Asymmetric Plum Lace Top

The latest installment in my post-coat winter sewing plans is the asymmetric pleated turtleneck, Patrones 296 #14.

In this design, you’re given the pattern pieces for a turtleneck top, where the front has been cut diagonally across the front. So if you’ve not got this issue of Patrones, just go and draw a curvy line across your favourite turtleneck pattern!

In the magazine photo, the sleeves and upper front piece are pleated and underlined, but I chose to overlay lace on mine instead. Patrones provide the pattern pieces for the post-pleated fabric (allowing you the fun of working out exactly how much fabric you’d need for whatever size pleats you choose!), so it was super simple to just use those finished pieces to cut out the lace overlays instead.

The plum fabric here is a gorgeous bamboo/lycra jersey that I bought from Ditto in Brighton last month, and it’s so unbelievably soft, and with a nice, beefy weight and good stretch. I loved Wazoodle’s bamboo years ago, but this stuff is even better as it’s thicker and doesn’t wrinkle anywhere near as readily. I am utterly in love with this fabric! I’ve got another of their bamboo/lycras in red and I’m itching to make something from that now, too. The green stretch lace I bought at Tissues Dreyfus in Paris last summer, and I love how the two together give a bit of an antique look….

As before with my rose and lace teeshirt, I carefully hand basted all the lace to the jersey and then treated them as one in construction (and for anyone interesting in upping their underlining skills, I highly recommend this online Pattern Review course which I took last year and is starting again in a few weeks).

(hahah I just realised it looks like the left and right photos are pulling a Brady Bunch look at the centre Me!)

Cutting this out, I was kinda skeptical of the shape of the sleeve pattern, since it had a very flat sleeve cap, super wide bicep, and was almost symmetrical, but in the end the shape turned out to be fine. In the finished shirt, the sleeves are very close-fitting (bordering on tight) and I don’t know if this was a conscious design choice in order to keep the pleats from opening up, or whether it’s just because (say it with me now) Patrones’ sleeves are freakin’ tiny!

Sleeves aside, however, the rest of the top is surprisingly roomy throughout the waist and hips, and could probably be taken in some…

Mid-way through construction it dawned on me that Patrones expect the upper front piece to be self-lined rather than underlined (meaning you’d connect the two at the collar and turn the lining inside, rather than baste and treat as a single layer like I’d done). So I had to hastily make a facing when I realised it didn’t match up with the back!

If I were to make this again, I’d double the back collar so there’s a fold rather than a seam at the edge, and I’d similarly extend the front neckline up the same height as the collar, so both could fold down inside together. As it was, I had to do a bit of careful hand prick stitching to keep the facings from showing on the right side (catching the bamboo but not the lace on the front was particularly tricky!), and my plum facing does show in the front at times.

Speaking of the collar, this is much wider than I was expecting – almost more of a cowl than a turtleneck. It’s funny, this is the third turtleneck top I’ve made this winter, and all three have had different collars. The Christine Jonson shirred turtleneck had a very close-fitting separate collar piece, the Burda September turtleneck had a loose but long cut-on collar, and now this top has a short but wide collar which is cut-on in the front and a separate piece in the back!

The only real change I made to the pattern was to eliminate the centre back seam and invisible zipper (why?!) and cut the back on the fold instead. There is absolutely no way you’d ever need a zipper on this top. And believe me, I’ve got quite the lollipop head…

Having worn this to work already this week, I can say that this is one of the most comfortable winter tops I own, and the lace just gives me happy, summer Parisian memories every time I look down at my sleeves. If that doesn’t cheer up a winter day, I don’t know what will!

Leave a Reply