This week, I decided to try the BIAS TOP that was featured in THREADS Magazine, issue 143 (July '09). There was lots of feedback regarding this top, including a revised set of instructions printed in the following issue. There was a bit of discussion here, too, including comments by a Threads Editorial Assistant. I decided to use the REVISED instructions to make my top.
The object of the game is to make a top using only two squares of fabric...one large and one small. Once the squares are sewn together, the top hangs on the bias, yet all seams are sewn on the straight grain...the hem is bias, though.
Since shapeless garments are NOT my best look, I decided to shoot for a night shirt...that way, I can try out the bias top without sacrificing a favorite fabric from the stash! This is a satiny polyester which has good drape.
The ORIGINAL instructions (which I did NOT use) have you cut a small square where the diagonal of the square is equal to your half-hip measurement. Then you measure the sides of the square, double that, and cut the large square. For a 40" hip, the half-hip is 20"...and a 14" square has a diagonal measurement of 20", so you'd cut the small square 14 (not counting seam allowance). Then you would double the 14" measurement and cut the large square 28" (plus seam allowance). So you have two squares...29" and 15". These are the original instructions...which produce a shorter tighter garment.
The revised instructions (which I DID use) have you cut the small square equal to your half-hip measurement...not the diagonal, but the sides of the small square. Then cut the large square equal to your WHOLE hip measurement. In this case, if your hip measures 40", your large square will be 40" square and your small one will be 20"...not counting seam allowances. Once again, you add 1" to each square for seam allowances, so your squares are actually cut 41" and 21".
As you can see, this produces a BIG shirt!
Our local sewing guild met today, and the topic was Bias garments, especially THIS bias top. Several members made it, and one (Paula) made both the original and the revised versions in various fabrics before finally coming up with a THIRD VERSION which she liked best of all.
In Paula's version, she makes the big square equal to her hip size, but makes the DIAGONAL of the small square equal to her half-hip (instead of making the sm square's sides equal to the half-hip). This is basically a combination of the original instructions and the revised instructions...using the small square of the original and the large square of the revision. In her version, though, the large square is NOT twice the size of the small square, which the Threads Editorial Assistant emphasized. However, with Paula's version, you get the additional length of the the revision with the more narrow silhouette of the original. The underarm is lower, though, on Paula's version...but these are dolman sleeves anyway!
I considered taking mine apart to remake it.
I considered using Paula's version so I wouldn't lose length, which would mean only reducing the size of the small square (although Paula did not add anything for seam allowances).
But I think what I will probably do is just recut this using a different pattern. I will cut the shoulders to give a slight angle, cut the sides and put in a side seam, and add sleeves.
It isn't really long enough to be a gown, but long enough to be a shirt.
As you can see, there is no lack of width at the hips!!!
All in all, this is not my style!