It wouldn’t be an experiment if it worked the first time

From a recent conversion with my labmate Quentin:

Quentin:  Weren’t you doing some RNAi experiments?  Whatever happened to those?

Me:  They worked.

Quentin:  They worked?

Me: Yeah.  How awesome is that?

Quentin:  That’s so boring.

Fortunately, sewing hasn’t been so boring.  Inspired by Carolyn’s excellent series on designing her own patterns from a TNT (tried and true) dress, I decided to have a stab at creating my own top pattern.  I really liked the shawl-collar top on the McCall’s knit dress (5752), and I wondered if I could make a simpler version of it—without the ruched midriff— by combining the dress bodice with my favorite T-shirt pattern (Simplicity 3634).  

To start, I copied the t-shirt front onto a folded piece of tracing paper, using the V-neckline rather than my usual scoop-neckline.

Then I laid the dress bodice front on top, lined up the shoulders and side as best I could and traced the sleeves from the bodice.

I cut out the pattern piece and drew a line across the front for the wrap, then cut out this piece.

I copied this shape onto another piece of tracing paper and added the “shawl,” modeling it on the one in the bodice top.  I also added sleeves to the back piece:

When I cut this out of fabric and held it up to myself I could see that (a) the base of the wrap was too high, and (b) the shawl didn’t have enough body to it.  Also the curved line I cut for the wrap didn’t really work for the shawl.  Then it occurred to me that I could make the shawl out of a separate piece of fabric.  So, I cut the shawl parts off the fabric pieces, and cut a separate shawl piece.  I used the cowl pattern piece from my t-shirt pattern for the width (11″) and calculated the length based on the length of the back neckline plus the two sides of the wrap (27″).  I assembled the top without the wrap, leaving holes in the side seams where the shawl/wrap would fit in.  Then I folded the shawl piece in half lengthwise and pinned it all the way around the top:

I stretched it a little as it went so it would pull in and stay closed, so I ended up with about 2″ too much on either end.  This was fine as I just cut the ends off after I sewed the shawl down.  The shawl doubles over on itself so you end up with four layers of fabric.

Here’s the top as it stands.  I think it makes me look like a samurai working for UPS.  I can’t tell if the style would work in another color or if I should scrap this idea entirely.  I think if I were to make this again I would:

  1. Use regular cap sleeves instead of the extended shoulders
  2. Make the neckline a little narrower
  3. Possibly reduce the wrap to something more like this (don’t know what its called—the line drawing is from the Jalie website):