It seems, when it comes to sewing, seasons just don’t mean too much to me. Today is a sewing story about my new sleeveless top that I made using McCall 5779. Ideas for this top started when I acquired two special pieces of silk about three years ago, which I will talk about a little later.
Michelle, my daughter, had McCalls 5779 lying around in her sewing room about two years ago. She had bought it for the pants pattern (shown later below), but I immediately saw how the top was a perfect solution for my silk. As soon as Joanne’s had a McCalls pattern sale, I swooped it up.
It did take me a while to make it. Honestly, I think I was a bit apprehensive about cutting into the silk. Silk usually doesn’t intimidate me but these two pieces were a bit different and I had what I had and wasn’t getting more if something didn’t work out.
This design is dramatically asymmetrical with no side of the garment looking the same. So without further ado, I will model all four sides of this design.
And finally, the pattern…
The Sewing Stuff
My General Impressions of the Pattern
I would rate this pattern at advanced beginner. Yes, there are a lot of pieces and seams to make but the instructions are very clear and easy to follow.
Most of the top is sewn with straight seams and has only one advanced feature. This is the placket and button loop at the back neck. However, when I was reading the reviews for this pattern on Pattern Review, a few left this feature out. There already is plenty of room in the neckline and the placket is not really necessary to get the top over your head.
What Changes Did I Make?
I did make two small changes from the pattern.
Looking at the line drawing on the pattern, I did think the shoulder seams were too narrow and there might be a chance of my bra straps showing and did add 1/2″ to the shoulders. I did not make a muslin because there were so many pattern pieces and went off the measurements, which were just fine.
The pattern instructions called for raw seams to be showing on the bindings. I chose not to do this and finished my arm holes and neckline with finished edges (a simple self-fabric bias tape). Reading the pattern reviews, I found that others had made this choice also.
The French seam is my favorite finish for most garments. With all the seams that were in this top, I saw it as a necessity to keep every thing neat inside. Honestly, with silk, I always use French seams.
I wanted to emphasize each individual piece of this puzzle and did so using a running stitch in brown silk thread. It added about a week to the project but it got me through a couple of Netflix series and gave my top a one of a kind look.
The Silk Embroidery Thread
I only had white silk embroidery thread but wanted brown. That meant it was time for a little kitchen dying. Using tea bags and white vinegar (for the fixative), I came up with the perfect brown. I then wound them on some of my smaller antique yarn bobbins. I thought they were so pretty I had to take a picture.
Tea and coffee make wonderful dyes for natural fibers (silk, cotton, wool etc) if you need brown.
That Special Silk
I’m lucky enough to know a few Kansas City designers. Three years ago, one of them decided to move her studio from a rented space to her home and had a studio sale. Could I resist? No.
Among my haul, were these two pieces of silk, which she had previously gotten from another fiber artist (can’t remember the name). One piece is a silk satin and the other has a seersucker texture. What makes them special is that both were patterned with the cold-bundled eco-print method.
I’ve never done this myself but am familiar with the process. Basically you dye print fabric using leaves, flowers, onion-skins, coffee grounds and etc. I’m not going to go into it, but here is a blog where the technique is taught with clear instruction and with some gorgeous samples.
I’m enamored with the beautiful results that you can get with this process and have been wanting to try it for a few years. As soon as I do, you will be the first to know .
Other Ways to Wear My Top
I couldn’t leave you without trying other ways to wear my new top.
Thank goodness for long cardigans. They can turn anything into a fall look!
I can just throw a big scarf over my shoulders to add some color and warmth: always love playing with my scarfs.
I just wanted to see what this one would look like; mixing a silk top with Fila running pants and my wool (yes 100% wool) KEDS
Getting back to the summer, I paired my top with a silk skirt from 1997. If I decide to use it, it would have to be altered because it’s quite a wide A-line. I’m not going to show you the back because there’s a clothes pin back there scrunching all that fullness. For the alteration I would have to take out and put back in an invisible zipper. So, I think I won’t worry about that one until next summer.
That’s the end of this sewing and style tale. I hope you have enjoyed this creative journey of mine. I’m always interested in how many of my readers have sewn during sometime in their life. If you’re new to MeadowTree, let me know.
For me, being creative is like breathing. But, I also was an art teacher for 32 years and so I guess that comes with the territory. What I love about sewing is that we all get to be designers. Even if the pattern is designed by someone else, you still get to pick the fabric, trims and all the other stuff that goes into making something. Even if it’s a simple tote bag, it still reflects you and your personality. You will always make mistakes but that’s part of every learning experience. Believe me, my seam ripper is one of my best friends.
If you ever want to dip your toes into this sewing pond (or get back and swim again), I have to recommend Anita by Design’s YouTube channel. She’s a great teacher and has beginning sewing lessons where she takes you from creating skirts, tops and finally a dress. I have watched quite a few of her sew along classes and think she is just wonderful. Some of the patterns she uses are discontinued but replacements could easily be found.
I am continuously updating it as I find new designers.
OK, now I’m finished,
Take care and stay creative