Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
A few months ago, back when there was still snow on the ground, I had the opportunity to test the E&M Top #6 for Alison, of E&M Patterns.. Back then, it was just a top. And it was woven. We tested and tested, and so many of us fell in love. But Alison, she’s a perfectionist, I think and just never was quite happy with it. So it got back-burnered. Every once in a while, we would ask her about it, fingers crossed that she was ready to try again. Months went by.
Months of me sitting on this….
I couldn’t show anyone on Facebook the pictures because the pattern hadn’t been released. Meanwhile, every time Monkey wears it, people ask me where to get it, and can I make them one, also. I had made multiple tops using woven fabric. I spent months terrified some picture would get out of Monkey wearing this top… but it was just.so.stinkin’.cute on her! I was not about to let it sit in the drawer!
Especially as I made two of them!
I really loved the vintage feel of this pattern. I loved that it looked like a top little girls should be wearing. It let little girls look like little girls… not miniature teenagers. Call me old-fashioned, but I love when little girls dress like little girls, embracing their innocence and capturing those moments before life tarnishes them.
I felt like this top captured that. It had a vintage feel to it, and was so easy to either dress up or down, just by changing the fabric! And while I was sewing up these tops that had to be hidden away from public view, I was also falling in love with the way Alison writes patterns. I was, honestly, simply amazed. Alison takes patterns and doesn’t just give you pieces and directions and turn you loose. She doesn’t assume you have a serger. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
She assumes you do not. Instead, she gives you clearly written directions, helpful pictures and images… and instructions on finishing your seams.
That’s right. She actually teaches you how to finish your seams so that every item looks professional.Her philosophy is that our garments should look as pretty from the inside as they do on the outside. A women after my own seamstress heart! I’ve tested a few items for her now, and each time I learn more and hone my craft just a little bit further.
I wish I had thought to take pictures of the insides of these tops. I’ve taken her teachings and now apply them to everything I sew.
Months went by. I didn’t think we’d ever get to see this top come to light. I was sad and disappointed…
Michigan finally decided winter could be over.
Spring begrudgingly gave way to summer.
Summer forgot what summer was supposed to feel like… and then….
The tester call came again! Would we be interested in giving the new and improved design a try?
Well, duh. I couldn’t sign up fast enough!
The only caveat? My beloved pattern for wovens was now knit.
Now. If you know me, you know I have a love/hate relationship with knits.
As in I love to hate them.
I don’t sew them well. My stitches make the knit pucker. I have really strong feelings about my garments looking professional and just where a zigzag stitch fits into that belief.
I almost backed out.
That’s right. I almost declined to help with my most favoritest top EVER.
But I couldn’t.
I needed to see this top come out. People needed this pattern. The seamstresses of the world, all those mamas who lovingly create beautiful items for their children… they needed this.
So, I searched through my stash for a knit that felt like woven. Yes, they’re out there. You just have to search. I found this orange knit with a nice heavy weight and not a ton of stretch and just jumped in with my eyes closed and holding my breath.
Thanks to those fantastic directions (and access to all those wonderfully talented seamstresses in the tester pool!) I muddled through. And now, even in knits, this is by far still my most favorite top ever.
I’ve already got another one all cut out. I’m repurposing one of my husband’s old red and white stripe tees that’s too short for his long torso. I’m going to attempt to use woven for the neckline in the color of the stripe so that I can make pretty little woven ties. I found the woven easier to make the binding with, but that’s likely my love of wovens and dislike for knits. (I pretty much wear wovens most of the time, also. I do wear tees around the house but anytime I expect to see another human being I’m not related to, it’s woven tops for me.)
One of my favorite features of this top and dress is the option for pintucks. I love pintucks. Alison includes a piece in the pattern pieces… a grid of sorts that allows you to mark exactly where the stitching is to go. Other options include a gathered neckline, a pleated neckline (which I used in my knit version because I forgot to gather it before applying my neck binding…) and a closure of either a solid knit neckline, a snap closure, or sweet little ties. There’s even a dress option now!
That’s a lot of change.
And it’s all good.
It’s been a bit since the pattern was released, so it’s not on sale anymore. It’s a rare thing for me to say that a pattern is worth every dime of the regular price. This one? This one’s worth it. You can grab it here. And when you’re done with your top and are as amazed as I am, you can go here and thank Alison yourself.
In the meantime, happy sewing!
Disclaimer for some government bureaucracy. the FTC I think?: I did receive a pattern in exchange for testing this pattern. I did not receive any funds and would have received the pattern even if I hadn’t blogged about my love for it. I would love to receive money for, well, anything… but I cam promise I cost more than a pattern. LOL