Sometimes you just have to go back to an old friend. I spent the past few weeks trying to find a woven top that would fit over my bust without being absurdly tent-like. After multiple failed attempts with big 4 cup-sized patterns (why oh why don’t they actually draft them for the cup sizes rather than just doing sketchy grading?), I decided to go back to that old stalwart, the Colette Sorbetto.
As it happens, I just wrote a piece for Abby Glassenberg’s blog, While She Naps, on how the Sorbetto kick-started my sewing and fitting career (prepare yourself: it’s a little sentimental). It’s a pattern I’ve come back to time and time again, and I’ve cropped it, split the back, and used precious fabrics that I didn’t want to mess up.
As my pattern still bore the signs of my first ever FBA (!), I decided to start afresh this time. I did a 2 inch FBA on the size 18 (and now I think I should have done a 2.5 inch one), moved the dart down 2 inches (the Colette ladies must be extremely perky) and rotated some of the bust dart into a new waist dart. I also made it a v-neck and added a good 4 inches to the bottom, curving the hem.
Believe it or not, despite half my RTW tops being v-neck I’ve never actually successfully made one myself. To try to offset the invariable stretching of the bias v I used woven stay tape on both the outer silk and the crepe de chine lining, and I used twill tape on the seam allowance, and I understitched. It was… mostly successful. There’s still some buckling, although I wonder if this is inevitable given my body shape – the line between my shoulder to bust is far, far from straight (there a lot of space in there.. enough for an iPhone, in fact. Handy!) – so unless a neckline is pretty sturdy or under tension, it’s going to be free-floating through that area. It’s not a problem in knits, because they have the tension of negative ease. Does anyone else have this problem, and have solutions?
I’ve been saving this lovely silk that I got on my first outing to Fabric Place Basement, which miraculously had a job lot of BCBG silk when I visited. I knew the placement would be tricky – triangles are almost never your friend… but I think I managed without anything too obscene. The downside is I didn’t notice until it was way too late that I’d cut the front of the middle of my yardage and there wasn’t enough for the back. So let me introduce you to my on-trend design feature: the black bum flap! So de rigeur, darlings.
Construction wise, I chickened out of trying to finish the V with binding (tried that once before, with terrible results), so instead I went for the lined approach. That meant making two identical tops in full (all French seamed! *pats self on back*), then putting them right sides together and sewing all the way around the neckline and flipping over. Then, I basted the two layers together at the armholes and finished with self-bias, and hemmed them separately.
The final thing isn’t perfect – I definitely need another half to full inch in the bust and to fix the v-neck, but given my current lack of floaty summer-appropriate tops, I’m sure it’ll get a lot of wear!
So, dear experts, your v-neck wovens on a big bust tips, please?