I’ve had the image of this top on one of my Pinterest boards for quite some time now and a long-sleeved jersey top is perfect for me to wear at this time of year so I’ve now finally got around to making my Pinterest-Inspired, gathered front top in a lovely Merino jersey.
I bought the jersey from the Fabric Store Online plus two others in paprika orange and vanilla…can’t wait to sew those up too.
Ok, so I’m not sure whether I mentioned this on my blog before, but after Christmas, I completed a pattern drafting course by Gina Renee Designs to create my very own personal fitting Moulage and Sloper.
Now, the moulage is based on many different measurements taken from my body to create a very close-fitting shell with bust, shoulder, armhole and midriff darts. This very close-fitting (pretty much skin-tight) shell is what I would be able to use as a basis for boned bodices or corsets. From this moulage, we then created a basic sloper with some added ease that we can use to create blouses, tops, skirts and dresses.
For my jersey top, I knew that I’d have to do a slash and spread technique using a basic shape pattern and my logic told me that I could in fact use my very close-fitting moulage pattern because a knit top needs to have pretty much no ease (or negative ease for very tight tops).
Here are the steps that I took using my pattern as a starting point:
- I made 3 angled cuts across the pattern from the centre front line to the bust point
- I closed the bust dart, shoulder dart and armhole dart. This opened up the initial slash lines. This is where I wanted to concentrate the gathers for bust shaping.
- I traced off this first pattern piece onto a fresh piece of paper.
- From the side seam and armhole, I slashed across at intervals to the vertical centre front line avoiding the bust area that had already been altered.
- Each slash was opened by about 1.5cm (I had to guess this but my aim was to make my front seam about one-and-a-half to one-and-three-quarters the original seam length.
- I traced off this final stage of drafting to create my finished pattern piece.
Here are some images that hopefully explain better what I did:
I know that most basic knit top patterns don’t have any bust darts but I’m glad that I used my darted moulage pattern as a starting point because the resulting top has a lovely shape where it cups in, in-between my bust and the gathers recess in. I think if you used a basic flat un-darted pattern and did a slash and spread with that, you would still end up with a gathered centre front seam but it would not cup the bust as well in the middle.
For the back pattern and sleeves, I checked the pattern pieces of the Grasser top that I made here and they were remarkably compatible with my own pattern so I used those. By the way, that Grasser knit top does actually have bust darts…not something you see often but it fits really nicely.
So for the most part the making up of my top was pretty straightforward as with any other knit top. The exception was of course that centre seam. I overlocked both centre seam edges separately and then had to think of the best way to achieve nice gathers.
At first, I tried seaming up and then adding elastic but it ended up with way too much give and it went a bit wavy too.
In the end, I stitched the centre front seam first, pressed it open and then ran a gathering thread right down the middle stitching line to get all of the gathers nice and even.
Next, I cut a narrow strip of self-fabric. I folded the edges of the strip in and pressed it then I laid it over the seam on the wrong side and just backstitched it in place by hand. Using the same fabric as the rest of the top secured the gathers nicely but ensured that it still had a bit of stretch.
The front neckline edge has a bit of flexible iron-on seam tape along it and then it’s just folded down and stitched in place. I added a binding across the back neck.
And that’s it! I have to say that I think this has turned out to be the best-fitting knit top that I’ve ever had. It seems to fit so nicely around my bust, armholes and shoulders…I guess it’s all down to the fact that I used my own personal moulage pattern drafted to fit my shape. Overall I’d call this a success and I’m really chuffed with it.
Let me know what you think.
Thanks for reading!
See you soon!
You totally nailed this, a fabulous piece of drafting! Bravo
Thanks, Sue! I loved making this top.
I love your top for all sorts of reasons. It really is your colour, the fit is amazing and the styling is perfect for you. I have always loved ruching on the sides. I’ve never done it on the front and I’m not confident it would suit me. Years ago I bought several tops with this detail and since I returned to sewing I was determined to master this creation for myself. I finally did last year. Presently I’m making a couple more in UPF knit for this summer. I used this technique https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSfxtL1Yv1c which also works very well. Your technique of covering the ruched front with a piece of your fashion fabric gives a neat finish. I agree too that sewing darts into a knit top will give you the best fit. I took a class at the beginning of my return to sewing 8 years ago, and the teacher encouraged us to do so. That the first thing I do with any pattern, an FBA with a dart. That’s what has spoiled me to never return to store-bought tops! Thank you Diane for another inspirational blog post. I love all your makes. You nudge me to always do my best when making my own clothes. Your attention to detail, neat and creative finishes set a bar that I always aspire to reach.
Thanks for the kind words about my top, Kathleen. I too love a side ruching detail and might try that next.
Thanks also for that link. Looks interesting!
And adding darts into a knit top kind of spoils us for how nice a fit it creates. I can never return to RTW tops either. We really need to normalise darts in knits! Glad you feel inspired. Thanks so much!
Well it’s lovely – and well worth all the math! Great colour on you and love the fit x
Aww, glad you like it, my friend. I’m really chuffed with it xx
This is lovely! I used to have a top very like this and have often thought about replacing it. Thank you for sharing your process – it will be very helpful if I ever get round to recreating it!
Thank you Tamsin! Glad to hear that my post might come in handy for you.