Monday, July 9, 2012

Easy and Cute - Knit Tops with Simplicity 2181

I have Ms. Sheila  to blame for my interest in this top. She made a few of these using S1849.  Her tops are very flattering and cute.  So I decided to give this style a try.  When I told Andrea  I was going to buy the pattern, she suggested that I purchased S2181 because it had three additional styles.  For my first version, I used a remnant from my stash to work out the fitting issues.  Those I will discuss later.  Here is my review.

Pattern Description: Simplicity gives the vaguest descriptions.  So I'll give mine.  All views are "V" neck pullovers knit tops with sleeve variations.  View A; loose-fitting top with gathers and drape about the front and at the shoulders.  The sleeves are kimono style with dropped shoulders.  Views B and C have a side twist overlay across the front, 3/4 length sleeves or sleeveless.  View D and E have twist drape across the front, sleeves or with flounce sleeves.

Pattern Sizing:  6 - 24;  I used size 14 with a lot of modifications.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?   Yes it did, except for shorter sleeves.

Were the instructions easy to follow? No problem or confusion with the instructions.  This top can be made in a few hours once the fit issues are worked out.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I have many likes for this top and they are:

 - Figure flattering.  I think it works well with my body type.
 - Easy to make.
 - The side twist.
 - The construction of the front and back facing.

Dislikes -

 - lack of center back seam.  I need one for easier fitting for my sway back.

Fabric Used:  Chocolate jersey from Vogue Fabrics; Green rayon/polyester knit from JoAnn's; and red and cream ITY knit from Vogues Fabrics.  Black tricot for the front facing of the chocolate version.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: It was a challenge to come up with the best approach for making the FBA.  I envisioned how the FBA should be incorporated into the flat issue pattern.   Then I tried to make it without the darts. I would love to make a simple knit top without them.  But I don't think it's possible if the top is going to fir well across the bust area.  I tried easing the excess into the side seam.  That didn't look pretty. 

For my first and second versions I tried the easing approach.  The red/cream print I added the darts to the front and eased the excess for the twist overlay and the front facing.  This approach reduced the bulk of three darts at each side.  And looked the best.  If you decide to make this top, keep in mind the stretch, thickness and texture of the fabric.  These elements will play a role in how large and how small of a FBA is needed.

For the back, I added a center back seam and did my usual sway back and prominent shoulder blade adjustments.

The first version helped me identify further adjustments in the twist overlay pieces.  Initially, I did not add enough width.  The twist overlay pulled the back forward and caused the front to bunch up underneath the overlay.  This is easily resolved by added 1 inch more to the side seams of the upper overlay and 1/2 inch to the lower overlay to compensate for the added width in the bust area.
All photos are on Flickr.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  I plan to try View E. And I do recommend this pattern to others.  Beginners should be able to sew this top with no problems.

Conclusion:  This is a flattering top and a perfect solution for beefy up your wardrobe with a little style.  It's easy to sew and is flattering on most body types.

Here's a video by Sandra Betzina on Placing a Pattern on Knit Fabric.

Up next..,  Fancy Pants

Happy Sewing!


  1. All of your renditions of this top are just amazing!

  2. Wow - these tops flatter your lovely figure so well! I love the placement of the twist, and your fabric choices are great. Two very chic and stylish tops!

  3. I had been looking at that pattern, you have convinced me, looks great on you. I like the other two styles as well, do you plan to make the other views?

  4. Snazzy looking tops with such a wonderful fit!

  5. How lovely. I do the same sway back adjustment in knits as well.
    Great style choices.

  6. I agree, these tops are very flattering on your figure. The twist is in just the right place.

  7. This is another example of a pattern I dismissed when I looked at the website, but when I see it made up on a real woman, I love it. I'm going to buy this pattern. Your versions are so lovely and very flattering. The green suits you beautifully.

  8. Great tops and well worth working out the fitting issues.

  9. Love your tops especially the red print one! Watched the video with my morning coffee. As Sandra was teaching I was reminded of how Virgina taught me some of the very same things...pretty cool!

  10. Those are both really nice tops. Try buying them in RTW and have them fit. Nada.

  11. Very flattering. Oy the dreaded FBA.

  12. You look amazing! These tops are simply wonderful!

  13. Love the tops on you and your fancy pants are cute. Thanks for the shout-out.

  14. Your tops look great on you. but I especially love the green one.

  15. Just wanted to say I have learned alot about pattern alterations from your postings and others too. Thank you, so much. Have a blessed day.

  16. Very nice, love the soft green on you!

  17. I got here via Debbie Cook's blog. I also ignored this pattern until I saw it on you. I have a similar body type. This is now on my shopping list! Thanks for the great tips!

  18. Wonderful, flattering tops. But why do people keep showing me patterns that are just perfect for my shape?

  19. Very flattering tops--beautiful colors, esp that green!

  20. Oh, gracious that is a really cute top! It is so flattering! How did I miss this one?

  21. Super cute tops! Andrea sure knows her patterns!



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