An Adrienne-esque Top

Happy March, everyone! As I’m writing this post, my town is being positively pummeled with snow and we just completed the tenth snow day as called by the school district. TEN!!! I am so ready for some warmer weather! I wish I could say all these snow days have given me tons of time to hunker down and sew but between keeping the kids occupied and a baby that doesn’t sleep super great, my sewing life isn’t flourishing. But I have been able to squeeze in some time for a few projects which I’ll share soon.

The top I’m sharing right now was actually completed about two months ago but I’ve just had the hardest time writing a post about it. I’ve tried several times and ended up trashing all those attempts. So here’s another go and hopefully I can keep myself from getting off track or up on a sewing soap box.

When I first saw the Adrienne Blouse pattern (from Friday Pattern Co.) I really liked it but I wrote it off as something I would never make because it’s more revealing than I would wear (not that it’s revealing at all, because it’s not. Just personal preference here). But then a year or so ago I saw a version that was so cute and also didn’t at all seem like it was just a sneeze away from being an off-the-shoulder look (which is how the product listing photo looks to me). So then I started looking at as many reviews of the pattern as I could and after a lot of going back and forth I finally decided not to buy the pattern.

The fit of the pattern varies a lot from person to person and when I was researching it, I found that the pattern is only comprised of a bodice piece, a sleeve piece and a neckband piece (although I’m not entirely sure if the neckband piece is provided or just measurements). Having no real drafting experience myself I can’t say for sure but I’d venture to bet that the reason the fit varies so much has a lot to do with the fact that the bodice piece is the same front and back. Knowing I’d likely have to adjust that pattern piece and possibly make my own back bodice piece I decided to just try to make it and save myself the $14.

At it’s core, the Adrienne top is simply a raglan tee shirt with a semi-fitted bodice and some billowy sleeves. So to start my Franken-patterning Hack-a-thon, I needed to get out some patterns as starting points. For the sleeves and everything from the armpits up, essentially, I used Chalk and Notch’s Waterfall Raglan (which is, interestingly, the only knit raglan pattern that I own) and for everything below that I used my Union St. Tee (no surprises there, it is my hacking work-horse). I had to do a little bit of finagling to get the patterns to fit together but not much.

Here’s a picture of my sleeve halfway through slashing and spreading. First I slashed and spread from the bottom and cut that out. Then I slashed and spread from the top (just the top line that’s really your neckline; not the armscye parts). I forgot to take a picture of the sleeve after hacking into the top piece, but rest assured that it made for a very big pattern piece.

I also made a couple of neckbands by using my Works Well Enough method of multiplying neckline proportions by .85.

For fabric, I used a rib knit from Hobby Lobby. I got a yard and a half, which was plenty, and I think it only cost like $7 for the whole length (but I can’t really remember so if it makes you feel better we can just say “definitely under ten”). And I wanted to use an elastic width that I had in my stash and that lucky number happened to be half inch 🙂

As far as construction goes, it was definitely more intensive than a normal tee! When sewing a regular tee shirt I can get from start to finish in an hour or hour and a half-and that includes cutting time! Just the sewing on this Wannabe Adrienne took at least double that amount of time, if not longer. With having to attach two separate neckbands, and inserting 4 different lengths of elastic, not to mention that raglans (to me) just aren’t as intuitive as tees with set in sleeves, I really had my work cut out for me!

The strangest thing for me is the fact that the seams connecting the sleeves to the bodice just end. There’s no hem or casing or anything to cover the seams. They just stop. And that is weird to me. It makes me curious if the Adrienne pattern has come up with a different way to finish things so that those seams are hidden. I was very worried that the threads from the serger would be peeking out from under my shirt, so I a made a long tail while serging and used a darning needle to feed the threads back through the serged seam. I don’t know that it made any difference at all and I don’t think those seams are particularly noticeable in the end.

Anyway, when all was said and done and I tried the shirt on, I decided that it was Just Okay. A not-too-terrible muslin. For my next iteration I would like to try using a longer piece of elastic on the shoulder to try and drop the neckline a bit. I know having it higher was my whole point but I could stand to take it down a couple inches. I also don’t hate the fit of the bodice but I can definitely understand why Friday Pattern Co. made their bodice more fitted. While I won’t go super far in that direction, I do think my version could stand to be a teensy tiny bit tighter.

And finally, this color! Yikes! Pink is typically a color I can rely on but this has gone waaaay too far into the “nude” realm and it turns out that is not a good look on me! It washes me out terribly and just looks really sad (the sparse sunshine this winter might also have something to do with that!). I’ve tried it on with so many different things but nothing really suits it, or me, when I’m wearing it. When I make my next version I’ll probably make it in a neutral white for versatility.

Sometimes my fails are so bad that they just have to be tossed but this is actually something I feel might suit someone else. I’ll keep it around until I get around to making my Take Two (to compare fit), but I’ll most likely be sending this top to the nearest thrift store.

This definitely wasn’t my worst hacking attempt, although I will have to make some solid changes to my next version. Even though it didn’t turn out exactly how I was picturing, I think it still served a good purpose in helping me figure things out.

Pattern: mashed the Waterfall Raglan and the Union St. Tee in an attempt to copy the Adrienne Blouse
Size: n/a
Alterations: everything, ha!
Fabric: rib knit from Hobby Lobby (can’t find a link)
Cost: fabric was under $10, everything else from stash
Will I make this pattern again?: Yes, I’m going to give it another try!

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