When I was 13 years old, I spent 4 weeks in Spain. I spent most of my free time with the two older girls I was living with (they were 19 and 22 I think). We went shopping a lot. I saw this top that I adored in a store. It was an off the shoulder top, one of those blousy, elasticated ones. Sort of a peasant style, you know? I never bought it because I was too shy about showing off my shoulders. I was afraid of whatever comments my family might make. You know those joking comments that aren’t meant to be unkind but make you feel totally self-conscious? Those. I never did buy the top but when off the shoulder tops became trendy again, my 13 year old self really wanted one. This time around, the problem was an undergarment one. I hate strapless bras and, while I have nothing against visible bra straps, I just don’t like how they look with these tops. Enter Hot Patterns 1196 with the integrated shelf bra. I could finally have my off the shoulder top!
As you can see, it’s very loose fitting. There are darts at the top that help give it some shape. I shortened it a few inches and noticed the gentle A-line shape when I made it. It’s still longer than I wanted but belting it or tucking it in works.
My fabric is rayon voile by Telio, bought at fabric.com. I’ve liked the quality of their knits so I figured I’d give this a try. Plus who can resist birds on a striped background? The fabric is very light which is helpful for tucking in but also makes it a bit see through. But even then, I used white cotton-lycra for the shelf bra and you can’t see where it ends at all.
The pattern has you hem the sleeve and bodice pieces before sewing them together. There are some pretty steep curves there so I understand. Only, the hem allowance is only 3/8″. I tried to do a rolled hem but it was a bit of a mess. Probably because I should have starched the fabric first to make it stiffer. Woulda helped with the cutting too. But noooo, I wanted to get started right away. I was going to redo the hems once the top was assembled but I ended up just turning the bodice hem under and stitching it down. So I ended up making a 5/8″ hem, I guess? It makes a bit of weird tuck at the beginning of the side seam. I left the sleeve hem as is. I also had issues with the points of the ties on the sleeves. How do you hem such a narrow point? I ended up just cutting the long piece that was jutting out and using fray check on the tip. Hopefully that’s enough.
Looking at the pictures, I’m not sure how flattering my top actually is but for the first time ever, I don’t care. It’s so comfortable in the heat. Wind blows through it and the shoulders stay put amazingly well despite my cutting the elastic a little shorter than I should have. Or maybe it stays put because I cut it shorter? Who knows.
Anyway, I wore it out to the park. With a hat (another thing that makes me self-conscious). And I felt great! I guess it helps that this is Brooklyn. Nothing is weird here, especially not a mom dressed however she wants.