|HotPatterns Blouse-Back Tee - front|
From the front, this top looks like a fairly innocuous-but-cute striped tee with contrast sleeve and neckbands. But lo and behold, much like the mullet, this tee is all party in the back:
|HotPatterns Blouse-Back tee - back|
Now, onto the information that you're probably interested in...
Fabric usedThe striped fabric is a rayon knit that was FabricMart's "crazy priced fabric" several months back. I paid around $3/yard for it and bought six yards, so I had no qualms about using this fabric for my "test run", even though I quite like the fabric. I found it interesting that I found identical fabric listed on EmmaOneSock and SawyerBrook for exponentially more than what I paid.
The black contrast is a rayon-bambmoo knit remant from fabric.com that I had left over from another project.
Note that you want to use a VERY lightweight and drapey fabric (can be knit or woven) for the back drape piece, or the piece won't hang as expected.
|HotPatterns Blouse-Back tee envelope|
Fit and sizingAccording to the bust, waist, and hip figures of the HotPatterns size chart, I should wear a size 22 in their tops, but from experience, I know that I like to start with a size 18 (which matches my high bust measurement) and then transition to a 20 or 22 (depending on the flat pattern measurement) at the armscye. This "cheater FBA" method usually serves me well on their knit tops. For this pattern, I started with a size 18, transitioned to a 20 at the armscye, and then out to a 22 at the hip (some folks were finding that it had less ease through the hip/bum than they preferred). From an ease perspective, this worked fine, but as you can see in my photos, the front is riding up a bit, which is exaggerated by the hi-lo hem nature of the top. I do plan to make this again, but when I do, I will "undo" my cheater FBA, and do a traditional darted FBA, which will add a little more shaping to the top and should alleviate the "riding up" beyond the design detail.
As far as length goes, I shortened both the front and the back by 2", which isn't unusual for me, given that I'm only 5'2". You can see that the back is still pretty long on me--hitting me at about mid-back-thigh, when it really should be ending just past my butt. I might shorten the back a tad more when I make this again.
Some sewalong participants found that the neckband, as drafted, was a bit long, particularly if they had a very stretchy knit. I always always always check the length of my neckband before stitching on--a good rule of thumb is that the neckband should be about 2/3-3/4 of the length of the neck opening for it to ease properly and not gape. This applies to all knit tops with a bound neckline--not just this one.
Overall, I'm quite happy with my top--it's a fun, easy-to-throw-on top for warmer weather, and I definitely would like to make this again and play around with the design possibilities. I have a sheer rayon knit that's not suitable to be used without layering, and I'm thinking of using that to underline a stretch lace for the top body, and using the sheer knit on its own for the drape piece.
A final thought (for now) about swimsuitsThe discussion that ensued on my last post about swimsuits was interesting, enlightening, and to be honest, a little disheartening.
- Interesting because you all managed to find both some really wonderful resources and examples of bloggers who had successfully tamed plus sized swimwear.
- Enlightening because now I know that many other women share my frustrations with plus sized swimwear design and the available options. (The issue with tie-behind-the-neck straps came up again and again.)
- Disheartening because the suit that I want to make clearly doesn't exist anywhere yet. Bombshell/retro styles are really popular right now and flattering on many (especially curvy) figure types, but the available patterns in this style will require quite a bit of engineering effort on my part to make one work for me. Conversely, there are a couple of swimsuit patterns out there that do appear to have provisions for bust support, but they are very basic styles and would also require a lot of pattern drafting/frankenpattern effort to morph the style that I want onto their base.