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Sewing the Hepburn Top

If you’ve been around here a while you know that I love novelty print skirts, be they vintage or modern. A novelty skirt and a slightly dressed up tee shirt is my go-to casual look. Unfortunately, it’s rather difficult to find a good slightly dressed up tee. I’ve experimented with sewing my own before, but I’ve not been totally happy with the patterns or results. Enter… The Charm Patterns Hepburn Top! It looked like it had potential to be a go-to top for me, and the look is very similar to a vintage pattern I own. I’ve now made it six times (!) in different fabrics, so this post is going to be a run-down of what I used and how I liked it.

The first version I made out of some sort of cotton knit fabric from Joann I had sitting around from a previous shirt-making jaunt– A look at their site implies it might be “interlock knit”. I made the short sleeve and the band collar, which ended up being my default configuration. This fabric is stretchier than called for at about 50% stretch, but I think it may be my one of my favorite renditions. It’s been through the wash several times already!

Next up, a very light weight rayon (possibly a french terry?) knit, also from Joann some time ago. I opted for the band collar and a sleeve halfway between the short and 3/4 sleeve. The band collar was really a mistake in this fabric, there isn’t enough body to support it and it ends up looking rather crumply. I also managed to orient the knit the wrong way, but it still has about 25% stretch. I wish I liked this version more than I do, but unfortunately it’s a bit of a dud.

I had put in an order for a whole rainbow of fabrics from Mood, but two were out of stock so in the end it was an abbreviated rainbow of four colors. I picked up this jade and lapis double-faced double knit … I made the sleeveless cut because I was hoping to get two tops out of my yardage, since the other side is a lovely deep teal blue. Unfortunately, I really didn’t like how this fabric worked for this pattern. The fabric was really thick, almost like scuba, so the center seam was incredibly visible. I added the bow collar to hide the seam, but the bulk of the fabric meant the bow didn’t drape well… add the clinginess of a polyester knit (even though it has 50% stretch!) and we have a bit of a dud. Shame, too, since the colors are so pretty.

Fortunately, from this point on things improve. The next fabric I tried was a purple cotton pique which has about 25% stretch. Think… polo shirt. I really like how this one turned out, the color is good and I like the extra texture!

Gertie recommends ponte as a foolproof fabric for this pattern, so I picked up a dusty pink ponte in a primarily rayon/nylon blend. I think I prefer the cotton-based fabrics for this pattern, but this is a good shade of pink and I still like it well enough.

The last fabric I picked out was a cotton french terry in a dusty red which was a much-lighter weight fabric than I was expecting. I really like how this one turned out too, the fabric is a little stretcher than recommended but it’s very comfortable.

And that wraps up my first batch of tops! Four of six turned out pretty well, and now I know what fabrics to look for (and to avoid) for my future versions… the fabrics that I wasn’t able to get were blue and goldenrod, so I’ll be looking for something in those colors to complete my rainbow!

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