Wednesday, November 8, 2017

FPC Square Neck Top

When I was in London finishing up my dissertation this summer, I vowed to myself that I would not (counter to my instincts) use sewing as a stress reliever for one reason only: suitcases. I had two suitcases and my entire life in London had to fit into them. Whatever didn't fit, didn't come home. I didn't want to sew anything and end up debating whether I kept it or some other precious item in my wardrobe. As part of my efforts to embrace the slow fashion movement, I don't treat any of my clothing as disposable and I didn't want to start now.

But those instincts are wily ladies, and I found myself pining away after patterns and fabrics that other sewing bloggers were posting online, so much that I was way distracted from my dissertation work schedule. My vow had to bend so it didn't break! After spending days carefully curating my virtual cart, the awesome ladies at Hart's Fabric worked with me so that I could place an order to be picked up by my moms. First thing when I got back home to California, I was busting out that sewing machine and leaning into that limbo period between school and job.

One of the patterns that had me lusting intercontinentally for my machine was Friday Pattern Company's Square Neck Top. It's a beautifully modern top with just a bit of crop, perfect for wearing with high waisted jeans and looking like a sexy giraffe (meaning: legs that go on forever).

Knowing this was waiting on my sewing table for my arrival nearly killed me!
The pattern is originally drafted for knit fabrics, but I fell in love with this Cotton and Steel banana print cotton lawn and thought the combo of modern, chic pattern and fun, funky fabric would be a great "grown up but not quite" make.

The awesome team over at Friday Pattern Company published a pattern hack to make this pattern suitable for wovens, so my first day back in CA (after a long, jet-lagged fueled sleep) I decided to dig right in.

I got a cotton fabric of similar weight and drape from Joann's in order to make a wearable muslin to test the pattern out, and I'm glad I did! I originally made a Medium thinking I wanted to make sure I had a good amount of ease across the bust since this pattern definitely has a boxier fit and would look extra weird if it was tight across the chest, and I usually waffle between S/M. (Note: my bust measurement is 35.5", landing me right in the no-man's land between S/M for this pattern, as per most patterns) That, plus the pattern hack's added inch in the armpit, made this first attempt way too big. With a dolman style top, I should've known to size down!

I wish I had thought to take a photo before taking it in an inch all around, but my eyes were too on the prize: a cute, unique top to wear out to see my friends from home for the first time since my return. I definitely got compliments on it—the fit was better and the fabric rocks—but I found that the perfect storm of not-the-most-drapey woven fabric + slightly off sizing + interfaced facing made the neckline noticeably gape.

Attempt #1 ft. my moms' impressive book collection. Good from the front, weird from the side

In order to save the wearable muslin, I unstitched the facing tack and a couple inches at the hem and took in about half an inch straight down the middle (so, a seam allowance of 1/4"). With a geometric-ish pattern like this, I think it maintains the modern, structured vibe without compromising on fit and wearability.

With this in mind, I measured the neckline from corner to corner to compare against the pattern and make sure that my second try was right the first time around.

And it was!

This pattern is definitely beginner friendly. I tend to be on the slow side, and this sews up in about an hour and a half for me. I think it would be a great, no pressure intro to darts since the structure is not super fitted. Also, I would recommend doing the stay stitching before sewing up the shoulder seams—I've never before had a pattern have you do the stay stitching after the front and back pieces were attached and found it much more hassley.

One thing I really wish this pattern had was info on ease measurements for the final product, especially since it's a looser, but not slouchy shape. That being said, I love this pattern and know I will make a bunch in all sorts of fabrics. I'm excited to try it out in a knit as intended!


  1. I have been wanting to try this pattern with woven fabric forever, but too chicken to take the first step. Thanks for breaking the ground and giving me some good tips for getting started.

    1. The banana shirt has been a fan favorite for a couple years now. I've made a couple other iterations of this pattern and I think a good rule of thumb is you want the wide part of the neckline narrower than where your bra straps land. Best of luck! Please let me know how it goes :)


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