Camden Kids Wannabe Top

OK, so I did go back & tweaked my Dartless Fitted Knit Top Block a bit more. But after the fitting muslin had served its purpose, I decided I deserved some fun. So I let my creative side loose when turning the fitting muslin into a wearable muslin. And here’s the result.

Style Shots & Mug Shots


WORN WITH: 1&4 Self-drafted straight skirt; 2&3 Self-drafted pencil skirt; 5-7 TopShop Martha jeans; 10-11 Self-drafted pleated dirndl skirt;

Fabric & Notions Used

The design this time took its cue from the fabric. So let’s talk about fabric first.

  • 95% polyester 5% lycra black micro semi-wet-look knit from Tissu Fabrics with 50% horizontal + 20% vertical stretch. As this was first and foremost a fitting muslin, I shopped my stash for a fabric that I wouldn’t miss if I messed up. It was relatively cheap (the price seem to have gone up a bit now). And when it arrived it looked cheap too. Maybe this sort of vinyl / pvc looking fake leather will always look cheap. Anyway I was on the fence and stumped as to what to make with it. So fitting muslin seemed like a good way to use it up. The wrong side looks velvety matt and good enough to use as the right side too. It wasn’t too difficult to sew. But like many jerseys it curls at the edges, which I tame with spray starch.
  • Notions: Vilene Bias Tape.
  • Tools: Walking foot, spray starch

The Design & Pattern

Block Used:

Dartless Fitted Knit Top Block (Bodice & Sleeve)

So the fitting tweaks I made were

  • Made the shoulder slope steeper by adding teeny bit more height to the shoulder seam at the neck side on both Front & Back.
  • Shifted the side seam above the bust towards the front to make matching seam intersection at underarm easier for my wonky arms!
  • Re-drafted the sleeve from scratch just in case my first draft was not done correctly. But nope, my pattern still looks a bit odd. To avoid uncomfortably twisted sleeves, I still had to slant the sleeve below the bicep towards the front. The sleeve cap does look a bit more ‘normal’ in this second attempt though.

Design Changes Made

  • I was originally going to make this into a simple replacement for a RTW top I wore to death. That top had a fitted silhouette with envelope neckline.
  • I was a bit nervous about looking too S&M, so decided to go with a skiming silhouette (with a tiny bit of ease rather than going into skin-tight negative ease territory) and ‘color block’ with the matt side for a bit of artsy fartsy black-on-black Constructivist action.
  • To take the dominatrix vibe down another notch I added the puff over-sleeves inspired by an early 90’s Pam Hogg design from my clipping stash. The pattern for this was drafted using the top of my new Fitted Knit Top Sleeve Block and puff sleeve instruction from Designing Apparel Through The Flat Pattern. To keep sewing simple, the puff sleeves’ sleeve seams are sewn into the main sleeves’ sleeve seams – ie treating the two layers as one.
  • For the hem I shortened to a casual just below high hip length with side seam vents. And to reinforce the ‘color blocking’ layered-look sleeves as an intentional design, I added a matt band to the hem and made it look like an underlayer rather than just a hem border. My band is shaped – I was worried a straight band might not hang right. So I also had to cut a facing for the hem band.
  • One design element that I haven’t done yet which I might still do is to add a painted / transfer print design to the back. Again this would hopefully be matt black on black. I’m thinking a bull skull might go well with the slightly Camden punkish vibe of this top. I haven’t quite figure out how to do it yet.

Construction Notes

Again, in case I want to sew something similar again I’m jotting down here what I did. Feel free to try it yourself. But this isn’t intended as a properly written sewing instruction. The usual pressing, grading, neat seam finishing along the way applies if you want to try it yourself.

  • Stablize the F&B necklines. Sew on/overlock the folded neckline bands & topstitch SA down towards the bodice. Overlap F&B at armscye shoulder area and baste.
  • Gather puff over-sleeve at armscye and hem (from notch to notch at armscye, and from 2″ in from sleeve seam at hem). Sew on/overlock folded puff over-sleeve hem band & topstitch SA up towards the puff over-sleeve in the ungathered areas.
  • Baste and sew/overlock the armscye, sandwiching the puff sleeves between the bodice and sleeves, right sides of both sleeve layers towards right side of bodice.
  • Overlock the sleeve hems. Sew/overlock the sleeve seams – side seams, catching both the sleeves and puff over-sleeve in the sleeve seam at the bicep area and leaving the side seam vents open. Turn and twin needle stitch the sleeve hems.
  • Overlock the hem band side vents seam allowance top and side edges and the hem band facing top edge. Sew the hem band to bodice hem right sides together with bodice hem side vents seam allowances folded to the wrong side. Sew the hem band and facing bottom edges right sides together. (I metered my corners at the side vents, but I’m not sure it’s really necessary. The resulting corners actually look a bit lumpy in this uninterfaced stretch fabric.) Turn band inside out. Align the bodice and hem band side vent tops and press a fold to the bodice hem (in the same way as jacket lining hem). Baste, then top-stitch bodice hem and side vents in place, stitching through the hem band and facing. I used single needle for the side vent top-stitching and twin needle for the bodice hem.

The Verdict

Yeah I’m feeling a bit smug. For something I was willing to send to the recycling center if it turned out poorly, this ended up being a fun top with attitude. Afterward I discovered that Burda 2014-11-113 is a somewhat similar design…

…But I still like mine better. If you’re going to do puff sleeve you might as well do it with conviction.

Now all I need are some spiky studs, safety pins, ripped black jeans & Dr Martens and I’d fit right in with the kids in Camden. Or alternatively maybe a crinoline skirt and laced up boots for a spot of Steampunkish cos-play?

3 comments on “Camden Kids Wannabe Top

  1. ha ha … loved the do it with conviction part: I wholeheartedly subscibe… The styling and the mugshots are so much fun to see and I imagine to make 🙂

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