Call me Stripey McDraperson!
I have always admired and lusted after those Japanese-style asymmetrical drapey tops, but unfortunately I am sized out of all those Japanese pattern books by like 3 or 4 sizes... waaah waaaaaaah. I know I probably could have graded a pattern or two up to fit me, but I'm not that kind of girl (read: lazy) and have mixed feelings about buying patterns that don't come in my size (check out Jennifer's interesting take on that topic at the Curvy Sewing Collective).
But, lucky for me, Yuki of Waffle Patterns recently released the Vanilla top, which is pretty much the opposite of vanilla. It's a beautiful, asymmetrical, drapey, knit top that comes in my size. Hurrah! Finally, my chance to try out this funky look to see if I like it on me:
Speaking of sizing, my measurements put me between a size 46 and 48 at the bust, and a 48 at the hip, so, for my first Vanilla top I opted to go for a straight size 48. Because of the unusual style, it was difficult to tell from the finished garment measurements or the shape of the pattern pieces if this was the right choice.
Eek, too big, too big!! Above is my first iteration of the Vanilla top, which came out absolutely, irredeemably huge. I couldn't keep on my shoulders, or on my hip for that matter, giving me a distinctly Flashdance vibe. Not that that's bad, I guess... my Insta-peeps seemed to like it, but it wasn't my goal and I am not super comfortable wearing it.
The fabric I used for that first, doomed version is a super soft ponte, a tone-on-tone stripe from Girl Charlee a few years back. It's quite stretchy and apparently does not recover well, which most certainly contributed to the oversized result. I held the pattern pieces up against the final product and it had definitely stretched several inches wider than it was meant to be. So, for my next Vanilla top, I decided to sew a size down (46) and use a much more stable fabric.
The instructions are quite easy to follow, with lots of lovely diagrams. Sewing is very quick, too,
since the top is finished with bands at the waist and sleeves, it's a really zip up on the serger.
A word of warning to those who hate pattern tracing, though: the PDF pattern has the back and front pattern pieces layered on top of one another, so you have to trace those two pieces. That said, the PDF itself has layered sizes, so you can print only your size. The pattern includes seam allowance (yay!), but it's 1/2" for many of the seams (I prefer 1/4" or 3/8" for the serger). It also has lines for no seam allowances, so it's easy to trace that version and add whatever allowance you like.
My second, more successful Vanilla top is made from some striped cotton jersey I bought locally, because the Vanilla top looks so, so cool in striped fabric! Originally I meant to make the whole thing out of these small stripes, which you might remember from my Groove dress or the Union St. Tee that I made my sister. One idiotic cutting mistake later, though, (cut the back piece wrong side up, which really matters for a non-mirrored top like this) and I was out of that fabric. Luckily, I had its cousin in my stash, the thicker stripe (used previously for a Strathcona for Tim a while back). Too lazy to recut the sleeve, hem and neck bands, I decided to mix and match my stripes, and I love the result. Happy accident?!
The cotton jersey is far more stable than the ponte I used for my first Vanilla top and, thus, the fit of this top is much more true. The hip is snug enough to keep the blouse up, the cuffs are more reasonable in width. One side, though, my left, is still a bit weird when I let it hang, as you can see from the photo below. I like the sleeves pushed up to the elbow- that's how I'll probably wear them. I think you could leave the cuffs off and just hem the sleeves if you wanted. Most importantly, though, the neckline is a more reasonable, non-Flashdance size! It's still a pretty wide neckline, but that's how it's designed.
Check out the flat Vanilla... crazy shape, huh?
You can sorta see the chevron formed on one shoulder seam below, but have a look at my Instagram photo of my on-point stripe matching. I'm pretty chuffed with it!
I quite like my Vanilla top!! It's a bit outside my normal comfort zone, but it's fun. I'm still working through how to style it/what I should wear on the bottom... jeans obviously work. It'd probably be cute with leggings, too.
What say you: are you into the slouchy, asymmetrical look? Have you made anything like this? Tried the Drape Drape books? Tempted by the Vanilla top?