Completed: A Sleeveless Something

Spring has finally arrived so I finally give you the sparkly sleeveless top with the fancy neckline treatment that my RTW Faster friends have been eagerly awaiting! Weeks Months ago I posted this photo to our RTW Fasters group and lamented how I had started with a fabulous idea and ended with a sad pile of fabric. It peaked everyone’s interest a little. Then I further teased them with a closely cropped photo of the overhauled finished piece which they begged me to tell them about.

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After cutting out the sparkly cowl top, I had enough fabric left for a bonus project. I didn’t want a basic sparkly t-shirt, but didn’t have a ton of fabric left with which to work. I also didn’t want a repeat of something too similar to the cowl top since that sparkly stuff is pretty recognizable. I needed twist on the basics – something really wild and unexpected with trimmings perhaps. I suddenly remembered a RTW top that I’d seen in a store about a year earlier that had such a cool neckline treatment that I took a photo of it right there in the store to remember it. I flipped through photos in my phone until I found it. It was a self-fabric bias cut tubing woven together and stitched to create a lattice work edge around the neckline.

I quickly set about cutting the body using my t-shirt sloper. I trimmed down the front crew neck and neckline portion of the shoulders about 2-1/2 inches. I cut out several 1-1/2″ wide strips of fabric as long as I possibly could with the fabric I had left to create the tubing. Then I had a small portion of fabric just big enough to cut out short sleeves. In case you’re wondering – I trashed those later because it just didn’t look right with short sleeves. I used one of the strips to bias bind the neckline’s raw edge. Then I folded and stitched the remaining strips of fabric along the long sides, right sides facing and left the ends open. I used my tube turner and painstakingly turned the tubes in on themselves, leaving the seam allowance in tact to fill out the tubes. This was honestly the hardest part. This fabric has too much of an open weave to deal well with the loop turner which kept poking through the weave. It took me about an hour to turn all of them whereas with a different fabric it probably would have taken me 10 minutes. Anyway, once I had the tubes turned right sides out, the real fun began. I played with different arrangements of the fabric tubing around the neckline.

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After weaving and hand tacking things in place for what seemed like forever, I threw my hands up in frustration and posted this picture of my sad pile of fabric.

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I tossed it aside and  let it “ferment” for a few days, as my mother-in-law says about sewing projects at the upholstery shop that just aren’t going well and need to be set aside for a fresh perspective later. A week later I picked it up again, this time determined to make something functional from the mangled mess. I settled on removing one of the long tubes that was woven in to create the X’s and then running a shorter tube through the peaks of the remaining loops to hold them up rather than trying to bind the peaks as I had originally planned.

It still didn’t work out quite to my quality standards. There’s something funky happening where the open section of the back shoulder folded under to meet the tubing and I hate how the trim pulls on the neckline. I should have stabilized the raw neckline prior to tacking the tubing in place. I’m also not crazy about how sheer it is considering it’s sleeveless and who wants to layer a cami under a sleeveless top? Since you know I love to revisit a pattern, I know I’ll be back at this one in the near future using a more stable fabric and armed with a little more know-how. But for now, it’s another top in my closet which I’ll consider a “rough draft.”

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