Despite moments of anxiety and self doubt, I finished the Miyake Top -- and I love it!
It was an interesting project. The pattern pieces were so simple -- rectangles and squares -- and the amount of sewing was fairly minimal, with the most labor-intensive part being sewing the bias strip to the center opening. Easy, right? Well, the challenge was keeping track of what was going on during each step of the process. It was really easy to get confused about what step I was working on and which side was which. At times, it seemed like the top had a mind of its own and would turn inside-out on me, confusing me even more as to whether I was working on the right side or the left. I feel lucky I survived!
Thanks to Audrey and Ann's experiences with this pattern, I was able to utilize their helpful hints, which were invaluable. I used squares of blue painter's tape to mark all of the letters, circles and squares -- so critical to mark all of these, as they are the roadmap for sewing this thing together.
Unfortunately, I should have marked the right side of the fabric. As I found out later, my zipper ended up being on the right side of the top, rather than the left -- as you can imagine, this only added to my confusion as to what was going on! Luckily, it all worked out in the end.
I used a linen print purchased from Emma OneSock, which was a good choice for this top. I prewashed it, which softened it to yield a nice drape, but it still retains a good amount of body. Gail asked about using it for a knit, and I think it would work well (Ann made a knit version), with the caution that the underarm areas and fronts could sag a lot. In fact, even with my woven fabric, I ended up making alterations to one of the underarms and the front to correct some of the sagging.
I'm glad I made a muslin first, as it allowed me to adjust the fit and practice sewing it together. I started with a size 10, which is a size smaller than I normally use (I usually start with a size 12 and adjust down). I chose the smaller size because I wanted to make sure the top would fit closely.
In terms of pattern alterations, I ended up decreasing two inches of the length from the area between the shoulder and the armholes and took out about half an inch from the top of the smaller underarm piece, running down to zero at the bottom of the piece (I only wanted to decrease the width at the top of the underarm, not at the bottom). With these adjustments, the overall length turned out well for me and the neckline and underarm areas were raised enough so I could wear this without a cami underneath. I still ended up with a gap issue with the piece that drapes across the front, so I made a small tuck and sewed it in place. With all of the draping in the front, the tuck isn't too noticeable.
1. Taking the time to carefully mark all of the letters, circles and squares is important. It is also critical to keep track of the left side and the right side of the garment.
2. As you progress, it is helpful to stop and either place the garment on a dress form or lay it out on a table to make sure it looks like the illustrations in the pattern instructions. This was how I realized my zipper was on the wrong side!
3. The instructions require bias to be sewn along the large center opening and the smaller underarm piece. I ended up sewing bias to just the large center opening and used an overcast stitch (I don't have a serger) for all of the other raw edges. This worked fine.
4. I need to use the zipper to get in and out of this top because I wanted a closer fit -- others have made versions that can be slipped over head. Be warned that it is tricky to zip/unzip due to the angle and the length.
5. The seam allowance is only a quarter of an inch, so there is no room for alterations, which is why a muslin is really helpful.
6. I wish I had given thought to the fabric print before laying out my pattern, so some of the panels would have had symmetrical designs.
Overall, I really love this top and I'm looking forward to wearing it this summer!
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