Monday, May 23, 2011

Vogue 8709 - Marcy Tilton Swing Top

When this pattern came out, last fall I think it was, I thought it was interesting, but it wasn't near the top of my todo list. I wasn't quite sure about the trapeze shape for my body. Then Peggy made it and I just loved hers. I loved it so much that even though we have very different figures, I thought it might work for me, and it zipped to the top of the list.

I altered and cut out this top for a sewing retreat I went on in March. Unfortunately, I couldn't get to it on the retreat, as I was overly ambitious, but I started it when I returned home. As with the Katherine Tilton tee that I finished a couple days ago, I had to put it aside to prepare for my trip back east.

But I finished it this weekend! And, while my version of the top isn't perfect, I really like it. (This fabric's tendency to wrinkle may drive me crazy.) And, while I know it's not the the most flattering top on my body that I own, I think it works. (Neither of the Tilton sisters has my shape, so not every top they design works on me. Heck, I don't know of a single pattern designer who has my shape. :) )


  • A greenish cross-woven fabric - black threads in the warp and green in the weft. It seems to be largely cotton, with a bit of lycra, and it may contain another fiber, such as silk or rayon. It wrinkles like crazy, unfortunately, but had the kinda-soft-but-with-some-body quality that this project seems to call for. I bought it from Fabrix.
  • 3 buttons from Stone Mountain and Daughter - I bought five, as specified by the pattern, but they were fairly large, so I used only three.
  • Fusible tricot interfacing.

Alterations and Construction Notes:

  • I made View A and cut out a size 22. After studying the pattern tissue and ease at the bust, I decided not to increase the dart, but I did lower it about 2".

  • I flat felled the CB seam, the shoulder seams, and the side seams.

  • There seems to be a problem with the pattern draft. I was very careful to mark the notches and other symbols and, yet, when it came time to attach the peplum to the bodice, it would not fit properly. I asked Peggy and she told me she had similar problems, but she fiddled until it worked, so I don't think it was just me.

    I solved it by adding a 3/4" pleat in the bodice back, corresponding to the pleat on the peplum (for a total reduction of 1.5"). This worked well, though if I'd realized this might happen, I might have taken it in at the side seams. Since I had flat felled the side seams, I didn't want to bother taking those in. Another option would have been to fiddle with the peplum pleat, but I had sewn that down as well.

  • Note: when pinning the peplum and the bodice together, it's tempting to snip to the corners, but the pattern does not tell you to do that and I don't think you should. It's this funky seam that gives the peplum such a wonderful shape at the pockets. I love the result!

  • The collar is asymmetric. Despite my marking and attempts to be careful, my fabric was the same on both sides and I made the collar backwards. I could have cut a new collar, but I was optimistic and hoped that it didn't matter. The front bands are also not symmetric and I put those on correctly.

    Unfortunately I realized, at the very end, that it does matter. So, I had to button the band incorrectly. If you look at the pattern and my finished top, you'll see what I mean. Luckily, I don't mind this at all. :) But my advice to you is to be careful (at least more careful than I was) about the collar being consistent with the front bands. If you reverse one, reverse them both. :)

  • In the end, I realized that the darts are a bit too low and too long. Next time I would shorten the darts by an inch or so. And maybe raise them about 3/4", though I really hate to move darts around. :)

I think this is a very cute top! And, apparently, fairly forgiving for different body types. The back peplum is so fun and interesting, and the bias cut of the peplum is flattering. I love, love the soft pockets. This is a very high-end boutique sort of top and I definitely want to make it again in a more wearable fabric.


  1. I see that as a really cute lightweight jacket or shirt-jacket. The shoulders seem a little wide in the back. Is it the camera angle? All in all, pretty successful - again!

    Maybe YOU should become a designer, Shams!

  2. Good catch, Betsy. I usually narrow the shoulders, but didn't this time.

  3. Great review and YES it does work well on you. It's quite attractive.

  4. One of the reasons this shirt (jacket?) works so well, I think, is the very subdued fabric which you used. It allows the design to shine. I admire it, and know I would not be able to wear it as well as you.

  5. I do love the swinging pockets!

  6. It looks really cute on you, but sounds like a very annoying pattern. I would be tearing my hair out, but you have a gorgeous shirt/jacket. Note to self, must read shams' posts carefully in order to develop persistance by osmosis.

  7. Love it on you. I just cut this out a few days ago and boy, did that take a long time to cut. Many pieces and squirmy fabric. I may have some weird grain things going on. I hope mine looks as good as yours as I cut a favorite piece of fabric.

  8. Oh I think this is so cute on you.I like the Marci Tilton things and even though they're a little far out , I like to try them even knowing nobody else I know will ever be wearing anything like my skirt I wore with my orange linen jacket. Thank you so much for leaving a comment BTW.
    You sound like a fun person !!

  9. Sweet! Love the back! That can be worn as a little lightweight jacket, too.

  10. Oh I'm glad you made this! I, too, was convinced to try this pattern when I saw Peg's version.

    If I ever get a chance to sew again (picture me rolling my eyes) this will definitely be on the list :). Thanks for your informative review :)

  11. This is absolutely wonderful, Sharon, and I just adore the asymmetrical collar, and those big drape-y pockets! Why is it whenever you make something I am sorely tempted to copy you but exactly?? I think I have about three or four patterns on my to-buy list directly inspired by you... I just have to wait until they finally come in in Oz. Serendipitously, I discovered I actually have a skirt pattern that I originally admired on you during SSS, and have not made it up yet...!

  12. I think you could wear a sack with panache! I was sooooo dubious about this pattern, and am still not sold, but you do make it look good! Love the button choice (over-sized and fewer of them), and the outfit (top+pants) looks smashing on you.

    As an aside, what's with the all-too-frequent drafting issues lately with Vogue? Is anybody watching the store over there?

  13. Kathleen O'Brien - klauren designsMay 26, 2011 at 11:39 PM

    Gosh, it looks great on you! I also have that pattern (love anything Marcy, you know) and now that you've inspired me, I'm moving it up on my list of things to make - thanks too for all the advice about the pattern, keeping that in mind for when it gets made.

  14. what a great shirt/jacket on you. I am about to make the same one and notice that the darts seem incorrect for me too. I think I will have to have a bit of a fiddle with them.

  15. I haven't tried any of the Tilton patterns yet but the more of yours made up I see the more I think I should do it - great shirt

  16. Hi Sharon, thanks for your always lovely comments, as usual! Just in case you didn't realise; the eastern coast of Australia got lots of rain and flooding, it is true... but here on the west coast we had the worst drought last year we have ever had. Followed by the driest summer also. We are a very dry state anyway, but last year was particularly bad. And have only had our first rain for the year in the past few days... so a LOT of rain here would be extremely welcome.
    And a ps, Gillian who commented above, is my mother!