New make: Beatrix Nani Iro top

 

20160213_142544I bought a few pieces of Nani Iro fabric from Miss Matatabi a few months ago and have been looking at them every now and again since then. I said I’d make a bag for my mother-in-law after she admired the Noodlehead Cross Gatherer bag I made a few weeks ago, and her favourite colours are red and yellow, so I thought I’d use this gorgeous red flowered brushed cotton I have from the Nani Iro pile. However, that’s going to use very little fabric, so I looked for a pattern that I might be able to squeeze out of the remaining 1.75m. I’ve been admiring the Beatrix top for a while – it was the View A + placket version I saw on the Made by Rae website that finally sold it to me – and it seemed the perfect project to show off this vibrant design.

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I duly got the .pdf pattern from Rae’s website and a quick readthrough immediately told me what I subsequently discovered to be absolutely true working on this project: this is easily the best set of instructions I have yet come across and is a perfect example of one way in which independent patterns are absolutely worth a premium. This is virtually a sewing class, and they come at more like $80. Here are a few very nice things I noted about this pattern/project:

  •  The pdf pattern was the best I have yet seen. I have put together a few, some with more success than others, but the Beatrix pattern has lots of extra markings for lining up the pages. I particularly liked the “bullseye targets” where four different page corners join – it really helped keep me on track
  • The pattern has an A/B or C/D cup option that you print separately. Yeehoo! I am a D cup and this was just heavenly
  • There is a cool summary sheet at the back of the pattern that you can use to tick off completed steps/items without having to go through the wholeeee thing
  • There is a whole section on Rae’s favourite seam finishes, simply and clearly explained. This was great and I almost went with French seams, but wanted to test out my recent zigzag with an overlocking foot finish on a  more stable fabric to see how it worked (spoiler: brilliantly!)
  • You only have to print out the pages you need for your particular variation
  • There is an entire sewalong on the Made by Rae website complete with cool variations. It was superrrr helpful.

Alrighty, so anyway – I decided to make the View A with View B placket version I mentioned earlier. First things first – make a muslin. Rae stresses this pretty strongly and it’s a good idea anyway, so I used some light cotton I have yards and yards of to do that.

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I made a size L and the fit was actually pretty good, although it took me a minute to realise the example on the sewalong was after the seam allowances had been taken into account – hence why it looked a different shape. The main problem I had was that the bust darts were a little too high (you can kind of see on the right hand side it’s up high). I decided to lower them by about 1/2 an inch.

I have never done such a thing, so looked up Megan Nielsen’s dart adjustment instructions as well as a couple of others. I followed the instructions, but I must admit that trueing the darts at the end has me a little stumped. Nobody really covered this part in much detail, so if anyone knows of any good references, do let me know. I’m pretty sure I screwed that part up. Overall though, it basically consisted of creating a box around your dart, cutting it out and moving it down. Then filling in the gap and… something else… -oh yeah, trueing – the bit I can’t do.

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Onto the real fabric cut out. Oh, I love the feel of scissors cutting into fresh fabric. Especially amazing fabric. I decided to go for something pretty bold as my contrast fabric – an equally bright Cotton & Steel cotton, but I think it works. I really like it, in any case. Egad, my hair is like a bomb of frizz in that picture. Seattle. Rain. Ah well.

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The fabric cut like a dream and I put the alternative view plackets on first after adding interfacing to the relevant pieces. Then I had to sew in the bust darts. I did not do well at this. I’ve sewn a few before and it wasn’t too bad. But for some reason I couldn’t do it this time. First, I made them too long because I was trying a tip I’d read. Then I veered off the line, and finally I did a third correction and declared enough was enough. They’re not perfect (there’s a bit of a pucker), but they’ll do the trick. At least they’re in the right spot after the adjustment.

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Funnily enough I was much more concerned about the sleeves. I haven’t tackled set-in sleeves before, and I tell you what – beginner’s luck does exist, because I really didn’t have a problem with these! First I liked Rae’s tip for gathering the sleeves. I whacked the tension and stitch length both to max and look what happened. Frilly sleeves! I ended up letting out a lot, but it made life pretty easy.

Next, I fitted them and sewed them in. I was super happy with the result, so here are some gratuitous photos of the sleeves:

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Oh yes, and you can see that seam finish: zigzag using overlocker foot on the shoulder there. Soooo neat, so pretty! I like!

Ahem, anyway. I hemmed the sleeves, and also prepped the main hem at the bottom. This involved a 1/4″ turn and press, and then the same again. This was made easier having previously stitched the first turning line, but I also used a little tip from one of my classes and finger pressed the hem first. This meant I didn’t need to iron press every teeny bit, but could do it in larger chunks. Worked well with this fabric. I also prepped and sewed my first facing. It seemed pretty straightforward, but I can see why it could be annoying as it’s a tiny bit flippy. I think I will go back and “sew in the ditch” of the shoulder seams as Rae suggests, to keep the facing in. It’s really ok though. It’s funny – I’ve always associated neck facings with “posh clothes” before (as that’s the only place I’d really seen them) although I had no idea they were called facings. It’s funny to be making something myself now with one!

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Finally, I sewed round the hem and button plackets before making the buttonholes. I made a bit of a mess of the plackets. I think one slipped out of place and I ended up with it uneven. I’m really considering redoing it as it’s kind of obvious on the back in some places, but… let’s see. The buttonholes were straightforward and I used the old “pin at the top of the buttonhole” trick to stop the seam ripper heading on up my blouse. Rather than just telling you each button should be 3 inches apart or whatever, Rae thoughtfully provides a template so that you can easily find the spacing. Her instructions really are full of tricks, help and tips – very impressive.

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Overall, I really enjoyed this and I’m definitely going to make another one to straighten out those little issues I had. The Beatrix top is comfortable and more flattering to my shape than I had anticipated. I will probably lengthen the back by an inch or so to cover my bum a bit more as mine seems a little shorter than some. As already mentioned, I can highly recommend the pattern itself and I look forward to delving into more of Rae’s work as she’s really done a wonderful job. Nice one!

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 thoughts on “New make: Beatrix Nani Iro top

  1. I think you did a great job with relocating the bust dart. Nice top and I keep thinking I want to try this pattern. I may have to break my pattern diet and try this one!

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    1. Oh, thank you! I did my best, but I think I might have to take a look at a class soon, since I’d like to get a little more into fitting properly and I’m sure a full FBA is in my future. 🙂 It was a really nice garment to sew and there are so many fun variations. Go for it! :)))

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  2. Such a beautiful version of the Beatrix top. And it’s so flattering.

    I don’t have the pattern myself and I hadn’t actually stumbled upon reviews of it (well, I wasn’t looking particularly hard). Thanks to your detailed review it’s now on my radar 🙂

    Thank you also for the work in progress/inside shots — I absolutely love those. It’s great to see what seam finishes other sewists are choosing for particular fabrics. I like the look of mock-overlock as a seam finish, even though it’s not the fastest one.

    And oh, the Nano Iro fabric is so dreamy…

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    1. Thanks and yes, I was quite surprised at the fit. I’m definitely more of a waist cinched person, but the looser fit is actually great. On the seams, I’m trying to work my way through them, slowly but surely, and get a good understanding of what to use when. I popped into Nordstrom yesterday while out and about, and it turned out that this particular shop had a super-fancy designer floor with racks of amazing clothes (guess it was a rich area of town). So I spent a little while looking closely at the detail and it was all French seams and Hong Kong seams – not a serged seam in sight. The staff were hanging around me suspiciously (what is she doing?), but it was really amazing to get up close to some beautifully constructed items and think: one day, I’d like to make something as lovely as that… *dream* Thanks again for your lovely comments and glad the review detail is interesting. It’s what I like in other reviews, but I’m never sure if mine is really useful. It’s a record for me at any rate! Have a great Sunday!

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      1. Thanks a lot!
        That’s very interesting — about the seams. I do have serger but I’m still pretty scared of it. It’s very fast, which makes me feel like I don’t have control over the work. I’ll try to take it one step at a time. I do like French seams for lightweight fabrics and I love the look ofthe Hong Kong finish as well as rayon binding (big fan of Hug Snug).

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