Mastering the Molly Top

As you may have read here on the blog, I find it motivating and useful to sew clothes in modules, where every piece goes with every other piece in the module. My current module I’ve called the Winter Module with Two Coats. I thought I would give a quick progress report.

It’s not going exactly to plan at this point. Three of the five fabrics have suffered terrible fates at the cutting table, and I’m not very excited about the remaining two. It’s for this reason I’ve decided to pause on this module and re-visit the basics.

New Plan: Master the Basics

What do I consider the Basics? Four things: Knit top, woven top, pants, cardigan. No skirts, no dresses, no coats. I will pick a single pattern for each of these and make it as many times as it takes to have a master, perfectly fitting pattern.

Knit top: The Molly Top by Sew Over It

I’ve made this top at least three times already, so I thought this would be a breeze. I pulled the pattern pieces out of their storage sleeve and, to my surprise, there were sticky notes all over it. One said the sleeve was too narrow and “fix this before making again”. Another said the top was too short. There was another note in the folder about the neckband issues. Nice I had left myself a trail of breadcrumbs, but it’s clear this was not yet a master pattern.

I tried on my other versions and made some decisions about the size and length of everything. Then I re-cut the pattern. I ended up making a size 12, with one inch added to the sleeve and one inch reduced in length. I had a cute pink and blue waffle knit from Califabrics, and also some scraps from my Grace Cardigan that were from Mood — these became the sleeves.

My adjustments seemed pretty spot-on. I like the length, I like sleeve length. Even the neckband fit pretty well. I didn’t use the pattern piece and drafted it from scratch at 85% of the neck opening.

The bottom hem is a hot mess. I totally forgot that my new sewing machine can easily do a twin-needle hem, which would have looked great. Instead I did a wobble stitch, and added hem tape to the hem so the hem wouldn’t get wavy. Not a great move as the hem really needs to stretch so you can comfortably pull on the shirt.

Something I learned from this make: Maybe you can’t use the same pattern for every fabric. The size 12 works well for this very stretch waffle knit. When I made this size for a ponte de roma fabric, the neckband piece was way too small and the arms were too tight.

The notes I will leave myself in this pattern sleeve will be: Size up for a heavier or less-stretchy fabric! And cut the neckband at 90% (to start).

It sounds like the next test to make this a master pattern will be to try exactly that! -rp