When I was on a mission to find a cami top pattern with a bust dart that I liked I stumbled across the Sew Over It Alderley top. Considering Sew Over It are one of the biggest UK pattern companies, I was surprised to see that it only had 12 uses of the hashtag on instagram. I’ll admit, this made me a bit dubious to buy it as it does make you wonder why no one has made it but I decided to anyway as I trust Sew Over It’s ability to make a good pattern.
Well, I’m happy to report that I have absolutely no idea why barely anyone has posted this top on instagram as I am 100% into this pattern. I can only presume it is because there are quite a few cami patterns out there but the bias bound neckline on this one sets it apart from the others. I love it!
I’d first planned this in some blue leopard print viscose from Sew Me Sunshine but I was convinced I could get it out of 0.5m of 140cm wide fabric when it recommends 1.1m. Spoiler alert: you can’t. Instead I went for this terracota sandwashed satin also from Sew Me Sunshine which I had 1m of. This fabric is only £6 per metre which is an absolute bargain!
Now the difficulty with getting this pattern out of less than 1m is the bias binding is a continuous strip around the neckline and straps. However, once I’d cut out the binding I realised I had just enough left to squeeze out a dress. For reference, I made a size 10. I usually make a 12 in Sew Over It patterns but there is quite a lot of ease in this one so it was the right choice to make.
I laid my skirt block pattern (this is one I drafted to my measurements) over the cami as shown in the photo. You’ll notice that I placed it 1cm in from the fold line, this was because the block I was using is fitted and I wanted it to have ease so the bias cut satin draped nicely. This skirt block has darts in it but you can ignore those as the top is designed to skim over the body instead of being fitted.
If you don’t want a slit in the dress you can just make up the dress as per the top instructions. But if you do want a lil side slit, read on.
How to do a side slit with a french seam
This dress is french seamed so it’s a small bit more complicated than a standard seam but it is possible and looks very neat.
- Sew your front and back pieces wrong sides together with seam allowance of 0.5 (for a pattern with 1.5cm seam allowance total). When you get to where you want the slit, do a diagonal line to join the full seam allowance and fasten off. Snip the fabric parallel to the diagonal stitch line 0.5cm away.
2. Turn your fabric so right sides are together and press the seams. Finish the french seam by stitching with a seam allowance of 1cm to the diagonal line of stitching and fasten off.
3. Press the excess fabric above the slit down towards the slit. Double fold and press the slit open with a 1.5cm seam allowance.
4. Stitch up one side of the slit with a 0.5cm seam allowance, across the top of the slit, and down the other side.
Now you can finish the hem as per the instructions. I also added three gold lips buttons from Bamboo Vera above each slit which I think really elevates the dress into something that looks quite high end.
The pattern was well explained and I didn’t have any fit issues but if you are to make it I do have a few recommendations
- Do not skip the staystitching! It may be boring but it is absolutely necessary if you don’t want to end up with a misshapen sack.
- If you are between sizes you can size down as there is a fair bit of ease.
- The bust dart are quite low, and they are even lower on the photos of Lisa so I think that is a design feature. I don’t mind them sitting like this but you may want to raise the dart of you like it to be on the bust.
- I did the 0.5cm followed by 1cm french seam that the pattern suggested but if you want to reduce bulk you could do 0.7cm, trim them down to about 0.3cm, and then turn it and do 0.7cm again.
I do hope more people make this pattern as it deserves a lot more love than it currently gets. I love this dress and already have another hack planned for a dress with a low back and a curved hem. At some point I’m sure I’ll do the standard cami version too.