GBSB Shell Top (more polka dots!)

I had enough fabric left over from my spotty Ruby Dress to make the Shell Top from the latest Great British Sewing Bee book – Fashion with Fabric.

GBSB Shell Top

I’m not sure whether I like it or not, though. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it.

My reasons are: The fit isn’t great – it’s snug around my hips but a loose elsewhere. I think I could deal with the looseness if it wasn’t snug at the hem. I look pregnant from front on in the photo below! (I am NOT pregnant!) Also I’m not sure what my expression is saying – at least it’s not a selfie!

GBSB Shell Top

I have worn it for Me-Made-May and had to take it off at 5pm as it was uncomfortable around the armholes . It looks like it fits OK, so it’s a bit odd really. I think the fabric may be a tad heavy to be comfortable, what with the facing as well.

GBSB Shell Top

That said, I do like some things about it. The neckline (both front and back) fits nice and smoothly. I French seamed the side seams – which is becoming a standard in my sewing now! I liked the construction – the all-in-one armhole/neckline facing step was good and one I have done before on my Simplicity 1609 dresses (1 and 2); I like how neat it is.

GBSB Shell Top

And although the little button at the back isn’t necessary fastening-wise, I do think it’s pretty cute.

GBSB Shell Top

And I like how the hem is lower at the back because I do like longer tops; this is primarily what drew me to the pattern in the first place. However here lies the problem. The top is too snug around my hips. After seeing a few of them in blogland I learnt that it comes up quite short – so I lengthened the pattern a few inches before I cut mine. I should have considered the fact that I was lengthening it over my hips so should have added more width. Dammit. You can see below that I added quite a chunk to the waist. Oh, I’m so smart in hindsight.

GBSB Shell Top

GBSB Shell Top

I’m considering perhaps cutting into the side seams, creating ‘V’ slits to give more ease. What do you think? Is it worth a try?

I made another spotty top too, last week – I will blog it in a couple of days! It’s from Lauren Guthrie’s book – the simple sleeveless top. Yes, I am polka dot crazy!

Beth x

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47 thoughts on “GBSB Shell Top (more polka dots!)

  1. Your experience of making this is reminiscent of mine, there are aspects I really like; the neckline & the neat facings, but I am unhappy with the length and sort of sloppy finish of the hem. I guess lengthening it like you did would be good but I would also need to grade out to accommodate my hips :-/ maybe a more drapey fabric would help? Love your dotty fabric 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes I remember yours and you weren’t happy with the hem. It can’t be hard to grade it to accommodate hips. A drapey fabric would be good, yes, as it does lack movement!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Me-Made-May 2015 Week 3 Roundup | After Dark Sewing

  3. If you make it again, lengthen it at the hem only, following and extending the curve – unless you have a particularly long body and needed to add length at the waist. Slits should make it wearable though, and add interest – or you could add a ‘V’ of contrasting fabric for fun:)

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    • I’m not sure if I have a long torso… I’m 5′ 6″ which I believe patterns are meant to be designed for but they do tend to come up short. RTW tops are short too. Although maybe they’re not and it’s my preference to have them longer than they should be! Hmm. It would make sense to just add to the hem though. I like your contrasting fabric idea, I might just do that!

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  4. I have just bought this book so this post is highly relevant. With a woven fabric shell top fit is everything. I would take your knowledge now and apply it to the pattern. I have the same issue as you and Chris with many armholes being a bit high for me, so I usually scoop them out a bit on a very close fitting item. Also the hip curve is a lesson that will stay with you now (I have made that mistake a few times too). My hunch on the bulge is that you need an under bust dart. If you make all these changes now you will have a perfect shell top and one you make adapt to make a tunic and a sheath dress, so well worth the work. Side slits will take as long as altering the pattern and will not make you happy.

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  5. think the slits would be a good idea, but if you’re not really comfy in it, I think it would be a waste of time. It really suits you though, and looks better than you think, I think we’re often a bit harsh on ourselves. Maybe would look better under a blazer…..

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      • I used a Ponte Roma which is a lovely colour but lightweight and cheap. I think I will make another – just not yet – I didn’t enjoy all the interfacing (my least favourite thing to do I think) and the fact I used stretch stitch so it took forever! My machine wanted to eat it all the time and I’m not sure how long it’ll last. I’m also not sure on the fit!

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      • LOL. I have been wearing it today and I have to say it’s grown on me. Especially seeing as I’ve had compliments including somebody asking me to make her one so…. Maybe it’s not so bad. It is very comfy! In hindsight yes I probably could have straight stitched all of it… I only did the topstitching straight. Grrrr never mind!!

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  6. I’ve made this top a couple of times and have had issues with the fit, but not the same as what you describe! Mine was too gapey around the front and back neckline despite being OK everywhere else. A pretty top though and great pattern matching on the back!

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  7. I love how the top matches your blog background! 🙂 I think it would be worth trying to add more ease into in as it is very cute and it would be a shame to put it to the back of your wardrobe!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That is really cute Beth but I can see what you mean about the bagginess, I guess it depends on the look you want. The slits would probably help and how about taking the sides in a bit at the waist too, to deal with the looseness? I am gradually falling in love with your wardrobe! It’s some time since I made any clothes from scratch, these days it tends to be more re-vamping 🙂

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    • I French seamed it so taking in the sides would be a pain! But maybe I will. You should sew something from scratch for a change! Mix it up a little! Oh by the way I made those chocolate biscuits with my girls on Sunday. They have gone down very well! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yes, I had forgotten you said about french seaming, that really would be a pain. I know, I ought to do something from scratch again, I have got several bits of coordinating fabric I might be able to make a skirt out of. Glad you enjoyed the biscuits, they are Abi’s favourite. x

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  9. I was just about to suggest the slits I think it would make all the difference to it feeling comfortable. It looks lovely though the fabric is a winner 🙂

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  10. Definitely try snipping the side seams.
    If it’s looser on the hips it should drape more across your stomach and you won’t feel so ‘bulky’ there.
    It might also feel more comfy around the arm holes after you’ve washed it a few times – unless it is just a little too fitting of course.;)

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  11. I was about to suggest cutting into the side seams to let them open out, but you’ve thought of that! Also it could help to lower the armholes by stitching a deeper curve where the facing is attached and then clipping and trimming off the extra. 🙂

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    • I’m going to do it 🙂 I’m not sure if I can be bothered to alter this one but will lower the armholes on my next one. I had to do that with my Sorbettos. What’s wrong with my arms?!

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      • 🙂 nothing wrong with your arms lol!… I used to have the same issue with tops chaffing around the armhole. My issue is that I have very straight shoulders (ie horizontal to the floor instead of sloping away from my neck). This makes armholes pull up and against my underarms. My solution when making my own is to add to the paper pattern at the outer edge of the shoulder seams. On rtw I sometimes have to scoop out the armhole a little!

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