Everyone needs a well-fitting basic top pattern, something not too tight and not too boxy and not too complicated. I thought I needed two patterns - a casual top to finally replace the last of my free t-shirts from college now that I’ve been a full-fledged “grown up” for ten years, and a basic modest, easy-to-accessorize top for my teaching job.
Turns out I only needed one pattern - BSD’s newest release, the Avery - and a bunch of different fabric types to create everything I needed. The Avery comes with sweet shoulder ruffles and shirred sleeves to make the perfect pajamas, especially paired with the Robin pants, but in its plain form it’s the perfect basic.
I graded my pattern based on my measurements - a size 6 with the included FBA piece at the bust, size 10 at the waist, and size 8 at the hips. I also did a full bicep adjustment on the sleeve, based on the finished bicep measurement provided in the pattern. I used the same pattern pieces on all six of my tops, but I chose different sleeve lengths (short, ¾, and long are all included!) and I tweaked the hems on a couple of them.
Each top is in a different fabric type, so that I could create a range of looks with a single pattern. Follow along as I explore how the different types look and fit!
#1: French Terry (two way stretch, unknown blend from Boho Fabrics)
When I made this top originally, it was supposed to be a pajamas top, like the pattern originally intended. I chose this cozy French Terry for comfy winter pajamas. And then I liked it...a lot. So I wore it with jeans and a scarf to church and the rest was history. I’ve worn it a TON. The only thing I’d do differently is suggest four-way stretch if you’re making long-sleeves and want them to stay put; the sleeves tend to ride up a little with a lot of movement.
#2: Modal Ponte (four way stretch, from So Sew English)
Modal ponte is tough to describe; the texture looks like a traditional ponte, but its lighter and drapey and cool to the touch. It’s a dressy looking fabric that’s comfortable enough to be loungewear. In ¾ length sleeves, it’s a three-season shirt around here. Make that shirt #2 that I can literally wear to work or bed.
#3: ITY (two way stretch, from So Sew English)
ITY (interlock twist yarn) is a poly blend that’s light and dressy-looking and cool to the touch. It’s one of my new favorite fabrics in my never-ending quest for clothes that check all the boxes: modest yet dressy enough for work, stylish yet not too flashy, easy to care for and easy to wear. I’ll be wearing this teal short-sleeve top a lot at work, whether that’s in my art classroom or behind a computer screen. (Neither will involve these heels, that was just for these pictures.)
#4: DBP (four way stretch, from Purple Seamstress)
Some people love double-brushed polyester (DBP). It’s soft and stretchy and pretty easy to work with. It’s not my favorite; I’ve struggled to find a pattern that works with it. Surprise - the Avery does! I’m probably not going to go out and order piles of DBP now, but I was able to use this piece I had to finally make something out of DBP that I don’t hate. I’ll be able to wear this shirt on cooler fall/spring days and during the winter here, probably with a cami underneath to help it skim over some areas I’m less excited about.
#5: Probably a poly/rayon/spandex maybe (two way stretch, from Sincerely Rylee)
I have no idea what this fabric content is; it was in one of those insanely cheap mystery bundles that sometimes you can be lucky enough to catch from Sincerely Rylee. This is probably the most comfortable of my six Averys but maybe the least flattering, because horizontal stripes don’t help many people. But it’s pretty cute with a cardigan. I like the fit in this type of jersey, so I’ll probably look for a similar solid to make #7.
Side note: I had a two-yard cut of this fabric that was cut in half down the middle; this was the leftovers after making a scarf. So I was working with half the width of the fabric by two yards. It was a tight fit, although that was partially due to stripe matching. I had to piece the neckband.
#6: CL (four-way stretch, from Purple Seamstress)
This is my least favorite, but it’s still not bad. Cotton lycra has always been a tough fabric for tops for me, because the combination of higher structure and higher stretch means most patterns end up outside my comfort zone on the form-fitting factor. This one is wearable. For the sake of comparison, I kept the same undergarments on, but I’m personally more comfortable with a compression sports bra or a minimizer. I probably won’t make another one out of CL.