So welcome to the first part of my Mediterranean capsule. For this capsule, I started with a mood board of fabrics (go see this post on my fabric hunt for more info) as opposed to specific pieces that I wanted to make. When I came across this fabric it felt as though it was portraying the whole essence of my capsule and I knew that it was going to be a focal point so I pinned it and carried on looking at other fabrics on the site to see if any others caught my eye. I am not a decisive person so it took me a while to umm and arr about costs and which types of fabric and what kind of things I would make out of them so I knew how much fabric to order. When I finally got around to going yes to the fabric it was, shall we go with low in stock? There was only one meter left! My dreams of a swishy summer dress skipping through a beautiful meadow with flowers in my hair were dashed! (well the dress bit everything else is totally believable). So what is a girl to do but buy the fabric then desperately hunt for the perfect pattern… what garment? who knows?
So the fabric arrived and it was just as beautiful in person as it was online and just as swishy. With only a meter I knew my choices were fairly limited, I could go for either a gathered skirt or a short/sleeveless top. After holding it up a lot in front of the mirror I realised that it was not the skirt for me – quite a lot of print on the bottom half is not me and with only a meter I would not be able to realise my full swishy dreams. So a top it had to be. Something I thought would be lovely as a nice summer sleeveless tank, the fabric is synthetic so I didn’t really want it being too covering… cause summer heat + plastic + sleeves = nope. So tank it is… But which one!
Something that I am always wary of when it comes to tops is the way it can hide a waistline, I have wider hips and have preferred a silhouette the emphases my waist rather than hiding it. True I could make a top with a seam at the waist or empire line but I find this does limit your options for wearing it tucked in. However, if it was too loose and flowy then I knew I would not wear it untucked and that again severely limits the options for how I could wear it. So my requirements, not boxy and no horizontal seam lines. I also knew I did not want to break up the print too much as I wanted to be able to show its beauty. Hmmm getting a bit limited here. I thought a cowl neckline could be nice, but there is potential for too much to be displayed, or maybe bias cut? I knew that bias-cut could make garments hug the figure without seam lines so I thought that this was a good place to start. On my search for bias-cut tops, I came across the Seamwork Savannah top. I had come across Seamwork before but more in passing when looking at wardrobe organisation rather than patterns. However, when I looked at the pattern it seemed that it was cheaper to have a subscription where you get one pattern a month and access to all their online tools than just to buy the pattern outright. Seemed like a no brainer to me. So I signed up to Seamwork and I will be doing a post on my thoughts about Seamwork once I have had a chance to fully explore and understand their service.
So I now had the fabric and the pattern, a PDF pattern so maybe not quite got the pattern yet -give me an hour or two (PDF patterns…. whyyyyy!). Right so with my PDF pattern assembled (it wasn’t too bad as it’s only a top), it was time to begin. First was deciding how to finish the garment – I know right, start at the end? But it actually can make a difference in your cutting out – seam allowances etc. For this pattern, it was about how to finish the neckline. The pattern comes with instructions for putting lace across the top but that wasn’t quite the look I was going for. There were two other ways I could think to do the neckline which was some type of facing or bias binding. I decided that I didn’t want a stitch line along the neckline – this is my loose and flowy top right? So I went with the facing idea and when looking around I liked the tops that had a facing that was almost like a mini top that went past the bra – gives more flexibility in underwear although it will probably have to be strapless anyway! I also thought that the facing might show through a bit and I didn’t really want a curvy line through my top that you can get with a smaller facing. This decided I just needed to choose my sizing. My measurements fell across 3 sizes as they always do and whilst I probably could have just got the fit right at the bust, I didn’t want it to be too tight across the hips either. Therefore I graded between sizes 10 at the bust and 14 at the hips.
Whoop so I am finally at the cutting stage. But wait. This is a bias cut top in slippery fabric. (bang head against wall now). I recently purchased a cutting mat so that I could finally use my rotary cutter again and then promptly realised the issues of trying to position shifty fabric and pattern pieces on top of the mat so that everything is covered and staying still. See, I went for an A1 cutting mat thinking that this would cover most smaller items and that I could just move it when needed. However, this fabric just warped when I moved it- que some more colourful language! I also couldn’t use scissors because that to just moved the fabric when I lifted it to cut. Through a lot of pinning I did eventually manage it and there are only six pieces (if you are doing facing like me), and I actually had fabric left, although not sure what to do with it – matching headband or flounce of some kind?
To the actual making then.
So, as I was changing the neckline anyway, I have to say that I completely ignored the instructions and, as it is a relatively simple pattern, I managed to get away with it. I went with sewing the top and facing separately then sewing them together in a sandwich with the straps. I then cut the straps in two and finished the ends by hand to make my bows. In terms of the insides, I finished the seams with my overlocker and under-stitched the neckline. The bottom was just a double rolled hem. And here is the finished seamwork savannah top which I am overall really happy with.
Changes I made
- Changed the finishing – instead of having lace at the top, I went for a half lining so that it was wearable with more things.
- Added bow ties to the shoulders rather than just having a spaghetti top – because why not?
- Seamwork has really useful posts on their blog. I used the one on Rulo loops to help with it. I need to investigate the website more as this may be why the pattern instructions were so bare.
- It’s a very flattering fit and I could see it being good on a lot of shapes. I really like the curved edge hem to make it look less boxy.
- The Seamwork Savannah top is a nice, quick easy win. This took me a few hours to make including cutting and was worn straight away.
Not so good things about the pattern
- The instructions would not be what I call beginner-friendly and only show you how to use lace to finish the top edge as far as I could see but this may be down to the seamwork community/website
Recommendations for making the Seamwork Savannah top
- It’s on the larger side particularly with the bias-cut but not ridiculously so just worth measuring the pattern before cutting to make sure you get the fit you want.
- French seam it! I didn’t and I wish I did, with such a delicate pattern I really wish I hadn’t cut the corners.
- If you would like to make the bow straps then I would say make them longer than you expect – I went for around 75cm (divided by two) and this was still a little short.
- Go for hand stitching when you understitch then neckline, I couldn’t quite get the machine stitching into the point of each strap location so left it but next time I will definitely do it by hand next time.
Overall marks:Fit-8/10 Style-9/10 Instructions-5/10 Ease- 7/10 Finished garment- 9/10
I really love how the Seamwork savannah top has turned out and will probably be making more as I feel it is a good basic for amazing skirts!