a 1/4" pleat before attaching my binding and then I adjusted the neckline correspondingly in my pattern piece for future makes.  I only had to sew my neck binding on once this time - as with the other top, I cut 1" binding to finish at 1/4" and I made sure to clip my seam allowance every 1/4".

Where I had just clipped the sleeve hem and folded it over and topstitched on the gray top, here I cut out more binding and bias-bound the sleeves too.  It wasn't painful in this stable cotton.  I do find the voile top a bit roomy in the shoulders - especially when I sit down.  I don't have this problem with the drapey poly - fabric choice makes all the difference.

I'm currently sewing a white cotton lawn version of this top - this time I've  incorporated a v-shaped neckline cut-out and am french-seaming the whole thing.  I'm waiting for a FabricMart order to arrive later this week and in it there is a cut of rayon challis that is destined to be my fourth version.  And so my summer uniform turns out to be brought to you by Simplicity - 1887 for the bottoms and 1377 for the tops.

Another note, these are my first pictures taken using the camera remote I recently received for my birthday.  I have to say I love this thing, though it does have an annoying 4-second lag between when I hit the button and when the shutter snaps.  But yay for no longer having to corral my kids and husband to take pictures.


  1. I have actually been wanting to make some woven shirts, but have been holding off - as I want them to look nice. This is a real encouragement!

  2. Lovely tops, they really suit you and look great. I always need to do fba' s but usually guess.

  3. I love the FBA and cannot make a shirt with out one. You are looking so well Masha, that makes me happy.

  4. I'm really impressed with this! I'm intimidated by the FBA. Is there a No Bust Adjustment? That's my problem! :D


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