New tops: Seamwork Rory twice over

I was quite attracted to the Seamwork Rory pattern when it came out last year and I remembered it when I was putting together some ideas for my loungewear plan. I rather like cut-on sleeves for a tee as long as it’s in not too stiff a fabric and also liked the base shape of the tee, which is gathered into a hem band with two ties.


Like all of Seamwork’s patterns, Rory comes in two size ranges: 0-16 with a C cup and 18-30 with a DD cup. I made the 14 graded out to 16 at the hip because, even though it’s a cut-on shoulder, I didn’t want it to be too big. My high bust is 40″ – so I could really pick anything between a size 12 if I used my HB measurement as the “bust measurement”, up to the 14/16 if I added on the 3 inches for the C cup to get to 43 inches, which is right between 14 and 16. There are different ways to approach this, but I would probably tend towards the narrower shoulder, so the 14 was my decision and I find a Seamwork 14 shoulder quite a good match for me. I actually think I would have been fine with a 14 all over as there’s a decent bit of ease going on, but the shape isn’t bad at all.


I made the first Rory as per the pattern and chose this Cloud 9 grey and black striped organic interlock knit, because it’s one of those fabrics that goes with lots of things – including my lockdown roots – sigh. I’d actually bought it to make my husband a tee, but he says he doesn’t need any more (huh), so I decided to use it myself. It’s a lovely mid-weight and has decent drape for an organic cotton knit. I would definitely buy it again.


Construction is mostly pretty simple since there are no sleeves as such (they exist on the body pieces already). The tie is part of the hem band and you create a vent in the tee before attaching the hem band, which gives you space to then tie the band knot. I found this a little fiddly and my machine did NOT like sewing that part for some reason, but I got there eventually. The neck is finished with a neck binding, where you sew on the neckband and then turn it to the inside and topstitch from the right side. It’s not an unusual finish for a boatneck, but I was a bit concerned my knit might be a little thick for all those layers. Actually it turned out to be a nice finish, if perhaps just a touch too wide for me.


One important tip to pass on is to make sure you gather the bottom evenly. I didn’t pay enough attention to this aspect and so the length varies a bit. It’s shorter in the centre back where I have more gathers, and longer at the side where I didn’t ensure enough of a gather. You can see it best (or worst) from the back. Still totally wearable though.


Nevertheless, I liked the resulting top a lot and decided to run up a second version with a few changes. The hacks that were included in the Seamwork magazine for Rory (May 2019) are really cool, but I thought my bra might show in an ugly way at the shoulder slashes and I didn’t have quite enough fabric to do the placket version, boo.

seamwork rory hacks


I found this knit fabric I’ve had for AGES in my stash and decided it had a bit of an 80s punkish vibe, which is no doubt why I got it. I thought that perhaps to break up the print, cool though it is, I’d cut a few slashes in the knit fabric and really embrace that trashy 80s look.


I also left out the ties for this version and just serged on a complete band at the hem. I lengthened the body by two inches and also scooped the front neck slightly, finishing it with a neck band, rather than a binding.


The slashes were semi-successful, but unfortunately the fabric curls outwards, rather than inwards as I was expecting. In addition, I think the fabric is too thin and there’s too much ease, so the slashes sort of droop. I’m thinking I might try a little embroidery and sew some thick threads across the gaps to keep the slashes flat or maybe insert some contrast fabric underneath. It was fun to experiment though!


The length will work for “regular” garments (the black jeans I’m wearing are very high-waisted Dawns), but I also over-calculated the hip ease on this pink version and I could do with gathering the base a little more for that Rory shape. Ah well – that’s what wearable muslins are for, eh?


Overall, this is a nice quick little sew of a tee with a bit of design detail. I think it goes very well with high-waisted garments in particular, but is dead easy to adjust to your own requirements. Fun Seamwork sew!

Note: I’m a member of the Seamwork ambassador team, which I’m very excited about. It gives me a chance to have some input into the behind-the-scenes workings over at Seamwork HQ, giving feedback on patterns, magazine articles, etc. In return I am subscribed to the service for free for a year. Nevertheless, I’m not under any obligation to write subjective reviews of Seamwork patterns and all opinions remain my own. You can read more about the ambassador team here if you’re interested.

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