Personal project: The Dot Top

flutter_top_anthropologie_smI don’t often have the opportunity to show you works in progress since 95% of what I do, is for other people. Today’s post is a departure; a top I made for my sister, Dorothy.

Dot has sizing issues; she’s 5’10” and weighs about 110lbs, maybe less. In addition to her slender figure and height, she has an extended belly. Accordingly, I thought the top I used as inspiration would be ideal for her. Speaking of, I found the photo here; she got it from Anthropologie but it seems that the design’s provenance is murky. Who knows from whence this came? The Vogue home sewing pattern is out of print. But I digress, as usual. Oh, this link takes you to a larger photo.

The one I made is different of course; it has long sleeves, less cowling and a higher neckline. I’m still not certain about the neck… I’ve got a bit of elastic in there, raising the neckline for warmth. I also stuck a collar of sorts on it just to make it different. I’ll have to work on that. But now for pictures -which are lousy. I haven’t been able to use my real camera because I can’t find the cord. I finally broke down and ordered a new one. I didn’t realize these photos were this bad, should have checked before I mailed the top.

Ugh, on second thought, I think the top looks so ugly that I don’t want to load the photos on this page because it will depress me. Click on ugly front and ugly back to see them. I do think the back godet came out nicely. I didn’t even think to arrange the folds so neatly. Yay me.

Lessons learned -AKA, what’s in it for you:

The front shirring panel has several problems.

ugly dot top front shirring sm

1. The front panel has too much shirring (fullness); the rippling of the seam is good indicator of that. The solution is to reduce that.

2. Not thinking too much about it, I made the shirring panel rectangular -it isn’t. At least, the Anthropologie shirred panel isn’t and I wanted mine to look like that. No, the panel has a bit of curvature to it. Making something circular-ish is a great way to get fullness around the outside edge but less bulk at the sew in. I’ll do that for version 2.

3. I’m hating the neckline the more I look at it. It looks like a muu muu. I’ll have to think about that too.

Other than the front panel and the neckline, the rest is on target. I am also not wild on a plain sleeve so I have to figure out how I will gussy it up. I’ll keep you posted and next time, will have better photos I won’t be embarrassed to load.

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  1. Lillian Martin says:

    I agree about the shirred panel piece being a circle. I just made a pajama top and the sleeve pattern was a circular flounce. It takes a lot more fabric but the drape is very elegant. Keep us posted with the progress! I can’t wait to see how you make sleeves to work with this draped top. That is always my biggest challenge and the reason I started patterning and sewing my own clothes – seems like sleeves are almost always ill fitting on most ready to wear.

  2. Laura says:

    It will be interesting to see the evolution of the top. I would leave the cowl neckline and wear a high necked tank under the top for color accent and warmth if needed.

    Sleeves are a challenge – if you make the cuff open like the bottom of the top then all the cold air can blow right in. I like sleeves that can be pulled up to 3/4 length for function and a different look.

  3. Kathleen says:

    I’m working on this again. I’ve reduced much of the fullness at the neck (to eliminate need for elastic) and will add a much longer “collar” -essentially a rectangle sewn into a tube.

    Sleeves… I think I may add a very long tube as a cuff, intended to be worn scrunched up.

  4. Demetra says:

    I like the look. I agree with the shirred front. I like the cowl neckline, works well with larger bust. I also like the back godet. I also like sleeves that can be pulled up. Thanks for sharing.

  5. sj kurtz says:

    Sadly, I am going to say goodbye to my phone that takes similar photos to yours. I love the halo effect, and think it truly improves most Anthropologie guerilla clothing snaps

  6. Elizabeth K says:

    Love the godet in back! Mades me want to tinker with back vents for a more hip- friendly motorcycle jacket design. But somehow, I don’t see ballistic nylon draping quite like that…

  7. Melissa Brown says:

    Hey there, Kathleen,

    Long time no write, I know. Hope you and yours are well.

    This looks like an interesting project. I am going to check back and see how you progress with it. I think you’re right that a flounce will look nicer than that ruffle you referred to as the “shirred panel”.

    (You know me well enough, I think, to know that I’d have to give you some flak over your imprecise use of terms, right? A panel gathered on one side that hangs from that same side is a ruffle and a panel gathered on two sides with those same two sides sewn into seams is shirred.)

    I guess we all have our off days, hmmm? (Someday when I have a blog I will let you know so you can flick me some flak back. I promise.)

    Take care,
    Melissa Brown

  8. Kathleen says:

    I struggled defining that section. I think you’re right. The confusion arises in my mind because it is an inset panel but I think your definition is better.

  9. NJP Thompson says:

    I find the best way is to have try-ons—to see if the designs are flattering. Did you do any real life try-ons for this design? I imagine the original with the lower neckline would be more flattering than the cowl but having sleeves is a flattering plus.

  10. Kathleen says:

    NJP: yes, fitting on a human is a must -a running theme of this site (welcome!). She wore it but I didn’t get to see it on her.

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