Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mrs Stylebook Summer 2009 - Top #31D

Just as I came back to sewing, I discovered Mrs Stylebook, a Japanese sewing magazine, thanks to Claudine's blog. Based on her blog and on the scans another blogger, Cidell, posted from this magazine, I. LOST. MY. MIND.

I rushed to my nearest Kinokuniya store. They had no back issues, so I contented myself with the most recent issue, which they tell me is summer 2009. This magazine has virtually no English and, unlike the European fashion sewing magazines, only a few designs have included patterns that you trace off. Most of the designs have diagrams showing you how to draft them. This suits me fine, for the most part. I am not an expert pattern drafter, but I took one year of flat pattern design 20 years ago and I can get along well enough. I typically start with a TNT (tried 'n true) pattern that has most of the features I want, and go from there. My slopers from 20 years ago no longer work and I haven't bothered to make up new ones. :)

For my first Mrs Stylebook effort, I liked the neckline detail on this top:

and here is the instructions page for that design (this is all the help you get, but it's pretty helpful):

The alterations are pretty much what you would expect: the neckline is cut down, front and back. The added neckline piece is simply a rectangle, long enough to cover the neckline and wide enough to fit the four channels for the cording, when doubled. (I cut mine about 5 1/2 inches wide and the full width of the fabric -- I cut off the excess later. My neckline was about 38" wide.) The front of the top is extended 14cm (5.5 inches) which is then be gathered back up by the four cords. (I was concerned that an additional 11" might be too much fabric for me, and it was, but I managed to fix that later.) At first I was thinking I'd use this neckline on a buttoned top, then I quickly realized that would look weird. It was no mistake that this top has no closure. :)

I started with my darted t-shirt pattern and made the changes. For my fabric, I am using a blue check fabric that I thought was cotton. I had convinced myself it was cotton because, well, it looked like a cotton check should look, to me. Even as I cut it out, trying to match the plaid, and it wiggled around horribly, I was thinking cotton. It wasn't until I sat at my sewing machine I realized that this fabric is behaving in every way like a rayon. Yup, a rayon, which means it has a lovely drape. :)

I decided I wanted to do something different for the sleeves. For one thing, I did NOT want to have to match the plaid across the sleeves, so I decided to cut them on the bias. I also decided to emulate a ruched sleeve cuff I had seen on another top. I had studied how that effect was achieved and it was more complex than I wanted to deal with, so I winged it and figured it out as I went. It worked pretty well and maybe I'll blog that technique another time. I also gave the garment a shirttail hem with side slits. I love side slits. :)

As I was sewing up the design, once again I was not liking how voluminous the top was, so I decided to sew in some relaxed darts. Two under each bust (four total) and two in the back. I also removed 4 inches in the side seam at the bust, tapered to nothing at the hem. (Frankly, I should have taken it from the hem too, but I didn't want to lose my shirttail hem with those nice slits.) The extra fullness I had added at CF to accommodate the shirred neckline needed to be tamed down. (I had worried about this when I was drafting the pattern, but it's worked out ok with my alterations.)

So here it is:

and here is the neckline detail:

and the ruched sleeves:

I need to make myself a nice blue tank to wear underneath this top. I am happy to say I have enough of this wonderful check to make a skirt. I have already started drafting that. And, no, I won't be wearing them together. ;)


  1. Thank you so much for your flounce help over on Stitchers Guild. I will keep you updated. I have been wondering about Mrs. Stylebook. I just bought the two volumes of Pattern Magic. There are some amazing designs in there. I have no experience in pattern drafting, but occassionally I try to alter patterns.

  2. You are very welcome, Rachel. :) I am finding myself musing over that Anthropologie skirt. I couldn't wear it, but my daughter could. If she likes it, I may draft the pattern myself. ;)