August 25, 2014

Freeform retro top

And this is the other project I made using instructions from Studio Faro's blog. It's called 'retro shrug' there, even though it is always pictured as a wrap top. 
Now, this is a design I have certainly seen on the internet before. I've seen pictures of it before (I believe it's out there as repro pattern or something like that) and I've looked at them and tried to figure out how this would work. I didn't manage so I was quite happy to try this tutorial and see how it should be done.

To be honest, this green top is my second version.

This is the first one. When worn tucked in, as suggested in the tutorial, it looks fine. It isn't easy to get it in position though and it doesn't really like to stay in place. 

In its untucked state, the issue is revealed.

Some of the pictures I've seen of tops like this didn't show it tucked in. Instead, it was pinned down at waistline with a brooch and the points fell to the front like those of a vest. 
In my top/shrug, the points fall to the sides (I know it's hard to see. E helped me to re-take the pictures of these tops and even though he did a great job overall, he didn't really mind the light with these). The fit is pretty similar to what you see on Studio Faro's dummy, I followed pattern and instruction exactly and I don't usually think of myself as having a large waist circumference. 

So, I decided to make another version with one crucial change:

I know my sketch isn't easy to read but just consider it an addition to the tutorial: In the original pattern the 'center back seam' was 24 cm. In my new version, it's only 19 cm.

The larger amount of fabric from the back which is now used for the waistline means that the points will fold to the front without trouble and you don't have to tuck the top in. It has a tendency to gape at the neckline, so I've pinned it there with a hidden safety pin.

When I asked E which top he preferred, he said he thought the first one was a nice shrug and the second one a nice top. He didn't even really consider the two as being the same kind of garment. And, in the role they will get in my wardrobe, he's absolutely right. 

P.S. I know styles like this add a lot of bulk around the upper body. I don't mind that. I think it can provide really nice looks when properly styled but I realize it won't be everybody's cup of tea. 
If you're kind of interested in the look but not sure about it, make sure you pick a really soft drapey jersey for it and remember that the look is less overwhelming when you wear this thing as a shrug than as a top. That may also make it a lot easier to give it a place in a wardrobe with less vintage influence than mine.
And if you are unsure about the look and/or fit you want to go for (It's a two seam garment, so the length of that back seam really makes a difference. I actually really like my first try as a shrug, the second one, not so much), start with the shorter back seam. It's easy to close it up further later on if you decide you prefer that than to have to unpick that serged seam.


  1. Great! You did this onw as well! I like this one as well - I like both versions. Wonderful!

  2. I love the way you have pinned it at the waist. It never occurred to me. And the shorter back seam is the answer for different heights and body lengths. As an evening version I can image this top in a metallic/sparkly knit but used as a shug over an evening dress with straps. These rectangles have so much potential. :)

  3. I like both looks. I also enjoyed looking at the bookshelves on your other wall. ;-)