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.