I’m really excited about these, if you haven’t figured that out yet! And no joking on the post title, I could totally have one of these for every day of the week. And it’s fully my intention to sew up an army of them. Let the rainbow of surplice tops commence!
This first version I did was in a lovely light blue jersey… I recall it was a “tri-blend” but don’t know what else was in it, since it was in my stash a good while! The color is perfect, although the fabric doesn’t have very good recovery/memory, so it bagged out a bit even just trying it on as I went during sewing. But still very, very wearable.
This is, in fact, what I most wanted out of this pattern, once I started thinking about it: I didn’t want it to wrap around with ties. I actually wanted it to tuck in. Easier for me to wear and fills a gigantic gap in my wardrobe: comfy and stylish knit tops!
You’ll get the nitty gritty in Thursday’s tutorial on how to make this transformation yourself, but this being my first version, this one was used to kind of iron things out. So in this one, because I didn’t add enough width to the gathered side of the fronts and the way I’d initially altered the back was a bit wide on me below the waist, the side seams pull towards the front. Not such a big deal since I would only wear this tucked in, but I came closer to working this out on my second version. I’m not ablogogising here, and I’m quite proud of this pattern hack and this top, but feel it’s only fair to point out that issue since I’ll be doing a tutorial after all. 😉
Pulling seam or not, you can see below how this is constructed, with me wearing it over pants… instead of the gathered fronts being sewn into the ties and wrapping around your body, they just are sewn into the side seams! And the front is obviously longer, too. 4″ longer than the pattern. So the front elegantly sweeps down your side. (Obviously it does that on the other side too, it’s just inside so you can’t see.)
As I mentioned yesterday, I’d found the lower sleeves of the wrap top a bit constricting, so I added about 1/2″ of ease to each sleeve, and then lengthened the sleeve by about an inch, just because (which I did on my yellow wrap top too). I think this gives it a nice three quarter length.
But wait, can we pause on my skirt a sec? I KNOW. Isn’t that fabric amazing?? It’s just a simple gathered skirt I constructed from a retired Robert Kaufman “Nature Studies” fabric panel I found on Etsy. I’m obsessed with all things alpine and knew I needed to get at least one alpine print into my winter sewing! The design was way too long since it was along the cross grain (meaning 44″ tall!) and very minimal on the top sky area, so I had to get creative and cut off some of the bottom grassy area for the waistband. I’m lucky I pulled this off at all because I initially misunderstood the pattern direction from the description so what arrived was only enough to do half a skirt. Thankfully the seller had more!
I love border prints and am trying to find more, but I also really love these prints that repeat a giant scene like this, I wish I knew what to call them so they’d be easier to find. I’s like searching for a needle in a haystack!
Argh I almost can’t stand how much I love that print! Swoon! I’ll see if I can work it into an outfit post while it’s still winter. One of my current cardigan projects would be a perfect match for the foliage if I can finish it up in time. 😉
Right right, but we’re here for the tops aren’t we. Blue was version #1, and I wanted to work on the side seam area, which I got closer to nailing down in version #2, which was in a black polka dot. I bought this fabric ages ago from Girl Charlee (actually I think both came from there) and frankly it’s not that great–it feels kind of stiff and if you stretch it, you can see the black is printed on the white and looks a bit odd. I’d kept it around ages but with no plans, so this was a great time to bust it out. Sort of like wearable muslin #2.
But a pretty awesome looking wearable muslin #2, if I do say so!
Other than extending the gathered front a bit to try and account for the side seams pulling forward on my blue one (which helped but I’m still tweaking it for the future), I didn’t make any other changes compared to my blue one. The sleeves are still 1″ longer than the original wrap top and 1/2″ total wider towards the elbow so they’re more comfortable. Both are changes I’ll just carry forward on future versions unless I want short sleeves, of course.
Love those kimono sleeves! I really like that the way this pattern is shaped (and just converted slightly to this style). It’s still a pretty trim bodice, which isn’t always the case with kimono sleeves. It can be a delicate line to walk with cut-on style sleeves: narrow enough so it doesn’t make the bodice overly wide and baggy, not too deep to kind of go into really big batwing or dolman sleeve territory, but not too shallow as to be uncomfortable under your arms. This pattern hits just the right balance, to me.
And I have to say I really like the polka dots mixing with another print—the lovely prancing ponies on my Pinup Girl Clothing skirt, in this case! I tend to favor novelty prints with solids, so in my skewed closet I almost think of this as a solid, to wear with novelty prints. Yeah, I think I just called polka dots a solid! 😉
So now you can see what it looks like, taking a wrap top pattern like Butterick B6285 and turning it into a surplice top. It really only took a few changes, and yes, I’m still fine tuning, but aren’t we always if we sew regularly? I’m thrilled with the results, and Thursday I’ll share with you how I did it. Not up for pattern hacking and rather have it come with a pattern as-is? You could get a similar look (minus the kimono sleeves) with New Look 6150, with the bodice from View B but the sleeves from one of the other views.
And don’t forget, tomorrow I’ll first show you how to lengthen the body on the original wrap top pattern! Which will also serve as a building block for Thursday’s tutorial for these surplice tops, too, so be sure to stay tuned if you’re interested in today’s pattern modification!