the second-chances top + a pledge


I’ll tell you the moral of this story in advance: I’m an idiot.

But hey, an idiot with a really cute top, eh?

(Please, God, don’t let high-low hems go out of style now that I’ve finally jumped on board. Cause you know I’ll wear this anyway.)

Quick sidebar: My dress form, now disguised in ivory lace plus hat, currently reminds me of this painting:

[ image via google ]

This top was born during my biggest sewing debacle to date — last summer, when I was trying to create a maxi-skirt-and-silk-top combo to wear to a black tie wedding. It felt like an endless train of mishaps and mistakes right up until the day I realized the skirt was DREADFULLY UGLY and threw it into a corner in a fit of rage. My rage spilled over to the top, which I concluded was ALSO TERRIBLE, and it ended up in the corner too.

(Eventually I made a black lace cocktail dress, which was the last thing I wanted to do, so therefore it turned out great, because I am always wrong.)

Last weekend, I picked up the top and sewed it. It was easy. It came together great. I’m an idiot.


My frustration was totally understandable, in hindsight. This fabric combo is silk gauze/net/something underlined with silk habotai. It’s literally the Scylla and Charybdis of fabric. On the one hand, you’ve got the gauze, which resists all shears with its supersilk strength, holds no markings, frays like the devil, and distorts when you breathe on it. On the other hand, you’ve got the habotai, which is quite literally the most slippery fabric that I can even imagine, but simultaneously refuses to lie flat for cutting and sewing. We’re talking about perfectly complementary demons from hell.

But none of that matters, because when I dragged out the fabric, I realized that Yesterday Sarah had already done all the hand-basting to underline these pattern pieces. All I had to do was sew the damn thing together.


Not only that, Yesterday Sarah had also, at some point last year, decided to spend an entire afternoon cutting out bias strips from leftover silk habotai. That was a terrible, terrible afternoon. But it left me with ready-made bias facings for the neckline.

This pattern is Simplicity 1660, View B. That view comes with a wee little neckband that appears to just flap around and give you one more thing to cut out, so I skipped it. Because if there’s one thing you can count on me for, it’s looking at a pattern marked “Easy-to-Sew” and saying, “Ugh, too complicated. Let’s get rid of some of these details.”


Based on the massive ease in this project, I sewed up an XS, forgetting that this pattern actually does come down over your butt. Now my butt has a little cap on it. Next time, I’ll grade out to a S at the hips.

I actually love this top. I used French seams wherever I could, which makes me glow with happiness, and that awful silk habotai is the most wonderful thing to wear against your skin. It’s like butter. No, heaven. No, butter specially made in heaven and served by cherubim and seraphim.


The modernity of this top is really refreshing. I’ve realized more and more that a lot of my handmade items have a vintage feel, which is fine, but I don’t want that to define my style. I’ll be making more of these if I can find a drapey enough fabric; I think my beloved cotton voiles might have too much body for it.

P.S. Hear ye, hear ye, I now announce my participation in Me Made May 2015. I signed up on So, Zo… as everyone does, but didn’t feel like doing a whole ‘nother post just to announce my intentions. Here’s what I said:

I, Sarah of, do hereby and with full ceremony (that’s good, right?) sign up for Me-Made May 2015. Here’s what I’m gonna do: Wear one handmade garment every day. Pajamas count, but that doesn’t make it all that easy. What would make it easy: if I had gotten around to making Ginger jeans. Maybe next year.

I intend to be pretty low-key about this one — you won’t see daily outfit photos on my Instagram feed, and I won’t be doing weekly blog posts. I kind of feel like doing two or three roundup posts that are heavy on photos, light on words. Stay tuned and have fun, everyone!

Pattern: Simplicity 1660, View B minus the neckline band, size XS
Fabric: Silk gauze from stash, underlined with silk habotai from Dharma Trading, leftover from making my wedding dress


2 thoughts on “the second-chances top + a pledge

  1. Pingback: me made may: part 1 | root branch bole

  2. Pingback: me made may: part 2 | root branch bole

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