This top happened kind of randomly. I was looking at slouchy linen tops on Pinterest when I saw one photo of this top and fell in love. It was just one angle and didn’t show the whole thing though, so I couldn’t tell from the photo how it was made. I clicked on the Pinterest link but it linked to the homepage of a random fashion website and I didn’t want to sift through hundreds of pages trying to find it.
I can’t remember exactly how, but with some tricksy internet sleuthing (and spending waay more time than I should’ve — I must’ve been procrastinating doing something), I managed to find the Facebook page of the boutique that sells it, and in one of their galleries they had photos of the same top in another color, from different angles. Jackpot! (The things I’ve done for reference photos..)
Once I saw the other photos I realized it was actually pretty simple. It’s basically just a tank top but you kind of angle it inwards and then draft a rectangular insert so it drapes nicely, and then you attach a ton of ruffles around the whole edge. Figuring out the underarm seams was a fun adventure, as you can see from the photo above. I had to do two versions to get the length and drape angle right, but I’m really happy with how it hangs. I suspect it might look even better in black though, so I’m tempted to either dye this one or do another one in a dark color. I made this one in a linen rayon blend I picked up at Joann’s. They only had cream and I wanted to experiment with dyeing so I dyed it a very pale ice blue but it turned out much more subtle than I had planned. I looove how ruffles look rumply and rustic in linen though.
It’s so swingy and excessive, I love it. I will say though, I have not figured out a way to wear it under a coat or jacket, so thus far it’s been more of a spring/summer top.
This top completely unintentionally reminds me of Daenerys from Game of Thrones. I originally set out to copycat this top from Urban Outfitters and decided to use the leftover linen from my Mystery Fabric Contest dress. Somehow I ended up with a cute summery top that totally looks like something Khaleesi would wear if she were summering in modern day California.
This top, along with my off-the-shoulder tops, has basically been my uniform this summer, and I’ve been experimenting with different fabrics. The problem is that I feel like this linen is a little too stiff and sort of sticks out awkwardly from certain angles. But then I tried a much drapier fabric and it was too lightweight to hold its shape. I’ll have to keep playing. I did have to make a special bra to wear underneath which is basically a nude halter the same shape as the front.
Drafting was pretty simple. I drew lines, then contoured. The one thing I did differently that helped with fit was before I added the bias binding and straps, I put it on the dress form and pinned the straps and pleats into shape rather than trusting the lines. It ended up fitting pretty much perfectly that way.
Now back to fabric experiments.
My school hosts a mystery fabric contest every year. This year participants received a bundle of mystery fabric, each one marked only with a number and the general color scheme of the fabric inside. You have from October to April to put together a garment using at least 50% of each piece of fabric included. Some people received several yards of the same fabric. Other people (ahem, me) received mostly tiny samples, with nothing bigger than a fat quarter. You can add as much fabric as you want too!
I was pretty stumped for a while after getting my bundle. At first I was thinking of doing something big and dramatic a la Regina from Once Upon A Time (season 1-2), with one side done in a cool patchwork pattern and the other side in a solid or floral print, but I kept coming back to a fear of it coming out looking like a quilt so I nixed that idea. Then one day when I was working on Cinderella’s ball gown while simultaneously daydreaming about doing Cinderella’s wedding gown (I am a crazy person, yes.), I had a lightbulb moment. Why not do a modernized party dress version of Cinderella’s wedding dress, but with the same floral/mesh/gauzy look?
I started off drafting a pattern for a dress with an upper yoke in a sweetheart neckline shape. Since I knew I wanted to sew the upper yoke in mesh and since I wanted it to have a more formal party dress kind of look, I did a lot of contouring around the princess lines and sweetheart neckline to make it more form-fitting. Then I just used the same skirt pattern as my Christmas dress. Since a lot of the fabrics in my bundle were linens in earthy colors, I went for a similarly earthy (but still somewhat fancy-looking) linen from Joanns in ivory.
Construction-wise, I started off by taking the three identical pieces of sheer gauzy curtain fabric and sewing them together as a dirndl underskirt. Then I tore off all of the sample rectangles and cut up the backing fabric into similarly sized rectangles and sewed them together into a long piece (similar to what I did for my Cinderella ball gown). I then pleated those and attached them in two tiers to the underskirt so they would peek out a bit under the main dress.
I’d had a hard time trying to figure out what to do with all of the thicker embroidered fabrics (especially ones where the background fabric clashed) so I decided to cut the embroidery out of the fabric and sew it onto my dress.
One of them was some kind of burlap-ish canvas and had a floral vine pattern so I cut out the vines and used them as the base for the hand-stitched design. Then I cut the background fabric into little flower shapes and folded them slightly and stitched them all over the garment.
You may also have noticed the gorgeous colorful embroidered flowers on the horrid mustard background up there. Since the mustard really didn’t fit with anything, I decided to cut out all those little designs too and sewed them all over the dress for little hidden bits of color. Some of the bigger pieces ended up on the side of the skirt too.
You can check out some of the other submissions here. Tiny spoiler alert: my dress won first place!
dress: self-drafted // shoes: Swedish Hasbeens
Hi everyone! My latest patterndrafting adventure is over on the Mood blog today!
This dress is based on this Anthropologie dress. I actually saw it in the store, completely fell head over heels, and then went home and pinned it and started plotting to draft a pattern for it so I could make an army of them in different colors to wear this summer. So it was pretty serendipitous when Mood contacted me about doing a blog post AND had just gotten a bunch of gorgeous linens in.
You can check out the rest of the details over on the Mood Sewciety blog.
As a fun bonus, I’m also giving away a $50 gift card to Mood, usable online or in-store. Just comment below telling me what you’re most excited to sew this summer!
This giveaway is open to US readers only (sorry, international friends!) and will be open until midnight Saturday, June 11. The winner will be announced shortly after.
Giveaway is now closed!
Also, unrelated but I totally didn’t realize my dress was the same color as my mom’s house until I went out to take photos.