It would be too bombastic to say I’ve gotten into drafting, but I have had fun experimenting with pattern manipulation lately. And when looking at the Peppermint pocket skirt pattern page, I got interested in the top that model wears. My foggy memories of their styling showed the skirt paired with the Peppermint wrap top, but that’s incorrect; actually, it’s this RTW wrap top, and it’s lovely and hemp-y and the RTW website also sells womb balm, which I saw a sale banner for but did not interrogate further (how do you get the balm onto the womb though?!).
Anyway, I considered following this clever how-to for a cropped wrap top. Actually, I did follow it – I took my measurements and drew out the traditional Sarah Kirsten Morning Glory top and this variation in Illustrator, but I changed my mind before printing. I might want to make one of those someday soon, but this time around I wanted sleeves.
So I ended up at this youTube tutorial. I’m not here to dunk on free videos, but it’s pretty incomplete. For some reason I stopped looking after that though (satisficer!) and just made guesses about the parts she elides over – most importantly, I completely winged the shape of the armscyce. I ended up back at Sarah Kirsten after that and followed her sleeve drafting tutorial, which is terrific, by the way! I still lacked faith in my armscye curve, though, probably because I had drawn it based on what looked kinda normal and no actual, you know, data.
So then I downloaded the Peppermint wrap top and grafted on their armsyce (size E) as much as possible onto my smaller piece, added a little more ease to the body of my design because I was nervous that the Peppermint one in my size was so much larger, and shortened the sleeve cap to accommodate my shortened armscye curve. I also shortened the Peppermint sleeve to 6” and straightened the edges to make the sleeve wider. Then I added seam allowances, printed my pattern, and cut out the fabric.
If that’s a confusing sequence of events, it’s because I had no idea what was I doing. But I found this soft, not-too-light bone-colored cotton at Sewfisticated and paid $3.99 for one yard, so I figured I had learned all I could from theoreticals and might as well jump right in. Potential outcomes included:
The probable – this pattern/garment would comprehensively fail, but I’d learn something from it.
The possible – this pattern/garment would be unsuccessful, but in obvious ways that I could adjust the existing pattern to improve.
The improbable – this pattern/garment would work on the first try.
The impossible – two shirts.
Right off the bat, I spotted an error (own goal). When I had lowered the back armscye curve I failed to add that length back into the side seam, so the front was a healthy inch longer than the back, and there was already no long-ness to spare. I cut one more piece, a waistband/cuff-type piece for the back only, to make up for the missing length. This turned out to be a case of failing up. I didn’t have a clear plan for hemming the back because of the darts, and now I didn’t have to figure it out. And as a nice bonus the wrap ties cover the extra seam.
I also read the Peppermint wrap top instructions to see how they handled the side seam with a tie opening. I don’t know if it has an official name, but I’d call it like a self-finishing open seam? You press the seam allowances open, fold under the raw edges, and topstitch the folded edge through all layers. I applied this to both side seams, the sleeve seams (though not the armscye), and the shoulder seams, for practice and because I thought it was pretty!
I used self bias binding on the neck edge.
The ties are long rectangles folded in half hot-dog-style, with the seam rolled to the center of one side. Once again I didn’t have a clear plan to attach these, so I just kind of jammed them under a fold at the front piece edges to contain all the raw edges.
At a first try-on the wrap ties wouldn’t stay on the body of the shirt. They slipped under the back hem and the shirt stuck out instead. “Oh well what the hell” sang McWatt; and I threw on some rouleau loops.
You can tell at this point I expected the probable outcome, educational failure.
Actually, looking at these photos, I was surprised to see this top looks alright! It’s not the easy breezy womb balmy vision I saw above, but it’s fine. Wearable, even. But ultimately it’s not really to my taste. Having learned that, it’s not important to work this out, but it also has one mysterious issue: no matter how tightly I pull on the wrap ties, I can’t convince the fronts to tack to my body. Theories??
I’m trying to get comfortable with the higher rate of missteps that goes with a higher rate of experimentation. Growing pains, I hope!
Pattern cost: NA
Size: 37.75” bust, 32” waist
Supplies: 1 yard of bone cotton,$3.99, Sewfisticated; thread, $2.49, Sewfisticated
Total time: 5.25 hours
Total cost: $6.48
9 thoughts on “Wrap Crop”
I am so impressed with your enthusiasm, drafting skills, and ability to turn ideas into reality. (Also highly enjoy your writing).
Could the front drape issue be related to fabric type?
It would be a totally different look, but adding some elastic to the front bottom edge would bring it in a little.
I am way too old for it to make any difference, but now need to investigate womb balm.
I have a faint suspicion “womb balm” is just $$$ lotion you only use on your middle, but I’m no expert. 😂 A little elastic is a good idea – it would hopefully keep the ties from shifting too, if everything was a little bit tighter.
Sounds like fun! And really at that price for fabric you can’t go too badly wrong. Re the fronts not pulling right in, I think more space over the bust pulled in with a dart might help it conform to the body. But I’ve only made tops like this out of knit fabrics before.
I have questions about womb balm, but am slightly afraid to Google 🙂
Ohh yeah, that makes logical sense. It’s like trying to wrap a funny-shaped present, that excess wrapping needs to go somewhere!
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Bravo, on trying a bit of drafting. If nothing else this is good on the educational front. I actually think your top is quite wearable. I do like how you managed the ties with the rouleau loops, because I find that they never sit right on the body on these wrap tops and always end up under the top. Regarding the front not adhering to the body, I would echo Catherine’s suggestion on the bust dart. I sewed a wrap top using an old New Look pattern (New Look 6252) not so long ago which was dartless. I kinda knew before I started that it really wouldn’t work as it was. I knew I’d probably get some weird gaping nonsense going on, so I redrafted the bodice front entirely with darts and it didn’t turn out too bad.
I hope to finally start getting comfortable with bodice fitting, so I can’t avoid darts any longer! I’m not scared of sewing them, I just find the placement challenging. This is such a low-stakes little top though it might be a good place to try. I’m glad your experiment turned out well! Thanks! 😀
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I picked up a copy go Winfred Aldrich in a charity shop and used that for the drafting; it was reasonably straight-forward to follow even though the book is quite old.
I also think that there is too much fabric at the bottom and a dart may help. For placement of the dart you can pinch it out on the top that you already made while you’re wearing it and use that information to transfer it to your pattern.
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