Summertime Blues – A Knit Top with a Twist

What do you do with your leftovers?  Do you chuck ’em for fear of adding clutter and forgetting about what you have in the house?  Maybe your leftovers get thrown off to the side with a half-hearted wish to make them useful sometime soon.  Or perhaps you judiciously sort, file, or store any scraps for later use.

1613     Whichever category you fit in, and I’m sure there are more divisions to add, this post is meant to show what I did with some precious leftovers…of fabric, that is to say.  I seem to fall in the last ‘leftover’ category which I mentioned, and I often impress myself at how I can find a use for every inch of my scraps.  So, knowing how I save and use my scraps, you can imagine my excitement at creating something with the leftover pieces from my “Doris Day blouse” (winner of the “Butterick to the Big Screen” 150th Anniversary sewing contest).

I was a bit disappointed in this top, merely because there were high expectations for it coming off of a great project.  However, I do really like this top after wearing it, and find the construction and the vintage/modern details a winner!

100_1807THE FACTS:

FABRIC:  dusty light blue 100% cotton double knit, all scraps and pieces barely big enough for the bodice pattern pieces;  also, a super lightweight polyester knit in the color navy, to be used as the lining and for the facings under my top

NOTIONS:  none needed; I had all the thread and interfacing that I used

PATTERN:  Simplicity 1613, (picture above and at right) year 2013, view C, with added cap sleeves from View A of my much used year 1937 McCall 9170

1613-back envelopeMcCall 9170TIME TO COMPLETE:  this top was finished in July 2013, after about 20 hours of time to sew this together

FIRST WORN:  out to do errands (get my glasses fixed, stop at Walgreens, etc.); big deal!  I hope to wear it out to a few nicer occasions soon.

THE INSIDES:  Turned inside out, this top is has clean invisible seams, with a smooth on the skin and professional look – all thanks to the great pattern design.  See ‘inside out’ picture below.

100_1910TOTAL COST:  only $5.00 was spent on the navy lining fabric

     The most important, number one piece of advise I can share about this top is…FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS!  I can’t stress this enough, and, coming from me (who almost always changes or adapts patterns), this statement should be taken seriously.  Like I said before, the layout of the instruction sheet steps and the design of constructing the top are so very smart, giving the finished product an amazing finish to some amazing details.  Reading through the instruction steps, and picturing in one’s head what you will be doing with your machine and the fabric helps immensely towards eliminating any confusion when actually putting this top together.  Read the instructions again and again (like me),  if you have to – some of the steps are tricky, but not hard.  With a thorough knowledge of sewing skills and an unwillingness to be deterred, anyone should be able to sew up this showstopper top.  Simplicity 1613 is the only modern pattern (so far) which has impressed me to this degree on many levels.  I wish more patterns had Simplicity 1613’s good features, especially the year 1935 Vintage Vogue #2859, which –click here to see my version– has many similar neckline features to this blue blouse.  1930’s goes modern very well!

My only changes made to this twist neck top were minor, but nonetheless useful little points.  Firstly, where the twist flips over the round neckband right at the bottom of the throat, I covered the raw edges of the two twist sections with matching navy bias tape.  This way I could sew the ends of the bias tape to the back of the neck band without worrying about any raw edges fraying or showing or not laying down flat.  It might be hard to figure out what I’m saying here, but if you make this top, you’ll understand.  Also, in lieu of armhole facings, I made my own self-fabric bias bands to neatly cover the raw armhole seams.  Finally, my only other change to the pattern is merely a fitting fix.  After my top was done, it gaped a bit along the back of my neck, so I sewed three darts along the edge, in a decorative 30s “fan” shape to make them look more decorative than functional.  Many other reviews from ladies who have also made this top also had some gaping, like myself, along the back neck edge, but I like my dart decoration solution better than if I had fixed this problem earlier on the pattern.

100_1806a     One more point that I like on my twisted neck top is the lack of top stitching.  However, I sewed in plenty of edge stitching on the wrong (the lining) side, and this does its job well enough with a touch up of light ironing.  As I did for my “Water for Elephants” imitation dress and my 1935 Vintage Vogue #2859, the elimination of top stitching has a wonderful classy appearance for the neckline, which is the center of focus.  Contrast top stitching would, I think, look extremely good on the neckline if this top was made in a fun, modern print…maybe I’ll have to try this combo sometime.

The best part about sewing is top is the challenge which it provided me.  Now that I have done so much sewing, it is becoming slightly difficult to find something that really tries my sewing skills in a good way.  Exercising one’s sewing abilities does feel good!

100_1797a    The deep V of the inner neckline is a bit close to being low-cut on my chest, but not bad enough to stop me from wearing my new top.  Besides, my creative juices have figured out the perfect fix if I want the neckline to be a bit more covered up.  A vintage silk scarf of mine looks great tucked under the neckline (see picture).  I have also found that my navy tank top underneath creates a neat presentation, with the added bonus of keeping me warmer when I want to wear my twist neck top on cooler days.

Unfortunately this top might not get much wear this year, as the cooler temps are moving in quickly and summer is quite gone.  Boo hoo!  Even though I often get eaten alive by mosquitoes or sweat like a horse in our town’s stuffy humidity, I am always sad to see summer leave – it’s just me.  I am a warm weather girl, and posting about my twist neck top kind of reminded me of this fact.  As enjoyable as fall can be, I always get the summertime blues.  Dressing in layers just to stay warm…yuck!  No wonder I love to listen to Lana Del Rey’s new song, “Summertime Sadness”.

Worn now or next year, I now have a neat top that’s as casual as a tee, but dressier, with some great 1930’s details.

P.S. Gracie Burns (yes, from the Burns and Allen TV show) did a very humorous skit about “leftovers”.  Blanche, her neighbor, asked Gracie if she needed anything since she was making a trip to the grocery store.  Gracie wanted a few basic items along with asking for “leftovers”, saying that so many recipes call for them but the butchers never seem to know about those kinds of cuts.  Quirky, I know, but it’s so much funnier watching this for yourself.  I couldn’t help but think of this.  Burns and Allen know how to make me laugh and smile!

1 thought on “Summertime Blues – A Knit Top with a Twist

  1. Pingback: The “80’s Secretary” Color Pop Dress | Seam Racer

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