Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sewing Workshop - Hibiscus Top

It was blustery and sunny today, making it tricky to get good pictures. But more pictures here.

I traced off the Sewing Workshop Hibiscus shirt over a year ago. I knew that a swing silhouette is not good for me, but I wanted to make it work.

Probably because of this, I traced a medium, which is too small for me, but would also have less volume at the hips. At the time, the only FBA techniques I knew would have added *more* volume at the hips, and would have distorted the lower panels. Unable to solve this problem, I reluctantly put the tracing away.

Last week Martha, of Now Sewing, made her first Shirt of the Month for 2012 and she made a beautiful Hibiscus. This inspired me to pull out the tracing and apply FBA knowledge I have acquired in the year since making the tracing.

This time I chopped off the left and front bodice patterns 1" below the bust point, did the FBA, and re-attached the bodice bottom. Other alterations followed.

I have not been feeling shirt collars lately, so I omitted the collar. Note that I did not shorten the sleeves and they are a good length - this pattern has short sleeves. Also, I widened the upper sleeve, but not the lower sleeve - it is fairly close fitting below the elbow.

Alterations and Modifications:

  • 3" FBA.
  • Widened the back 5/8" (1-1/4" total).
  • Narrowed the shoulders by 1-1/2".
  • Widened the upper sleeve by 1-1/4.
  • Removed most of the swing shaping, which meant modifying the side seams (front and back), bottom facings, and bottom panels.
  • Omitted the collar and stand and finished the neckline with a 1/4" bias band.


  • A wonderful homespun striped cotton fabric purchased over a year ago from The Spirit of Cloth in San Diego. I'm sad that this store closed before I had a chance to visit again.
  • 4 3/4" buttons from my grandmother's button box. They were the only buttons that were the right size, the right color, and that I had enough of. I did not want to go to the fabric store. :)


I'm not completely sure how I feel about this top. It's less flattering than I'd hoped. I thought that if I didn't make it too long, used an open neckline, and removed most of the swing shaping, that it would be a good top for me, but the pictures say otherwise: it looks ok, but not great.

More Pictures

Can you see the pocket on the lower left? It's hiding amongst the well matched stripes. :)