t-shirt project

 wrap-around top

I don’t know what pushed me over the edge on trying to replicate IO’s wrap-around top:

Signature Wrap Around Top by Isabella Oliver

Is it the ease of wearing or the certainty of being able to wear it pretty much through the entirety of your largest months?  Who knows, but I saw it and had a thought and decided to set about it.

Megan Nielsen has a great hack of this top in her Wrapped Maternity Top.  I decided against it (though it looks to be an excellent pattern) because I probably won’t get a lot of use out of it–I’d make it once or maybe twice, and learning another company’s block/making a muslin is time-consuming.  I’ve struggled enough to make changes to my Burdas the past month and I know their draft.  So I went to see what I had available in the stash and discovered that Vogue 8463 really was the perfect choice with a hair of modification.  Bonus?: I’d already made it (and done a little FBA), and as I’ve said before previously made garments count as muslins.

I needed to narrow the shoulders.  This pattern is meant to sit pretty wide on your shoulders if you look at the modeled photo, but it’s not helpful if you have narrow shoulders or are trying to wear it as the wrapped version.  I had originally cut a medium (this amused me briefly to think about how much I struggled with my shoulder measurements before–no wonder I had a 5″ deep un-intentional back cowl).  The nice thing about cutting too large to start with is that smaller sizes are already there.  I cut an XS in the neck and shoulders, keeping the M at the side seams only to give myself a little more room and because the M in my original version fits fine in the sides.  I also cut down the SAs to 1/4″ because that’s what I like and what I’m accurate with when I’m serging.

The biggest change I made was to lengthen the ties considerably.  Longer ties mean more wrap around which I need for my belly and because both Megan’s and the IO wrap look cool with the extra drape.  How much I thought?  Well, basically I extended the original fronts almost until I could extend them no more–18″, though I could have lengthened them maybe up to 21″.  One reason I really like this pattern is that despite having enormously long cut-on ties, it doesn’t take up much fabric.  The original calls for 1 5/8 yds which is really spare when you compare it to the 3 1/2 yds called for in Megan’s design with the cut-on ties.  With my extended ties, I only needed 2 1/8 yds (I bought 2 1/4 just in case but I did in fact not need the extra 1/8).

I found this nylon spandex at Denver Fabrics and thought it was festive and I’m a fan of nylon spandex in the fall for it’s warmth and softness.  Plus it’s ultra stretchy and I could only find rayon spandex in bad-for-me colors with the exception of a pale brown.

This top is really made at the ironing board.  There’s 7 seams which take no time to make, but there is a whole lotta hemming.  In general I’m a fan of Steam-a-Seam with nylon spandex, but I tried pressing without it so I could get a little more stretch first.  I couldn’t get any kind of a good press without something in the hem, so I opted for the knit stay tape from Emma Seabrooke.  If you’ve never tried her tapes before, go get some.  They give such a beautiful body to hems and make for a stable hem with good give–a perfect base for topstitching.  Steam a seam is great, but it makes for a crunchy hem, and it cuts down the stretch ability just a hair–not a good choice for a top like this.

Sadly, the nylon doesn’t have quite the body or drape or the stick-to-itself factor that rayon knits have.  I might try and find another knit in a yellow or coral, but we’ll see.  Also, when I made this top the first time, I was living under the illusion that I needed to shorten everything by 3″, so I don’t have near the vertical coverage on this top that I need or want, but it’s fine as a layering piece.  Also the sleeves are kind of baggy–I will chalk that up to this pattern being labeled a “jacket” instead of just a knit top.  If I make it again, I’ll chuck Vogue’s armscye entirely, trace off my TNT Jalie and use Jalie’s sleeve.

Next up are some jeans and after that some (more) knit tops and a giveaway!

My full review is here.
Elizabeth Made This

Let’s keep the conversation going!  Check out my sewing dreams and inspiration on Pinterest, and keep up to date on my projects on Instagram and Facebook.

[maxbutton id=”1″]


  1. This top will be perfect for during and after your pregnancy with the wrap around ties. Looks like there is another product to purchase.

  2. This is super cute – and the perfect maternity garment. Except you other pieces for the, uh, rest of the outfit. The 3/4 (7/8?) sleeve length is cute, as is the fabric.

  3. Pingback: Swimsuit sewing - Elizabeth Made This

  4. Pingback: The T-shirt project wrap-up - Elizabeth Made This

Write A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.