Monday, May 5, 2014

Spring Top Sewalong!

Pattern: Top G from the Japanese pattern book, "Inner Child - When wrapped in tenderness, you return to a child" by Etsuko Sakurai
Fabric: Nani IRO Melody Sketch (outer layers), off-white cotton voile (inner layers and facing)
Notions: coordinating off-white thread, interfacing, 7 covered buttons
Size: S

I'm so pleased to be able to add this top to Made-by-Rae's Spring Top Sewalong because I was so nervous throughout the process of making this piece! It wasn't till I had made the final stitch, sat back, and looked at my work, that I was finally able to let out a sigh of relief and think "This actually worked! And nicely too!".                                                                                               My pattern book was a lovely surprise gift from my husband, gosh, nearly two years ago, and this is the first pattern I've made from it. I spent these past two years looking at the dreamy images on a regular basis, thinking: "one day, when I get better at sewing, I'll make these!" My book, unlike the first Japanese pattern I used for my baby boy's dotty shirt, which was translated into French, is in Japanese, which meant that I had to rely on the images entirely for instructions. But they were fantastic and so easy to understand. I knew exactly what I was supposed to do. But then, every time the side panel of written instructions would catch my eye, a nagging feeling would take hold of me. 

What if somewhere in those instructions it says "Dear sewist, kindly disregard Step 2, figure 2, otherwise your project will end up as as a pair of shorts instead of desired top." But everything was perfect and made total sense, and I ended up with, as you can see, a top and not a pair of shorts!                                                                                 As with my first Japanese pattern, the seam allowances needed to be added in, but I remembered this neat trick from Cherie's Japanese Sewing book series (I think it was Meg from Elsie Marley who posted it). I tied two pencils together and the distance between them was exactly 1 centimeter! Easy for tracing and adding seam allowances!

One of the big things was selecting the right size to make. Based on my bust measurement, I had decided to make a ML and proceeded to trace the main shirt pieces (not the flounces) and quickly basted a muslin together. It was pretty clear that there was way to much ease based on what I like to wear. After estimating the extra ease, I decided to go with the S...another quick muslin. Check! Ready to move on! 

The fabric I used is a Nani IRO double gauze called "Melody Sketch". I actually bought it over a year ago specifically for this pattern and I was thrilled to be able to use it. I'm glad I waited so long to use it because I feel like my fabric handling skills have drastically improved from when I bought it. When I was getting ready to cut the pieces for the top, I decided to save on the Nani IRO print by only using it on the outer bodice pieces and the flounces and to use a slightly stiffer cotton voile for the core top and facings. I'm glad I did because I have about half of the original Nani IRO piece left over and the voile seems to be helping it keep its shape nicely. I also cut the double gauze on the cross-grain because I wanted to have fewer of the confetti dots closer to my face and the same at the bottom hem.

The sewing, which continually surprised me, was really easy. I was prepared for a very stressful project, but between the fabulous instruction images and cooperative fabrics I had a good time. Although, I was still a bit nervous! (A vision of shorts looming) The double gauze behaved itself beautifully by not get pulled into my sewing machine or coming apart, even with the miles of hemming on the flounces. The fiddliest part was attaching the armhole and corresponding part of the facing because that same piece of facing was already attached to the neck. But that too worked out just fine.

I made covered buttons (I interfaced the fabric, otherwise it would just shred apart), 7 of them but 5 of them are hidden by the flounces. There is a sufficient amount of ease for me to be able to pull the top on and off over my head without undoing the buttons, which actually makes it quite practical instead of having to reach to the back and button it all! 

I still can't believe I made this top and I adore it! I still feel giddy from seeing it finished and that all my seams match up and all the flounces match up too! I love the fit. It feels just right, light and airy. Not too tight and not too loose either. I'm particularly happy about the neckline and the armhole, which I think sits exactly where it should for the upper-arm area to look flattering. Looking back, I loved making this, even if it was most definitely an involved project. I've already picked out another pattern I'd like to make from this book. I'm also thinking I'd like to make myself some teal blue linen or chambray pants to go with this top. So happy! And thank you, Rae, for hosting the Spring top sewalong, which gave me that extra little push I needed to finally make this top!


  1. Very cute top! I agree, I'm always glad when I pick up a project I was planning on doing months ago, because it always looks way better than it would have.

    1. Thank you! This one was definitely a long time in the planned stage but I'm so glad I waited it out. All this sewing for my little boy has really helped me improve my sewing skills.

  2. Such a pretty top! The fabric and the flounces are adorable. I also sew from Japanese patterns, even though I cannot read a word of it :)

    1. Thank you! The instructional drawings are just amazing. And I love how the 'how to make' for the pattern held on just two pages! This was my second project made from a Japanese pattern and I can't wait to make another! I already have a 3rd, 4th, and possibly a 5th in mind!