Once upon a time there was a damsel in distress who was being held captive by the wicked Internal Critic. Internal Critic punished her for every bit of wonky top-stitching she hastily produced. He demanded nothing but perfect accuracy in everything the damsel did. The damsel shrank inside each day as her stitches had a life of their own. She soon became very friendly with Internal Critic’s archenemies Seam Ripper.
The damsel thought she would never conquer Internal Critic and would be destined for a life of ‘home-ec’ style projects. Until one day her prayers to the Tailor in the sky were answered and a Knight in adjustable shining armour arrived to save her. He had come from the Far East via the Amazon and he went by the name Blind Hem Foot. With his adjustable guide she was able to destroy Internal Critic and create the most beautiful top-stitching in the land. The garments she produced with the Knight at her side fractured Internal Critic into a thousand pieces and scattered him to the winds. And she was no longer a damsel in distress; she was Sewcial Warrior.
Do you want to know the serious bit about this make then?
This little top is the Atalie top by the pleasantly named Spit up and Stilettos. Now, I know there’s been some rumblings regarding copyright infringement and spit up patterns but, to my knowledge, the Atalie top has not been attributed to any other pattern designer so I’m going to go ahead and blog it. This was a free pattern. I really don’t want to get into the argument about the morality of this pattern company, but I don’t necessarily want to increase traffic to the site either so if you want a copy of the pattern you’ll just have to go ahead and google it.
The Atalie top is a pop-over blouse with turned up sleeve cuffs, polo style button placket and neckline finished with bias binding. There’s no bust or waist shaping and it’s quite boxy. The pattern suggests that it would be ideal for garden work where a loose-fitting, hard-wearing garment is ideal. It’s cute, but not my usual style. I’m a curvy lady and rather than smother my curves in fabric I prefer to show them off with more fitted garments. Otherwise I feel I have no waist and look like a giant sausage. But, I decided to roll with it and see how it turned out.
For this make I used a printed cotton that I really can’t remember the provenance of. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a charity shop find but I can’t remember who gave it to me, think it was a colleague. Anyway, you may have noticed I usually favour bright jewel colours and I wasn’t sure about this print as it’s so light and I didn’t want it to make me look washed out. I fell in love with the little blue and pink flowers and the delicate almost egg-shell blue of the ground colour so I decided to step out of my colour comfort zone and go for it.
The pattern calls for a heavy weight canvas or similar and the instructions try to reassure you that it will work well but I wasn’t convinced myself so went with a lighter weight fabric.
The sizing chart on this pattern is really confusing. The range goes from XS to XL but there are two lots of measurements for each size. How does that work then? You think they’d put from X” to X” but they don’t. My bust fits the bigger L measurements but my waist and hips hit the larger XL measurements (very usual for my bust to be two sizes smaller than waist and hips). As it’s designed to be a loose fit garment I figured a bit of extra ease around the boobage department was no big deal so I cut the XL and didn’t bother with a toile. I just roughly held the front piece up to my body and decided it looked about right. I know, really accurate!
The fit’s not bad though. I think if I make it again I would lengthen it slightly as it feels like an odd length to me. I was worried about the sleeve width too as I’ve got flying squirrel wings. My fears were unfounded and there’s plenty of room in the sleeves. I like the cuff feature too.
Button plackets!! Eek! I mainly chose this pattern as this style of button placket is new to me and like to add a new technique to my arsenal with every project. This is the first step you do, bar stay stitching the neckline, and actually the instructions were ok, although the diagrams leave a lot to be desired. While we’re talking about stay-stitching, it has you stay stitch at different distances on the front neckline and the back yoke neckline. The instructions say this is because you trim off the seam allowance later on but I still can’t fathom why they’re at different distances and why they even bothered putting seam allowance on the neckline if they just get you to cut it off later on. Anyway, I was surprisingly successful with the plackets. I did have to do a tiny bit of hand-stitching on the inside as I hadn’t quite caught the bottom of the left placket when I stitched down the right placket. Also, the left placket seems to be drafted too long, I had to cut about 5/8” away where it overlapped the neckline. Although, that conclusion could be due to my inexperience at this technique. /my new-found best friend, the blind hem foot, helped me get damn near perfect top-stitching. I can adjust my foot so that the guide is either on the left or the right of the needle, making it really versatile for all sorts of jobs. I was very proud of my nice neat top-stitching.
The shoulder yokes on this are another anomaly that confused me. The pattern only has you cut one and suggests you interface it if using a lighter weight fabric. What’s the point of having a lovely yoke if you can’t use it to hide the horrible seam allowances on the inside. Therefore I completely disregarded that instruction and turned to the instructions from Colette Patterns Negroni shirt, which I made for Tobi a few months ago, to line the yoke using the burrito method (or shirt sausage as I like to call it) and hide all those raw edges. The extra layer also added some body so the interfacing was unnecessary.
The pattern states that there are 3/8” seam allowances throughout, but halfway through the instructions it starts referring to 5/8” allowances, even on parts where the pattern piece labelled them as 3/8”. Confusing and inconsistent, I found. But I did follow the instructions and the fit turned out ok.
I used ½” self fabric bias binding on the neckline. The pattern calls for 1” but I only have a smaller bias binding maker gadget so I went with that. I think it maybe looks a little too delicate for the style of the top but oh well, it looks neat because I used my fabby blind hem foot again.
Not really sure about this make. I couldn’t decide if it was too casual to wear to work or not but decided to go for it and wore it with a black pencil skirt. I did get a couple of compliments on it but I can’t make up my mind whether I like it or not. I was pleased with the finish I achieved though and it’s another technique in the bank.
I don’t think I’d recommend the pattern though for the reasons I’ve mentioned above; inconsistent instructions, confusing sizing, poor diagrams and odd construction decisions. I’ve just read the two reviews on the pattern website and they too comment on the poor instructions and diagrams. Not just me then. I might make it again but, to be honest, probably wont.
Notions: already in my stash
Total: zero! That’s right, a completely free project.
See, it is possible to sew on a budget.
What do you guys think of this one? A hit or a miss?