Today I’ve got 2 finished summer tops to show you, drafted from scratch by me! Hooray for actually using my sloper to create some finished garments! You’ve already seen the chambray tank on the hanger a few weeks ago, and I also sewed up a floral version that I’m calling “granny chic,” since I can’t decide whether this print is granny-fabulous or just plain eye-searing. I do think it looks good with a white skirt though, so I’m calling it a win!
Pattern: Self-drafted from my sloper
Fabric: Robert Kaufman cotton chambray dots in burgundy, Bonnie Christine Aves Chatter Voile in Dim, Heather Ross Briar Rose Cricket Clover in pink/white (all 100% cotton). Embellishments: “vintage” (?) piece of lace from a mystery box of goodies, metallic tailor’s tape.
Modifications: Starting with my bodice sloper, I added a deep V-neck, deepened the armholes, and added an aggressive racerback. The “peplum” (not actually a flounce) is the top portion of a maxi skirt that I drafted from my skirt sloper. I added a slight shirttail/curved hem.
Level of crafty satisfaction: Although I fully admit that these tanks look a bit like “my first drafting projects” (which they totally are!) and have a few fit issues, I’m excited to have finally used my sloper to create some finished garments. I’m sure drafting your own patterns is a journey, and I’ve just started to take my first steps. Lots to learn!
So, does this floral/shamrock print make me look like an Irish granny, or is it springtime chic? 🙂 I purchased this fabric at the Gather Here sidewalk sale a few weeks ago, and I must have picked up and put down the bolt 4 or 5 times before I finally made up my mind to buy some (it was on sale, after all!). I just couldn’t decide if this puke-green color would look good on me, and to be honest, I thought it looked pretty awful when I tried on the finished top. It wasn’t until I saw these photos that I started to like it, especially with the white skirt, but I’m still not completely sold on it. At least my pasty white winter skin blends in with the white garments, LOL!
My favorite part of the tank is the racerback. I’ve always liked the sporty look of a racerback, and it’s super comfortable to wear for someone with broad shoulders that tend to bust out of most tops. Here, I have complete freedom of movement! Ah, how I love summer clothes. 🙂 When deciding where to cut the armholes, I made sure that the top of the back bodice would be high enough to cover my bra band. No back/side bra here! Yet another one of the many joys of sewing is making sure your clothing and undergarments work well together.
FYI, I’ve just recently “discovered” a good bra style for racerback tops: a strapless bra with detachable straps that criss-cross in the back. Or, a racerback bra of course. Why did it take me 35 years to figure this out? Geez. 🙂
The shoulder straps of the top are a little loose, as you can see above, so there is a bit of bra strap peek-a-boo going on, but this doesn’t bother me too much. As long as the band is completely covered, I’m comfortable. From this side view, you can also see that the curved hem along the bottom is just slightly longer in the back than in the front. I’m debating making the difference a little more extreme if I make this top again – we’ll see.
Overall I’m fairly happy with this top, if a little unsure about the granny chic print. Maybe it will continue to grow on me. 🙂
While I love the fabrics in this top, it’s hard to ignore the drag lines from the bust to the side seams. As I said, this was my first real drafting project, and it shows! (For the record, the same drag lines are present on the granny chic tank, but the print does a good job of camouflaging them.) I don’t think the fit issues are so extreme as to make this top unwearable, but my eyes gravitate toward those drag lines like Batman looking for the bat signal, LOL. Part of the problem is that the bust darts go all the way to the bust apex, resulting a pointy situation there. I need to move them back an inch or so. Plus my sloper just needs some tweaking. I’ll get there one day.
Another issue is that I can’t decide if this little piece of lace is really “me” or not. The top looked a little plain without it, but I think I would have preferred more of a geometric embellishment as opposed to the feminine, scalloped lace. Ah well, it’s good to try different styles sometimes! You never know what unexpected shapes or silhouettes might work for you.
From the side, you can see the drag lines again, in addition to some slight gaping in the shoulder straps. Overall though, I think this top is fine, and I’m sure it will be light and comfortable in the hot summer weather. I’m looking forward to trying it out! You can see from these photos that we don’t have any leaves on the trees yet, but there are buds everywhere. Spring is coming, and summer will be following soon. Finally!! 🙂
I already shared some detail shots of the chambray tank, so here are some from the granny chic version. Like the chambray top, I thought the floral top needed a small embellishment to transform it from “homemade” to “handmade.” I added some strips of metallic tailor’s tape in pink and white, simply topstitching them to the center front and folding the bottom edges under. Confession: these strips aren’t completely straight! Can you tell? This entire top was sewn with a “close enough” mentality, which is unusual for me. But, this is just a simple unlined tank, and I just wanted to forge ahead. I got **this close** to unpicking the strips and then decided to screw it, LOL!
I used the same edge-finishing techniques as for the chambray tank: a narrow double-folded hem for the armholes (getting even narrower around the tight curves of the racerback), and a shallow topstitched facing for the neckline to preserve the point of the V-neck. Neat and simple! I pressed everything really well before sewing the edges down, and I used a LOT of pins. No shame in using a ton of pins, people! They’re there for a reason. 🙂
The top features deep bust darts and shallow fisheye darts on the front. The seams are sewn on the sewing machine first, and the edges are finished on the serger. Again, nothing fancy here! It’s just a simple tank, and I didn’t go overboard with finishing like I would with an Archer, for example.
And speaking of sloppy finishing, look at this hilarious invisible zipper installation in the side seam! The body of the zipper came out well (thanks to my invisible zipper foot, which you should really go out and buy right now if you haven’t already), but check out the mis-matched edges at the top. Hahahahaha. I just have to laugh at myself when I do things like this. I’m not sure if the sides were different lengths to begin with or if I was just sloppy about how much I folded over when finishing the edges. Regardless, this basically sits in my armpit during wear, so thankfully it’s not too noticeable.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. What can I say? It had been a while since I inserted an invisible zipper, and I wasn’t really in unpicking mode when sewing this top. Oh, and I decided that I hate sewing invisible zippers. It’s funny how I enjoy sewing some fiddly things (like sleeve plackets) but not others (like zippers).
Overall, I’m fairly happy with these tops, and I’m excited about more drafting projects from my sloper. Between these tops and my awkward attempt to pose with a watering can, I think I’m nearly ready for spring!
Do you have any tips for translating a sloper into finished garments? What’s the most elaborate self-drafted garment you’ve made?