Hello lovelies! How is the week before Christmas treating you all? It's reasonably well controlled chaos at Chez Tragic - I've only committed to making a few easy gifts, but I had myself a little freakout when I realised that I had to get this post up in the next week and a half! I was lucky enough to win a copy of So Zo's Dolores Batwing pattern a few months ago, and the only request Zoe had for the winners was to have the review up before the end of the year....
I actually made these up at least a month ago, but was dragging my heels on the photos. I had a small piece of bamboo knit in my stash, and thought it would be a perfect match. I've never sewn with bamboo before, and there's mixed opinions on the interwebs about it. Mine was a remnant picked up from Clegg's at their post Christmas remnant sale, and there was just enough. It feels amazing - silky and lush, almost as nice as a silk jersey. It was ok to sew but with creases terribly, is a bitch to iron and shows up iron marks. I coped until I had to hem it. I used my fusible hem tape on the hemline to reduce the channelling of the twin needle but they most certainly did not like each other. The hem is so awful I actually can't bear to photograph it, and would only wear this top tucked in as a result. Stinking bamboo.
Anyway, to the pattern!
It's a PDF, with a nice economical layout. The front and back pieces are identical. There are 2 sleeve length options, and 3 length options (top, tunic, dress). I'm pretty sure I traced off a straight size 10, and I neglected to twig that the hips are fitted with negative ease, wiggle dress style, so even if my hem wasn't a crappy mess I'd probably be wearing this tucked in anyway as the bamboo hides no secrets when it comes to lumps and bumps.
Being summer I chose to make the short sleeved top version. I really can't remember why, but for some reason I decided to double the length of the arm band pieces. Zoe gives 2 options for getting the sleeves to fit the armbands - gather or randomly pleat. My gathering (unsurprisingly as I suck at it) looked just awful, and my OCDness wouldn't allow random pleats, so I made 4 reasonably symmetrical pleats in the top of each sleeve. I quite like the look, and with the drape of the bamboo I think is rather stylish.
A couple of things that I did that weren't in the pattern instructions - I stabilised the shoulder seams with some ribbon - this is something I always do with every knit top (usually I use clear elastic but I had none on hand). I also found that the neckline seam stood up on each shoulder so I sewed a little triangle seam which flattened it out. I first read about doing this on a boatneck in the Tessuti Mandy top instructions, and it does give a nice finish. Zoe recommends attaching the neck binding to each piece individually, then sewing the shoulder seams, and I think this is the best way to get a good finish on such an exaggerated boat neck - it's just too hard to try to attach it in the round. I didn't stitch down the seam allowance on the first version. I do think the front neckline is a little high on me - the top has a tendency to slide back on my shoulders (maybe the bamboo, maybe I need a forward shoulder adjustment) which makes it sit even higher at times so for version 2 I decided to lower the front neckline.
My rather Where's Wally-esque version 2 is made in a cheap and thin striped rayon knit from Darn Cheap. Rather than bother to alter the pattern pieces I just cut out the front piece, then trimmed the neckline a little lower at the front, tapering to nothing at the shoulders, and cut a slightly longer binding piece to fit it. I didn't need to make the neckline seam adjustment on this one (maybe due to the less slippery fabric?) and I also made the armband the regular size and gathered it rather than pleating (using shirring elastic).
It's a cute top - I think the batwing shape is much more exaggerated in the long sleeved versions that I've seen (check out my favourite, Sara's amazing dress here) and I look forward to making a long sleeve version for next autumn. I think I'll probably size up a bit around the ab too so it's not quite so snug.
Thanks Zoe for the freebie! :)
And just quickly - the cat has spoken, and chosen Danielle as the winner of 4185, and Jen L as the winner of 6022 from my last post. I've got your details already Danielle, but Jen let me know your email address and I'll be in touch!
Have a super holiday season everyone! xx