Monday, March 2, 2015

Travel Wardrobe Tops

To create my travel wardrobe I had 2 colorful skirts and had several color options for tops.  I had a few purple knits in my stash and one of them happened to be exactly the right shade.  It's a lightweight drapey jersey, most likely a rayon blend (which is not my favorite).  Since I did not have a huge piece, I needed a pattern that wouldn't need much.  I decided on Jalie 2794: the Sweetheart top.

I cut a size X and made the neckline narrower as I did in my previous versions.  I made the cap sleeve version and added 3/4" to their length.  Here is the finished top:

Next up was New Look 6470, view D:

Many reviews commented about the neckline being very low so I made a muslin using some purple burnout jersey.  Lo and behold, the neckline was very low and I added a little modesty triangle to cover up more skin:

Much better:

For my real version, I used a black cotton lycra from  I cut a 16 for the front and did a narrow upper back adjustment (ie I cut a size 12 between the shoulders) and graded up to a 18 at the hip.

The fit is snug and flattering.  I normally don't wear black near my face, but this top nips in my waist in such a fantastic way, this top will be worn quite a bit!

Next up is something I won't be wearing much:  Jalie 3245 Racerback Tank:

There's nothing wrong with the pattern, I just didn't like how it looked on me.  I altered the back to be less 'racerback' to hopefully cover my bra straps.  I didn't alter it enough, I'm sorry to say, and my straps are peeking out on both the front and the back.  What is glaring to me in these photos is that my arms look flabby and my shoulders look narrow.  Thumbs down.  :(

In the future, I will avoid the tank pattern and give the raglan sleeve version a try instead.  I am not including this top in my Travel Wardrobe 6 pack since I have no desire to wear it out in public.  It will find a new home in the pajama drawer.

The next tee is also not finding its way into my Travel Wardrobe simply because it doesn't coordinate with both skirts.  This is McCall's 5890 View C, the princess seamed tee.

My pattern started at size 16 so I needed to grade it down.  I made a quick muslin and was pleasantly surprised how nice it was.  I made the back quite a bit narrower, which is a normal adjustment for me, and added a CB seam to conserve fabric.  The fabric was a Leaf Green active-wear knit from Fabric Mart, leftover from my Jalie 2566 cardigan and the green just so happened to match the green in my refashioned Target skirt!

I am very happy with this pattern and love that I was able to squeeze it out of small pieces of fabric.  :)

Last up is a chiffon cardigan made from McCall's 6559, view B:

I was straightening up my fabric closet and discovered a bright pink chiffon saree I had purchased in India.  The color perfectly matched the bright pink in the striped ITY skirt I had just made!

Making a cardigan from the chiffon saree would give me more variations in my Travel Wardrobe, so I popped a brand new size 9 needle in my machine and off I went.  I knew that chiffon was not easy to sew, so I lowered my sewing standards so as not to drive myself nuts.  I knew that my sleeve caps would have visible gathers and I was ok with that.  I cut the pattern pieces on the cross-grain so I could use the selvage at the hem.  I added 2" of width across the bicep.  I needed about an inch of extra room and I knew that any stress would split the fabric so I made it 2" wider.

I used french seams on the shoulders, side seams, & underarms, and a narrow serged seam on the armholes.  To finish the front edges, I used a rolled hem foot and a straight stitch.  My first pass resulted in a slightly wavy seam, so I rolled it again!  The resulting double rolled hem (if that is a thing) was much straighter and firmer than the original.  The bottom hem was folded twice and stitched with a straight stitch.  The selvage was very sturdy and made this very easy.

On to the finished photos: (the color is a little odd in these photos, but it really does match!)

In hindsight, I should have made the shorter cardigan (View A) since I am short waisted.  I am wearing this up at my waistline rather than long.  I found it to look rather frumpy.  See:

Chiffon shouldn't add visual pounds.  For the purposes of the Travel Wardrobe contest, I will keep this cardigan in my 6 pack, but I may shorten it for future wear.

Here is a collage of my Travel wardrobe:

There you have it!


  1. That black top is beautiful, and the neckline is low enough that it keeps the black from being too near your face. Your plan is great, and I'm really impressed with your sewing skills too!
    warmest regards,

  2. I love your wardrobe. You've got some great combos there. We must have similar tastes cos I have many of the same patterns. :)

  3. Great wardrobe. Some lovely items and colours there. I recently made the McCall's 5890 dress version and love that too.

  4. This is a beautifully coordinated travel wardrobe. I particularly love the black top and the striped maxi skirt. Love all the colours.

  5. Great looking wardrobe and really smart to pick two very different prints in similar colours to build it from.

  6. That is a great wardrobe of tops. Love the stripped fabric - where did you get it if you don't mind???

  7. Super pretty wardrobe! Your colors are just wonderful.

  8. Great job on the travel wardrobe! I love your New look tank - it is coming up on my list of things to make. The first Jalie looks great too! I also had issues with the Jalie 3245 tank. Something just wasn't right with it and I couldn't put my finger on it. Mine didn't even make it to the pj drawer ;-) Good luck in the contest!


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