Suddenly having time at home during the heat of the summer last year made me realise that I don’t really own many hot weather garments. Normally during the hottest parts of the year, I am wearing my Sunsail uniform and am out on the water so it is cooler than on land anyway. But last year I felt that I needed to invest in some lightweight long-sleeved coverup tops, to stop myself burning during the time I was spending outside in early summer. I also decided that I wanted them to be high necked to cover up my decolletage area, again to reduce the amount of sun that it was getting.
Ever since the pattern came out I had thought that the Belemnite Dress from Marilla Walker would make a great top, it even made it into my Make Nine plans for 2020, well I finally got round to trying out my idea of converting the bodice into a top and, spoiler alert, it worked great!
I tried the idea out with some dark mustard poly cotton from Tia Knight and it worked really well. I extended the bodice length and removed some of the waist shaping by just extending stright down from widest point. This did take a bit of brain power as the pattern is a very unusual design as the sleeves are grown on to the side bodice pieces so you have to make sure that you are adding length to the bottom of all the relevant pieces.
I used the open high neck add on for the mustard top but realised that I didn’t actually need to the opening in the neckline so I just used the high neckline for the linen version as this provided more cover from the sunlight. Whilst this worked very well I need to go back and change the facing, for some reason the seams didn’t line up properly on it and it has a tendency to flip out, as you can see in some of these photos…
I really love this top, it is gorgeously breezy the fabric has a slightly slubby texture and is so lovely and soft, with a bit of a crazy print on it. The design gives a lot of underarm room which is great for warm days, but I would say isn’t the easiest thing to pose for photos in! Some of these images makes it look a bit like it is swamping me but honestly I don’t think it is like that in real life…
I think this top has the possibility of going with a lot of different bottoms, invariably I have found myself pairing it with these rust trousers which are a wearable muslin of the Elizabeth Suzan, Clyde Trousers and need some modifications to the pattern before I make them “for real”. But I think this top would match with navy blue, brown or grey trousers as well, possibly other colour combinations but I don’t think I own bottoms in another colour that might work, I seem to be fairly conservative with my bottoms colours at least until these trousers!
My only concern with this as a year round top is that the sleeves are so voluminous that they won’t fit under all of my jumpers, but since the linen doesn’t have too much density they do actually fit under thinner sleeves than you would expect them to.
With this pattern having such odd pattern pieces it is a bit of a fabric hog as the sleeve/bodice pattern piece is just one large piece which can’t be moved around much, for a better fit (as I would with normal pattern pieces) but it does mean that whilst you need a fairly long piece of fabric to fit all the pieces in you can have some quite large ‘scraps’. In this case, I fitted my top and a size 2 Seamwork Adria top lengthened by 2.5″ out of two meters of 144cm wide fabric. So both Nikki and I could have a top from this wonderful fabric, unfortunately, since I gave Nikki her top the weather hasn’t been warm enough for her to wear it!
Speaking about the fabric this is a linen-cotton mix from Tia Knight that I bought on a whim from their site when buying more fabric for my full-length Belemnite Dress. I have never seen linen on their site before so was not sure what it would be like but I have been pleasantly surprised and am looking forward to making stuff with the other designs that I bought at the same time. And since my mother tried to steal the top destined for Nikki more of the fabric was purchased and will undoubtedly be made into warm-weather clothes for 2021.
Since I am finishing this blog post off in Jan 2021, the top has had a fair bit of wear since it was first made and I still enjoy wearing it as much as before. Although I still need to fix the facing! It is also in the to mend pile as the fabric has pulled out of the seam on both of the cuffs, so they need unpicking and re-stitching, I think this is more to do with the way that I attached the cuffs than anything else. I like serging the cuffs onto the sleeves with the elastic already inside the cuffs but this does give me a bit less control and sometimes it doesn’t catch enough of the fabric. I just find this method makes it much easier to get a good secure connection on the elastic.
Future plans: Whilst I do enjoy the mustard top, and it is really nice to have a ‘nice’ top that I am not worried about damaging at all, I think that I do want to make it in a nicer, non polyester, fabric. I think that I have some nice linen that I could naturally dye to a similar mustard colour. I have found it goes very well with my pale blue skinny jeans, although a little extra length would help with tucking it in if I fancied it.
All in all I am very happy with this pattern and have still got to show off the dress that I made as well…