Friday, January 7, 2011

Shell top

The pattern for this shell top, McCalls 2873, is the same pattern I used for my Christmas skirt. On paper, this is the perfect top - sleeveless, a little roomy, and BUTTONS! All the way up the back of the top! It was going to be perfect for a lovely cream silk/cotton fabric I have with red thread stripes, with red vintage buttons going up the back.

On looking closer at the pattern however, I suspected this top was in danger of being quite shapeless. The only shaping is in the bust dart, and it's the worst kind of bust dart - the kind you sew and then trim. Bleurk. So the safest thing to do was try this top in a fabric I didn't care too much about, just in case it didn't work out.

Enter grey and charcoal double gauze from Spotlight, circa 2008 or 2009.

McCalls 2873 Shell Top

The first thing to notice about this top is that I cut it about 2 sizes too big, even though I followed my measurements. I should have left the sizing as it was at the hips, but graded it to the smaller size for the bust and shoulders. It hangs loosely off my shoulders, is far to short at the front but long at the back, and my God, that bust dart drives me nuts with it's awkwardness. It's almost like the pattern drafters designed this for a flat chested woman.

However the back is quite lovely. I am annoyed that I didn't have any black or grey vintage buttons to put on the back, but I had some modern black ones in the stash.

McCalls 2873 Shell Top

Despite the fabric acting like a limp rag, the extreme shortness at the front and the fact it keeps dropping off my shoulders, it's actually a very comfortable top. Today is quite warm, and I've been getting hot working in the garden and exercising at the pool this morning. This shell top has managed to cool me right down. And I just love the print and the colour of the fabric.

So it's a keeper, but would I make it again? Probably not without major re-drafting. That precious cream and red fabric I mentioned above will have to find another perfect pattern, and at this stage I am actually tempted to make my own pattern based on the bodice in yesterday's dress. Stay tuned!

Also, today is my my 20th anniversary of first arriving in Canberra as a naive 21 year old. Not much has changed except my age. We are going out to celebrate with friends and dumplings tonight, and I'm planning on wearing a new dress I have just made. I'll show it off tomorrow!


  1. If you really have a hankering for vintage black buttons let me know what size and I'll stare deeply into my black button jar...

  2. Despite the flaws you pointed out, I really like it. The fabric's great (me liking grey fabric, who would have thought?!), and I like the buttons at the back.

    Can't wait to see your redraft!

  3. It looks fine in these photos - buttons at the back really do look wonderful. They always drive me nuts though when I'm wearing them if they stick into my back!

  4. I actually think it looks great, the fabric is wonderful


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