May 15, 2014

The Seamster Dandelion top: the most innovative top ever?!

When you’ve been sewing a little while, you start to realise that the vast majority of clothes are made in a very similar way. You can recognise a top pattern straight away, and make it up without instructions (darts, shoulder seams, finish the neckline, side seams, finish the armholes, hem…). In some ways this is really cool, because you can get really fast and start to do fun adaptations. In other ways, it’s a little boring.


Yet again, I’m late on this one, but let’s just say when I got the Dandelion pattern from Mari at Seamster Patterns as part of Sewing Indie Month, I was bedazzled. Folks, this is made like no top you’ve ever seen before.

Seamster Dandelion top
Top: Seamster Dandelion, Shorts: Boden, Sandals: Clarks
It all starts pretty innocently. Ooh, that looks like a pretty raglan sleeve top! Those side panels are kinda quirky, but cool
Then you see the pattern pieces. Err……
And then you see the instructions! *BOOM* Brain meltdown.
There’s no arguing about it: the Dandelion top is crazily innovative. The main thing to note is that there is basically no side seam. Instead, there’s a triangle-ish shaped side panel that becomes the dart in the front of the pattern, wraps around your side, and then joins in with the back dart! To Mari’s immense credit, the instructions are actually very simple to follow and I didn’t have any trouble at all putting it together.
As if that weren’t cool enough. Mari has also increased the cup size as she goes up sizes, so miraculously the 3XL fit my bust perfectly, and I graded down to 2XL everywhere else. You want more? OK, it comes with a *built in* sway-back adjustment (the center back seam is far from straight) which means it scoops into my back in a most pleasing manner.
The result is a totally unique top, which I made in a blue seagull cotton from Grey’s Fabrics and a very lightweight slightly stretchy denim I picked up in Metro Textiles when I was last in NYC:
I made view B2, with the sweetheart neckline, which —- wait for it —- I scooped out a bit more. It’s finished with a facing, which isn’t my favourite type of edge finishing but there are really not many other alternatives for this type of neckline, and since I sewed it down at the seams it hasn’t done too much flipping.

That’s a whole lot of innovation for a humble summer top, but it was so fun to do something a little different. There are all sorts of ways you could show off the crazy seam lines – they would show up really well in a solid colour with piping, and the potential for colour blocking is huge.

On a side note: I was also rejoicing today because I was wearing shorts *and it wasn’t freezing*. Yes, proper Spring has come to the South End, and the whole place is full of pink and white blossom. Joy!

Lastly, thanks to my fellow Bostonian bloggy cohort Katy & Laney for the photos – we managed not only to climb all over the stoops of our neighbours, but also play hide and seek with Katy’s phone, have a near-miss with the garbage guys, and get catcalled from a passing car. All in a day’s work, ladies!

Have you ever made the Dandelion top, dear readers? Do you know any other crazily innovative patterns to add to your everyday casual wardrobe? Are you sewing a Seamster Pattern for the Everyday Casual contest? I’m all ears!

You can enter the Sew Indie Month everyday casual contest by submitting a link to your blog, Pattern Review or Kollabora on this page.


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32 Responses to The Seamster Dandelion top: the most innovative top ever?!

  1. Madalynne May 15, 2014 at 10:30 am #

    Such a great top! I remember posting about it when it came out and I’m happy to see that it’s done to well! An innovative pattern I’ve used doesn’t come to mind, but I want to call out your innovative use of fabric. Printed cotton and stretch lace!

    • Jenny May 17, 2014 at 5:39 am #

      Thanks Madalynne!

  2. Carla Fiedler May 15, 2014 at 10:52 am #

    You look lovely! Nice job!

    • Jenny May 17, 2014 at 5:39 am #

      Thank you Carla!

  3. Annette May 15, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

    Your top looks great! I also have this as part of the PPP #1. However, I took a look at the pattern pieces and decided to wait. You have convinced me to take another look.

    • Jenny May 17, 2014 at 5:40 am #

      It is somewhat intimidating at first! However it’s totally worth just taking it step by step – the instructions are great and once you get your head around what goes where it’s pretty easy

  4. Judi C May 15, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

    This looks great! Love the print! I was down in the south end with my daughter last week. Everything blooming!

    • Jenny May 17, 2014 at 5:41 am #

      Isn’t it nice? I love my neighborhood…

  5. prttynpnk May 15, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

    Oooh- I must have one of these! So many possibilities….

    • Jenny May 17, 2014 at 5:41 am #

      Do it! Then enter it into the contest 😀

  6. tanyamaile May 15, 2014 at 9:56 pm #

    Such a cool pattern and a beautiful top!

  7. anotherhatchettjob May 15, 2014 at 11:09 pm #

    The pattern seems interesting (love the cup size resembling human sizes) and I love what you did with the color blocking. Totally cute!

    • Jenny May 17, 2014 at 5:42 am #

      It’s totally logical, right?!

  8. Sew little time May 16, 2014 at 5:18 am #

    i had forgotten all about this pattern – i love it. i must add it to my “to sew”list (it’s quite long!)

    • Jenny May 17, 2014 at 5:43 am #

      Ha yeah mine is never ending 🙂

  9. Katie May 16, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

    I’ve got this pattern from the PPP month, and I’ve always been intrigued by the construction. It looks so fun to sew, but I’m not sure I’d like the actual garment on me! Yours is gorgeous, I love the bird fabric.

  10. Marjie May 16, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

    That’s really pretty. You have princess seams for shaping but raglan sleeves for comfort. Your fabric choices are splendid!

    • Jenny May 17, 2014 at 5:44 am #

      Exactly, it’s quite genius! I’m looking forward to trying some of the other Seamster Patterns

  11. Dee May 17, 2014 at 2:18 am #

    I love what you say about this pattern so much that I am going to buy it. Thanks. I am curvy (very) and have a deep sway back which makes all my tops bag unless i make adjustments. A pattern designer who has thought this issue through… innovative! Your top looks incredible. i all love the photo shoot pic – fun.

    • Jenny May 17, 2014 at 5:45 am #

      That’s great, let me know how it goes!

  12. Lauren of Rosie Wednesday May 17, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

    Wowza! What a flattering top on you!!

  13. 66stitches May 17, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

    Big Seamster fan here! I adore this and the Rose Hip tights too – they’re both so clever and make for such a good fit. I love your contrasting side panels here, you’ve done a lovely job.

    • Jenny May 18, 2014 at 8:47 am #

      Oh yes the idea of sewing tights is intriguing! I’ll have to give that a go

  14. makingtheflame May 19, 2014 at 5:38 am #

    I didn’t realize you’re in Boston — I’m in Cambridge! We should meet!

    • Jenny May 20, 2014 at 5:31 am #

      Fun!! You should totally come to Crafty Foxes sewing club – Wednesday nights at Grey’s Fabrics in the South End. I should be there next week

  15. May 19, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

    Nice top! The neckline is so flattering. Now I want to sew one too.

  16. Alessa June 10, 2014 at 1:58 am #

    That is such a cool top&dress, I really like the interesting seam lines! And I totally love your version. Birds! 🙂 Great photos, too!

  17. customstyle June 13, 2014 at 7:36 am #

    Cute top on you! I really like the fabrics you used!

    I loved making my Dandelion dress for the same reasons you mentioned – such interesting pieces and construction! I found it strange not to anticipate being finished. I would just be sewing along, and suddenly, it would be complete! In a way, it’s a really nice pallet-cleanser from the standard sewing shapes.

    ~ Brooke

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