Nina Lee Kew top pattern review

If you’ve been following me a while you’ll know I finally hopped on the Kew bandwagon by making a skirt version of the Nina Lee Kew dress. You can find my blog post about that skirt here. I have since made the top part of the dress as a crop top twice and love it.

My first version was a straight size 10 which I’m honestly not sure why I cut it out. I’d started it well over a year ago, tried it on and sulked when it didn’t fit so threw it in the naughty pile. Just trust me when I say if you’re between sizes do not size down with this pattern.

After almost a year I tried again as I didn’t want to waste the fabric which was a beautiful viscose twill from Sew Me Sunshine and lined with some leftover gingham viscose from Rainbow Fabrics Kilburn.

I took all the seams out that I could and lowered the armhole so I could get it on. The result wasn’t perfect, but I can at least wear it. I also added a waist band as I felt it was a bit too short, particularly if I wanted to wear it with jeans.

You may be able to tell from the photos see from the photos the top does up but it is stretched across the bust and gapping underneath it. It is also quite snug around the waist as my ribcage is the same size as my waist whereas most patterns in my size presume the ribcage is bigger. It is quite long in the back and the straps are too far out. None of these are a massive deal but they are enough to warrant adjusting the pattern.

My second version is in this gorgeous mustard cotton broderie from The New Craft House. I only managed to snag 1/2 a metre of this so it was destined to be a Kew top. I lined it in a lightweight cotton. The lining was literally just the same pattern piece sewn together around the top and side edges, then the raw edges are hidden in the waistband.

For this version I made the following adjustments using the By Hand London bodice alteration ebook for guidance:

  • 1.5cm full bust adjustment
  • 1cm narrow neck adjustment
  • 1cm armhole lowering adjustment

I am so pleased with this top and have worn it lots since. I only made changes to the front bodice piece as I forgot that it was too long in the back when I was doing it but that’s ok as I can take do a sway back adjustment next time. I’d also add 0.5cm more in the fba as it is still a small bit snug, take down the armsyce 0.5cm more, and bring the straps in across the back.

My two tops both technically fit, but they fit very differently. I do recommend using cotton or another sturdy fabric for this top as I find it holds it shape so much better. I think this is the perfect example of why it is important to choose the right fabric and the difference a good toile makes to a fitted pattern.

I can definitely see this being a pattern I keep tweaking until it is perfect for me. And the hacking potential is amazing! It’s only a matter of time before I add a big puffy sleeve on right?

Have you made the Nina Lee Kew? I’d love to read your thoughts on it if you have a blog post so leave the links below!

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