I was pretty excited when Simplicity 2181 came out a while back.  I really liked the asymmetrical twist version.  So far everyone on Patternreview has been reviewing version A–a cut on sleeve gathered everywhere sort of top that is suspiciously similar to Butterick 5495 (which was an utter wadder for me–so awful–don’t attempt unless you purposely want to look pregnant).  But the twist version looked promising and at least an interesting.

I had a yard of this really lovely organic cotton spandex that I got two Christmases ago in my husband’s hometown at a tiny little fabric shop that is on their main street.  It’s so soft!  But I don’t have much luck finding projects that only require 1 yard of fabric.  I find that the big 4 seem to overestimate yardage often, and this pattern is no exception.  The envelope lists 1 1/4 yards for view C–the sleeveless twist version.  I had just 1 yard, and it’s cotton knit too, so it shrunk a bit when I prewashed the fabric, but I had more than enough for this top.

Simplicity 2181

What I learned:

I need to sew more with cotton knit: I guess I’ve stayed away from sewing cotton knit because I have a hard time finding good quality cotton.  It’s much easier for me to get a hold of rayon and poly.  Plus it seems like most of the cotton knit is plain solid colors–read, not much different than boring old t-shirts you can buy.  Ah, but this cotton is so soft and lovely and such a nice shade of green, I had to get it.  And it’s definitely nicer than any other cotton knits I’ve sewn before.  It pressed beautifully and the twin needling I did on the hems looks kind of fantastic.  So I guess I’ll say that I wouldn’t mind sewing good quality cotton knits more often.

V-neck lapped binding:  I decided to forego the use of the facing in the pattern.  The front facing was really more like a partial lining than a facing, but the back facing was the same little annoying gross facing pieces that are always in knit patterns.  Oh, but I hate those back neck facings–they never look good, they always roll out and they look super homemade to me.  I took the opportunity to try Sandra Betzina’s method for a lapped binding on a v-neck.  It is in her Power Sewing Toolbox book.  Like every technique of hers I’ve ever attempted, it’s simple to do and looks really clean.  This particular binding is a little too wide for this particular neckline as I had already raised the neckline and didn’t account for that.  While it’s finished well, I think the V hits me at a little bit of an awkward place.  I will definitely remember this technique on my next v-neck top though.

There’s a reason I don’t wear sleeveless tops:  I really would have preferred to have sleeves on this top because I’m not really a fan of knit sleeveless tops.  After finishing it, I understand why: namely the gappy business around the armhole.  It looks like I need to put in some tiny little darts into the armhole, but really, I’m not motivated to learn this alteration because I so rarely wear sleeveless tops.  If I do make anything sleevless in the future, I will stick to Burda patterns which seem to not have the armhole problem.

Even with the gappy business, I do like this top.  The twist is really flattering, and I like that the twist itself is an overlay, so the little hole that’s made by the twist itself is covered by the foundation of the shirt front, making a clean finish.  Next time I’ll just make it with sleeves.

My full review, as always is here at Patternreview.


  1. I love this!! I had totally passed over this pattern since I didn’t think it would look good on my nursing figure, but it looks awesome on you. The twist is so cute and accentuates your little waist without making the girls look unnatural. Did you do any sort of FBA, or did it fit that well out of the envelope?

  2. FANTASTIC top! I love the twist design! And it looks amazing on you! The colour is just perfect too!!!

  3. Katharine in Brussels Reply

    Gappy armholes–Elizabeth, you know what this means! FBA, and cutting according to your high bust measurement. For knits I just put in a 1″ FBA to accomodate a D-cup, and it’s generally fine.

  4. Katharine in Brussels Reply

    Got your reply by email, and glad to read that some easier adjustments than a FBA work for you. Mothers with young children need all the shortcuts we can get.

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