two tops

There are a couple of tops to share with you. Both are old patterns, but not so terribly dated.

First up, Sewing Workshop’s Tribeca.

This is one of the first Sewing Workshop patterns I ever bought, so it must be at least 8 years old or so. I made it once before, but in a very sober color and a smaller (boo hoo) size.



This was a fabric-generated project. I think it came up in a search for chambray on, and it was described as having two different sides. When it arrived, I was happy to see it was actual double cloth – two layers of gauze-like cotton attached to each other with tiny “stitches”. You can barely see the blue attaching threads on the white side of the fabric. It aged for a few months while I thought about patterns that would take advantage of the double-sidedness, and eventually the old Tribeca was my choice.

Tribeca has no facings – the outside edges are turned and stitched with tiny little miters at all the corners. It also has a ton of darts. Shoulder darts, two bust darts (including a curved frenchy dart), back darts, and elbow darts shape and control the fullness in this shirt. The buttonholes are reinforced with little backing squares to make up for the lack of facing support. Directions call for french seams everywhere. The double cloth was a little heavy for real french seams, so I made flat fells – grading the layers inside the seam.

Sleeves were a little long, but they look nice rolled up so that’s not a problem.

I doubt I will make it again, as there is something about the shoulder that just isn’t right in either version, despite my comparisons to TNTs and tweaking. It’s not enough to keep me from wearing this, but I don’t think it is worth my time to try to fit and sew again. This will work nicely as either a shirt or lightweight jacket.

Claire Kennedy in her blog recently drew attention to a BurdaStyle pattern that is now available as a download. I recognized it as one I had noted as a possibility for me back when it appeared in the magazine – in the July 2010 issue.

BS_10_07_122_drawingIt’s style #122 – here’s the line drawing.


And here it is, made up in handkerchief linen.  BS_10_07_122You can see that I had to make use of some “design opportunities”. This was originally supposed to be long sleeved like the pattern. However, the upper bodice and attached sleeve is such a large piece, that you have to do single layer cutting. So I cut one side, unpinned the fabric, then flipped the pattern piece and cut out the opposite side. Set the pattern piece aside with the second fabric piece still attached. Can you guess where this story is going?

After most of the main pieces were cut out,  I grabbed the biggest scrap I could find for the collar stand. Yes, the “scrap” was one of the bodice/sleeve pieces that wasn’t attached to the pattern tracing. This is not the first time I’ve done this….some corrective action needs to be worked into my cutting procedures.

So now you know why the sleeves are short and the left front is pieced. I don’t mind it this way, but would still like a long-sleeved version!

I recently adjusted the measurements on my sewing dummy but it truly is only good as a clothes-hanger now. That bust seam really does go across the fullest part of the bust (there’s a dart built into it). You can see where the bust apex is on the dummy. Not an adjustable measurement.

Other notes on the pattern – the sizes ended at 44, but this was easy to scale up to a 46. The collar stand is loose in front when it is buttoned up, and when it is not buttoned it falls away from the neck in a relaxed way. Also, that stand is very narrow and consequently a pain to sew. I’ll probably  make it a little wider when I make my long-sleeved shirt just to make the sewing experience less stressful.

BS_10_07_122_BACKHere’s the back view – when I make this again, I may put a pleat in the lower back piece at the center, or a couple of small pleats at the side, just to give a little extra ease over the seat.

Next up is a pair of pants in a black and white cross-woven cotton to go with the white shirt. When I hung this in the closet, I realized that I have a couple of white tee shirts, but did not have a white woven shirt. This will probably get a lot of wear, as white shirts are a good thing to have.

I realize I’ve been slow with the blog postings lately, and feel guilty because in the meantime I’ve been enjoying everyone else’s blogs. Partly it’s because I have had computer problems, and partly because I don’t need to sew as much now that office wear is not required. The computer has been replaced, and I am slowly learning to use the new platform since the replacement is a mac. The differences between it an my old windows machine are just enough to be a little aggravating, but a little time (and a few time outs!) will get me over that.

Happy sewing, everyone!


8 thoughts on “two tops

  1. Love your tops I don’t have the Tribeca but yours sure looks wonderful. The design features on the burda are nice also

  2. That is really a good save on the white shirt. Yes, I have done the same thing – but something from what I think is a scrap and it’s not……….and will probably do it again (hopefully not soon, tho). 🙂 Glad to see you blogging again, but I do understand about not needing as many clothes in retirement.

  3. Robyn:  Hope this reaches you – what method did you use to increase the size, especially the bust?  Just downloaded and printed the pattern.  Can’t wait to get started………………Lydia

    • Lydia, I went up one size all around, which took care of the bust for me. I use a method that I think Burda details in the magazines. It goes like this: Say for example you are first going to trace the shoulder seam of the bodice for this pattern. You will plot points for the beginning and ending of the seam and then connect the dots.

      At the end of the sleeve, find where the shoulder seam intersects the sleeve hem. See how all the sizes are nested within one another? Draw a diagonal line through that point of intersection for all the sizes. Extend the line out past the largest size (in this case, that’s a 44). Now look at the distance between the points for the 42 and the 44. Mark a point on your diagonal line that is the same distance away from the 44 as the 42 is. Now do the same procedure at the neck edge. That gives you your starting and ending points. Connect them, mimicking the seam line from the printed sheet.

      That gives you your shoulder seam. Work your way around the pattern piece this way. Tip: The center front and center back do not move.

      This is not as hard as I’ve probably made it sound. If you need a picture to help you visualize the process, I can post one.

  4. I admire your perseverence and selection of fabrics. Both of these garments are unique and classic at the same time – love that. I started the Tribeca once and gave up. I can’t remember why but maybe it was my fabric choice …

  5. The Tribeca turned out really nice! And I’ve had an eye on that Burda shirt since it came out. Your “accidental” version is much more interesting. Glad to see you posting again!

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