One of the most interesting and unexpected observations from a child about my sewing was that I don’t have company labels, care instructions, or check out tags on my handmade clothes. No, I don’t. Yet, this time, I do have a bar code to label me…well, kind of. This top may have a bar code, yet it is not for sale and there will not be another quite like it in the world. I did not go to a store to get what I needed when I came up with the idea for it…I shopped downstairs in my stash. I have no bars holding me back, and no code to dominate what I wear. This top is me silently laughing at fast fashion – I don’t need you, cheap ready-to-wear. I can do better.
This scrap-busting little summer top project blatantly speaks for my lack of conventionality when it comes to what it is that I wear, while my background mural of St. Louis, Missouri speaks for my hometown pride! Together, this outfit is the modern “me”, the side of my life which occasionally does not wear vintage, that is. It is the late 90’s punky-style teen still inside me that still loves to sing loudly to Avril Lavigne while driving around town. Besides, I needed an edgy monotone black-and-white outfit to see the new Disney live-action “Cruella” movie, after all!
FABRIC: one printed cotton quilting “fat quarter”, picked up many years back from a JoAnn Fabrics store, and satin scraps leftover from this Burda skirt project, made years back now (posted here).
PATTERN: an adapted version of the Burda Style “Cropped T-Shirt” pattern #103, from the March 2016 magazine
TIME TO COMPLETE: This was whipped up in the matter of 2 hours on March 30, 2016.
THE INSIDES: cleanly bias bound on all edges and facings
TOTAL COST: The satin and rings were leftovers on hand, which I’m counting as free, and the quilting square was bought on sale so many years ago I no longer remember. My total here is probably almost nothing!!!
I was literally just making this idea work. That’s okay, though, because I felt like being inventive for that day and just went along with all the setbacks I faced. For example, I didn’t have a piece of satin wide enough to have a conventional center back seam, much less a pleat, so I figured the rear of the top would have to be open…”but make it a stylistic element” I thought. I added metal rings, found off of my husband’s work table downstairs, to connect the two edges. The fat quarter wasn’t big enough for a whole front piece either, so I added little satin shoulder extensions (drafted off of the pattern) to end up with a complete panel. This way the print is primarily front and center to my top and the satin is visible from more than just a back view. I like my top better for all the changes I was forced into because of my fabric choices. If you have an oopsie appear purposeful, it becomes an artistic pattern adaption!
Crop tops are fun for me to wear anyway, but this one is more so the way you can tie the longer back extensions up or leave them down like tuxedo tails. I am surprised the pattern never showed or even suggested this wearing option! Either way, tying the back tails helps keep this crop top down in place on me. As I found out after its first time being worn, the lightweight fabrics I used are too insubstantial for a loose fitting pullover crop top, like this. It has the tendency to not stay down in place. Luckily the heavy metal rings weigh it down somewhat from behind. Otherwise, I could see this top creeping up on me. Lesson learned – do not make a crop top in the lightest fabrics on the market unless you don’t mind if it flies up to arm level. Luckily, the combo of both the rings in the open back and tying up the back tails helps this project to be wearable in the end.
I can actually wear this over a long sleeved black tee in the winter, so this is more than just a one season piece happily. Inside during the summer, when places have their air conditioning on “deep freeze” setting I like to have my faux leather moto jacket as a fun, modern cover-up. To wear this to see the “Cruella” movie, I actually paired it with an oversized 1930s red beaded necklace, nice red flats, and a black skirt, and the top almost looked dressy! In these pictures I am wearing it with another Burda Style pattern, the pants portion to a designer jumpsuit (posted here). This little crop top has become more versatile than I imagined when I was originally sewing it together. What I make for myself always gets worn to some degree, I make sure of that. Anything that usefully whittles down my scrap pile is good in my book, anyway. Yet, I love surprises where something that seemed fun and useful to plan at the moment ends up a wardrobe favorite.
At this point, I almost need a whole section of my blog highlighting my scrap-busting projects…I have so many! This one was one of those projects that has been slipping under the radar of my blog, being worn frequently but seemingly insignificant enough to post. This summer has been so busy, I feel badly for not posting here as much as I would like, and certainly not frequently enough to keep up with what I am sewing in real time, but it gives me the opportunity to easily share simple little creations like this one. I hope, like me, your sewing creativity is still going just as fervent and fulfilling, and this season is also finding you happy and healthy!
P.S. If you want to discuss the new live-action Disney “Cruella” movie, share what you thought of it, or just find out more of my opinion, leave me a comment and let’s get talking!! I found it really good, and well done, but with reservations over some confusing technicalities that do not match up. I’d be happy to chat about it!