I had big sewing plans for the kids’ spring photos, but only managed to finish 3 of the items on my list (and finish a baby gift and a 4-year-old birthday gift in there). There was N’s Purple Mouse Geranium, a great pair of pants for J (yet to be blogged) and this top for N: The Oliver + S Ruffled Halter Top in an embroidered purple eyelet.
It seems to be my M-O lately to bitch about Oliver + S patterns, but I honestly don’t have much to complain about with this one. Except the number of sheets in the PDF pattern — oy. Seriously, they could have cut the number of required pages almost in half simply by drafting a couple of these pieces on the fold! But, it’s a free pattern and it’s darling, so I didn’t complain too loudly.
I was really, really pleased with how this top came out, and pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to sew! Once I managed to wrap my brain around piecing together 24 sheets of paper for a kids’ pattern (yes, I’m still complaining about that, I promise to get over it soon), the top itself sewed up really fast and easy.
I had to tweak the top ruffled pattern piece a bit to get the effect that I wanted. My fabric, a lovely pale purple embroidered eyelet from Fabric.com, had a great embroidered scalloped edge, and I really wanted to use that for the bottom of the top and the edges of the ruffles. The top ruffled pattern piece does not have a straight bottom edge, so I had to tweak it a bit and as a result, it’s not as full as it would otherwise be. Still, I don’t think it detracts from the top.
Using the scalloped edge also meant that the ruffles are not cut on the bias as the pattern instructs. The top still works because the fabric was very lightweight and had a great drape. Quilting cottons come in cute patterns, but there is definitely something to be said for using apparel fabrics to make apparel, even children’s apparel.
The only change that I should have made to the pattern (and didn’t even think about until it was too late), was to shorten the main front and back piece by a couple of inches since I was planning to use the scalloped border of the fabric rather than hemming those pieces. As a result, the main pieces extend about 2 inches below the bottom of the bottom ruffle. The fabric and edge are so pretty that it doesn’t really bother me, though — it really just looks like a fourth ruffle.
I also didn’t bother lining or underlining the eyelet fabric since the ruffles in front ensure that the front isn’t see-through. Since this is a summer top, I wanted it to be light and breathable, and holey fabric certainly adds to that quality! It was quite warm in KC when we took these photos yesterday (94 degrees, I think), so the extra ventilation was appreciated, I’m sure!
Pattern: Oliver + S Ruffled Halter Top
Fit: Perfect. This top fits her really nicely now, but there is still plenty of ease in the back elastic so she has room to grow. I plan to make her at least 1-2 more of these tops this summer and will stick with XS.
Modifications: I tweaked the top ruffle pattern piece so that I could cut all the ruffles using the embroidered edge of my fabric. I also cut all the ruffles on grain rather than on the bias in order to use the embroidered edge. No fit modifications at all.
Physical Pattern: Ugh, this PDF was a monster! 24 pages to piece together and nothing drafted on the fold. Seems like a waste of paper to me, but hey, it’s also free.
- Great price — free!
- Darling top. I love how sweet and dainty this is for a little girl.
- Very quick and easy to sew. Once I got my patterns pieces cut out, this top was done in a blink!
- Good fit. The design is forgiving, so a single size will fit for a long time. N might even be able to wear this next summer!
- Pain in the rear to piece together.
- Requires a ton of fabric for the size of the top. That’s because the ruffles are all cut on the bias.
- The size XS fit my 2-year-old perfectly with plenty of room to spare. The smallest size of this pattern (XS) really is too big for a child younger than 18-24 months. It’s definitely and older-child pattern.
Overall Grade: A. My normal gripes about Oliver + S patterns (price and sizing) don’t really apply to this pattern since it’s free! I think this is a darling top perfect for a warm summer climate. N will get more of these!