I went back to New Jersey for the holidays. While I was at Natalie’s house she handed me some sparkly black jersey and said make me a shirt. Apparently I am the official family sewer of knits.
I was actually wearing a Coco top at the time, so I had her try it on to see what sort of size I should start with and adjustments needed so it would need to fit her and her growing tummy.
Once I got back to Portland, I had to figure out what to make. I had already hacked my altered Coco pattern to make a Renfrew-like cowl neck top with a ponte for myself, which would definitely work with the drapey jersey. But first I need to fix that neckline. The first version had too wide of a neckline for the cowl, so I retraced the pattern and set about altering it again. This time i made the neckline narrower and deeper – more like a Renfrew.
Once that was done it was a matter of measuring the neck opening and cutting a rectangle to fit. I recall that the Renfrew cowl is 2 pieces, but I cut a single rectangle and folded it half. So the only cowl seams are on the center back and along the neckline.
You may wonder why not just use the Renfrew pattern? The answer is that I really love the fit of my altered Coco. Its very flattering – fitting nicely across the bust while skimming over my middle. Renfrew just didn’t fit me that well and I haven’t gotten around to modifying it yet, so it’s easier to just add a cowl then refit the whole pattern.
I love how this turned out. I added some length and width to the pattern to make it work as a maternity top. I think the the cowl neck looks great and balances out the sparkly fabric. This is also the most professional looking garment I’ve ever made!
The pattern is by Tilly & the Buttons and it’s called Coco. The digital version costs £7.50, which is about $12.50. On a side note, this is why my British friends love coming here to shop!
Anyway, I wasn’t that interested in making this shirt when the pattern first came out especially since it appeared to be £12.50, but that was for the printed pattern. Soon after getting another Boden catalog, I realized I needed a Breton top, so I changed my mind and bought it.
My Polka Dot Coco
I did a no-dart FBA and curved out the front side seams in the bust area to accommodate my DDDs. Since I’ve never done a no-dart FBA before, I made a test top using some leftover knit fabric to ensure this fit properly. I was very happy with the fit in the bust area. I also took the sleeves into make them more fitted.
My final garment was made using this fab black and white polka dot jersey I found at Mill End Fabrics. Since I was sure about the fit, I did the entire thing on my serger except for finishing the hems and neckline. I sewed those on my sewing machine using a double needle for a professional looking finish.
Overall I really like this pattern and I can see using it as a base pattern for my own variations. However I had a couple of problems with it. First and foremost is that the amount of fabric required is specified inaccurately in the Supplies section of the pattern. It says you need 2 1⁄4 yards x 60in wide, but this is the amount you need to make a dress. You have to go to the layout page to see the amount needed just for a top (1 3/4 yds). And I think that is still inaccurate since I was able to make my larger sized top and still have over a yard leftover. I think the pattern should at least specify in the supplies section where you need to look for proper fabric amounts.
My second issue is that the instructions tell you to do a lot of your hem and neckline finishes using zig zag stitch. Nothing screams homemade to me like zig zag. If you make this top I would definitely recommend using a double needle as it provides a great looking finishing seam that also stretches. I wore this top today and and no one in my craft group had any idea it was homemade. That’s sounds like success to me!
The good news is about my extra polka dot fabric is I can pair it up with some to-be-purchased striped fabric and make one of these Boden Breton tops I love!
I kept getting the stellastarr* song My Coco stuck in my head while making this top. Here it is for you to enjoy, too.