Pattern Review Linda Top

Do you ever have a project that is so perfect in your mind, but just doesn’t turn out like you wanted? And then you end up with a garment you really want to love, but just don’t? Yeah, that’s where I’m at with this top. Here’s the story of my Linda Top.

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First of all, let’s start with the pattern. The Linda Top is a pattern exclusive to PatternReview.com, and is offered as a free pattern to any Friends of PR members. When you first join PR, you are given one month of membership for free, which is when I downloaded this pattern.

But I will say, before you even bother to go ahead and download it – take a look at the size chart. It is only designed to fit busts 33″ – 40″, meaning that I had to grade up. (I have written before that I find myself in this limbo land of in between regular sizing and plus sizing, but I still think my body measurements are average enough to be included in most size charts…)

Now, as you can probably see in my photos, this pattern has a lot of negative ease. There is a note in the pattern description about that, but it simply says, “We recommend a knit with at least 30% 2 way stretch. Fit will vary based on the stretch factor of your knit. Make a muslin to see if you need to go up a size.” The mystery knit fabric that I used had 50% stretch and excellent recovery, so I thought grading up one size would be sufficient. I don’t think it was. If you look at the modelled photos for the pattern, while there does appear to be negative ease, neither of the shirts seem to be nearly as tight as mine. They do give a reference as to what size the model is wearing, but they only give her bra size, no actual measurements… Which, quite frankly, bra sizing is fairly useless when sewing.

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Now, I will say that the fabric I used is a little, ahem, clingy. But I don’t know what kind of fabric would work well for this. You want something lightweight and drapey so the gathers and neck tie look best. You want something stretchy for all that negative ease… a poly/spandex ITY seemed like the best best, but I’m really not digging that back view… or the bra lines on the front view.

And yeah, I’m not gonna lie – I didn’t even turn on my iron for this project. Nope. Didn’t press a thing, not even the ends of that bow. Partly because my fabric is definitely a polyester, and partly because I just plain ran out of bleeps to give. 😉

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In general, I consider myself an optimist. I like to look for the best things in life, and find the good all around me. But I also consider myself an honest person. I like to be real with the world around me, and tell my truths whenever I can. As such, I try to find the balance every day. To be truthful, yet positive at all time. As this tranlates to my blog, I try to say positive yet honest things about all of the patterns, companies and fabrics that I write about. Even if one thing isn’t so great about a pattern/fabric/etc, I try to highlight the good points.

And yet, I’m not finding very many good points about this pattern. :/

It is a PDF downloadable pattern, with 16 pages to print and tape together. The instructions have you trim two sides,  but there are very small margins to trim and tape together, which meant there was not enough space for me to glue first, which I prefer to do. There is also a whole blank page at the end of the PDF instructions? Not sure why that would be.

I kind of feel like the sleeveless view for this top was an afterthought. The pattern does not have different cut lines for sleeved or sleeveless, which I usually find means either the sleeves fit weird, or the tank looks like a muscle shirt. And the instructions show you how to make the sleeved version, and then at the end, it starts over for the sleeveless, until the arm binding is done, when it says to go back and follow the rest of the instructions to finish.

The arm binding pattern piece is one size for all sizes, and then the instructions have you measure the arm hole and calculate the binding length on your own. I perhaps cut my binding a little too small, as it created gathers around the armhole. The fabric layout suggest cutting all pieces in a single layer, making it as snug as can be, and nearly no fabric goes to waste. Pay attention when cutting yours, or you might have to cut one tie going the other direction, like yours truly. Whoops…

I’m also not totally pleased with the neckline. The bow is intended to sit off-center, but I feel like it looks more accidental than purposeful. Also, the center front of the shirt, between the two neck tie bits, is unfinished. I ran the raw edge through my serger, because I couldn’t find any instruction on how to finish it.

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So. All in all – I’m not totally pleased, but I’m not completely disappointed either. I did download this pattern for free, and I got this piece of fabric for less than $3, but I did waste quite a bit of my time. I really wanted to love this top, because I love bow blouses, so I’ll probably wear it a few times under a buttoned cardigan, and then pass it along to my younger sister. The finished product wouldn’t be bad if it fit well, despite my disappointments with the pattern itself.

(But look at my cute puppy dogs! I couldn’t bear to make them get off the couch just for photos.)

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