Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Stylish stretchy work shirts from Vogue 1389

Since my first success with a Donna Karan pattern last year, I wanted to sew more of her styles. They resonate with my personal aesthetic – I think the designs are streamlined, appropriate for many ages and shapes, and fit in seamlessly (ha!) with a variety of RTW and me-made items. I also think they are somewhat sophisticated (my aspirations!), without being staid or boring.

I sewed the DK top from Vogue 1282 earlier this year. Frankly, I have to agree with the general consensus of reviews that something is horribly wrong with this design. The photos were indecent! I am definitely not a prude (I sometimes lean towards the ‘b00bs hanging out’ style of evening wear), but even after raising the centre front by five centimetres it was just embarrassing.

There was something very strange happening at the back neckline too, where I took in a wedge about 15cm long and 10cm wide in order to have the neckline sit anywhere near my neck. Truly bizarre, and the pattern itself was not exciting enough for me to persist with muslins and adjustments.

Anyway, this is a very long winded way of getting to my point. Recently I made the knit top from Vogue 1389, as I wear a lot of t-shirt style tops to work. The selection at Glassons/Kmart/The Warehouse are made from very flimsy cotton, with a tendency to fade and wear out quickly. As these tops are such a staple for me, I want to wear them in fabrics that I enjoy.

'Scuse the grotty bathroom mirror photos. It's dark before I get home from work, and this room has the best light.
I really like the proportions of this design – from the depth of the neckline, to the sleeve/neck bands, to the length of the sleeves. The only downside to the style is that I'm required to wear sleeves down to my wrists for work. I'll have to wear a long-sleeved hi-vis over the top when I'm outside. I think it would ruin the style lines to lengthen these sleeves.

Side seams run towards the back. Love the shape this implies, and love that it takes bulk away from my sides!
It is a very close-fitting design, and the side seams that sweep away to the back are a nice touch. It seems true to size. I have some drag lines due to my full bust, but I don’t find them too objectionable.

Yeah, I accidentally sewed the neck binding a bit skew-wiff. Whoops.
My first iteration of this top was constructed on my sewing machine with a stretch stitch, and the seam allowances were finished on my overlocker. It’s a very sturdy construction method. As I used stretch velvet, there was fluff EVERYWHERE… but I love the finished look and feel. You'd be amazed how many random people have patted me - seems to be a hazard of wearing velvet. It’s perfect for winter though. I used a narrow zigzag for the hem, as I felt a twin needle would look odd with the pile. The only problem is that the 4 way stretch means that this top rides up somewhat.

I followed the instructions exactly, and there was no problem with them at all. It’s not a complicated style. The only note is that the sleeve bands are very tight, and you may have some difficulty sewing them even with a free-arm machine. Check the stretch of your fabric before you sew the sleeve seams. I *just* made it work. If it doesn't work for you, you may need to forgo the clean finish and attach the bands first while the sleeves are flat.

My second iteration was constructed entirely on the overlocker (except for the sleeve bands and twin-needle hem). I used a good quality ponti knit from Tessuti in Melbourne. This worked well, and looks more polished than thinner cotton knit.

A bit wrinkled from being in my drawer. But you can see how far back the side seams sweep.
This top is so fast and simple to make, and can be made in such a variety of knits that I feel it will be a wardrobe staple for me. I don’t have anywhere to wear the jacket or skirt, but this pattern was worth it for the one part that I intend to sew!


  1. It looks great! At first glance, it seems quite simple, but the lovely little details become more apparent upon closer observation. The colour is stunning, too.

    1. Thanks Katie! I think the details are what you pay for with Vogue designer patterns - it really is the little things that make them special.

  2. Good to see you back in action on here! You've been missed :(
    I'm loving this make... it looks so bloody comfy. And the kind of thing you just want to run your hands over, such lovely texture. It's incredibly flattering on you - you're looking great!

    1. Naw, it's nice to be missed! Honestly, I've lost around 12kg this year and I didn't want to waste my efforts sewing for a moving target.

      This top is in high rotation in my work wardrobe... cosy and stylish is a good combination. Not to mention it can be thrown in the washing machine and needs no ironing!


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