Sunday, 25 May 2014

Sleeveless top pattern review

OK, so I thought I would review a couple of free printable sleeveless top patterns. A recent cull of my wardrobe revealed that I was sadly lacking in this area. In the past I have bought several from Boden, mostly because of the lovely colours and prints, but in truth unless they are in the sale I really cannot justify the price they charge for such a simple item, so I thought I had better start to make some myself.

So before I spent money on buying a new pattern I thought I would have a go at the Angela Kane sleeveless top and the Collette Sorbetto top. Both free downloads.

Firstly I wear a size 14 UK top and size 12 skirts and trousers, so I am not Mrs average. I also am full busted which really means that this type of top, loose and boxy are not the best for me style wise. However come the warmer weather I would sooner wear a looser cotton top than say a fitted vest and as long as I pair these with a slimmer bottom, either straight skirt or straight jeans I can just about get away with it without looking like a weeble (do you remember those!!)

So first the Colette top. I love the look of the pattern on the site and having googled some more images it did look quite appealing. I read that these patterns come out a bit small so I erred on the side of caution and cut out a size 12 (USA)  size 16 UK. As I was using a light weight cotton which I thought once washed would have a little drape I thought it would still look OK.
First thing I found however was the dart placement!! I found this really out. Then there seemed to be too far too much fullness in the front armscye. This isn't helped I know by my own shape, but I have seen that others have also found this.
Finally I found the top far too short, so added a band to the bottom of mine.
What I did like was the bias bound neck and armholes and the front pleat which I think is a lovely touch.
Once I managed to make the necessary alterations, dropped the darts and shortened them, eased out the fullness in the armscye and added the band, I was quite pleased with the result. I did have to take it in as well which means next time I can make the smaller size.

I think if you were very slim with a tiny bust you may get away with the pattern in your normal size without too much alteration, but as this is meant to be a really simple top I think it might prove a bit challenging to get a good fit if you are anything other than a true average size.

Next the Angela Kane pattern. This is the little top as shown on the Great British Sewing Bee.
First I must confess I actually printed out the wrong size.  If I had looked at the sizing properly I would have seen the the medium would have been amply big enough even for my fuller top, but having printed out the large size I decided that since these patterns have no seam allowance I could just use it as printed without adding any!

I had to take make 1.25 inch seams on both sides and of course should have adjusted the armscye  to lose some of the width in the high chest area as well. Having said this and not wanting to waste the fabric I decided to make it up anyway. The darts were perfect, the instructions and video are so clear that you couldn't fail to produce a really professional looking garment and I will make it again in the right size!
Again for me though only 5' 3" it was too short and I lengthened it by 2". I also made little vents in the hem so that it sat better.

It isn't a complete disaster and I will wear it, but I will show you a much better version in due course.
Overall then I do like the top and certainly think that with the video tutorial it would be well within a beginners ability.

In conclusion, would I have been happy to have purchased either pattern.
 The, not really. Had I not had some experience and been able to correct the fit it would have gone in the bin!
The Angela Kane, as I would have purchased the correct size.....yes I would.

I hope that some of this might have helped if you were thinking of trying either of these patterns and it would be great to hear how you got on if you  try them yourself.

Back shortly with loads of piccies of our brilliant holiday in Cornwall, that's once I've sifted through the 300 odd I seem to have taken...!

Happy Sewing until next time.....
Jenny xx


  1. They both look great on you, you've got the same problem as me (14 top 12 bottom) and I have to be very careful what style of top I buy.

    1. Thanks Gill. It is really difficult sometimes to find something loose but flattering when you're our shape!

  2. This reminds me, I have a Christening to attend in 3weeks and a wedding to attend in 7weeks, must get my finger out and make/adapt or buy (cheaply) one or two outfits!

    Thank you for your comments re- chooks. I guess there will be and overload of pics once they are here!

    1. Good luck with the outfits! My biggest nightmare even though I sew is finding just the right thing for an 'event'. Looking forward to the pictures of your new family soon.

  3. Dear Jenny,

    Wish I could sew like you! Lots of ladies will be happy with your reviews. The tops all look lovely to me and look great on you!

    Happy week,

    Madelief x

    1. Thanks Madelief, your lovely comments always cheer me up! X

  4. It's beautiful, and it really suits you, in both colours. :)

  5. Hello Jenny:

    How wonderful to have discovered you. Thank you so much for visiting our blog and signing as a Follower. We are both delighted to welcome you.

    We are filled with admiration that you have made these two very attractive tops. Alas, we have great difficulty threading a needle, let alone actually sewing!!

  6. You always look very stylish to me m'dear but I do agree that the second top pictured wins :)

  7. One is dots and one in stripes, great fabric choices!
    You always make such lovely things.
    Lisa x


Hi thanks for stopping by, but even better say hello. I love to read your comments and its also a way for me to meet you. I do read every coment but don't always have the time to find your email or web, so do pop back if you have asked a question as I will answer it here.xx