Top Draftalong – Style 1 (slight deviation) – Step by Step

I finished up my toile for my first attempt at drafting this style…

I set out to draft a simple enough kimono sleeve, but got distracted from my goal (a definite personality trait!) by these instructions for drafting a “slash” style sleeve treatment in the book that originally inspired this draftalong in the first place. So I thought I’d try it out. (Hence the “slight deviation” in the title of this post)I am in the process of drafting a second toile in line with the original plan but thought I might as well share this in the meantime…

I followed the diagram above to draft the top part of the bodice. Tracing my blocks onto paper in the position shown. Then drawing in the new neckline and armhole as per the diagram. (The dotted lines are the new shape lines). There were a few variations to my draft since the block I was starting with is a variation of the free Sorbetto pattern, rather than the one from the book. For instance, I had to raise the neckline at the CF and CB before I could draw in the “bateau” neckline shape, whereas the toile pattern in the book has a high neckline to begin with.

I then drafted a new hemline shape on the front….

…and then the back of my new pattern…

The key thing here is to line up the side seams and ensure that the curve flows smoothly where the seamlines will eventually meet. It’s also important to ensure that at least the first few mm or so of the new hem line is at right angles to the CF and CB. This will make for a smooth curve that flows seamlessly from front to back and will avoid a pointy look at the CF and CB…

Once I added on 5/8 seam allowance…

My pattern was finished and ready to try out…

This is the result. The fabric is super drapey and slippery (and creases and frays, ugh!) which posed a few problems with the construction. Namely with creating the self bias binding (even with my masking tape trick! Argh!) and on the curves of the hem. Overall though, It’s a comfy top to wear and a good opportunity to try out the hem shape. Personally, I don’t LOVE the sleeve treatment here. But then I don’t hate it either. I guess I’m OK with it but not super chuffed. Which makes me a bit more keen than before to try out the original “vision” of a kimono style sleeve.
However, there were a few anomalies that surfaced during construction that make me think that this is not a great method. If you look at the diagram you’ll see that it instructs you to trace the shoulder points so that they are a distance apart. (2cm to be precise). However, because this is essentially adding length at the shoulder seam, the position of the bust darts was too low as a result. You also end up dropping the armhole down a few cm. (You can see in the diagram the new armhole is lower front and back). Combined with the extra length at the shoulders this makes for a very baggy and gaping armhole and bust darts that are floating around under the bust! It was easily remedied by taking the whole thing up by an inch at the shoulders.

 But that’s not really the point. If the draft is good then you shouldn’t have to make adjustments like this once the toile is made up, right? So to be honest, I shall be all but abandoning the instructions in this book for future drafts and relying on my wits and my trusty Winifred Aldrich book. Anything else I can research online! Overall though, a good experience. Focussing on the positives, the hem treatement is exactly as I wanted it, the neckline is a good shape, and now I’m looking forward to drafting the sleeves as originally planned and not getting distracted from my plan!
I’ll rethink my fabric choice too. This is a little toooo drapey. Look at the drag lines eminating from the neckline! Great on a grecian style look, but not on this style of top. I’m aiming for simple, smooth and uncluttered lines. This is a big area that I need to learn more about. Picking the right fabric for the right project. I have a sturdier cotton in mind for the next attempt. Fingers crossed!

Hoping you’re having a lovely weekend, despite the ruddy rain
(if you’re in blighty :)!

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  1. Rachel-Lou May 5, 2012

    It’s a shame the top didn’t turn out as well as you wanted, but I still think it looks good on you and the colour is lovely.

    Do you mind if I ask where you get your pattern paper from?

    • Miss P July 14, 2012

      Hi Rachel
      I use rolls of childrens drawing paper or rolls of wallpaper lining paper. As long as it’s 80gsm or less so you can trace through it šŸ™‚

  2. theperfectnose May 5, 2012

    hehehe You were following directions and then the universe intervened with a ‘deviation’. Love it. Don’t worry too much about the first go, as you said the fabric was drapey. It seems to fit well overall and a stiffer fabric will probably lay quite differently. Great job!

  3. Chris May 5, 2012

    Good post! It’s great that you describe what you don’t like, as well as the parts you’ll keep. That makes it more real and interesting. Looking forward to your progress postings. I have yet to make up a good fitting top sloper. I dream of the day I’ll accomplish that. šŸ™‚

    I’m just finishing up working with a beautiful light rayon knit, so I sympathize with you about a fabric being too drapey. I bought it for the beautiful teal sheen color, but it’s been hell to work with. Like trying to sew water…

  4. Anonymous July 5, 2014

    I just ran across your blog on pinterest. Thank you for such wonderful photos. I sew, quite a lot but NEVER had any idea how to “change” a pattern like this. I have some fabric I was going to make a top and skirt or pants from and never got around to it. Now I think it will come out this weekend.


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