Small Detail Top

Fall’s well on it’s way here and I’m so excited! I haven’t sewed in some time but I’ve discovered that working with a simple pattern is the fastest, most confidence-boosting way to get back in the groove. Since I need some more tops for work, I decided on a KwikSew 3691, with some minor alterations. The first is most visible; instead of going with the pleats at the neckline, I chose to just gather the fabric. It was not any easier than doing the pleats. I just figured I would be using the pattern several times for tops that can be worn with or without a blazer and I wanted as many versions as possible. 

The top is so straightforward and I should have been done, but I started looking at the back and that’s where the second alteration occurred. I remembered something Mickey Drexler mentioned at one of the talks hosted by the Fashion and Retail Association hosted at Boston University. Drexler was CEO of J. Crew and was pivoting the label to go from comfortable American style to high-end casual Americana.

One example is the cardigan. College students across the Northeast obviously had this staple in their closets. How did Drexler make a necessary garment coveted? He pointed to, literally (there was a girl in the audience that was wearing one of these cardigans who was all too happy to model for the rest of us; I doubt she was the only one) a small pearl button in the back of his cardigans. It’s the small, delicate detail that gave it a unique and elevated look and feel. 

On reading more about how he was updating the style, J. Crew’s President and Executive Creative Director, Jenna Lyonssaid

“When you have a cardigan, it’s a cardigan, but if it has a big pink grosgrain ribbon on the inside placket, and diamante buttons, it makes people think, I need another one of those…”

The button is from Pacific Trimming. Even though it’s metal, it still had a rustic, organic feel that complimented the colors and texture of the fabric. It’s almost iron age, which I didn’t even know I was going for until I sewed the button on. 

I always try to take advantage of the button hole feature on my sewing machine but because the  hole was placed on the seam of the collar, It took a couple of tries. Fortunately, the button covers the stitching. The next time I add a button to a collar, I’ll have to rearrange where the seam is placed. 

For future reference, if I decide to go with another metal button, the fabric has to be substantially thicker to bear the button’s weight. Taking a step back from just the last paragraph, the buttonhole was totally unnecessary. I could’ve saved about 15 minutes and some patience by just applying the button as purely decorative. Who was I kidding? 

Throughout the day, I typically have my hair out of my face and in a high bun which was another reason why I wanted to add the button. 

In fact, here’s my icon for our office Fantasy Football league’s Slack. 

For the sleeve, I used the pattern from Simplicity 2146 since the fabric would be the same for both patterns. I used the size 14 as a modest match to the M size I cut for the rest of the shirt. It paired pretty well without much editing. I only mad the seam along the arm a little tighter but you can go either route. I love frankenpattern-ing. 

This pattern is also my go-to pattern for princess seam tops as noted before. 

Some straight stitching that’s pretty easy for me now. 

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