Sunday, 19 April 2015

Ruby on the Pier

On Thursday we had a heatwave, and circumstances combined to enable me to get some photos of a little gem that I'd sewn a couple of months ago in the tail end of summer...

Ruby top in striped seersucker cotton

Weather? Check, 33C (91.4F) according to my car; rather warm for Autumn.
Photographer? Check, a son who was prepared to offer his skills with a smile :).
Location? Check, a photogenic pier in Walsh Bay, where we'd be meeting my daughter and a friend.

Location, location, location! 
My photographer

So, the gem in question is a Ruby top, sewn from a lightweight striped cotton seersucker that I'm certain I bought at Tessuti fabrics but that I can no longer see in their online fabric store. 

I loved the look of the Ruby top in Tessuti's photos, but when I looked at the printed pattern pieces the armholes seemed more cutaway than I wanted. What do I know though, right? I'm not a pattern drafter, and it's hard to judge how a flat piece of paper will translate to a fabric draped on the body - so of course I needed to sew one up!

I sewed it up - and what do you know, more cutaway than on Tessuti's photos!

Ruby top, front view

Aha, but it's not what you think...

My Ruby IS more cutaway than you'll see on Tessuti's website, but that's because in my haste to sew the top I didn't read the pattern instructions. My top has no self-binding on the armholes and neckline, and this extra strip of fabric on the openings obviously makes shoulder straps wider and arm and neck openings smaller.  The final look of the top is very pleasing in terms of pattern visualisation skill development (yay!), but not so pleasing when I realise I've sewn myself a more cutaway top than I should have. In practical terms it means I didn't need the keyhole back opening - the neckline became large enough for my head - and that the top was super easy to fully line.

Ruby top, side view

Easy to line? A lined Ruby?

The stripey seersucker was very thin and summery but too see-through by itself, so I lined it with a soft white cotton voile from my stash. Without the keyhole back opening and the bias strips on the openings, a bagged lining was very easy - I sewed up shoulder and side seams on the two tops separately, then sewed them right sides together at the neckline, trimmed seams, and turned right side out and pressed. I then pinned the bottom hems together at the back, then turned the top inside out again and pinned the bottom hems, then sewed them together nearly all the way around, leaving a small gap for turning the top the right side out again.  Because I'd only left a very small opening (the fabric is very lightweight so it doesn't need a big opening), when I pressed the top again I found I didn't need to sew up the small gap - absolutely no fabric is trying to stray out of the gap.

Ruby top, front / side view

This Ruby is also quite cropped compared to most. The finished length is about 56cm (22") from the shoulder seam in my size 8 top, whereas the standard top length is 63.5cm (25") in a standard size 10. I'm really happy with this length, but I do think hip length would be great in a more drapey fabric.

Ruby top, *nearly* back view

And having just had a browse over on the Netaporter site (I really should be browsing that site before sewing, right? So many inspiring garments...) it seems that both lengths are quite fashionable, and that there are lots of interesting variations to make to a Ruby top with side splits, contrast binding, gathering, pleats...

Helmut Lang

Isabel Marant

Yup, they're all basically Ruby tops!

I'll try to post again soon, and till then I hope you're having fun with your sewing!

- Gabrielle xx


  1. "pattern visualisation skill development" - try saying that after a couple of glasses of Prosecco! I love the fact that you lined it. It gives it such a nice finish and I'm sure it is nicer to wear as well. Lovely job. :)

  2. Gorgeous top and congrats have to go to your intrepid photographer. Did you bribe with sweetie things?! Note to self, check out the fashion sites before cutting fabric - good point!

  3. Perfect summer top and the seersucker looks lovely in this design. Great idea to line.

  4. Your outfit looks great. I think the "cut away" is great for a hot summer day and your top goes perfectly with your pants.

  5. I like it! I love the cutaway armholes, they are so flattering to shoulders. Great photography by your son. Wish my son would take some photos of my sewing! Just saw some seersucker at The Fabric Store last week but due to my over stashed stash, none was bought.

  6. Perfect for summer, you look great in this outfit! Its perfect for my current heat wave too! I have a similar pattern from a Japanese book that I just got. I should make one soon. Gotta love that you dont need a keyhole opening. Your son took really good photos! And he makes a good looking model too!

  7. This is a lovely outfit! I think the cutaway armholes - it looks like it'd be nice & cool in the heat, especially in seersucker. Your boy is so stylish too - he must take after his mother!

  8. Fabric Epiphanies20 April 2015 at 20:00

    I love this style of top. I haven't made the Ruby. In fact I have been trying to resist the temptation. It looks great in the seersucker. Great work to your son on his photo efforts.

  9. Love seersucker for summer. Its very hard to find these days.

  10. Gah! So far behind on my blog reading and just realised you've also been noticeably absent from my blog comments ;) seriously life is just crazy! Love your Ruby, but then you know I love this shape. Your insipration shots are great! I really, really like this style on you, "mistake" and all. xxxx


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