From disaster to a fabulous top

For an event about 3 years ago I wanted to make a new dress. I chose this fabulous fabric from C&H fabrics, but it was totally unsuitable for my pattern choice. I wish I had realised this before I had cut out the whole dress, sewed it up and went to try it on less than a week before my event. It just didn’t work, it didn’t have enough drape and the pattern didn’t look right in this structured cotton. I panic-sewed a new dress, and this dress became an eternal UFO.

I unpicked the entire dress, and ended up with a lot of decent pieces (helped by the fact the original pattern had long sleeves, a large front panel and no separate bodice and skirt. Firstly I tried to refashion it into a new dress. The front panel was cut on the bias, so I couldn’t salvage much of that panel, but the sleeves gave me a new front bodice with a CF seam. I tried on my dress and although it was kinda wearable it could have been a couple of sizes bigger, I had no wiggle room in the seams to let it out, so it went back in the UFO pile.

In May I took this out when I photographed all my UFOs and decided it either needed finishing or binning. I was clearly in a creative mood as I decided to refashion again. With the help of my dressmakers dummy, I pinned it, shaped it, and draped it until I had something I thought would work. It’s the best top I think I could have made with the fabric I had, but I’m really pleased with it.

The top has a centre front seam (originally this was 2 sleeve panels), bust darts, darts running from the waist seam to the bust, a seam at the waist with the bottom panel skimming over my hips. I’d like a bit of additional ease at the hips, but I don’t have the fabric so I’ll have to live with it. I’ve included an exposed zip (in the name of maximising every inch of fabric).  The fit isn’t perfect, especially across the shoulders and chest, but I’ve done enough faffing with this top. It gapes a bit when I sit down, and could be a little bit indecent. I tried adding a panel inside the top at the centre front, but it didn’t look right. I think I’ll just wear a cami top under this and that’ll  make sure I don’t give anyone an accidental flash!

I wish I had taken some photos of this dress in it’s various stages, but I’m happy enough that I have a wearable top. I’m pairing it with my high waisted palazzo pants a fair bit, I think it would work well with jeans, I just need some more plain bottoms to mix and match this item with.

I really like wearing this top, it’s something a bit different, it tested my skills to the max, gave me confidence in drafting my own top, and I’m actually really proud of it. This top gets a big thumbs up from me!



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