Seasons greetings! If you follow me on Instagram, you'll have already seen me crowing about the Simplicity party top I reviewed for the current issue of Sew Now magazine - oooooh!
Today I thought I'd share a few more details on the blog as I was limited to just 300 words, and I still have lots more to say about it. Plus it will give you something to read if you're lazing around, browsing your blog feed and eating chocolates (or is that just me?!)
Simplicity 8260 is an easy-to-sew top in two lengths, with a choice of sleeve options and an unusual cross over back.
It's an elegant, drapey style with lots of ease, so I'd suggest choosing your size based on the finished measurements rather than your actual measurements. According to the body measurement chart I was a Medium (14-16), but I went ahead and cut a size Small (10-12) with no regrets. As I was reviewing this pattern in December, I thought the long sleeved version would be the most weather appropriate (although I really like the look of the sleeveless version), and I chose the longer length (view B). The pattern requires minimal fitting and I made no changes to the pattern. The only thing I would mention is that the full length sleeves are quite fitted. I personally prefer this, but you may want to add a bit of width if you don't like such a tight fit.
There are only three pattern pieces (two if you go for the sleeveless option) and no darts or fastenings, so construction is very simple. One thing to note is that the back pieces are cut on the bias and liable to stretch out. I'd recommend stay stitching these edges before you begin to prevent this happening. The two back pieces are crossed over each other and basted together to form one piece and the sleeves are inserted flat, so the entire top comes together very quickly. The pattern recommends using bias tape to finish the back opening edges and hems, but I didn't actually finish mine this way. I bought some lovely metallic bias tape which I didn't use in the end, as it ended up distorting the edge of my lightweight fabric. I finished my edges with narrow double turned hems instead.
The fabric was quite sheer and any hem rippling around the neckline would have been really apparent, so I drafted a simple facing instead, using the front and back pattern pieces. This gave a much cleaner finish to the neckline. I also used French seams throughout.
The fabric itself was rather lovely and came from Clothspot, a new-to-me online fabric shop with a carefully curated selection of gorgeous dressmaking fabrics. It's called 'Mercury Falling' and is a fluid, metallic-silvered lightweight crepe. All of the fabric descriptions on the site are very detailed (which I appreciate) and they even include a video clip of this particular fabric in motion! It's supposed to be hand washed to avoid damage to the metallic in the fabric... I simply crossed my fingers and machine washed it on the hand wash cycle. A tiny bit of metallic in one corner came away, but otherwise there were no ill effects. It does require quite careful handling - don't forget to stay stitch bias edges as pointed out above, and be vigilant when pressing hems to avoid rippling. I needed a fabric with a fair amount of glitz, that also had some drape to it and I have to say, 'Mercury Falling' delivered on both counts.
The fit of the top is a bit of a departure for me (the shoulders are dropped and there's no shaping to the front) and I quite like the elegant effect it gives. I also like the fact that it's plain and simple to the front, but turn to the back and there's a party going on. I have to admit, I haven't worn the top out yet, so can't testify to the wearability of the crossover back. The back pieces on the pattern envelope seem to cross further down than my version, which might be down to artful photography. I may end up tacking the back pieces together if I feel like I'm wearing a hospital gown - I'll report back on that!
If you're looking for a quick, fun dressmaking project (even quicker if you omit the bias tape as I did) then this pattern is the perfect choice. As I said in the review, just add a pair of slim trousers, heels and a big necklace and you’re party ready! And if you've already had your quota of parties for the year, you can always make one to cheer yourself up during the bleak mid UK January! Have a good day. x
The pattern and fabric were given to me free of charge by Weaver Dee and Clothspot for review. All views my own.