Sunday, September 13, 2009

Butterick 5045 - Top or "Cover Up"

I had tried on a top in a boutique that I just loved but, at over $300, was out of my current budget. I decided to copy the top and the "cover up" from this Butterick pattern is very similar in line.

1. The original top as made of a what I would call a double faced voile. It was a semi-sheer cotton but the fabric had two sides and it had a surprisingly nice drape. The front was a dark plaid and the back was solid black. I learned from the Stitcher's Guild forum that this is a Japanese fabric called "double gauze". I've trolled the internet but have only seen double gauze for sale in children's prints or solids, but, hopefully, one day it will become generally available to us sewers in grownup prints. :)

2. The original top buttoned. The right side had a large buttonhole that was pulled up to above the left breast and buttoned on a large button, forming a draped neckline. (The back of the double-faced fabric showed so it had the effect of a solid black contrast neckline.)

3. The front of the top was shorter than the back, which came almost to my knees.

Here's my version of the top, worn up (my preferred way):

and down:

I had this fabulous fabric that a friend told me reminded her of the fabric used by Babette. It's a knit, but a very unusual knit that has these wonderful permanent crinkles. I wish I bolts of this fabric in different colors. :) As it is, I have it in a microscopic black/white houndstooth which, of course, has an overall "grey" effect. Oops, another "grey" top. ;)

This pattern needed a few alterations. I cut out view B (coverup with sleeves) in an XL, which is correct for my bust measurement. I rounded the point off at the front -- this is where the buttonhole goes on the left front. I also shortened it. I cut it out of my beloved fabric, putting the front hem on the naturally rolled hem at the bottom of the fabric.

The pattern was delightfully easy to sew up. Perhaps because I love this fabric so much, I took extra care and turned under all raw edges and hand stitched them down. I hand stitched the raw edge on the front, but I left the hem raw and rolled.

As the top came together, I was disappointed with the look. I realized it was just too voluminous for me. I started playing with the fit and, in the end, I removed about 12 inches from the hip area and about 4 from the bust area. I could have removed more from the bust, but I'd already sewn in the sleeves and didn't want to disassemble it.

Also, I had cut the back too short. I was very laissez-faire when I cut the back and, oops, it was really too short. It also lacked the rolled edge of the front (I was thinking at the time that I would hem the bottom of the garment.) So I cut another strip of the rolled edge from the fabric, though I cut it in a non-rectangular shape. At the CB, the strip was maybe 6" wide, but tapered to approx 2" at the side seam. I sewed this to my back hem and got my "longer in back than front" effect. :)

On the back you can make out the seam at the bottom:

I like the finished top. Just when I got to the point where I was going to sew the buttonhole, I decided to wait. With the buttonhole I can wear the top only one way. Without the buttonhole I can wear it draped up as a top (and held closed with a pin) or down and loose as a jacket.

I found this pin in my jewelry box. I can't remember where I bought it, but it was probably at a craft or street fair and I love the whimsy of it. :)

I wish I had a lot more of this fabric, but I am content that I have a piece large enough to squeeze out a sleeveless tunic. I think it will make a good layering piece, especially with that wonderful funky pocket included in the pattern.

P.S. If you haven't clicked on the Babette link and checked out her clothing, please do! Scroll through her Fall '09 clothes, for example. Look at that skirt and top in slide 4!!! Check out that drape detail on both. Drool... Her designs make my heart sing. :D


  1. Very nice indeed. I made something similar in black wool but somehow it doesn't work as well as this.

  2. Thanks, Ruthie. Mine definitely wasn't working until I started removing bulk. The day I made this I sewed in my underwear so I could try it on repeatedly. :)