Friday, 16 January 2015

Broderie Anglaise V-Neck

You'd be excused for assuming I don't learn from my mistakes...

In late November I blogged a boxy cropped hibiscus print top, and I think most of you agreed with me that it was a bit of a dog. The fabric itself was fine, the shape of the top was interesting, but the combination of fabric and shape wasn't that great, and it just looked "off" on me. Bearing all that in mind, yes, I've made another of those boxy tops!

The thing is, I made this top around the same time as the first, and the hibiscus print top was only ever intended as a muslin for this one, the one that had drawn itself into my brain as a "must sew". By the time I'd photographed and judged the hibiscus version, number two was nearly done - I loved the look of these quieter fabrics together, so I just finished it up and here it is!

Interestingly, this one seems to look a LOT better on. Or is that just my imagination? Is it just that I much, much prefer these fabrics? The shape is exactly the same - the only change I made to the shape was to lengthen it a couple of centimetres through the body.

I'll let you compare the two versions for yourself - same shoes, different skirt, and nearly the same camera angle...

Hmm. It's not just my imagination.  Those couple of centimetres did wonders for my waist! 

OK, a couple more of these dodgy photos from the back - sorry, but I find photographing white clothes quite a challenge - and then I'll tell you about the fabric and show you some close ups of the top laid flat:

The broderie anglaise that's the main fabric for this top is a large leftover from a designer remnant that I originally used in the bodice of this dress (oh, I loved that dress!). The fabric came from The Fabric Store here in Sydney a couple of years back, but I think I've seen something similar there - albeit with a larger pattern - in the last few months.

Broderie anglaise having all those little holes in it, I thought I'd best underline the front bodice. For the underlining I used some cream coloured linen left over from this top (hmm, I didn't love this when I made it), and that linen is also used in the sleeve cuffs and in the neckline band. Leftover fabric scraps feel like they're free, don't they - the fabric costs have already been attributed to the projects that came before! - so I'm calling this 100% free fabric.

Here's a close up of the inside bodice, at a side seam so you can see the difference a layer of linen makes to the broderie anglaise. The extra layer of course makes the fabric more opaque, and a layer of linen is more pleasant than lining fabric when you're dealing with hot, sweaty summers....

As you may recall, the pattern is the one pictured below, a classic 80s shape if ever I saw one (trust me, I've seen quite a few up close).  It's supposed to be loose fitting, and waist length - check, check! You don't have to make it in a white fabric unless you want the look of that pattern envelope girl, though to really get the look you also need to invest in large plastic accessories.... Maybe next time?

And this cheap pattern is of course another sunk cost. Making it a free top, right?

Simplicity 6742, a classic 1980s outfit pattern
I said it last time, but I really like the way this V-neck is constructed! I know my close-ups in the hibiscus print were headache inducing, but I think the way it's been put together will be easier to see in this fabric.

The first of these next two views shows you the v-neck from the outside of the top (ie fabric right side), and the second view shows you the v-neck finish on the inside:

V-neck from the outside
V-neck construction, on the inside

Fitting and Pattern Adjustments
No fitting required with these loose, that-looks-too-big style of patterns :).

As I mentioned above, there was one change I made to this pattern that made a noticeable difference - I just lengthened it a few centimetres to around hip length. The other less striking change I made was to cut the v-neck pieces on the grain rather than on the bias, and this vastly improves on the original; version two of this top sits nicely on my shoulders :). So I did learn from the hibiscuses! 

Likes / Dislikes
As before, I really like this V-neck :). I love the shape of the top, and I think I'll be wearing it with this knee length skirt as well as with the slightly longer pink skirt blogged here. I suspect what makes it work so much better is that this top covers my waist - when a top cuts off at your waist, I guess that's where people's eyes are drawn!

There's still one annoying flaw with this top: those linen sleeve bands are creasing up like crazy! I did consider interfacing them as I was sewing this top up, and decided that interfacing would have made them too heavy. That may have been the wrong call :0.

Don't worry, it doesn't have to be perfect! 
OK, I think that's enough rambling about this one - there's one more 2014 top I want to blog soon, and after that we can talk about colourful 2015 dresses!

See you soon

- Gabrielle xx


  1. I think that you are right and the couple of extra centimetres really helps this top work.. but the in my mind it's the winning combination of fabrics together that also put this into the hit basket!

  2. Like Kristy said, the extra length and the more simple fabric were good choices. :)

  3. The extra couple of centimetres did make the difference to your top but so did the total silhouette, the shorter skirt makes a much larger difference I feel.

  4. LOVE this boxy top! I think the solid colour fabric and the length makes the difference. I keep saying I want to make a boxy top, but I haven't got round to it. Too many things I want to sew. Haha by the time I sew it, it probably won't be in style anymore :) A local fabric store owner gave me the best lining tip - she introduced me to lining with voile which is airy and cool enough for my hot weather.

  5. You're totally right, the extra cm's are great, but I think it's also the quality that the fabric has. It makes it seem luxe the way it stands away from the body. Great top!

  6. Yep. A bit of length worked well. Looking forward to your next makes :)

  7. Fabric Epiphanies16 January 2015 at 19:30

    I love the eyelet fabric and that dress is one of my favourite of your makes. It makes up nicely into the top and the length makes a huge difference to the overall effect.

  8. Oh my, you said you "loved" that Vogue dress with the broderie anglaise bodice! Please tell me you still love and wear it!!! It's how I found your blog and fell in love with your makes! Ok now I've calmed down. This length is so much better and I like the v-neck. But linen drives me nuts at the best of times. Wrinkles, grrrrrrrr.

  9. Oh, I loved that dress too. In fact, it's actually one of the few things I've pinned in pinterest. This top is lovely. The v-neckline and boxy cut make it look very Japanese.

  10. Thanks Kirsty, fingers crossed that it'll stand the test of time (well at least this year !)

  11. Thanks Christy :).

  12. Oh that's interesting Sharon - that's what I was thinking at first, but then I thought the skirts were too similar in length for that to make much difference! I know it's not rocket science but it's a bit tricky to work out... I'll check it on the longer skirt and see how it looks.

  13. Thanks Gail, to be honest I'm a bit of an 80s tragic, so I have a tendency to think 80s patterns still look good - completely misaligned with the rest of the world, I know!

  14. Thanks Andrea, it's a really nice quality eyelet - I'm really glad I had lots left over from the dress! Hmm, maybe I need to start wearing that dress again?

  15. Ahh... well now. The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? I do still love the dress BUT I've realised it shows my bra on the sides a bit AND it has an annoying blob of pink nail polish on it (though I don't wear nail polish). So it has been languishing in the wardrobe lately. I'll try to resurrect it - there seem to be a few votes for it to stay in circulation!

    I don't normally mind linen wrinkles but with this top I should have interfaced the linen sleeve cuffs to stop them wrinkling - wrinkles don't go with the rest of the top!

  16. I do like this - and the white, boxy, lace & linen simply screams summer - a gorgeous top - and I've a soft spot for the 80's too (I thought I'd never say that!) ;)

  17. Buy a new bra?? It can't show that much surely? The nail polish is a bit of a mystery. I am so weird about wrinkles. I think its why I love cotton poplin so much - it doesn't seem to wrinkle up too much with wear.


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