Swinging sixties top

Back before Christmas I spotted this wonderful cotton print on CalIco Laine’s Facebook page, and immediately knew that I wanted to use this fabric for my second blogger network make. I love this fabric, the retro print has a sixties vibe and it makes me smile – just the thing to beat the winter blues. Because this is such a busy print, I wanted to pick a simple pattern which allowed the fabric to shine. I had in mind to make a top with a contrast yoke and when I remembered Amy’s lovely top made using New Look 6148, a plan was born.

There are many different pattern variations, but I decided on a simple sleeveless blouse with contrast yoke. This is a nice simple top to make with no fastenings, which is great for those who, like me, avoid zips wherever possible (I was pleased to see from Marie’s recent post that I’m not the only one!). I was a bit concerned that this might make it difficult to take on and off, as my head is rather on the large side (no tittering at the back there!), but I needn’t have worried as the neckline leaves plenty of room. There is a LOT of ease built in to this pattern so I recommend taking a good look at the finished measurements before cutting. I went by the finished bust size, leaving a few inches for maneuver, and I reckon I could have still gone with a size smaller. I graded up a few sizes at the hips which was a good call as any smaller here would have been a problem. I bought two metres of the print fabric and I probably could have got away with at least half a metre less, although I love this fabric so much that I am glad to have some left over.

For the main section of the top there are just three pattern pieces, which means that it comes together pretty quickly, even if like me you decide to French seam everything in sight. I must admit to getting a bit confused by the time I got to the neck binding, as for some reason the binding piece was not large enough to go all the way around the neckline, so at this point I stopped following the pattern and made the rest up as I went along. Thankfully this seems to have worked out! Plan B was to use bias binding from my stash to finish the neck and armholes, but the roll of black that I could have sworn I had was nowhere in sight. Instead I resigned myself to plan C: making my own. Producing handmade bias binding is an easy albeit quite boring exercise but luckily for me there was not too much required on this occasion.

This top is the perfect example of when frosting can also work as cake. It may be a fun and colourful print, but paired with a plain skirt as shown here, or a pair of trousers, this would be absolutely fine to wear to work (in my workplace at least!). Who says you can’t have cake and frosting at the same time??

Although I love this fabric, I think that if (when) I make this top again, I will use material which has more drape such as a cotton lawn, which would make it lighter and more summer appropriate. Also there is a tiny bit of pulling on the side seams around the chest which I realise means that I probably need to do an full bust adjustment. I know, I know, I keep putting it off, but I am determined to conquer the FBA and this will be the year. There we go, I’ve written it down, now i’ve committed! I would love to hear reassuring noises from those who have conquered the FBA, and if anyone has any top tips I would love to hear them. I think it’s the thought of slashing my pattern pieces that scares me the most!

Kat xx

16 thoughts on “Swinging sixties top

  1. Marie

    Aaaw, it’s lovely Kat! Very pretty and very versatile, as you point out! I know loads of bloggers who have had no trouble with FBAs, so I know you can totally conquer it! And if you’re worried about your pattern, maybe just trace that piece?

  2. Claire (aka Seemane)

    Hey Kat, I love the top and the black yoke at the top works so well to show off your necklace nicely too :) Re: FBA I’ve done a few now… I’d be very happy to come up & visit you anytime to help you with one hun :)

  3. sewlittletime

    lovely top – that print is fab! on the blue ginger doll blog, heather b has written a really clear post about FBAs today. worth checking out if you think you might need one!

  4. Vicki Kate

    Your top looks great, Kat! And FBAs really are a cinch. Have you got fit for real people? That tutorial(s) work really well for me and cover a variety of bodices. And my FBA totals 6″! If we ever manage to meet up and have a natter I’d happily help you out.

    1. KraftyKat Post author

      Thanks for the words of confidence! I’ve ordered fit for real people and I believe its currently sitting in the post office waiting for me – I look forward to a good read as so many people have recommended it. Meet-up – it will happen one day soon! Need to start thinking about a summer Brum gathering…

  5. Lynne

    Your top is fab! I love the 60s fabric. Re FBAs – I do them on everything, and they’re dead easy. If you have the fitting book “Fit For Real People” it explains how to do them on a darted bodice, and a princess seam bodice. I tissue fit my bodice first by pinning it along the seam allowance at the shoulder and side seam, then try it on carefully without trying to rip it! I measure the distance between my centre front and the centre front of the pattern. This is then how much I need to adjust the pattern by. Honestly, this has worked perfectly for me every time. I definitely recommend tracing the pattern first, then you can chop away at the traced piece. I use greaseproof baking paper for tracing, you can get 10 metres of it for a pound in the pound shop, so it’s as cheap as chips! Good luck with your FBA!

    1. KraftyKat Post author

      Thanks Lynne its good to hear so many people manage it without a problem. I’ve got fit for real people on order so look forward to getting stuck in! Good tip regarding greaseproof paper to – I have done this before but am often too impatient! Need to slow down and take my time, I’m sure it will all be worth it for better results!

  6. Samantha Schofield (createitsamantha)

    Looks fab Kat, I trace my patterns onto old newspaper to have a play or use pattern paper, it comes flat and folded!
    The bias binding gives a real professional finished!
    Look forward to your next project!!
    P.S. there is a new sewing club start in March at the quad in Derby…thought it sounded up your street!


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