Seam Stress
July 26, 2017 10:15 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a sewing pattern for a top/blouse I can make out of a lightweight woven cotton or linen. I have a pretty specific idea in mind: short-sleeved, pullover, boatneck or slightly rounded neckline, with gathered fabric above the bust where it meets the yoke. I've found a pattern that's pretty close but I would rather buy a Big 4 pattern if possible for reasons described inside.


1. I'm a beginner/intermediate sewist and I've read that sometimes indie patterns require adjustments that may be beyond my skill set.

2. I'd rather have preprinted pattern pieces than fuss with printing and joining a PDF pattern, especially this one which is formatted for A4 paper and I'm in the U.S.

3. This pattern seems to have been designed as a maternity top; there are photos of not-pregnant women wearing the shirt and it looks lovely but I don't know if it incorporates more ease through the torso than I need.

Has anyone seen a pattern like this, or has tips on finding one? (Keywords?)

Or maybe you have used this specific pattern and can ease my concerns?
posted by mama casserole to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Simplicity #2892? Can't tell if it's still in print or not, but there are copies on eBay.

(I searched for gathered yoke, which seemed to do the trick.)
posted by Melismata at 10:41 AM on July 26, 2017

Gathered Yoke is going to be a good search term; waterfall has been used to refer to cardigans a lot in recent years so probably won't help.

In terms of that pattern, it looks like it's a cut-on sleeve and it may be as few as 4 major pattern pieces (excluding facings, which would make it six or so pieces - I doubt the sleeves are finished with facings, that's a fairly vintage touch). I'd get the PDF and just go for it. I don't think it can be that complex.
posted by Medieval Maven at 10:59 AM on July 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Regarding the paper size issue, if you make sure A4 is printed to true scale on US letter paper, it will crop off the top and bottom a little (and make wider left and right margins) but unless the margins in the original are extremely narrow, it shouldn't matter. In my copy of Acrobat, under the print menu it's Page Handling:Page Scaling:None.

Otherwise most office centers carry A4, at least in my urban area, and you can print there.
posted by exogenous at 11:36 AM on July 26, 2017

Melismata-the yoke itself isn't gathered, the body of the shirt is gathered where it meets the yoke.

anyway- McCall's 7544 has this detail, is more blousy than t-shirty, in print, and on sale for $3.
posted by FirstMateKate at 12:18 PM on July 26, 2017

Sorry to double post, but Simplicity 2147 is also similar.

And, for future audiences, here's 3 more indie patterns: Made-By-Rae Ruby pattern, Salme yoke blouse, and Tessuti Alice top
posted by FirstMateKate at 12:31 PM on July 26, 2017

No way, keep 'em coming! This is all so great so far.

Based on these keywords (I didn't realize "yoke" would be so useful) I found Butterick 5356 which is probably the most similar to the indie I posted so far. I like that the neckline is wide enough that it simply pulls on without any closure. The McCalls 7544 is also really cute but the neckline is a bit high and requires a button in back. I'd love a hybrid that has the wider neckline of the Butterick but where the sleeves are a separate pattern piece like the McCalls (not sure what the term is for this).
posted by mama casserole at 12:39 PM on July 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Tessuti Alice top is a fun, easy make! Comes with good instructions too. It is a digital pattern, but not really hard to put together. I added a tie back to the one I made, and it looks great1
posted by LaBellaStella at 12:55 PM on July 26, 2017

I was also about to suggest the Alice top from Tessuti. The PDF comes with a "copy shop" version that you can print on a plotter so you don't have to fiddle with assembling pages. I bought one pattern that's A4 only and I finally printed and cut all the tiles but the idea of assembling it is giving me a total headache so I haven't yet.

I've had good luck as a beginner with patterns from Maya Walker and Grainline -- I don't think either of them makes a pattern like what you're looking for but I wouldn't rule out all Indies. Both include a copy shop version with their PDFs.

One thing that is worth doing with any pattern is searching Textilia or Instagram for makes. I don't see much at #butterick5356, but #simplicity2147 gives you a good sense of how that pattern fits on actual humans and there's not a lot of grousing about the instructions (which is a good sign). Same with #alicetop (which might be more of a tank top than you're looking for?)
posted by amandabee at 5:03 PM on July 27, 2017

Adding ... I know nothing about the Waterfall Blouse and it might be a fantastic pattern, but ... my first shirt was from a Lotte Jansdottir book (the Esme Top) and I had miserable time setting the sleeves in (note: if you're an absolute beginner, keep in mind that sleeves are diabolical the first few times) and then later when i looked around online I realized that a lot of people had the same complaint about that pattern, and that a lot of photos of it showed sleeves that weren't set in smoothly. Looking at many of the sample photos for the waterfall, it looks like many of them really bunch in the armpit. That is a red flag for me. As a beginner, you *definitely* want to keep an eye out for signs that experienced sewists found the pattern wonky -- you can fix anything but it is a frustrating way to start.
posted by amandabee at 5:11 PM on July 27, 2017

Oh, that's a great tip to search on the hashtags!

So I eBayed the Butterick pattern--it's closer to what I had in mind than the Simplicity with the gathered rather than pleated front and the shorter length.

The Made by Rae Ruby is great and looks like a very popular pattern, but I do want sleeves. She has a lot of tutorials for different finishing techniques and if I use them I may buy the Ruby pattern and give it a shot with the 3/4 sleeves variation for fall.

Thanks again, everyone! Now off to fabric hunt.
posted by mama casserole at 7:32 PM on July 27, 2017

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