One of my favorite contests on Pattern Review is the Bargainista Fashionista contest where you ‘copy’ a RTW garment. And my absolute favorite place to look for inspiration is Anthropologie. I love the bright colors and unique garments, though we can all agree they end up not being so unique since they’re offered around the world :) Many of the garments on the website get their appeal from the fabric. Beautiful florals, animal prints, laces, interesting fabric combinations, etc. Just take a look at their blouses & button downs page! Because they’re so dependent on the fabric, it can be difficult to ‘copy’ their designs if you don’t have the right fabric. I was excited when I saw this lovely blouse because I knew I had the right pattern…and a close enough fabric match.
And to ‘copy’ it: Vogue 9002, a raglan top with flutter sleeves.
I didn’t want to jump in without making a muslin, and good thing I didn’t, because I needed to make some changes. I ended up making THREE muslins for this project! Luckily there are only three pattern pieces :) I started with an unaltered size 12 (typical Big 4 size).
On the left is ‘before’ movement and on the right is ‘after’. As you can see, during normal wear and activity, the top drifts to the back and attempts to choke me, as one Pattern Review member very accurately stated. I really didn’t know what was causing the problem but guessed that it was because of forward shoulders which were stealing fabric.
So I posted for help in the PR forum and everyone unanimously agreed that this problem is usually caused by the exact opposite of what I hypothesized – broad shoulders or high round back. I’ve started reading Fit for Real People before bed (doesn’t everyone?!) and based on my normal fit issues, I decided I likely have forward shoulders and a slight high round back, two alterations often seen together due to poor posture. But the broad back one? Hmm, I’ve never thought of myself as having broad shoulders.
So I stood at the mirror for a while and moved around to better decide which alteration to try first. The back neckline sat at the right place without gaping so I didn’t think I needed the round back alteration. I looked more closely at where the raglan seams sat relative to my shoulders. They were much closer to my center back than on other raglan tops. And closer inspection of my shoulders revealed some wrinkles caused by tension. Finally, I moved around my shoulders and sure enough, I could watch as the front neckline slowly crept up to choke me. When you think about it, it makes sense. My shoulders were too broad and thus the raglan sleeves were too tight across my upper back. During movement, the shoulders were ‘stealing’ fabric from the front so they could have more ease to move about.
I used the broad back adjustment from Fit for Real People to add width to only the top portion of the back piece since the fit through the torso was loose and comfortable. I marked a horizontal line to designate the upper section and a vertical line for where to cut (which was chosen somewhere arbitrarily). I cut out the top right section and for muslin #3, added 1/2 inch. Then I blended together the neck and side seams.
Muslin #3 fit much better! There was still a little tension so I added another 1/4″ per side for the final garment (3/4″ addition per side –> 1.5″ added in total to the upper back).
If you’re really paying attention you noticed I didn’t mention muslin #2. This pattern has a two piece sleeve which was altering the drape of the ‘flutter’ due to the weight of the seam. Upon comparing the pieces, I found that the shoulder seam for the sleeves was completely straight and there was no need for it since it didn’t add any shaping! So I combined the two pieces into one (shown below). If you squint, you can see the combined seamline in the middle and the grainlines marked for the two separate pieces, which aren’t so different. Muslin #2 just confirmed that combined sleeves were the same as separate.
OK, so let’s finally talk about the finished product!! I used a very luscious stretch silk charmeuse that I bought from FabricMart this summer. It is Catherine Malandrino fabric with a graphic floral print and the flowers are enormous. (NOTE: Tanya from Mrs. Hughes also had this fabric and made a beautiful top and dress!) I only had two panels, roughly 2 yards, of this 45″ fabric which was barely enough fabric for the top independent of worrying about the floral placement. I spent a loooooong time playing with the fabric before settling on my final placement. I wanted to be sure each colored flower was represented clearly but still keep it balanced. All in all, I’m very happy with how it turned out!
If I make this top again I’m going to add more ‘flutter’ to the sleeves…they’re not exaggerated enough in my opinion and from certain angles just look ill-fitting.
The fit is MUCH better than my original muslin, though I definitely wouldn’t call it perfect. The center of the back neckline is suppose to fall 2 inches below the neck which I find uncomfortable and might be contributing to my fit issues.
This is the only side where I don’t love the colors since you can see the repeated turquoise and yellow flowers. Oh well!
One of the most fun parts is that Catherine Malandrino is written on some of the flowers! Ooh, designer fabric :)
So, it’s definitely not a perfect match, but I hope you can see the resemblance and inspiration from my original Anthropologie blouse!