A quick new polka dot top

Even an “easy-to-sew” top can benefit from the making of a muslin first.

In this case, the east-to-sew top was Simplicity 2594:


I made View C but in the longer View A length.

By making the muslin (from an old sheet), I discovered:

  • How much of a full-bust adjustment I needed to make.
  • Construction changes I wanted to make.
  • That the pleats I was thinking of replacing with gathers looked really sharp.
  • That the center front of the neckline was a half-inch too low.
  • That the length was sufficient.

Of course an FBA complicates any pattern, especially when trying a new dart position. FBAs create darts, and I usually make them horizontal or at a slight upward angle. In this case, I made them from about an inch above the waist, up to the bust. These are often called French darts.

I trimmed the dart after construction and finished the raw edges with my new favorite stitch: the three-step zig-zag. (My vintage Singer can’t do that.) I’m very happy with the dart placement:


Gene the Dress Form has a higher bustline than I do.

I like it a lot better than the other darts I’ve done, so it’s my new go-to.

As for the construction, I decided to sew the yoke, yoke facing, and front facing to the bodice differently than instructed. The technique for the front facing was hard to execute without catching fabric that shouldn’t be in the seam.

The yoke instructions called for the bodice to be machine-sewn to the yoke facing, then the yoke to be top-stitched down. I didn’t want to use topstitching for construction, and I didn’t like the resulting uneven neckline where the bodice front meets the yoke:

I changed the way the pieces were sewn together and did some hand-sewing.

The yoke facing is hand-sewn. The instructions called for the bodice to be machine sewn to the yoke facing, then the yoke to be top-stitched down.

A view of the inside: The yoke facing is hand-sewn.

I’ve never regretted the times I’ve opted to hand-sew rather than machine-sew. Without a presser foot in the way and with the ability to pick the precise location of each individual stitch, you have so much more control. I have a notion to construct a whole garment by hand some day. Not a complicated garment, mind you.

The fabric requirements allot for the tie belt, but the fabric was 54 or so inches wide (I didn’t pay that much attention), so there was plenty left over to make a matching scarf. My head is too flat in the back to wear a scarf as a headband, so it will end be tied around one of my hats.

Here’s the finished top on Gene:


I’m not sure if I’ll wear it with or without the tie belt most of the time. Gene has an hourglass figure, but I don’t.

The back is gathered into the yoke, rather than pleated like the fton.

The back is gathered into the yoke, rather than pleated like the front.

I wear capris all summer, and this will go well with either my navy blue or white pair. Too bad I couldn’t get this done in time for the Fourth of July.

This was a fun, quick, and satisfying top to make. Even with the muslin, it was done in less than two weeks. And now that this basic top pattern is altered, I can whip up new versions pretty quickly. But I have some other easy top patterns that are waiting their turn.

This red polka dot fabric is a lightweight cotton from Fabric Outlet, purchased during a recent trip to San Francisco. I came home with four different fabrics that are destined to be tops, and this was the first. Here’s the next one:

I’ve already washed it, and it’s time to get started on the muslin.



2 thoughts on “A quick new polka dot top

  1. Marianne July 15, 2015 at 12:50 am Reply

    Lovely top! I couldn’t agree more on both the muslins and the hand sewing!


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