I managed to eek out 2 more tops before the April 30th deadline for Faye’s Pops That Top sewalong. Here’s my Kommatia Patterns bodysuit and Donna Karan Wrap Top.
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Old vs. new
The Donna Karan wrap top (Vogue 2064) is an old pattern. There’s 32 reviews on Patternreview written from 2004-2014. I’ve meant to make this for years and never got around to it. In contrast, the Kommatia Patterns bodysuit is a pattern from a company that has no reviews. I only found out about it because I was on the hunt for bodysuit patterns after my lace bodysuit. Sometimes you reach for the back of the pantry, and sometimes you don’t!
Kommatia Patterns bodysuit with long sleeves and back cowl
Kommatia is a small pattern company out of Montreal. They have a lot of RTW inspired type patterns. Their style is nice and clean, perhaps urban and young and definitely cool.
Kommatia Patterns actually has several bodysuits available. I’ve been steadily seeing more bodysuits in RTW in stores, so it’s nice that here’s a company with several options. I chose the pattern with the back cowl. I think it’d make a really cute workout top for anyone into barre/ballet/Essentrics type workouts. As this is my favorite kind of workout, I jumped on the pattern.
I like cowls, and I chose this one because I misunderstood the line drawing. At first I thought from the line drawing that there was a lining for the cowl, but I realized after I assembled the pattern that I misunderstood. The line drawing shows a shadow on the neck (which I thought was the lining) which is actually just the front piece. There is meant to be a strap at the back sewn to the back neck edges to keep the back neckline in place.
I bought this pattern to see the difference between the finishing of the leg openings and snap areas vs. what I did for my Jalie Bella lace bodysuit. I definitely like the finish better on this pattern. The legs are finished with clear elastic (vs. turn and stitch with Jalie) as you would for underwear. The snaps are installed in edges of the fabric that is folded back on itself and is strengthened for the snaps with a little fusible interfacing. This is a really simple finish but it looks nice. It’s also one less step than it is in Closet Case Files’ Nettie bodysuit or what I did on the Jalie pattern. Nettie I believe requires sewing on a lightweight cotton as a stabilizer, and I used twill tape on the Jalie. All 3 options work well, but the self finish is the easiest and fastest to construct.
Horizontal back seam?
The only thing I don’t like about this pattern is the horizontal seam in the back. I have no idea what the purpose of this is other than styling. It makes for a line on your back that cuts you visually in a weird spot. It’s a very very minor quibble and you could easily eliminate it if you wanted. For my purposes with lining the cowl it actually was useful as the seam saved me on lining fabric and made for a clean inside finish.
Back cowl lining
Using my TNT shirt pattern, I scooped out the back neck slightly and cut to where the back horizontal seam ends (roughly half the back length). I finished the front neck and the back lining with self binding turned to the inside. Keeping the neck edges of the cowl, lining, and fronts together, I sewed the shoulder seams and cut off the excess fabric from the lining before I basted the edges of the lining to the back. Then the back and the lining are sewn as one. Without the lining, the cowl is not too low, but I like the extra dressy effect that the lining produces, plus it gives you endless opportunity to add a bit of contrast fabric. Overall, I really like this one, and this won’t be my last Kommatia pattern!
Donna Karan wrap top: the UFO that was never started
I’ve meant to make this top for forever. After reading many of the reviews, I waited for a pattern sale and bought one of the last copies before this pattern went out of print a few years back. I brought it home only to realize that I had bought the wrong size. Eventually, I bought the right size on Ebay and someone graciously bought my first pattern in the PR classifieds this past week.
In the end, I’m not sure why I waited so long. At first glance it looks intimidating with giant full size pattern pieces (you have to cut it one-layer because of the asymmetric style), but after sewing it, I have to agree with Vogue’s assessment of it as an “Easy” pattern. Other than the drape and the security of the back closure, this is a quick and relatively easy sew.
There is a front drape that wraps around the back to fasten to a little tab that pops out of the side seam. View A has long sleeves. View B has a cold shoulder on one arm and bare sleeve and sleeveless on the other. I opted to sew view A while substituting the cold shoulder look of view B on both sides. The one shoulder vs the cold shoulder is a little too much asymmetry for my taste. Plus, cold shoulders are totally in right now, and I’ve not yet tried out the style! What’s old is new again.
Foldover elastic and a no-gape wrap
Elastic is sewn into the neck edges which makes for clean no gape edges. The pattern however wants you to sew in a casing to add the elastic. Instead, I cut off the seam allowances and used a printed FOE. My fabric is plain and the elastic adds a little bit of interest. I did the same on the cold shoulder edges of the sleeve. The rest of the armscye is finished with a strip of self binding that I serged and pressed to the inside of the sleeve, stitching it down for a clean inside.
Ditching the hook and eye
As other reviewers have noted the ONLY thing holding this thing together is one wee hook and eye in the back. There’s not only the danger of being “naked in public” if the hook and eye gives way, but the closure hits at a spot that’s not the easiest to refasten quickly. I wanted some more security, so I used 2 small loops of foldover elastic and 2 shank buttons. I cut the foldover elastic in half down the fold and zigzagged the raw edge. The actual loop is only as long as the top of each button. This way the loop has to be stretched to accommodate the button which makes for a closure that isn’t going anywhere. The buttons are sewn onto the tab with dental floss for extra strength.
A prettier back closure
After stitching on the FOE loops with my machine (Vogue wants you to sew on the hook and eyes invisibly which looks nice but doesn’t feel very secure), I wanted to cover over my machine stitches somehow. I made a basic frog out of a strip of self binding and added a decorative button.
You look like Rey, Mom.
I guess the cold shoulder and the wrap style had its effect because my boys immediately declared that I looked like Rey. With a little tweaking and the right fabric, this would be a great pattern for cosplaying her. It gives me some options for all those days they want me to join in their Star Wars antics. Usually, they want me to be Princess Leia. Princess Leia often gets tasked per my 4 year old’s instructions with, “making lunch for the Rebels,” which is undoubtedly the funniest interpretation of her character that I can think of. Here I try in a very film inaccurate way to be fierce with a pool noodle lightsaber.
I’ll be saving this top for date nights, and I kick myself for taking so long to sew it up!
What’s the longest and shortest time you had patterns sitting in your stash?
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.