Some long time readers may be a little surprised at seeing me sew an indie pattern given I've barely disguised my disdain for the majority of indie patterns in the past. But this project was a long term UFO, and I didn't even buy this pattern in the first place so I can reassure you that I am not about to become an indie pattern fan girl anytime soon.
Back in 2013, a lovely reader (who in one of those isn't it a small world kind of coincidences lives close to where I grew up) sent me two Sewaholic patterns that she no longer wanted (hi Reona! thanks again!). I had plans to make the Cordova jacket immediately, but couldn't find a separating zip in a colour to match my chosen fabric and then I used that fabric for something else so as result I still haven't made that pattern.
But I thought I could make the Pendrell top pretty quickly - it's a simple enough pattern and a bajillion other sewers have made it and praised it highly. But I did not like it at all - I found the pattern as I originally made it quite frumpy, shapeless and frankly rather ridiculous with those sleeve caps:
Admittedly, a bright yellow colour probably didn't help but this fabric is lovely - a lightweight wool that drapes wonderfully and for some reason I'm really drawn to yellow. This fabric actually came from a maternity top I made back in 2008 that I couldn't bear to get rid of so I decided to refashion it into this top (hence the uneven hem in the photo above).
I really should have known better about those sleeves before I started making this pattern - I have narrow shoulders and prefer a neat and close fitting garment, anything too wide or fussy around the shoulders makes me feel like I'm wearing something too big. So I did what I normally do: unpicked half the seams, got annoyed and stuffed it into my UFO box to marinate until the time was right.
So the first fix was to those ridiculous puffy sleeves. I thought the top looked too plain without a sleeve, so I cut the original sleeves in half horizontally, keeping just two pleats. This way I kept a pleated cap sleeve but without the excess volume.
The second fix was to get a closer fit. I know everyone else seems to like their versions, but I seriously do not understand why a pattern would be designed with princess seams front and back but instead of using those seams to achieve a close fit it instead needs to be loose because there is no opening in it. It may as well as been a single piece for the front and back with a few bust darts instead. Rant over - I know I prefer a closer fit than some other people do.
So I cut the top open along the centre back and inserted an invisible zip. I had a perfectly colour matched zip in my stash but it was a bit too short, so I left a sort of keyhole opening at the neckline above the zipper to make it work. I think it looks deliberate and I quite like it actually:
And now that I had an opening in the back, I then took in each of the side seams and princess seams gradually until I got the closer fit that I was after. I didn't make it too tight though because this fabric has no stretch and obviously I still needed to move in it.
So after all that work am I happy with it? Mostly, but it's not my favourite. I'm not a fan of using bias bindings at the neckline, I think a facing is a neater finish. I also have lots of other closely fitting shell tops that I wear repeatedly but I do like the yellow with black and white and grey outfits so it will definitely get worn. And that's another UFO out of the box and into my wardrobe!