When I was planning this month’s Minerva make, I was suitably vague as I wasn’t sure which top I was going to make out of this silk. But I knew I wanted to make some kind of silk top. I had a couple of choices, possibly the Biscayne Blouse by hey June (one of my faves this year it has to be said), or something from the Sew Over It Vintage book. And there are a couple of choices in this gorgeous book – I could make the simple basic bodice as a top, a cowl neck using the dress pattern, or the Anita Tie top, which indeed I chose.
Before I dwell on the pattern, the silk, this fabric, is stunning. It’s patterned with little leaves in bottle green & navy & is so luxurious. It was perfect for what I wanted to make – a silk top that would be good to mix with jeans or trousers as well as a pencil skirt or a denim skirt- something I could wear out in the evening. The top should not be fussy I felt as this silk was just classic & needed to be the star.
So the Anita Tie top it became. Let’s talk about the method. In Sew Over it Vintage, Lisa Comfort, the author, includes the methodology to make many things – clothing, accessories, homewear, by drafting your own pattern. But don’t let this scare you away – the whole point of this book is to make pattern drafting much more accessible. If you are making something to wear, you draw patterns based on the measurements of the person who will be wearing it. Lisa guides you through each stage & clothes are drawn on the whole with straight lines, simple curves where needed. And if I can do it, anyone can! It really is step by step.
The starting point is the basic bodice which I felt would be sensible to make out of some spare fabric – making sure the measurements worked out OK before progressing to the variations needed for the Anita tie top & cutting out the silk! I made it out of some viscose I had spare in my stash left over from making a kimono gift last year. I knew it would drape beautifully, which seemed a requirement for such a loose fitting style.
I followed all the instructions to make what I think of as a bit of an 80s top. It’s the boxiness & the slashed neckline – I hasten to add that the neckline is wider than it should be because I forgot to add the seam allowance to the neckline on my pattern when I was drafting it.
It is reversible too – in that the front & back are the same!
This bodice was a quick make, & I was confident it would be eminently wearable with a vest top underneath (a la Fame).
The Anita Tie top has an even looser style with virtually no shaping at the sides from the arms – it is designed to flow down your sides, with a hip hugging band that also houses the amazingly long ties. And it is evoking the dropped waist styles of the 30s
The top is gathered onto this band & you really should use a fabric that drapes otherwise it would probably look like a sack. No problem with this silk and its draping qualities!
After drafting the pattern I was ready to face my inner fears & cut into the silk, all the while trying to take my usual calm confident strokes with my scissors & put to one side that this was actually silk I was cutting into! I did not take any precautions for cutting silk- I know that slippery fabrics such as silk can cause problems. I often find that cutting out on my lounge rug contains tricky fabrics to some extent, but there are lots of tips out there for cutting and working with slippery fabrics, such as these shared by Tilly.
Making up, I also followed the instructions in the book, stay stitching the neckline I think is a must when sewing with fabrics like this. I also sewed using my walking foot & as a result cannot report back that I had issues, because I didn’t! I think there are probably silks & satins that are far more slippery than this!
OMG- look at that bow & how the silk is so sumptious!
I should have sewn French seams as that’s such a neat finish for such classy & delicate fabric, but at the outset, my first seam (attaching the gathered bodice to the hip band) was done right sides together & I really did not want to unpick seams in silk in case it left any spoilers. And having started with regular seams finished with my overlocker, I wasn’t going to switch into French seams later on.
Apart from that, I have nothing much more to add. It was a hugely fun experience drafting the pattern to fit me- I mean the hip band is a perfect fit! I also really enjoyed sewing the silk because I was sure it was going to turn out to be the top I had envisioned. And it is! I wore it out to a meal the other evening.
Testing out its danceability!
And we went to the Gin Bar – yes, that is gin in that tea cup 🙂
I had lots of compliments – it is one of those styles that stands out in its simplicity.
One of those styles that allows classy fabric to shine. And one of those styles that suits all sorts of shapes & sizes- I have a feeling I may be making the odd one as a special commission for special friends…
Here’s the link to the kit on Minerva’s Blogger Network if you want to see the fabric again (& the version of the Gin Bar photo that is more grown up!)