Tops that Pop


It’s that time of year when So Zo hosts Me Made May.  It’s always hard to come up with a new spin on Me Made May, especially since nearly everything I wear I’ve made at this point.  This year, it seems Wardrobe Sudoku happened at a good time to give me some inspiration.  I’ll be hanging out on Instagram all month wearing combinations from my Wardrobe Sudoku grid.  It’s Wardrobe Sudoku Me Made May!

“I, Elizabeth of elizabethmadethis.com and IG @elizabethmadethis, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavour to wear a combination from my Wardrobe Sudoku grid each day for the duration of May 2017′.”

wardrobe sudoku me made may

Turmeric Peach Smoothie pajamas

I wanted to throw one more top into the mix for Faye’s Tops that Pop sewalong before the end tomorrow.  As it happened, I’m in need of pajamas for summer, and I had just the fabric for a quick Greenwood tank.  I had some honeycomb print french terry in the form of oversized pajama bottoms that coordinated perfectly, so an impromptu last minute set was in order!  I’m calling the set Turmeric Peach Smoothie because that’s pretty much what the colors are.  Two quick refashions are what happened in the Bat Cave today.  And here’s actual Bat Cave pictures too because it’s been snowing all day!  Notice my new zipper storage.

Greenwood tank

wardrobe sudoku me made may

I used Straight Stitch’s Greenwood Tank for the top.  I used the low back option and added some crossover decoration with some tubes I sewed from the binding fabric.  The stripe is from a RTW tee.  I used the sleeves for a project for my son, so I had just enough for a tank.  The binding is cut from rayon lycra in the prettiest peach.  I have yet to figure out the settings on my new coverstitch machine, so I just zigzagged all the bindings down.  Since they’re pajamas, I think it looks plenty neat enough.

I added a little more of the binding on the side seams in the way of vents.  The back isn’t meant to be lower on the pattern–I just cut it poorly.  In truth, I just use the neckline of the Greenwood which I treat as a neckline add on to my TNT t-shirt.  I do that with a lot of knit top patterns.  It’s so much faster to grab style lines for me than to go through the hassle of refitting a pattern.  Then some days you line the hems up a little off.  Call it a design feature.

Hudson pants

wardrobe sudoku me made may

Rachel’s latest Hudson pants reminded me of my plans to refashion some pajama bottoms I had bought during pregnancy.  While they were comfortable at 40 weeks, they’ve been comically large for some time now.  I couldn’t let them go.  They’re made of really nice french terry with a honeycomb pattern and there’s this adorable embroidered bee on them.

Because I’m short and the Hudson pants don’t take a lot of fabric, I had plenty to work with.  I even had enough fabric to keep the embroidered bee intact AND put in the obligatory pockets that make the Hudson pants so awesome.

After hacking them up, my husband’s comment was, “Wow, those fit much better now.”  You have no idea.  They were a horror before.  It’s funny.  You think oversized things are comfortable, and then you wear things that actually fit, and they’re infinitely more comfortable.  These are more appropriate lounging pajamas now.  So, a quick project to add to the end of Tops that Pop (I keep calling it Pops that Top in my head! :D).

Anyone who did Wardrobe Sudoku–are you with me for a Wardrobe Sudoku Me Made May?   

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.

kommatia patterns bodysuit

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 patterns bodysuit

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.

kommatia patterns bodysuit

Back cowl

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.

kommatia patterns bodysuit

Leg finish

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?

kommatia patterns bodysuit

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

kommatia patterns bodysuit

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.

Style choices

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.

kommatia patterns bodysuit

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

kommatia patterns bodysuit

kommatia patterns bodysuit

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.

Image result for rey the force awakens

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.

kommatia patterns bodysuit

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?


Do you read Faye’s Sewing Adventure?  Of course you do.  If you do it’s because like me, you are constantly wondering what this prolific blogger is up to.  Even if she’s just writing a line or two, Faye always manages to ask engaging questions, and she generously responds.  When she announced her Tops that Pop sew along, I had to join in.  Many of my tees are getting ratty, and though my time is feeling a bit limited right now, you can almost always sew up a top in a few spare minutes here and there.

I may or may not get to making another top before the April 30th deadline.  Even if I don’t, I’m glad I forced myself to fix this tee that I really do love.

Tops that Pop

I completely cheated.

I admit that my first top here I cheated quite a lot in that it’s a top I just altered to fit me.  It’s a sewing machine print kimono sleeve tee from an Etsy seller.

To my credit I asked her if she had the fabric for sale, but I guess somehow she had it made specifically for the tees.  It turns out, that she now offers the fabric on Spoonflower (she didn’t at the time, though at Spoonflower prices, you might as well just buy the ready-made shirt).  I forgot about it, and my husband bought it for my birthday last year.  The fit was quite generous, but at the time, I had just had my daughter.  I found it in the laundry last week and decided it was time to get it to fit me properly.

Quick fix

20 minutes with a marker, my French curve and some pins got me an approximate fit which I refined with a row of stitching.  I serged off the excess seam allowance when I was happy with the fit and buried my thread tails at the hem.  In total, I took out more than 6″ from the waist.  Although it’s a basic, quick fix, I’m glad to have this as a tee I’ll actually wear, and boy, does this fabric pop for sure!

You have until April 30th to sew up any type top you’d like and email Faye a picture.  The details are in the links above.  Sew something fun!

Tops that Pop