Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Foxy sleeveless top

Warm weather is coming back to Dunedin - at last! How about a fab new sleeveless top to welcome back the heat? Good idea? I thought so.

The pattern: I don't often buy commercial sewing patterns. I think the last one was something like five years ago. Longtime readers will know that I'm usually not big on garment sewing in general and I usually don't even wear the few items I do make for myself. The Kwik Sew 3691 pattern is very similar to a couple of store-bought tops that I absolutely love to wear so it seemed like a smart buy to me.

The top is a pullover style (no zippers, buttons, or fasteners of any kind) with tucks along the round neckline. The pattern calls for the neckline and armholes to be finished with facings (more on that below). It's shockingly easy to sew and could probably be done by even the most novice of sewers.

The fabric: a cute fox print Japanese lawn fabric at Spotlight a few weeks ago. I loved it so much, I bought a couple of meters even though I had no projects in mind at the time. The weight is much lighter than I'm used to but it sewed up beautifully.

The making: Since the fabric is rather sheer, right off the bat, I decided to deviate from the pattern and line the top instead of finishing with facings. I knew I would never wear the finished top if it were completely see-through, so lining it seemed a good way to go.

For the lining, I used a plain, solid cotton the same weight as the main fabric. I cut the back using the back pattern piece as indicated in the pattern. For the front though, I used the actual front piece of the top once I'd finished sewing in the tucks. If I'd simply cut the front lining using the pattern piece, I would have had to sew in the tucks on that piece as well and that would have been too bulky. Using the front fabric piece ensured the neckline lay nicely and my lining neckline would match perfectly with the main fabric neckline. Does that make sense?

Were it not for that rather significant alteration, I probably would have had this thing sewn up in under two hours. As it was, it took me a while to figure out how to finish the armholes nicely. I wound up zigzag stitching around the main fabric armholes, then pressing them in 1/4 inch. I also pressed in the lining fabric the same amount. I then tucked the edge of the lining under the crease of the main fabric and edge stitched to finish both armholes. I'm still left with a somewhat raw edge on the inside, but the zigzag stitch should keep the fraying to a minimum.

To finish the bottom hem, I just trimmed a little length off the lining, folded up the main fabric twice, tucked the lining under the crease of the main fabric and machine stitched the hem. Beautiful.

I picked up a new tip from this pattern: understitching. Just fold the seam allowance toward the facing (or lining in my case) and stitch on the facing close to the seam through the facing and the seam allowances. It seems so obvious to me now, but this little trick is a handy one to prevent facings or lining from rolling to the outside of the garment. 

I couldn't be happier with the finished results. I absolutely love my new foxy top! I've already worn it to work a couple of times - the ultimate test of whether I actually like something I've sewn!


  1. It looks gorgeous! Love the fox print too.. xx

    1. Aw, thanks! I'm tempted to go get more in another colour and make myself a summer dress too!

  2. Love the top and the fabric - think that I may add that pattern to my wish list!
    (Have you ever made a Washi dress? You could use the method given on the Made by Rae blog for lining this)

    1. I've had my eye on the Washi dress for a while now, but I'm not sure it would fit my...ahem...top. Might be worth getting the pattern just to read up on how to do lining though - thanks!

  3. Gorgeous fabric! And a beautifully made top too.


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