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Chiffon Top

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Work continues on the Edith Head pattern.

I suppose I will make the turban. I may not find a way to wear it but what is non-commercial sewing if it cannot be enjoyed? I just don’t know when or out of which fabric. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

The fabrics chosen for the top and the jacket had to meet a couple of criteria:

    1. They must be in the stash

    2. The colors must work together

    3. The fabrics must be suitable for warm weather

    4. They must complement the polished look of the satin wool skirt

    5. The raglan sleeved jacket must be made from a semi stiff fabric that will work with more casual separates in the wardrobe


The jacket fabric is a silk/linen with a sheen but the color is really difficult to photograph accurately. I found a chiffon with the color of the skirt in it and have constructed (and now deconstructed) a shell of very white Japanese cotton. This chiffon will also work with a few other “orphan” skirt/jacket fabrics in the stash. So that’s a good thing.

I draped the silk chiffon over the shell and came up with the idea to have a diagonal drape across the bodice. I used the whole width of the chiffon and cut the shoulder, armscye and side seam shaping from one side. Then I moved the fabric all the way over and cut the neckline, shoulder, armscye and side seam shaping on the other side of the fabric, leaving 4 inches extra length in the whole piece so that the diagonal drape could be gathered into the hem.

A diagonal drape was not the smartest solution in terms of the time it will take to make the draped folds behave themselves but I like having added some movement to the design.

While musing over how to command the draped folds into a more distinctive pattern over the front it hit me:

This top is sleeveless. It will never be worn without a jacket over it. I am not going to endanger the public health by the sight of uncovered upper arms. The drape in the top will only be seen through the center opening of the jacket so it doesn’t matter. Some things must be forfeit in the pursuit of a home made wardrobe.

That realization stopped the worry and I shall start putting the top together. Hard pleats will have to wait for a different project.

The top in the original pattern is very tightly fitted but I’m not a good candidate for “tightly fitted” at the moment. Not the wasp waisted creature in this shot of a Charles Creed suit, oh, no, not like that!

Charles Creed Suit

I’d put all the work into fitting and then my weight will change. I am sure I’ll be taking this top in or wishing I could let it out so I finished it at semi-fitted level by removing the darts in the back and narrowing the waist darts in the front.

Happy sewing!


About Mary Beth

I am fascinated by changing patterns and colored threads. I sew garments and am teaching myself to machine knit. Since selling the building that housed my workrooms, The Stitchery, I'm searching for a place to set up the knitting machines again. There must be room here somewhere!

5 responses »

  1. The color of the chiffon is absolutely wonderful. The essence of Spring.

    As for the wasp waist, I don’t think anyone wants to wear the foundation garments that produced that look. That model wasn’t just tiny, she had help!

    • LOL, Susie, I hope it was foundation garments!!! I wonder when the rib-bone removal surgery was first done that allowed folks like Jane Fonda to cinch ‘er up tighter? Never even heard of that until I read that tasty bit about Jane.

      PS: LOVE your new avatar 🙂

  2. Beautiful colors.
    Enjoy sewing your new outfit.

  3. Beautiful colors in the chiffon, and the diagonal drape is a nice touch. Is the cotton shell part of the finished top, or is it for fitting only? I’m just wondering if you will be tacking the folds to it to keep them in place. Also, isn’t chiffon usually on the sheer side? Although if it’s always under a jacket, sheer might not be a problem.

    • Hi Gail:

      Yes, the cotton shell is the underlining for the sheer chiffon. It is the “bones” over which the un-darted chiffon is shaped and the diagonal drape is tacked. I added a yoke facing out of the same cotton to cover the seam allowances through the neckline and armscye.

      If you ever get a chance to add Japanese cotton batiste to your stash you will love it next to your skin (yummy!)


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