I’m stoked to finish this top – my version of Rachel Comey’s Navigator top. I loved it as soon as the pattern was released a few months ago, and ordered it straightaway (well okay, as soon as it went on sale). I wasn’t entirely sure if the style was going to work for me – I feel as though my body shape is fairly broad across the shoulders and hips, but really quite narrow from the side view. So I wondered, would a loose top like this just emphasize my broadness? I sewed with trepidation. But I find it quite flattering! I love pairing it with either a short skirt (this is Burdastyle’s Sidonie, a bias-cut A-line in lightweight denim), or flowing chambray-weight trouser jeans (my beloved vogue 1051 Alice + Olivia pants).
I initially had a floral cotton voile picked out for it, but my good friend B reckoned that this poly charmeuse, earmarked for a dress, was just the thing. The voile – slightly on the stiffer side – could look a bit scrublike. (And my muslin, from an old soft sheet, *was* total scrubland!). Were I to sew this again – and I’m planning on it – I’d do it in a crepe de chine, or a cotton lawn.
I made two changes from the original pattern – I raised the bust darts a half inch (i think their positioning is so key on such a loose top). And I took out the center back seam, cutting the back on the fold. To do this, I simply got rid of the seam allowance.
Doing the muslin and working out how to do all of those intersecting french seams (at the centre front) got me all confident about doing an ‘average’ rated pattern; what I forgot was that my muslin was a sheet. Super stable. Rather easy. Sewing this charmeuse up with so many pieces on the bias? I don’t think I cried… but I certainly cursed the fabric. It slipped, it grew, it frayed (ugh, I still have a few frays to trim from the french seams…). I had to toss the first version I made up half-way through; you can’t see the bias strip all around the neckline, but while sewing it the first time, something happened. I have no idea what. I just know that after getting it together, the right front gaped like nobody’s business.
Only one thing got me through this top: stabilizer: washable stabilizer, like the embroiders use (I got the idea from the Colette Pattern blog). The first bottle of Sullivan’s I picked up (and the only one I could find).. didn’t spray! I replaced it with two different kinds of washable stabilizing film, and got to work. I sewed little strips right onto the seams, and it washed out later. What a difference maker. I only regret not using it throughout the top – I only really used it for the neckline.