26 December 2015

Reverse applique flower and leaf top

It's been a while since my last foray into an Alabama Chanin style project, a dress that I finished back in April. It was about time that I made something else in this style. I actually started planning this top shortly after finishing up my dress, and have had the pattern lying around my studio for a number of months now, just waiting for me to have the time (and attention span) to make it up.

Enter the last day of the school year, when I serendipitously had a spare day with no work that absolutely had to be done. I'd been mentally preparing myself to do this top for a while, and had my template all drawn up ready to paint the design on the shoulder. Among other things I'd been putting off for a while, I got all my fabric prepared and ready to go for this top.

This top design features a double layer of fabric in the front that cross over at the centre. I also moved the shoulder seam further down the back to extend the leaves over the shoulder. This cross over feature is echoed in the sleeves which are made in two halves inspired by flower petals.

I was going for a white / cream tonal colour combo. The top itself is a cream jersey (the same cream that I used for my dress), the paint, of which I left a narrow line when cutting the shapes out, is white, and the hand stitching is a darker shade of cream. I continued on with this on the binding, which I cut out of white jersey, again using the darker cream for stitching.

The reverse applique itself took just over an hour to do. Everything else is machine sewn except for the top stitching around the neck and armholes. I wanted to continue the handmade look there, so hand stitched the binding down from the outside. I briefly considered lugging out the coverstitch machine for the hem, but really didn't want to have to deal with skipped stitches. Well, that and the fact that the way I've designed it, unless you want messy side seams on the inside, you can't do the entire hem in one go.

Although I do love this top, I think for the style it needed to be a little looser and less form fitting from the waist down, and /or a little shorter at the sides and back. See how in the back photo it's pulling a bit too much around the waist? The sleeves also need a bit of tweaking for me to be happy with them. And I think the flower ended up too high on the shoulder. I hadn't actually planned on the flowers intersecting with the binding.

Fear not, I already have another version in the works that addresses all these issues, just with a different colour scheme.

Oh, and let's not forget the fact that it used up another 1.1m of fabric.


  1. I really like this and seeing it is Albama Chanim can you add a panel on each side?

  2. This looks great. Love the reverse appliqué and the shape of the sleeves.

  3. I love that crossover pattern. Is it your creation or is it available. I love what you did with it. I have my knits purchased to try something AC but need a pattern

    1. This is one of my own patterns. Do you have a pattern for a knit top that you can adapt? You just need something that can do two layers.