This is all Steph’s fault. She tempted me. First by posting this luscious Anthropologie shirt on her blog, then by showing off her version of it.
Well, mostly. There was also this thin, drapey coral knit showing up in the clearance section at my local Fabricland. And the cardboard, no seam-allowance version of of my knit TNT that I made up over the weekend, which makes tracing out and altering the pattern a cinch.
I haven’t quite replicated the original (I think I may have overdone it a bit, however). But I think I am pretty close to how they shaped the pattern, requiring just a bit of tweaking on the exact length, width, and pleating of the drape.
I started by attempting to drape the pattern on my duct-tape double (wearing one of my Lydia tops so I could pin to it; this also helps since my DTD doesn’t really have all of my features. Like, oh, armpits). This wasn’t super helpful, since I wasn’t prepared to hack up all my precious $3 fabric for pattern pieces, but it did give me some broad parameters for the width of drape and length of pleated pieces I was looking for.
There was a lot of debate on Steph’s post about whether this kind of drape, combined with the fitted lower bodice, could be achieved without seaming. I, too, was sceptical. At this point, I am going to officially change sides and say that it can, at least in a 4-way stretch knit. Although the result creates some interesting grainlines.
I started my slashes below the armscye, about on the level of my bust; I suspect that this is still a bit high, the original shirt looks like the drape begins a bit lower, on the level of the underbust (you wouln’t want it to go any lower than that, though, or you’d lose the fitted look of the bodice). I used wedge spreading for the bottom part, and used the draping as a reference to give me the depth of the drape (pink line) and the length to be pleated (blue line). The green line shows the piece of the upper front I transferred to the back of the pattern (there’s no shoulder seam, just the dropped seam you see in the front.
Obviously I still haven’t quite nailed it—I think I have a bit too much fabric in the pleats (or perhaps my fabric’s just heavier), and the Anthropologie shirt’s pleats are arranged a little more thoughtfully than mine where they’re sewn to the shirt. I also need to remind myself that the anthropologie dummy in the photo has a much longer torso than I do… if I were to try on the same size shirt, I’m pretty sure the draping would begin about at my waist, and not give me that lovely shelf-bust illusion.
For those who are interested in the technicalities, here’s a quick closeup of the inside of the pleats:
You can see the inch-or-so facing folded over from the outside (on the left of the picture; the armscye seam is to the right. I stabilized the pleated seam with clear elastic, and sewed it on my regular machine for greater control (and ability to sew over the pins. Very slowly and carefully, I’ll add.). You can also see that I arranged my pleats regularly (each pleat was 2″)… the original has them clustered towards the neckline edge, and I’m not sure how deep and how many of them there are; it seems like they might be fewer, and deeper towards the armscye.
I also drafted my first flutter sleeve; I’m not convinced this is the best look for this particular top; as a small-busted girl cowl necks work well for me, but this one is so bulky it visually moves me into large-bust territory, at which point my broad shoulders become something to be minimized, not enhanced with flutteries. So I think in future versions (can I really justify multiples of
these?) I would stick with a narrow sleeve. I love flutter sleeves in general, though, so I’m sure I’ll use it in the future.
Incidentally, those bust-framing folds (in my shirt and in the original) are created by puling parts of the drape down below the bust. This works well enough for posing (especially on a cloth-covered dummy) but I suspect won’t really stay put in the general course of life.
Still, what a lot of fun! And a bit reassuring after my last attempted-cowl fiasco. You can see that it’s not finished—serger threads hanging everywhere—but I really wanted to just show it off. I’ll neaten it up later, and if the weather improves, I may even get to wear it for MMM!
Me-Made March Update:
I’m thinking of this outfit as an invocation of spring. (Actually, it’s supposed to get above freezing here today. Hooray!)
Ok, now I’m going to go put on my sweater… and socks.