The Float Top

As much as I tell myself dresses for summer are the way to go, I still find myself grabbing shorts for stay-at-home, errand-running kind of days. But I can probably wear less than half of the hot weather tops in my closet. No slinky knit tank tops…yet. Click here for explanation. This has forced me to think outside my normal tank top box and take the time to sew some fun, forgiving, gathered blouses. And I couldn’t be more happy with reconstruction make #5 that I’m sharing here.

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The pattern I used is McCall’s 7095. I grabbed this on sale at JoAnn’s when I was collecting loose-through-the-chest patterns. I knew immediately that this design fit the bill perfectly – above the chest gathers and a high non-revealing neckline, and as a bonus, it is super cute! I made view A.

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My fabrics are from the Dream Weaver Voile Collection by Amy Butler, purchased online at Hawthorne Threads. The fabric is $13.95 per yard and is 54″ wide. I cannot say enough wonderful stuff about this cotton voile. It’s silky smooth, buttery soft, and light as a feather. You cannot go wrong with an Amy Butler voile. This is my fourth project with this fabric. Amy, please make more voile! I’m running out of designs to choose from.

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The instructions called for finishing the armhole by turning under the raw edge of the fabric 5/8″ and doing a narrow hem. I thought this would be almost impossible at the curve of the underarm. I finished the armholes with purchased bias tape instead.

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Oops! I didn’t notice the bias tape was turned under at the shoulder when I took the picture.

For the bottom band, I doubled the width of the pattern piece, folded it in half and sewed the edges together when it was sewn onto the body. I did this instead of a single layer band with a narrow 5/8″ hem as called for in the instructions.

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LET’S BE HONEST:

1.  I made a size Small (8 – 10) even though that is not reflective of my measurements on the chart. I am bigger. I assumed there would be plenty of design/wearing ease. Fortunately I was correct and it fit perfect.

2. I shorten the body pattern piece by about 2 inches. I often shorten tops as I do not want them to end at my thighs, the widest part of me. I prefer tops to hit a few inches above my thighs.

3. The only deviations I made from the instructions were mentioned above, the armhole finish and double layer for the bottom band.

4. In case you’re wondering, my shorts are RTW from Talbots. I also have these shorts in two other colors.

5. This top is way more billowy and wide than I would usually wear, but it’s just so fun and comfortable, I don’t care!

I love everything about this top. Maybe one with sleeves for fall?

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Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read this post!

 

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Japanese Dress Y

I have now become a big fan of Japanese pattern books. I bought my first book, Simple Modern Sewing, on sale, with a gift card, and as a skeptic. After two big wins from that book, I was compelled to buy another one, Stylish Dress Book, Wear with Freedom by Yoshiko Tsukiori. For Fresh Make #27 I chose a loose fitting, easy wear dress. Perfect for the hot summer that’s just around the corner.
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While the decision wasn’t easy from the 26 patterns, I chose Dress Y. Mainly because I wanted a pattern that combined two fabrics, and also the construction didn’t look to fussy.

This book has 26 adorable patterns to choose from.

This book has 26 adorable patterns to choose from.

Here's Dress Y. Those are the complete instructions! More on that later.

Here’s Dress Y. Those are the complete instructions! More on that later.

The fabrics I used are from Amy Butler’s Glow Collection, Maze Voile in Grass and Jolie Voile in Grass. I purchased them online at Hawthorne Threads for $13.50 per yard. I needed a total of three yards. I have been coveting the cotton voiles that have recently become a part of designer collections that traditionally have only included quilting weight fabrics. There’s no turning back once you start making blouses and dress with voiles and lawn cottons – so light weight and luxurious.
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The neck trim is attached by sewing right and wrong side together at the neck edge so the seam allowances are tucked inside, and there is no need for a facing.

The neck trim is attached by sewing right and wrong side together at the neck edge so the seam allowances are enclosed inside when you fold the trim over to the front, and there is no need for a facing.

The pattern called for a single layer yoke with a bias tape trim at the top. I  made a double layer for a facing instead.

Here’s the inside. The pattern called for a single layer yoke with a bias tape trim at the top. I made a double layer for a facing instead.

The hem band is a single layer. I did a 1 1/4

The hem band is a single layer. I did a 1 1/4″ machine blind hem.

LET’S BE HONEST:
1. The pattern size range is from 6 to 16. Obiviously this is a very loose fitting design and the bust is the main measurement needed to gage your size. I cut a 12 with no alterations.

2. The width throughout the bodice and where it meets the skirt is wider than it appears in the photograph on the very skinny model in the book. It almost A-lines from the armhole. I am considering this a surprise design feature (I didn’t study the pattern pieces), rather than a misfit, because the shoulders and neckline are perfect. I feel it might not be the most flattering thing, especially from a side view, for me to have all that width floating around me.

3. Ok, after making three Japanese patterns, there is no denying they are well drafted. And also fit well, at least for a relatively narrow size range. BUT, the instructions are inadequate. (Enlarge the photo of the book above.) Beginner beware! Stay away. I because of my sewing experience, I can make a basic dress without instructions, but I try to look at what is presented from a beginner standpoint. I definitely would not attempt one of these patterns without a body of sewing knowledge.

4. I would like to question one method in the instructions. They show laying the garment out flat and sewing the sleeve in before the side seams. I usually save this technique for knits and/or sleeve caps with a straighter curve. The sleeve cap in Dress Y has a fairly high curve and I think would ease in better insetting it after the side seams are sewn. At least that’s what I did, and it work well.

Overall, despite the slightly tent-like sillouette, I love this dress. The fabric is soft, smooth and lighter than air. Dress Y like a pair of shoes that are super comfortable the first time you try them on – I know I’ll reach for it over and over again.

Have you tried any Japanese patterns? Which ones? Are you a skeptic or fan?
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