The Cielo Top

Hey guys, it’s been quite awhile since I last posted! I decided to take a little break from Instagram and inadvertently took a break from blogging as well. I’m not quite ready to head back to Instagram but I have been finding myself itching to get back to posting semi-regularly, so here we are! I didn’t necessarily crank out a ton of stuff during this social media break, but I did sew up a handful of things that I’m really excited to share about, one of which has been trying out the Cielo Top from Closet Core Patterns.

A few months ago, I realized that I didn’t have a good basic woven top pattern. I’ve got a handful of knit tee shirt patterns that I love and that I wear all the time. But I often find myself attracted to fabrics that end up being woven and I knew I needed a solid pattern I could make again and again out of these fabrics I’m falling for. Of course, there’s no shortage of ways to use woven fabric, but since my normal day to day outfits revolve around clothing that is easy, loose and non-fussy, I knew I wanted something, again, just very basic.

Now, truthfully, this pattern is anything but basic. It can be a top or a dress. The dress can have pockets or none. For sleeves, you can choose a cuffed short sleeve or a billowy and romantic long sleeve. No, not basic, but even if you stay within the pattern specifications you have plenty of options to switch things up. And then if you include the possibilities for hacking (even something simple like removing the cuff of the short sleeve), you have a veritable feast of options that should keep you busy (and clothed) for quite a long time.

So I like this pattern for all the options it presents, but I was also drawn to it because it seems to be rather flattering on everyone. And many of the people I follow have raved about their Cielos. It’s something that seems to be made multiple times. So I felt like my basic top pattern (plus some) was found. And I’ll say right off that I’m still making some small tweaks but it’s well on its way to become a tried and true pattern for me.

So, first thing’s first. I made a muslin. And actually, that’s a total lie because I tell myself I’m making a muslin but I actually have every intention of wearing it the second it’s off the sewing machine. This version, though, laughed in my face at the very thought of that because it is, essentially, unwearable for me. And, to be honest, that’s quite a shame because, now that I’m looking at these pictures, I’m thinking that I look pretty good in this top. If it weren’t for how big the neckline ended up being on me, I’d be sold. You don’t have to try hard to see where my neckline normally hits (haha, hello, tanline!) but the neckline on this top is just a bit too wide for me. It’s almost, almost wearable but I know it’s not realistic. Since I’m chasing kids around all day, bending over and running around and such, I know I’d constantly be adjusting the neck to make sure my bra straps (the least offensive of which) weren’t showing.

Another thing I noticed after making the top is that the bottom of the sleeve is quite low. You can see in this picture that it ends below the bust. The sleeve itself felt huge to me when I was looking in the mirror, although I must admit that it doesn’t bother me one bit in these photos. When I was reading reviews of the Cielo top, I noticed that another blogger (who’s also in the petite category) had the foresight to shorten the bodice above the bust to make that armscye a little more fitted. Looking at these pictures I don’t think I’ll make that adjustment next time, but I do think it’s a good idea if you’re worried about that part of the fit.

The other adjustments I made to this version were to reduce the bust dart by 1 inch and to lengthen the top by 2 inches. It’s more common for me to shorten patterns since I’m shorter (5’3″) but this top is designed to be “semi-cropped” and I tend to steer away from anything too cropped. At first I felt like the length was still too short, but in the end I decided I liked it as is, especially considering it’d likely be partly tucked in most of the time anyway.

Okay so round one wasn’t a total success but it definitely wasn’t an epic fail either. I wanted to try again.

For a few months now, I’ve been hearing about a little fabric shop in Provo, Utah called Harmony. It’s been around much longer than that, but for some inexplicable reason, I hadn’t heard of it. My parents live in the town right next to Provo, so I resolved to check this place out the next time I visited. About a month ago, I finally had that opportunity and I’m so glad I went! And so glad it’s there! Apparel fabric stores are hard to find but this one is beautiful! The selection isn’t huge but it’s diverse and stocked with some really beautiful and quality fabric. And the owner is so friendly and very knowledgeable. In fact, she gave me some of her own hacks of the Cielo. It’s definitely worth a stop if you’re in the area!

I ended up picking up this lovely fabric (as well as some beautiful flannel I can hopefully show you guys soon!). I always forget to look at fabric content, but I believe it’s some sort of viscose crepe. It’s lightweight, but not sheer. I got a yard and a half of it for maybe $18 (sorry, I can’t quite remember!). I was really worried that it wouldn’t be enough fabric, especially with those huge sleeve pattern pieces, but it ended up (barely) fitting (okay, but only because I cut the sleeve cuffs off grain…tsk tsk tsk…can I even call myself a sewist?!).

Since this was my second go-round with this pattern I knew the tweaks I wanted to make. I knew I wanted to take the neckline in and I ended up re-drafting it exactly 3/4″ up all the way around on the front pattern piece (and just enough at the back to meet the shoulder). I do like this neckline, but it’s not perfect, so next time I’ll go back to the original and maybe only add 3/8ths of an inch instead. Luckily, being overly modest doesn’t make or break a shirt for me and also luckily I can keep tweaking until I find my sweet spot, which wasn’t this version, but maybe next? I kept that extra 2 inches of lengths for this version and I really like it. After finishing the top, I really felt like the arms were way too long. I personally don’t much care for super long sleeves and especially where the sleeve is already so huge, I felt like the extra length just made the sleeve consume me.

I know this isn’t the best picture, but you can kind of see how the sleeve hits right at my wrist bone. I tested removing some length by basting it about an inch inside of the stitch line. It worked so I took it to my serger and chopped the excess off (about 2 inches from the length when all was said and done). Not a giant difference in how it looks but it’s huge to me and truthfully turned the top into something I’ll actually wear.

Here’s a better picture of that new neckline. Not totally perfect but not bad either. Do you guys like my new necklace? I got it from Stylemaker Fabric with a gift card Ben and the girls got me for Mother’s Day. I love it.

I know it’s a totally personal thing but I so much prefer a bias bound neckline! The pattern includes pieces for both bias bound or facing so you can choose what’s best for you, but I much prefer the look of bias bound and for some reason I have better results with bias tape! For my first version (the green one) I made my own bias tape, but when I bought my necklace at Stylemaker I also bought some rayon bias tape by Atelier Brunette. No regrets there! It made things so easy and quick and it’s really soft. I’ll definitely buy more of that bias tape and maybe someday some of their fabric too! They always have a gorgeous collection. Not pictured, but I finally got around to buying some clothing labels and I feel like it really takes things to the next level and makes things feel more professional. I love them.

As far as construction goes, the Cielo top comes together very quickly and is pretty straightforward. The long sleeve is more laborious, just because of all those gathers, but nothing too terribly difficult. The biggest struggle I had was that the fabric kept snagging, due to it being lightweight…but I admit that could have been fixed by using a smaller needle. I was also really worried that it was going to be a headache to shorten the sleeves but it was no problem at all. The sleeve cuff is rather an odd shape and seems very daunting to try to shorten, so next time I think I will just take length directly off the middle of the sleeve just to keep things more simple.

The sleeves are huge. There’s no getting around it. It’s certainly a look of it’s own, but, in the end, I think I really like it. I doubt the top will get a ton of wear since I don’t work in a business professional kind of place (or at all, currently), but I will wear this on Sundays. When I showed off my newly finished blouse to Ben he said (and I quote), “I like it! I mean, the sleeves are funny. That’s not the right word. But I like it!” Ha! Oddly I knew exactly what he meant and took no offense at all. The sleeves are absolutely extra, but they are also really fun.

I think the concept of this pattern is really awesome and I have a handful of ideas on more versions to make. In fact, I have 2 (possibly 3) fabrics in my stash now that are waiting to be turned into classic (meaning unhacked) Cielos. I bought fabric to make a short sleeved dress version, but the fabric screams summer so I probably won’t make it until next year. I’ve also got a handful of things pinned to my Pinterest board that could easily be made into realities just by doing some simple hacks to this pattern. I’m excited to continue tweaking and seeing what I end up with!

Pattern: Cielo Top & Dress pattern from Closet Core Patterns
Size: 10
Adjustments: On both version- lengthening bodice by 2″ and shortening the bust dart by 1″; On just the long sleeve version-bringing the front neckline up by 3/4″ (and ensuring it would meet the back appropriately at the shoulder)
Fabric: Short sleeve-viscose twill from Blackbird Fabric (from my stash i.e. probably no longer in stock) Long sleeve-I’m guessing a viscose crepe from Harmony
Cost: Pattern-$16
Fabric (long sleeve)-$18 or so (sorry, can’t quite remember!)
Would I make this pattern again: Definitely will!

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