I have a respectable stack of fabrics ear-marked for sleeveless tops. A sleeveless top takes a fraction of a yard. Well a little more if you make facings. I accumulated these small yardages in the “Sleeveless Tops” stack from excess fabric from` winter sewing. Also I regularly cruise the remnants section of FashionFabricsClub.com. I often find a piece or two that will make a nice summer top. I wash and then put it in the stack until summer finally arrives. Summer is here but I don’t have a sleeveless pattern which fits. Well, not one I trust. My sloper will needs additional work. Even more to turn it into a sleeveless wonder. I’ve contemplated what it would take to make the TRT sleeveless. I’m sure this can be done. It would be a variation of a classic princess seamed vest. Then I realized a pattern I had passed over might have the answer.
Yes, it’s right there in the “Swing Variations”. The vest. The people at Fit for Art have already modified the TRJ into a sleeveless Vest. I ordered the pattern and adapted the swing side-panel for my Spring 6 PAC 3rd layer (my post here). It seemed natural to me to now pursue the idea of adapting the side panel to create a sleeveless knit top.
I’m using a remnant cotton-lycra knit with about 80% stretch. More stretch than I wanted, but this is a fabric I can easily toss if I make a mess.
I copied the straight side panel then added 3″ height to the top of the panel. I convinced myself that the vest (in which the armscye is usually lower) was 2″ longer than the straight panel and by adding 1 more inch the side panel would be as tall as I needed. I thought that I would probably need to narrow the panel at the top (the underarm) but decided to wait until I could actually see, on me, how much narrowing was needed. Well that was interesting
The side panel just barely covers my underwear! What you can’t see is that I have pinned a 1.5″ dart in the center under the arm to make the new side panel narrow enough beneath the underarm. Then I took a 12″ ruler in the bathroom and standing in front of the full-length mirror measured how much higher the side-panel needed to be. To my surprise, I measured 2.5″ and could have raised it even more.
Well I did. I added 3″ to the top (now a total of 6″). Then I measured out from the center of the side panel 3″ on either side (of the center mark). I wrestled with my curve for a while before reaching the conclusion that I would need to draw the curve so far and then reverse it to make a nice smooth side seam. Then I cut a second panel and basted into place.
The new panel worked so well I finished the neckline and top of the armscye panel with FOE before folding the bodice along the ‘armscye’ 5/8″ to the inside and top stitching from hem up the side panel, over the shoulder and back down. Lastly I top stitched a hem in place.
I like this but I may want other versions in which the armscye rests on the edge of my shoulder.
See? It is pretty shoulder baring and
like the vest square, angular where the panel meets the bodice. However, that’s not bad. It’s an interesting detail I just don’t want that style detail on every sleeveless blouse I make. I see a couple of options. I could finish the armscye with a classic rib binding. I could and probably will wrestle with my sloper until I make a nice sleeveless classic top. I could continue to alter the side panel adding more width across the shoulders as well as curve where the side panel joins the bodice. I could recopy the bodice front and back, apply my alterations without narrowing across the shoulders. It could be interesting. But for now, this is ready to make over and over. Love the TRT pattern. Just love it.