French Mustard top revealed! Or WTFBA?

I don’t really know how I feel about this one.

Hopefully it’s because it’s because I’ve been staring at it forever and with some time (and maybe if it brings me flowers) I’ll let it back into my heart. But right now, my feelings are decidedly cool.

First of all, I used the McCalls M5661 Palmer/Pletsch pattern because I wanted to really tackle the FBA issue. Man up, I told myself. Seize the nettle.

When I did the tissue fit however, I found it fit without making any adjustment. Looking at it now it’s finished I think maybe the whole thing is too big for me. It’s wearable, and these pictures are a little unforgiving on the fullness above the bust but I don’t think it’s just the style of the top.

The cuffs and collar are hard to see in these pictures but they’re done up in a black swiss dot voile, which also has a pattern of thin vertical lines. In real life you can see the nubby texture and the faint stripes. Since the pattern didn’t come with a collar, I drafted my own using Gertie’s amazing videos. She makes it so straight-forward that this was the most successful part of the whole project.

Gertie gets you to make an under collar piece which is slightly smaller along the outside curved edge so the seam will end up rolling underneath the finished collar, giving a neater finish. In terms of putting it together, you need to pin the the under collar and upper collar piece together along the curve, right sides together, which means you end up with something that looks a little ripply like the picture below:

The sparkliness is the light interfacing I used on the undercollar pieces

Once they’re stitched together along the curved edge, you turn the collar right side out. Pin them together along the neckline and you’ll see the outer seam begins to roll underneath. After pressing it you can attach the collar to the right side of your top!

Finishing this off was also something new for me. I didn’t want to use a facing, so after reading this tutorial from SewNSo’s Sewing Journal I opted for bias tape. First I sewed the collar to the top, right sides together with a 1/4 inch seam. Then I opened out the bias tape, sewing 5/8 inch in along the tape fold. The facing along the centre back (it was supposed to be the button placket for the buttons I didn’t put in) was also folded back, right sides together and I sewed the bias tape over this as well, which you can see in the photo below:

After that I turned the bias tape round to the wrong side of the inside of the neckline, at the same time flipping the former placket out. The collar seam peeked out of the bottom of the bias tape so I trimmed this down, pressed the tape in place and stitched it down.

The topstitching appears on the outside of the top but it’s mostly covered by the collar so it’s not noticeable.

Phew! After frenching all the seams and my collar drafting, buttons were not going to happen. So instead I sewed the invisible zipper in by hand because a) I don’t have an invisible zipper foot, b) I’ve seen a tutorial on using regular zipper feet for installing an invisible zipper but my brain couldn’t absorb, and c) I didn’t have a good matching thead, so I did teeny black stitches. And it doesn’t look too shabby!


  • It’s yellowy-mustardy-dominoey kind of fabric. The swiss dot voile also acts as a nice contrast in colour and texture.
  • Drafted my own collar!
  • My invisible zipper is kind of invisible.

Love less:

  • I used the wrong size needle when I sewed up the bust, waist and back darts, which is why I think the fabric is puckering a little. Once I switched the needle my other stitching seemed much happier. Ugh. Can I steam them into compliance
  • Puckery bust darts. It’s not the worst case ever but why am I still struggling with this? I go so super-close to the end, tie a little knot…Advice anyone?
  • I learned nothing about FBA-ing.

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10 Responses to French Mustard top revealed! Or WTFBA?

  1. yesilikethat says:

    Ooh I love it! What amazing fabric, where did you get it? Nice work drafting the collar, it looks great. Can’t help you with the bust darts, mine are always pointy as well. The only thing that’s sometimes worked is curving the dart a little bit.

    • Thanks! I got the fabric from ‘simply fabrics’ in Brixton. There are two shops now, really close to each other, definitely worth checking out if you’re down south. I do have a fairly big remnant though if you want it?
      When you’ve curved your darts did you curve the whole thing or just the last few stitches?

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  5. Amy says:

    Love the colour and the collar! Cant wait to see it in mmm’13

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