Ah, Jalie patterns.  I tell you what, kids, I’m in love with this company.  It makes my cheap soul gulp a little every time I buy a pattern from them, but seriously, the patterns are so great, they’re worth it.  The styles that they offer are fairly simplistic, but they all have a little twist.  Combine that with fantastic drafting and great instructions, and you have a no fail, joy-to-sew combination.  The patterns are all so sleek looking too, which these days is such a welcome change from generally big and shapeless.

This top is no exception.  The included modesty panel piece is useful and looks way better than the little diy triangles I’ve been adding.  I love their directions for finishing said modesty panel with clear elastic to cling to the body, and the directions for finishing the neck band are simple though totally RTW.  As for details, the side ruching makes this a little more interesting than a typical wrap over empire seamed top, plus it makes room for baby (in all fairness, I added extra too), plus it shows off how cute baby is. 

Jalie Crossover Empire Top

What I learned:

1.  I need to experiment with empire seams:  My cheating way of adding room in the bust by swinging out to a larger size just under the armsyce makes it possible to not have to do an FBA.  I did that in this top as well and had plenty of room to be comfortable.  What I didn’t think about (because I never do) is that the empire seam doesn’t go to the bottom of my bust.  I’m thinking I’ll just slice off a portion of the lower bodice and tape it to the bottom of the upper bodice since the fit is fine otherwise.  I don’t know how successful that will be, but it’s worth a shot.  This version really was just a muslin (I bought a lot of this fabric thinking it’d make a great dress, but I got it home and realized it’s really more like swimwear fabric.  I’m not complaining–that extra stretch is so comfortable on my pregnant body) and will probably just be a workout top which I needed anyhow.

2.  It pays to practice with 1/4″ seams:  My serger is not a fan of 1/4″ seams…or maybe I’m not.  I’m much happier cutting off that extra 1/8″.  Since Jalie uses 1/4″ seams and I didn’t want to add an extra 1/8″ I decided it was high time to practice smaller seams.  I guess my serger work has gotten better in general from repetition because I found it not that difficult at all to run the edge just along the edge of the machine away from the knife.  It feels like an accomplishment.  My last 1/4″ seam with the serger was a bit of ugliness.

3.  Duh, use a zigzag:  I’ve used clear elastic before in necklines.  It’s useful stuff, but I’ve concluded that both Gnomey and Josey hate the stuff.  Well, really, they don’t–it’s my fault.  I’ve been trying to sew the stuff in with a straight stitch.  Given the amazing amount of stretch of clear elastic, it would seem obvious that you should not do this.  Apparently not.  I have even used a normal zigzag stitch with clear elastic to no avail.  The cute little illustration in the Jalie directions showed a normal zigzag over the clear elastic, but it looked wider somehow to me.  This led me to give a 3-step zigzag stitch a try.  Magic.  No bunchy bunchy occurred, and the elastic is super stable…so much so that when I ran it under the serger, I had none of the feeding problems that I usually do.  Shoot, I didn’t even have to pull out my non-stick foot.  And because of the extra stability from the 3-part stitch, it turned and topstitched like a dream.  So thank you Jalie for perhaps unintentionally steering me towards this stitch.

I’ll leave you with a wish for a happy Thanksgiving for everyone!

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