I made a couple of Merchant and Mills Factory dresses over the summer- see here and here- and I modified the pattern from the start. They were much worn and I could see the potential for a top using this pattern so after finding this Nani Iro Pon Pocho on sale during the summer at The Draper's Daughter I bought 1.5 metres and got planning. I love the relaxed fit of my dresses- loose but not baggy or sack like, and I especially liked the drop shoulder detail which means that you can sew your sleeve in flat- so easy, who doesn't like that? Setting sleeves in is always tricky!
I had a minor fit issue with my dresses; the front neck was pulling slightly to the back which after a little consultation with Fit for Real People- which I've found to be excellent on all fit issues that I've had- I found diagnosed as high round back . I followed their instruction and added extra space to the upper back bodice to allow for rounding of the shoulders and back. I blame age, computers and sewing for this- all hard to avoid!
High round back alteration is easy adjustment to make which basically adds a long narrow wedge to the back to accommodate the rounding. I've annotated the photo to make it clear what had been added. It involves drawing a line from centre back and stopping at the seam allowance of the shoulder area. I wasn't exactly sure where to put my line and this time it was quite high- I would go a little lower for a closer fitting top. Cut along the line stopping at the seam to create a hinge. Place a piece of pattern paper underneath and open out at the centre back around ¼" to ⅜". On this I knew I only needed a little. For other patterns I've made I would add ⅜"- I judge this by how much I feel I want to pull the top bodice forward at the collar when I wear it. The top part of the centre back needs a minor truing up to keep that line straight. That little fillet of paper creates just a little more room and gave me a great fit.
For other alterations, I used top patterns that I like the length and fit on so Tova and Carme to draft the waist width and hem length and Kanerva for the sleeves- I used the existing short sleeve pattern from the Factory dress, added length and narrowed it. The cuff is finished with a cross cut binding.
As with the dresses, I used David Paige Coffin's Shirtmaking book which I guess was reprinted as it has gone from being unaffordable and hard-to-find to being easily available and I finally got a copy of my own. The only difference was with this collar, I used light fusible interfacing - Perfect Fuse in Sheer - on both collar and under collar to keep the double gauze under control - it frays very easily. The placket, under collar and stand facing are from a fat 1/8th of Liberty lawn- it's amazing how a little piece of fabric like that can do all those jobs! I squeezed this out of my 1.5m with nothing left, only the smallest scraps! I am very pleased with the result. It's a casual comfortable, warm top and it works well with my charcoal Fumeterre skirt. It's easy to pull off and on over my head and the colour and print is uplifting to wear on days when I want to be more practical and keep warm! I aways like to keep things simple with big prints and strong colours and this style offers a lot of potential for more simple tops with options like a lower neck and a rounded collar. Thank you to my daughter as ever for her photos- she knows exactly what I want without me even saying. x