Wednesday, 28 April 2010


A Big Girls' Square neck smocky top

full view

Well, this looks a bit familiar, doesn't it? It's a grown up version of my square neck smocky top. Pedants will be thinking, 'Amanda, you've got that apostrophe all wrong in the title!' Actually, I meant Big Girls' because, woah... busty from the side.

semi side view

From the front though, the combination of pull out clumps of your hair tissue thin jersey and lots of gathering means some pretty nice draping.

neck view

The most notable difference (or not, because you can't see it in the pictures) from my little girl's version is that the neckpiece is not a pre-squared piece, it is mitred strips. And it doesn't have inset sleeves, they are raglan and follow the seam line of the mitred neck. Like the bodice front and back, the sleeves are very gathered to make the end result fluttery.

I didn't use a pattern, I based it on a top I already had in my wardrobe. Normally if I am replicating something, it's a fairly straight-forward trace around each piece and then add seam allowance but with all the gathering I had to do a bit more measurement-based drafting. If you are interested, the process I used is here:

  • Draw a picture of your item of clothing with all it's different pieces. Optional but recommended: draw it terribly.
  • Take all the important measurements like seam lines, and heights / widths of various pieces.
  • Break it down into pattern pieces and summarise their individual measurements.
  • Draft the pieces onto paper, adding seam and hem allowances where required and making any adjustments to fit that you would like. I ended up giving my top more of a shaped waist than the original. You will have to do a bit of guess work as to how much extra to add for gathering, but a general rule of 1.5 times final (gathered) width for light gathering and 2 times for heaps is a good rule. I used just under 2 times but that was probably surplus to requirements.
  • Turn your original garment inside out and study the seams. Write down the order and manner they were constructed. For example, I learned that the when making the (self-faced) neck piece, the seam allowance was understitched to the inside facing. That's a good idea.
I had big plans to make spectacular tops for Made by Rae's Spring Top Week and the deadline is Friday so it's looking more and more unlikely. What do you think, is it worth submitting this one for sh*ts and giggles? Based on the competition, I needn't be making room for a trophy. Which is totally fine, I don't have any space for one anyway.


  1. Wow - that's really nice! You are so clever, I'm so jealous, as usual...

  2. It's lovely! Perfect in the tissue jersey. Totally submit to Spring Top week!! It's all in good fun.

  3. Lovely lovely top. Why not submit it? (admitted I have no idea what the criteria is, but it looks springy and a top to me...:)

  4. Submit it!!! no harm in it, you have to come somewhere even if its last (not that you will, or that I am saying you will, or that the top is bad) backtrack..... I love it perfect to hide the 'i've had too much food' belly!! Kx

  5. I love it! Submit it, definitely.

  6. Its gorgeous. Love it! Def enter it.

  7. lovely - and even your rough sketches look good to me.

  8. Love it. So cute. The fabric is great too!

    I have a weekly Thursday blog party especially for people to share things they've made to be worn. Stop by if you'd like!

  9. What a talent! This is a beautiful top. I would buy it....or make it-ha!

  10. Hi there - I really like this top! I blogged about my favorite tops from the STW over here and hope it was ok to include yours with a link back here.