OMG! I'm so excited and delighted to have the one and only Andi from Untangling Knots fame here for July's #VintagePledge Extravaganza! The knitting genius has captured so many imaginations with her wonderful knitting patterns, even those of us whose skills are somewhat lacking. As well as crop top envy, I now REALLY want to get my pinup fringe/bangs cut back in...
When I started planning my vintage pledge projects, I tried to focus on what my wardrobe could use and stay practical. I write knitting patterns and I also work part-time at an office in downtown Seattle, so I picked patterns that would work for cardigan styling, office-wear, and downtown’s windy weather. As a bonus, I said I’d sew myself Simplicity 1426, a 1950s crop top reproduction pattern, if I finished the other patterns first. I love crop tops, but they’re not exactly a practical choice, so I put it at the bottom of my list.
And then my best friend suggested we go to the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend and all thoughts of practicality went out the window! I wanted to sew myself something cute to wear in Vegas, and view C of Simplicity 1426 moved to the top of my list.
I chose a black stretch cotton sateen for my fabric so it would go with a variety of my colorful bottoms. Following the pattern’s instructions for laying out the pieces and interfacing as instructed meant that none of the stretch got incorporated into the top, but the fabric’s weight and drape was what attracted me to it. I prefer to go bra-less with tops like this, so the fabric needs to be substantial enough to handle that.
I chose my size by measuring the pattern pieces and adjusting for seam allowance and ease, and then I did a tissue fitting. I’m not much of a perfectionist when it comes to sewing, so I typically don’t sew muslins if tissue fitting suggests it will work out right, which led me to a moment of panic with this project. I sewed everything up according to the instructions until I got to the point where I was supposed to add buttonholes. I went to pin on my top to get the placement right, and I could barely get the pieces to meet at the back! Not to be thwarted, I decided to add hook and eyes to the edges as the closure and sew a decorative frog over it.
I thought I was good to go, so I tried on my top, and it was way too loose! I unpicked my closures, measured the band to find the point to place the eyes, and sewed on hooks and eyes so I’d have zero ease. It seemed perfect until I took a deep breath and broke one of the hooks. I went back to the pattern’s placement for the buttonholes and attached new hooks and eyes. It fit nicely when I inhaled, but it gapped away from my body awkwardly when I exhaled. With no stretch, there was no way to solve the problem by moving the hooks around more.
To fix the gapping, I did some quick improvisation. I ripped open the seam on the inside that I had hand-sewn shut, took a piece of 1 ½" elastic, and ran it from side seam to side seam along the bottom of the band in front. Without a real casing, it’s not the most elegant of solutions, but it worked like a charm!
The top looked great with my vintage gingham shorts that I wore with it at Viva, although I did have a few issues with sunscreen rubbing off on it. Oops! I plan on making this pattern again, and next time I’ll use a fabric that doesn’t show sunscreen so clearly and add a channel for elastic to the band.