Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Simplicity 2599 - Special Sari Top

Before I was ill I made this top.

It's for wearing at smart-casual events such as my daughters' concerts and plays. It fills a big gap in my wardrobe. I did a mini-wardrobe review for MMM but didn't post about it in the end as it didn't make interesting reading, but I have to acknowledge the downside of my ultra-casual minimal wardrobe is looking 'presentable' on occasions such as these.

This project had a good feeling about it from the start. I had high hopes of the pattern because of the separate pieces for B,C and D cup sizes (needless to say I cut the D) so I thought a toile for such a basic shape would be unnecessary. For once my fabric also matched the fabric suggestions on the back of the pattern, so I hoped the loose but not sack-like fit of the cover photograph would be achievable.

Front - please excuse swollen face. Still
have eye & sinus infections!
Side view for fit

I used a favourite fabric from a beautiful sari I had bought from our local charity shop years ago (and had already made one top from, sadly now defunct). I love the stylised floral design, with the dark background and muted colours. It looks as though it's block printed, as you can see slight misalignments in places like the border, which for me only adds to its charm. I think it's a synthetic material, but it's very silk-like in look and behaviour, with a lovely sheen and as light as a feather. Unsurprising, as the original garment was designed to wrap and flow around the body. I am sure the original owner must have looked very graceful in this design. I decided on the length before I cut the top out to incorporated the border.

Border close up. Colours are richer in real life!
The only slight glitch I had was cutting out the first piece which looked like I had used my teeth. Too late I remembered Gertie's trick of stabilising delicate fabrics with tissue paper before cutting.  

I used a new finer needle than I use for cotton and made French seams for the first time I can remember, as I was convinced my overlocker would cause the fabric to bunch. I must have learnt French seams at college, but I can't remember using them, no exaggeration, this is love!  (Once I had got over the wrongness of sewing wrong side to wrong side first.) I actually feel guilty when I look at my overlocker because I was so pleased to get it, and now I have these and they are so much better...I showed one of my daughters, (who was polite enough to take an interest), and declared that from now on everything would have French seams, even pyjamas! She enquired whether pyjamas really need French seams, which was rather missing the point...I am like a toddler who has just learnt to run, I want to make French seams all the time! Maybe it's time for me to tackle the my pattern of fear, the much sewn by the more experienced V1247. Could a beginner in French seams pull off such a thing, or will it demoralise me for ever?

In addition to having the right fabric, I also followed most of the pattern instructions, although leaving off the frills. My main change apart from this was to do a lot of handsewing. As the garment came together, I thought machine stitching on the surface of the fabric would spoil it, so all the places which would normally have machine stitching such as armholes and hem have very small, barely visible hand stitches instead. It was very therapeutic, calming work and I felt it honoured the original material constructing the top this way. Which sounds pretty stupid written down, but it felt right at the time. I also covered a button for the back fastening.

I think this pattern would be suitable for a fairly new sewer as French seams wouldn't be essential on all fabrics suggested. The only change I would try if I made this top again is to use a bias finish instead of a neckline facing as per the pattern. On a light fabric I think it would be more flexible.

When I wore the top I felt very comfortable in it. It's a bit special without shouting "look at me". I need something to wear with it now, the two styles that have come to mind are navy three quarter length linen trousers that taper towards the ankle or maybe a skirt but I am not sure what style would complement a loose top.

I also wanted to show you the jewellery I am wearing. It was made by my very talented friend, who I made this apron for. Doesn't she have a fabulous, fluid and individual style? I thought these pieces really complemented the top.

I hope you are enjoying your projects, too.

Happy sewing, 'till next time!


  1. What a great use of that lovely fabric, looks like the perfect little summer top :)

  2. There is such a captivating sense of elegance to this top. The style may be understated, but the beautiful sari fabric ensures it's a symphony of loveliness for the eyes to behold. Wonderful work - I can imagine this being a piece that will get a lot of wear over the years.

    Gentle hugs,
    ♥ Jessica

  3. Love the top - so elegant. I have used this pattern a lot, it has a lot of adaptability in it. Your friend's jewellery is gorgeous. :)

  4. Beautiful fabric, and it works so well with this top - very much a smart/casual top...J