Seasonally appropriate? Not in the least!
I’m a summer girl, so sometimes the only thing that gets me through fall and winter is dreaming about when the warm weather will come around again. That’s what was behind my choice to stitch this cool, drapey cape top from BurdaStyle.
The pattern is designed for knits, so I used this fun print from Art Gallery Fabrics’ Heart Melodies called “The Key of Hue.”
I love the colors and the way the print is reminiscent of a piano keyboard. This knit is 95% cotton, so it will be nice and cool come summer.
The Cape top pattern comes from the May 2016 issue of BurdaStyle. I love the way it drapes and shows a little bit of upper arm. The pattern includes a front and back piece that can be cut top-length or dress-length.
If you make this pattern, don’t forget to add seam allowance! I did a standard 5/8”. I also needed to draft my own rectangular neckband from included measurements. I cut it across the colored “keys” on the print to create a fun striped look on the neckband.
The top has a few small darts in the back. I like to pin my darts along the lines, then pull them out as I sew. It helps to keep the stitching on the line on both the front and the back.
Because the fabric is knit, I sewed the darts with a stretch stitch. The top is loose enough that a regular straight stitch probably wouldn’t present a problem, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to give the stitching some extra give.
Here’s the back piece with the darts stitched. I admit the fabric wiggled on me a little and I went off the stitching line a little, but it wasn’t worth pulling out a stretch stitch on knit to fix, so I left it.
The next step is stitching the side seams. You can see here my side seam notch, which I used to match up my print. I picked a horizontal line on my print and cut both the front and back with the notch on that line. You might also noticed that the pins are pretty far in from the seam — that’s because I sewed the side seams on a serger and by positioning the pins where they are, I didn’t have to pull them out as I sewed (except for the notch pin, of course).
Here’s the stitched seam — you can see how far the pins were from interfering with the needle or the blade.
And here’s how my print matched. Just a tiny bit off, but not too bad, especially on something so drapey.
The “sleeves” of the top are self-facing. The instructions call for hand stitching them in place. I considered doing it by machine anyway, but eventually I decided to take the extra time because the facings are almost an inch wide and I didn’t think I’d like having a visible stitching line that far from the edge. I serged my edges first (for neatness) and did a cross stitch, picking up only a single thread on the sleeve to keep it as invisible as possible.
The next step was to overlap the front and back at the shoulder. Once aligned with the placement line (you can see it in the picture, drawn with a Frixion pen that I later pressed out), a basting stitch was all that I needed, as the application of the neckband would secure it permanently.
The neckband comes next. The instructions say to stitch it into a loop first, then press it in half lengthwise, but I admit I pressed it in half before and after stitching, mostly because it was easier to do it flat first and then reinforce the pressing after stitching. I really like the way cutting it across the “keys” turned out!
The neckband was serged onto the neckline without any fuss. I didn’t even try to match the print; I like the way it defines the neckline to not have it match at all — in fact, the color repeat is reversed from the front, which I like.
The final step was the hem, which I did by pressing to the back and stitching with a double needle — this is my favorite method for hemming knits, as it’s neat and has some give. I usually use a walking foot, but I forgot this time. I still think it came out even and smooth, don’t you?
Here are a couple of pictures of the final top. I think it turned out pretty cute! Lucky for me, we’ve been having a very warm fall, so I was actually able to wear the top a few times in October. Now that it’s getting cooler, maybe I’ll take Amanda’s advice and throw it on over a long-sleeved shirt on a chilly day.