Monday, October 13, 2014

Pattern Review: The Piper Misses Top & Dress

I can't remember where or when I first saw this top, but I was hooked at first glimpse of that adorable big bow on the back. This is the Piper Misses Top & Dress pattern by Violette Field Threads and you can find it here.

This is the third garment I have made, the first two being the Wiksten Tank and the Flirting the Issue Skirt which are very simple, so I thought it was time to step up my game with gathered sleeves and bust darts.

This pattern was definitely more complex than the other garments I've made, but overall I'd still call it easy. 

The pattern calls for regular seams (vs french seams) and to finish the raw edges with a zig zag stitch, if desired, or a serger. There is a simple gather on the shoulder and you use 1/4" bias tape around the neckline, which was tiny, but lots of pins and a slow stitch speed did the trick.

I made a muslin in medium to check the sizing and found it a bit large, but I was worried the small may be too small so I went with a hybrid in-between size. In the end it still came out a bit larger than I wanted, mostly in body width, so I will try a regular small next time but may need some adjustments in the armholes and placement of the bust darts because of my height and long torso. That being said, I think the pattern sizing runs a tad large. 

It isnt meant to be form fitting but the problem I found in having the width slightly too large is the shoulders are more likely to slide down because of the wide open back, so even though the fit throughout the body isn't as important, getting the proper width in the shoulder area seems to be.

I made this top using a polyester for the body with lace collar and bow accents. NEITHER were easy to work with, though I am very happy with the drape and feel. The polyester was slippery, similar to working with rayon, so it was hard to cut accurate pieces and required lots of pinning. Same went for the lace.

I wasn't able to finish the edges of the lace on my machine so I'm not sure how it will stand up to washing, but I did prewash the lace before making the top and I think it will hold up pretty well.

I found adding the sleeves to be the trickiest part for me. The technical skills required weren't difficult, but I did have a little steam coming out of ears trying to figure out the proper way to lay out all the pieces and attach the sleeves. Ultimately it's not complicated, but the photos in the pattern are too close up to see what you're actually looking at. At this step, the front is one piece but the back is in two pieces and they are attached at the should seams. It just takes a little logic and maybe simply more garment experience!

I made a couple minor changes along the way. First was the collar. The pattern includes a cute peter pan collar but I wanted to use the pretty scalloped edges of my lace so just did a little improv there and am so pleased with how it came out. I also shortened the top several inches. I found the length for the top as written in the pattern to be much too long for my preference and a little awkward. If I had made the length as specified, I would have had to modify the width at the bottom to fit around my hips and rear as it was tight before I trimmed and hemmed it.

The pattern includes a long sleeve option with gathered cuffs as well. I made the short sleeves as written though may shorten them to more of a cap, which is just a personal preference. Also, as the name indicates, the pattern includes instructions for making a dress, which I may just try!

Overall I am very happy with my finished top and will definitely be making another. I recommend checking your size with a muslin first, as this top was time consuming enough to want to get it right the first time! If you are unsure, try sizing down first. Between cutting and all the assembly steps, you can expect to spend the good portion of a day, if not a full day, working on it.

I love the look, feel and drape of the polyester and lace, but it was hard to work with. I wouldn't recommend a stiff or thick cotton because I think the body needs some movement, but any quilting cotton or voile would probably be lovely. The collar and bow also lend themselves wonderfully to creative fabric choices.

If you are adventurous and have experience with bias tape, this would definitely not be too difficult to attempt as a first garment pattern.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an email

Happy sewing!

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