Simplicity 1716 Top

As the coronavirus begins to spread across the United States.... my city, state and country have begun encouraging people to stay at home to ‘slow the spread’. 
Yesterday our South Carolina governor closed all public schools and universities in our state for at least 3 weeks, so even my daughter, who is a 2nd grade teacher, is working from home as they implement e-learning for her students.  Last week I shopped my stash choosing Simplicity 1716......
Top info
..... paired with a bright and lovely silky knit, as it was clear changes were coming and I needed a pleasant distraction.
Fabric purchased at All About Fabrics
This knit is a luxurious, super slinky, shifting, silky pain in the you-know-what to sew, but will be oh-so-wonderful to wear... so the first order of business was figuring out which needle to use.  Microtex worked well on this.
Having never made this pattern before, chose the tunic length view E, with the cowl neck and 3/4 length sleeves but all along construction was worried this might be too tight through the hips, even though I cut my normal size 10 grading to 12 from the waist down per the Nancy Zieman pivot and slide method.  The working theory was that if the tunic was too tight, it could be cut off to be a top.  Below.... you are looking at the enormous amount of pleats this lovely begins with.  4 to make the cowl drape, and 2 above the bust to add to the drape = 6 total.  The inner cowl is part of the pattern (not attached separately in any way) and folds in nicely during construction.
Below you can see the massive amount of pleat pinning I do.  Each pin plays an important role in forming a perfect pleat.
Even though the knit did not 'mark' well, still tried to mark the pleat lines to the best of my ability, then carefully pinned those lines with vertical pins noting the sewing line.  The horizontal pins are keeping the knit from sliding.... with the last horizontal pin noting where to stop sewing.  Was very pleased with the pleating on this.
Was zooming right along and began pinning side seams together when I realized I was dealing with horrible curling.  As in the curling one would see across the grainline..... not curling one would see on a knit cut along the grainline.  Pulled some of the selvedge scraps to check my cuts and yep.... you guessed it.... I cut the fabric completely opposite the grainline of what it should've been.  *sigh!*  You'd think after sewing my clothes consistently since 2013 I'd be immune to making a 'newbie' mistake like this..... but nope..... mistakes happens to all of us, no matter how long we've been at it.  Okay.  Now what to do.  Luckily in this case, this was a super stretchy 4-way stretch knit, with all directions of stretch pretty much equal.  Whew!  So I continued.  And it was a real pain to pin these curling side seams straight.  ;(
Here's the one and only photo of the top under construction at the tunic length.  After setting the sleeves in flat, (because I'm horrible at setting in sleeves and will always choose flat if I can!), then stitching up the side seams along with the sleeve seams so it could be tried on..... it wasn't only tight..... it was indecently tight from the hips down.
Now let's look again at the pattern.   See the upper right blue dress..... the tunic length was a little shorter than this.... and it looks nice and flowing around her hips.  *sigh*  On to Plan B.... cut it off to a top length of view F and at this point chose to 'ruche' the sides too.  I've never done that before and thought it'd be interesting to see how that all worked.  In this case.... it was sewing a 1/4" wide elastic 4 1/2" long to pre-determined points on both side seams.
And this is what it became.  Sewed 1 1/4" hems in sleeves and top's hem.
 Worn with the Ottobre mini-skirt on this stay-at-home day......
 .....thinking everything looked great until I saw these photos.  See the 'ruching' on the left side?  Something looks very wrong there.
 And again..... below..... yuck.
 Hmmmm..... definitely needs the seam ripper.
Meanwhile..... as I was writing this post to get a pattern link for you (looks like it may be out of print)... I realized that 2 of my sewing buddies have made this pattern before..... Sarah Liz made this very top sans ruching (which may be what I end up doing!) and Shirley who made the alternate neckline as a dress.  Funny story about Shirley.... the last couple of tops she and I have made we've chosen the very same fabrics from Hobby Lobby!!  And we don't even live anywhere near each other.  Great minds think alike, no?!!
So future plans are to think of this time at home as an opportunity to definitely sew, as this little top was the most pleasant distraction to deal with all the uncertainty at hand.



  1. I love this fabric!! I can only imagine the pains with the pleating with a silky fabric. I turn to pins as well when marking is not possible. I ended up shortening mine to shirt length. I later made a pair of knit pants that matched perfectly with my fabric that I had used for the dress, so I chopped it off. I thought I would get a bit more wear with it. Thank you for mentioning me in your blog; that put a smile on my face. It's a shame this pattern is out of print now.

    1. Funny you chopped yours off too! Ha! I like the pattern too and will make this top again.... just not right now as I've about had it with pins and pleats. ;)

  2. This is absolute one of my favorites! Love it Lisa!♥


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