Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sewing Workshop - Mimosa Top

Spring approacheth. Heck, Spring is officially here, and it's the first one since I've returned to sewing, so I am starting to think about a spring/summer wardrobe. In particular, I am thinking about tops. Tops are a challenge for me, with my generous bust and "fluffy tummy", but summer tops are even more challenging, when you add in my "mature" upper arms, narrow shoulders, and my aversion to showing too much skin.

So, I decided to try my hand at the Sewing Workshop Mimosa top. This Asian-inspired top screams "I am for the small busted", but, heck, I am fearless about hacking up patterns, right? I started with a Large, which is usually the right size when I am adding a dart. Because the front pattern piece crosses the entire body, I added two darts in that piece. Each dart added 2" in width and 2" in length. (I recently realized that my FBAs weren't adding enough in length.) This made for a very big dart. But there were actually two of them in the front pattern piece, meaning there would be four when both fronts were sewn. I also moved the shoulder forward 1/2".

When I made the muslin, I realized several things. First, this large is very narrow across the upper back, so I added 1" to the CB seam (1/2" on the fold). The armhole was nice and high and hugged the body well, which I liked. I realized that I preferred leaving the second front dart unsewn - but leaving the fullness there. Otherwise it would have been four front darts when both front pieces were overlapped and closed, and I didn't like that look. I also reshaped the side front open edge to accommodate this unstitched dart.

I made the finished top out of a blue fabric remnant that I really liked. It is a linen look fabric, with a pronounced weave. It has a bit of a "homespun" feel to it. I believe it is a blend of cotton, maybe linen, maybe rayon, and possibly a bit of synthetic. It does wrinkle, but it also washed and dried well in the machine.

For the final top, I made a few more changes. Rather than attach a binding to the side front that is open, I hemmed it using the same technique as on the bottom. I mitered the corner between the side front and the bottom, so there were four mitered corners in all. I was reluctant to use a binding as wide as the pattern called for along the neckline, because the neckline was already quite high. I was also reluctant to cut the binding cross grain, as the pattern called for, so I used a narrower bias binding around the neck.

To close it, I found an acceptable, but not fabulous, button from my grandmother's button box. This box has mostly pretty nasty buttons – many of them cut off of clothing and quite beaten up. But for this top, it was fine. I placed the button where it fit best when the front was closed, ignoring the placement on the pattern. By this point, I had pretty much frankenpatterned the paper pieces anyway.

The final result? meh. It is ok. The first time I put it on and looked in the mirror, I got the overpowering impression of hospital scrubs. I hope no one else thinks that, since the funky hemline hopefully offsets that effect. :) It has a bit of the "loving hands at home" look with the imperfect, large dart, and the imperfect, bumpy bias binding. I do think it will work as a layering piece. And, if it's really hot, it's better than sweating in a long sleeved shirt, and it does cover me adequately (no small feat). But beyond that, I will have to wear it and see what I think. :)

I am standing on a fairly steep driveway in these photos. I am wearing this Mimosa top with my new favorite pant pattern - the Trio. I will
review it later when I get photos of my second version.

I tried the outfit on with the Valencia jacket I made recently. I thought it looked OK, but DD1 did not like it worn all together. She might be right – I haven't decided yet.

P.S. If you have a smaller bust, this is a goto pattern for many women. I have seen it made up beautifully in many different fabrics. Check pattern review, but I have seen it other places as well.

P.P.S. I wore the top today, on an unseasonably warm day. I like it! It covers me well, especially the armholes and cleavage areas, and it camouflages my tummy. I may make a couple of these for those hot days when you have to find something to wear. :)