In the fall of 2010, Vogue came out with this Marcy Tilton swing top. I liked the top very much, especially the peplum with the cool pockets and the draped back, but was pretty sure it wouldn't look that great on me. Swing tops are not flattering on my figure.
So I resisted, though I did buy the pattern when during a BMV sale. I pretty much buy all Tilton and Betzina patterns as a matter of course. :)
Then Peggy made one, and I loved it on her. I was well aware that Peggy's tall statuesque figure was quite different than mine, but I could no longer resist, so last May, I made one. It is a fairly intricate pattern, and I wasn't sure how to alter it, so I made a size 22, almost out of the envelope. (I usually start with a size 18 and FBA up.)
Version #1. Click the picture to read the blog post.
I loved it, at first, because I was blinded by the pattern's coolness. But I had to finally admit that the style, as it was, really didn't work on me. I have said, many times, that a swing shape just doesn't suit me and the photos don't lie. I'm embarrassed to admit that, not only does it look like a maternity top on me, enhancing my butterball shape, but it appears that my boobs are about to jump into the pockets, perhaps to feed diminutive babies hiding in there. I wore it exactly once, then the top went into the closet and languished.
I was talking to Margy last week during the holiday break. She had also made this top (with much better success) and wanted to make another, incorporating some changes sparked by something she had seen on Marcy's site.
Margy's first version. So much cuter on her!
Margy suggested a mini sew-along - we would both work on the same pattern over the 3-day New Year's weekend.
- A wonderfully drapey fabric from Fabrix. It is woven with black and cream threads, giving an overall appearance of grey. I am not sure if it's rayon, poly, or a blend. The threads are minimally twisted and fluff out when they unravel from the fabric.
- For the buttons, I had some "button stacks" I bought from a vendor at PIQF two years ago. Each button stack consists of 3 buttons in graduated sizes. The buttons are purely decorative.
- 5/8" clear snaps from Britex, positioned under the buttons.
- Fusible interfacing, from Fabrix, for the front plackets.
Auditioning buttons. I ended up using the stacked buttons on the left. The color in this picture is a bit off - the metal is silver in real life.
Final button and snap configuration
When I made the original version, I used a size 22 and made only one change to the pattern: I lowered the darts by 2". For this revised version, I made significant additional changes:
- Removed the swing shaping from the left and right fronts.
- Removed the swing shaping from the left front placket.
- Lengthened the bodice by 2" - this affected the back, left front, right front, left front placket, and right front placket.
- Widened the back bodice by 2".
- Straightened out the side seam of the back bodice, at least somewhat.
During construction, I made even more changes:
- Additional fitting of the side seams and the center back seam. Removed 2" or 3" from the bottom of the CB seam, tapered to nothing at the bra line.
- Fitted the peplum to the modified bodice, removing about 4" to 5" from the width, prior to cutting it out.
- Inspired by the version Marcy shows on her website, I cut the collar with a lowered neckline and finished it with a pleated strip of the fabric selvedge.
Marcy Tilton's gorgeous version in apricot taffeta. The neckline on my top was inspired by hers. (Is it my imagination, or do I spy fish-eye darts in this version to make it more fitted?) Click the top picture to see this version discussed on her website.
I wasn't sure how to make the collar. When I tried pleating the fabric directly to the neckline, it did not work for me. My fingers were too clumsy and the fabric too "sproingy." So I then pleated the fabric on it's own. I cut the strip roughly twice as long as the finished neckline (plus a little extra) and much wider than needed. I then pinned in the pleats, not attempting to make them even in depth or distance - I liked the random effect.
I held it up to the top to adjust as desired. I then did three rows of basting. The first row was at the desired seamline. Then, I did a row of basting on each side, to help tame the "sproinginess." I finally basted it to the neckline, along the seamline. I did a second row of basting on the inside of the seam allowance. There is a lot of handwork in this collar. :)
The pleated strip. I removed the pins after all three rows of basting were completed.
The pleated strip has been basted to the neckline. On top of that is the bias strip which finishes the inside neckline edge.
I love this top! I think I will wear this one a lot. Make sure you check out Margy's second version, my partner in crime. Her modifications show how versatile this pattern can be. Buy it before it goes away!
And, just to drive the point home, here are both tops, side by side.
Did I lose weight? Noooo. Did I get taller? Noooo. Did my hair turn red? Well, yeah. :)
Also, did you know that Marcy started a blog? I hope she adds a proper feed for the blog, so we can subscribe to it, and be notified of updates. There is lots of good information on her site, especially in the Marcy's closet, t-shirt gallery, pairing pattern and fabrics, and tutorial areas. It's interesting to see what people are pinning from her site.