Swing Tops

This is my first attempt at drafting a swing top, made up in a linen fabric.

 Here is my pattern.  Due to my pear shape, I already swing out a lot at the hips, so adding to this made for a top that was pretty loose and swingy.  Whilst I may want this look sometimes, it was more than I wanted at the moment.  Also, the top bubbled out strangely at the side dart.

I ran the side seams in, which has made for a top that is extremely comfortable and I have been wearing it heaps.

I had another go at the draft, this time pretending I was more of a rectangle shape before I added the flare, and taking the side seam flare from the bottom of the bust dart rather than the underarm.  This version was made up in a drapy silk.  Whilst it does not flare out when I am standing still, it has a lovely, swingy movement when I walk around.

 A lovely, cool top  (though I took the neck binding off and re did it after these photos.  Originally I measured the length of neck binding I thought I would need before applying, thinking I would have difficulty with the gauzy silk.  This didn't work and my usual method of applying the neck binding by feel was much more successful).  There is still some strange bubbling out of the bust dart though.

On my third attempt at the draft, I only took the second flare up to the bust point, and closed up the bust dart some of the way to accommodate this flare.  Finally, no bubbling out through the dart.  I also narrowed the front neckline a little to reduce some of the neck gape.  This version was made in an organza which sticks out naturally.  On this version, I went for a straight hem as I thought the curved hem would be difficult to do neatly in the organza.

I repeated this exercise with a higher neckline and cutaway shoulders.  I love this fabric, which I ordered from The Fabric Store after seeing it on their blog.  I have paired it with white shorts here, but later I indulged in a little print mixing and wore it with my bees-and-dragonflies pants, which was an outfit that I felt was completely "me".

I used this pattern to make a layered top.  The inspiration for this top was a style from Anthropologie. The original top had a knit underlayer and a polyester woven top layer.  

Layered Swing Tank - anthropologie.com

Both my layers are silk fabrics from my stash of special fabrics.  There is a third layer of white china silk between the layers so that the purple does not show through to the top fabric.  My version is less strappy, to allow for a comfortable bra.

This top really challenged my self perception as a good sewer.  I spent two weekends on the construction, and most of that time was spent trying to hem the different layers.  I'm still not happy with the hems.  I tried hemming from the top, from underneath, with pins, without pins, with stabilisers, without stabilisers etc etc. but could not get a neat hem in the yellow layer.  The problem with the purple layer, which is a georgette, was that the side seams drooped down because of the bias nature of the side seams, and I could not cut an even hem, let alone turn up a decent hem.  In the end, I had to settle for "good enough".

Halfway through construction, I decided to make the top reversible.  This meant french seaming and some more thought as to how all the layers went together.

I also had to pull out the under-stitching, which I had done in white thread.  Looks like the under-stitching did it's job though...the yellow layer still pulls to the purple side.

I have plans for more variations on the swing top, but my drafting and sewing is being severely curtailed by children's end of year functions and sporting commitments.  In the meantime, I have a handful on new tanks for summer.


  1. Almost one for every day of the week! I bet you will live in these over summer.
    The hems look fine from here, but aren't they a pain sometimes?! I have found on tricky fabrics that found the smaller the hem the better it sits flat.
    Looking forward to what you come up with next!

  2. I'm so impressed with your whole process and the outcomes... sounds like a business meeting! I wish I could help you with the hems but they are tricky. I love the reversible top. So, so clever. Your fabrics are all so gorgeous too. You have a great eye for colour and style.

  3. WOW! very impressive! First the pattern looks so complex and second (and this is my favorite part) No Armcye Gap!!!! Oh my...! The tops fit perfectly, the fabrics are gorgeous. I always have problems with the hems, I even got two sewing machine foots to sew narrow rolled hems but it's been difficult when you get close to the sides. Oh well, practice practice practice, just like you did with your flow top, congrats!

  4. What excellent results for all your efforts. I love each one of these. It is my favorite woven tee shape, as I like a loose top in the summer heat. These are phenomenal!

  5. I admire your persistence in tweaking your pattern drafts to make them better. All of the tops look great, as well as cool and comfortable. I love the two layer reversible top. It looks so much like the inspiration top.

  6. I absolutely love the pink organza version. And I definitely love a swingy top. The layered version is really cool, too, and I can't see any hem issues from here. Love seeing all your multiples! They are all fab!

  7. I love the pink organza version too. The layered one is interesting too. I'm not sure that you'd wear cigar pants in such a hot climate, but this cut would look great with skinny pants.

    1. Thanks Gail, Shorts and pants are coming up on my radar for 2016. I would love to have a well fitting pattern for cigar pants.