It’s possible I may have overdone it…

Anthropologie original

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.

Hmm. Maybe a little too much pleating? Also, I don't think my shoulders are always this lopsided.

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.

My pattern alterations

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.

Knockoff shirt

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.

Back view.

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:

Cowl pleating at front shoulder

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.

Flutter sleeve

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

Another view, just for kicks.

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:

Me-Made March, day 9

I’m thinking of this outfit as an invocation of spring. (Actually, it’s supposed to get above freezing here today. Hooray!)

JJ blouse
very plain tank-top
Ellen pants

Ok, now I’m going to go put on my sweater… and socks. :(

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41 Comments

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41 responses to “It’s possible I may have overdone it…

  1. I think your knock off is lovely – great thinking re the pattern adjustments! The original neckline is wider i.e. more open at the shoulder, which affects how the cowl drapes differently. Yours looks more like a V and theirs is more of a U. If you widened the neck by about 1″ (or maybe less) at each shoulder, yours would be the spitting image of the original. And, btw, I think the fluttery sleeves are very well suited both to the style and to your shape. Yes, there’s a lot going on at the top, but you can carry it off.

  2. I don’t think you have too many pleats, I think it’s just a little too tight across the bust so they don’t fall/lay as easily.

  3. for got to say, it’s looking pretty good. You’re almost there.

  4. As per usual we all think it looks way better than you do (eye of the beholder ;) ?) And the sleeves are a big winner – you should try some on a regular Tanit-Isis tweaked Lydia-tee bodice IMHO too :)

    P.S Is there also a little yoke piece on the front-shoulders each side (I didn’t see a pic of the pattern on those) is that basically traced straight off of the Lydia and then a line drawn L-R to make a short piece (I’m talking in circles aren’t I – i hope that makes sense?)?

  5. Color !!! love it. so pretty. great top, I may have to copy this. . . .

  6. I love it! The color’s great –

    I noticed the same V-neck aspect of yours and was thinking that shortening the neckline from shoulder to shoulder would soften it into a U shape – ultimately the same as widening the neck as Kay suggested, but leaving the neckline opening as it is. Either way (u or v) works, though!

    I love the flutter sleeves! Nice amount of flutter – I get what you’re saying about flutter + cowl neck is a lot, but if you wore this with something super waist defining, you’d be venturing into pinup girl territory!

  7. I think this is lovely, and the flutter sleeves work very well with the cowl neck… I like what previous commenters have suggested regarding creating more of a “u” shape, but it is truly lovely just the way it is.

  8. CGCouture

    Very cool! And I love the flutter sleeves, so I wouldn’t change them (except to change it up so that it doesn’t look like you wear the same shirt every day). McCall’s makes a dress with a cowl neck that you could try next time if you aren’t satisfied with the cowl you’ve created. It’s 6069, though I think you’ve pretty well got it down on your own. :-)

  9. Looks great! I too like it with the flutter sleeve.
    I’m going to have to change sides too, as I thought it had a seam!

  10. Joy

    Nicely done! It looks great as is.
    I think others are right in saying it’d more U shaped if it were pulled up into slightly wider shoulders – or of course shortened before attaching to the existing shoulders.

  11. Marie-Christine

    I don’t think the cowl is too much, it looks good on you in part because you’re small-busted (it’d be a horror on me, I make the drape higher..). But I think the sleeves are a bit too much. Way more fluttery than the original, and distracting from the cowl in a not as successful way. Nice color though :-). And no, no way do you need a seam.

  12. I really like your shirt! Very impressive :)

  13. Great top! Love your mmm outfit too..that JJ blouse is gorgeous!

  14. Ach! You beat me to it! Very nice indeed, it is a little v-necked but I think it looks nice. Should I try for the seamed version of this shirt?

    • I really don’t think the seaming is necessary if you are able to curve out the armscye and the sideseam just below it, not in these wiggly little knits. If you were trying to do it in a woven and needed to keep the cowl on the bias, it would be a lot more of a problem, I think. I also don’t have as much bust to contend with as you. Next time I will definitely pay more attention to the pleating, though! (Oh, and googling other images of the shirt helps a lot!) :)

  15. love the color — and I agree with the others than widening the neck a bit will give you the U shape of the other top. But, even if you don’t, it looks great as it is.

  16. Wow, that’s so fantastic. What a co-oincidence, I too have been peering at that top for days now trying to figure it out. I’m seeing a seam at center front below the cowl and suspect there are actually two cowls nested inside each other there. I actually bought a swanky T there a few years ago and it has an underlayer that is sort of like a stay for the draping on top. Do you suppose that’s how they keep bust shelf look fixed ?? And I am confused, did you cut off the top of the bodice and slash or slash and spread the whole front ??
    Ha ha–I want to copy your copy with my pattern formerly known as Lydia.

    • The second option—I cut off the top of the shoulder bit and made it part of the back (shown by the green line on the back pattern.)

      I slashed and spread wedges through the bodice, then adjusted so the top (cowl edge, pink line) and pleated part (blue line, basically a dropped shoulder seam) were the lengths I wanted—about 20cm for the pink lines and 30cm for the blue lines.

  17. P.S. If you go the Anthro site, there is also a photo of a striped version, which gives some clues. . .

  18. P.P.S. Can you tell, I’m obsessed. . .

  19. Love, love, love the color. And I think the flutter sleeve is perfect. I’m glad you posted a picture of the pattern piece. Sometimes its nice to see it flat.

  20. It all looks so difficult, and I’m having a problem following along – BUT – I love the shirt. I love that style of shirt, it almost always gives me a bust (cuz I need the help).

    You have skillz!

  21. that shirt looks fantastic in all except the weirdly zoomed-in 1st pic. i completely agree with kay about the neckline and the flutter sleeves. great job!

  22. Love your recreation of this top! I may be forced to copy your copy of Anthropologie. I love a good cowl neck.

  23. I wish I could drop by and try on the shirt. No Anthropologie for 5,000 odd miles…

  24. I’m just saying your shirt is totally flaunt-able. I think the sleeve completely fits the style of shirt–and I hate flutter sleeves! And I may have to copy because ANY style that moves me into large-bust territory is a winner at my house!

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  34. Anna Dorthea

    Pretty-pretty-please share your pattern for that fantastic t-shirt!!!! :-) I always end up wearing jeans and a t-shirt, so it would be great to have a pattern, that isn’t just plain and boring!! I simply love all the plaids! It looks awesome!!

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