A slightly SciFi silvery top

Ok, so I’m mostly writing about tops just now but that’s because they’re fairly quick to make and this one has some new features that I haven’t tried out before.

I bought the fabric last week at the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace for the princely sum of £3 for 1 metre!! I spotted it at the last minute as we were almost leaving and, because I was a magpie with a love of sparkly things in another life, I had to have just a little bit of it.

I didn’t plan to use it so quickly but I had a gap between things I’m supposed to be doing so I sorted out a pattern I first made about a year ago. I’ve used it several times already so I know it goes together well and fits me nicely too. It started life as a vintage (20 years+) McCalls dress pattern which I ‘hacked’ to make into a top by changing the length, shoulders and sleeves in various incarnations. The version I’m using here is the one where I’ve closed up the shoulder seam and created a raglan shaped insert instead.

this was the first version in a navy striped jersey, it still had a bust dart which you can't see, and I added a tie neck to make it interesting.
This was the first version in a navy striped jersey, it still had a bust dart which you can’t see, and I added a tie neck to make it interesting.
This is the second version with raglan shoulders. I mad ether in a contrast red. I took the bust dart out so it's slightly looser.
This is the second version, with raglan shoulders which I made in a contrast red. I took the bust dart out so it’s slightly looser.
This was third version (which I'd forgotten about!) I made as a (short) dress-I only had a small amount of fabric so it's a bit mini!
This was the third version (which I’d forgotten about!) and I made as a (short) dress-I only had a small amount of Black Watch tartan fabric so it’s a bit mini but that’s ok with opaque tights! It also has the raglan shoulders but with long sleeves.
Shoulder detail on the dress...and I'm quite pleased with the check-matching around the sleeve head even if I do say so myself!
Shoulder detail on the dress…and I’m quite pleased with the check-matching around the sleeve head although the effect of cutting it on the opposite grain doesn’t really show up.
All the buttons at the neck are off Tony's old suits and they're all slightly different from each other. A quirky detail and one I use quite often as it isn't obvious-perhaps it's becoming a trademark!
All the buttons at the neck are off Tony’s old suits and they’re all slightly different from each other. A quirky detail and one I use quite often as it isn’t obvious-perhaps it’s becoming a trademark!

Initially I was just going to make it simply in the silver fabric but I had a rummage amongst my odds and ends where I found the off-cuts of a georgette bridesmaid dress I altered recently. It’s a very pretty dusky pink which teamed perfectly with the silvery shade of the jersey so I decided to use strips of it inset into the various seams.

So that I could cut the back and the front on folds I folded the selvedges into the centre and then placed the other pieces around them. As there was enough fabric I lengthened the front and back by 10cms each.
So that I could cut the back and the front on folds I folded the selvedges into the centre and then placed the other pieces around them. As there was enough fabric I lengthened the front and back by 10cms each. I’ve used the sleeve version that is in two pieces with a diagonal seam across it-that way I can add the georgette into it.
strips of the georgette pinned in position
Strips of the georgette pinned in position on the sleeve seams and shoulders. I cut each strip about 5cms wide and then folded it lengthways and pressed the crease in.
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Closer view of the strip in position, the raw edges are towards the cut edge of the main fabric. Once pinned I stitched it 5mm from the edge using a large stitch, just to hold it in place until I joined one piece to another.
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The first shoulder seam with the georgette in place, about 1cm is visible.
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After I’d sewn all the shoulders I overlocked the edges together and them pressed upwards. I’ve ‘stay tithed’ the neck edge now to prevent it stretching out of shape whilst it’s handled (If the neck gets stretched before you’ve finished sewing you can’t un-stretch it and it will look baggy or wavy) After making the shoulders the sleeves get pinned and stitched in position. By putting them in at this point you can then sew the whole underarm seam from the cuff to the garment hem all in one movement-it’s much easier than ‘setting in’ the sleeve which can be quite fiddly and is a more advanced technique which can take a bit of mastering.
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Originally I was only going to put the georgette in the seams but it occurred to me that, because there was loads of it left, and it was already hemmed from where it had been cut off the bridesmaid dress I could use it around the hem of the top as a flounce. I folded the fabric, pinned it and cut it as a 10cms strip. The georgette was on a curve so it wasn’t entirely straight but I didn’t mind that.
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The flounce was pinned in position at the hem and then stitched 1.5cms from the edge. I overlocked next to neaten the whole hem edge. Be careful to get the rolled hem of the georgette facing to the inside.
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Stitching the flounce on-right sides together.
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The top at the halfway point. I haven’t hemmed the sleeves or put the facing around the neck yet. I also need to turn the hem up slightly so that the flounce appears to be ‘floating’ out of the bottom.
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I added the facing (which was interfaced with Vilene) to the neck and you need to very carefully clip the neck edge so that it turns properly to the inside and sits flat inside against your skin. All curves or corners need to be snipped in this way so that they turn well-go carefully as mistakes can’t be rectified!
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Close up of the under stitching on the neck facing. As I’ve probably described before elsewhere this is where you push ALL the seam allowances towards the facing (trimming the layers slightly if necessary to reduce the bulk) then stitching very close -about 1-2mm away from the seam, through all the layers. You don’t need to press the seam open first, just ease the edges apart as you sew. The purpose of this is to hold the facing inside better and give a crisper edge finish, it makes all the difference for a more professional finish.
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In order to achieve the ‘floating’ finish at the bottom I slip-hemmed the lower edge up by about 1.5cms. I could have simply machined this up but I didn’t want a row of stitching showing on the outside.
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The finished top modelled by Doris. I’ve turned the sleeves up by 5cms but actually that’s too much so I’m going to let them down again! You can also see that I’ve added georgette to the neck as well.

I’m pleased with the finished result-especially bearing in mind how little it cost! I like to think that it looks a little like something from Mint Velvet but I may be flattering myself! The pattern has so many possibilities-what I shall do very soon is transfer it to card so that I can draw around it instead of pinning it onto the fabric. Some sewing sites advocate weighting down paper patterns and cutting around them with a cutting wheel but I don’t like that method as it isn’t precise enough in dressmaking, it’s fine for patchwork and quilting but there’s too much chance of it moving about and errors occurring. As many of you know I’m very slightly obsessive about the cutting out! Perhaps I should blog about that separately sometime. Just because some methods of doing something are quick doesn’t mean it’s going to give a satisfactory outcome.

The back view-the hem looks wonky in this but it isn't! Now I just need an occasion to wear it!
The back view-the hem looks wonky in this but it isn’t! Now I just need an occasion to wear it!
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3 thoughts on “A slightly SciFi silvery top

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