Pattern Hacks · Sewing

Alice Top

Tessuti's Alice Top made in Anna Maria Horner chambray with lurex at
Tessuti’s Alice Top made in Anna Maria Horner’s Loominous yarn-dyed cotton with lurex

When I was musing about what to do with my Vietnamese silk, Michelle suggested this Alice Top pattern by Tessuti. I really like it. I love a top with a yoke. I know that this style can resemble maternity wear, on those of us with larger chests, but I love a smock top. The yoke offers lots of opportunity for decoration and variation.

Tessuti top with embroidered yoke.
Tessuti top with contrasting yoke.

The short sleeves mean I can wear undershirts with it and/or put a cardi on top. I was particularly keen to try this pattern because I hoped that the armbands might give me the illusion of  broader shoulders, without using shoulder pads (more fashion damage from the 80’s, in my psychic history).

Well, I whipped one up yesterday and I’m really happy with it. I used Anna Maria Horner’s Loominous Yarn-dyed fabric in pink, with metallic lurex threads woven in a small check. This is a chambray/quilting weight, so a little stiffer than I would normally use for a top like this. But it isn’t too stiff to have kept me from wearing it all day (and probably tomorrow too). I used a fine pink lawn for the facings.

My next one will be in something with more drape, maybe even that Vietnamese silk.

Detail of Tessuti's Alice Top at
Detail of Loominous Yarn dyed Fabric

I made a muslin first, because I knew I would need to make some adjustments, and I wasn’t sure which size would be best to begin with.

Tessuti Sewing patterns Alice Top and dress line drawings
Tessuti’s Line Drawings of the Alice Top or dress pattern

I think Tessuti’s line drawings are a little misleading. the bottom of the armband shouldn’t stick out like that, it should lie flat against the body, only protruding at the upper arm and shoulder. This is my drawing of how I imagined it should look after a full bust alteration.

Imagining of the Alice top after full bust alteration at
My imagining of the top after a full bust alteration

Size Choice

I made my muslin using the largest (XL) pattern size, which corresponded to my bust measurement. I thought this might be too large, but better to start bigger. This is no criticism of Tessuti’s pattern. Although it is hand-drafted, rather than done neatly in a computer programme, it is a well drafted pattern.

The XL was too big. I would recommend using the size that corresponds to your upper chest/shoulder measurement for the yoke, and your full bust measurement to determine the side seam. Then  make an adjusting for your bust. I kept the side seams at the largest size (I didn’t really need to) but went down a size in the yoke and several sizes in the neckline. I find that larger bust, often = lower bustline, which is better balanced, with a lower neckline.

Once I got the size right, I could see that I needed a bust adjustment; the armbands looked like wings flying out from the sides of my breasts (anyone else remember those “Dicey or Nothing” adverts of a bra turning into a bird, from the 70’s).

I made a bust adjustment by increasing the size of the dart concealed in the yoke seam. I recommend doing a muslin, before using really good fabric, but if you can’t be bothered, there’s a quicker way. I will show and tell you all about it tomorrow. Pictures of the top on me, may have to wait a few days until I can find someone to take them. There may be sisters for it by then.

3 thoughts on “Alice Top

  1. I look forward to it! I love the Tessuti patterns but they are always modelled on women with no fullness on top. The fabric and colour are gorgeous.

    1. Janet, I go on craft camp with a group of ladies, and one of the Tessuti girls comes sometimes, so I do have a soft spot for their patterns. There are weekends where 8 of us might have made our own version of the same Tessuti pattern and mysteriously they work on all sizes of us ladies – there is some magic in the pattern design that smooths out bumps and skims over curves without being a bag, but it’s so fascinating to see how the one pattern (there have been many) can work well on such different shapes. I have found I go down a size in their patterns with the ocassional FBA. The EVA Dress is transformative!

  2. Yay!!!
    Lovely job & fabric choice. I honestly would never have made that top without trying one on that a friend had made. I’m a bit busty and totally agree with the maternity thing & no waist definition. I would have thought it so wrong for me, but i love it on. I love Tessuti’s patterns but find I’m between a size S-M, even though I’d buy a large in the shops.
    Really looking forward to seeing this on you! 🙂

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