Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Paco's Draped Top

 As the two half-circle skirts from Paco were cut on the bias I had the edges of the fabric remaining - not enough of one colour to make a complete top but if I combined them.............?

Paco had sent a FREE pattern for a draped top to his customers who bought another pattern from his collection and I believe this offer is still on - click here. The top has a pointed join on the front; I had more navy jersey than denim so I cut the bottom piece from the small bit of denim left and the top drape and back from the navy. Here is the prototype pinned on Doris so that I could check the effect. I did think at this stage that it looked like I was using up scraps (which I was) but carried on thinking if it was no good in the end I could use it as a toile (muslin) for the next version.

Paco Peralta Blusa

I didn't put the zip in the centre back seam as I was using such stretchy jersey (thank goodness), so I did the easy bit first and sewed up the centre back and pressed the seam open. I also didn't finish the seams:
1. I couldn't be bothered (honesty)
2. If it was to be a toile = what's the point?
3. It won't fray anyway.

I did however stay stitch around the neck, arm scythes, points, down & up and anywhere else I thought the fabric would stretch while sewing.

Then came the hard bit - the centre point at the front. It looks simple this top doesn't it?

All the advice states -stitch from the edge of the garment to the point, keeping the needle in the fabric pivot and continue stitching on the other side.

I read about 3 million blogs, Vogue Sewing book and a couple of Threads magazines to help me with this bit. But the only articles I could find were on inserting godets and gussets in underarms. While this did help somewhat, the two front pieces for this top were sewn at least twice and still looked crap. It looked so bad I couldn't bring myself to photograph it. I walked away and thought long and hard - I think the stretch jersey may have been to blame - yeah yeah, not my sewing skills LOL.

I came up with the following technique. I must stress that this is not the correct or accepted method to do this kind of join but it is my version and in this case, it worked for me. I tackled the difficult bit first - start at the point! The straight seams are easy.

Two squares of fusible interfacing were cut and ironed in place over the point and the V. I marked up the seam allowance 1.5cm (5/8") and also drew in a horizontal line indicating the 'point'.

Then I stitched, using a small stitch (1mm) to hold the interfacing in place ('cause I'm useless with this stuff).  If you are following this technique for real - take a deep breath and with a steady hand - cut from the edge of the V and point really, really close to the holding stitching, but don't cut through it. There, it's done - not too bad was it?

Now, what we have are two pieces of fabric that act just like regular seams. Pin the two pattern pieces together, making sure your pin is placed on both marked lines of the interfacing. Put the whole thing in your machine and sew only where the interfacing is - ie the point. 

As you can see in the photo below, the V shaped piece bunches up - this is the tricky part. Sew to the marked horizontal lines, lift the foot, keeping the needle in the fabric, swing all that loose fabric out of the way (don't worry if it takes you a few moments to sort out) and hand turn 1 or 2 stitches. Now reorient the fabric so that you are ready to sew along the other marked line and off you go - to the edge of the interfacing. 

Do not backstitch any of this in case you need to rip out and try again.

Below is the finished join, with the remaining seams open. Clip any bulk away and press gently.

Now put the top back in the machine and start sewing from the interface where you finished the last row of stitching. Now you can backstitch to your heart's content, knowing the point is perfect. The backstitching here will hold the first lot of stitching in place too.

Stitch out to the side seam. Turn and sew the other side. And voila! a perfect join.

By now I was thinking this top might just be alright, but the jersey is really quite thin and I'd probably need to wear a corset underneath. I did my usual and decided to line it.

 I had just enough navy left to cut another back but at the front, I left off the drape and made a scoop neck line instead. I pinned the front to Doris and measured between the shoulders and tried to cut the front lining to fit. Don't look too closely - it's really scrappy, but this edge will be inside the top and never seen. I will sew it to the drape.

I sewed the lining back to the back at the neck edge and arm scythes, leaving shoulders and sides free. I sewed the front lining to the front at the drape edge and and arm scythes, leaving shoulders and sides free. Clipped and pressed the curved edges, turned the right way out and pressed again. This method also eliminated the bias edging at the arm scythes - which I'm also not very good at.

To attach the lining, turn both the lining and the garment inside out and pin right sides together along the whole length of the side seams, making sure the bottom of the arm scythe lines up. Sew and trim.

Do the same on the other side.

Press and turn the whole garment right way round.

The shoulder seams need to sewn together and finished neatly as they may be seen upon wearing this top. I don't do sleeveless, I'll always be wearing a cardigan or something, so I just trimmed close to the seam and zig-zagged as I don't have a serger (overlocker). I'm sure there must be a method to do this as part of the construction but after figuring out the join at the point and the lining - my brain hurt.

I'm letting the top hang on Doris for a day before hemming as the top drape is cut on the bias and it might just effect the hemline. But here's the (nearly) finished draped top.

I'm actually quite pleased with the finished result and the lining gives it that little bit of additional support. My version isn't quite like Paco's image as I think he used a much heavier fabric and mine is really very drapey, but it does resemble the original.

 Now I have two skirts and one top that coordinates with both. If son can be bothered I might get some photos tomorrow.

Thanks for reading. Ruth


  1. Thanks for forging aheaf with this challenge. This pattern is on its way to me right now and I'm sure I would have been clueless as I generally need instructions for everything I sew. I did find some instructions in Claire Schaeffer's couture sewing book and it looks doable. You did a good job.

  2. Firstly, the top is just gorgeous! It really is. And secondly, am bookmarking this tutorial for future reference - it may not be the "official method" but that centre point is spot on!

  3. Glad to be of help. I hope it works out for you.

  4. Gorgeous top and love the colour. I'm bookmarking your post as I'm sure I'll need to reference back regarding V point. Thank you :)

  5. Cool for the technique tips! I also struggled and searched... I will try it your way next time