Helena from Gray All Day has just released her newest pattern, in fact I was a pattern tester for her new Athena Top*. I’ve never been a pattern tester before so hope I did the role justice. I was drawn to this top for a number of reasons, primarily because I am in desperate need of some separates in my wardrobe. As you can probably see from my posts I make a lot of dresses. Secondly it’s probably not a silhouette I would normally choose and was more than happy to get out of my comfort zone. Thirdly, I am so inspired by those who have a vision and are enthusiastic and motivated about achieving their goals that I am happy to contribute to their success, especially because I know I would never venture down that path.
It can be made up in a knit or woven and I tried both versions. These are my tester versions and you can see others at Gray All Day so I won’t go into detail about construction as the instructions changed for the final version.
First the knit test version. I used fabric in my stash as I had bought the perfect fabric 2 months earlier, a rayon knit (100% rayon) in a #4 scatter pink colourway, and white ITY knit (95% polyester, 5% spandex) which were originally purchased to make a 2 tone t-shirt. The Athena Top seemed like the perfect match to achieve the look I originally was going for. The top is a loose fit with oversized sleeves and thus requires fabrics with lots of drape. This top has a lot of ease, in fact it has no negative ease. I went down 2 sizes than where my measurements put me on the size chart.
For construction I used a slight zig zag stitch to sew up the seams and rather than pressing the seams open I serged them together. This of course added some bulk when adding the neck and sleeve bands but the fabric was pretty thin so I got away with it. I used a twin needle for the hem, the best one I have ever done. Not sure why they have been so troublesome in the past.
The second test version I made was from woven fabric, Cupro Touch (100% polyester) which is apparently the “European cousin of tencel fabric” in sun colour. I cut the same size as the knit version and you can see it still fits well with enough ease at the hips for adequate movement. I neatened the side seams by serging. The neckline and sleeve hems are finished off with self-made bias binding in which pattern pieces are included, and then completely turned to the inside and topstitched.
I was relatively happy with the tops and the low back hem adds some more interest although I would prefer more length next time. My personal concern was that the neckline was too wide and low for my liking however the final pattern has been altered with this change in mind as well as other changes so I didn’t feel it was accurate to post my complete thoughts about this top without making another version as the final pattern is written.
The third version is a woven top, made from brights printed crepe de chine # 4 in yellow/grey (100% polyester) and poly matt crepe de chine in ivory (100% polyester). I cut the same size as my previous versions. I don’t have much to add construction wise with instructions to french seam all seams for the woven version and a neater neckline finish with the self made bias binding (with pattern pieces included). My only change here was to do the neckline top stitching 3/8 inch from the edge rather the instructed 1/4 inch. As aforementioned the neckline is higher and more stable on my shoulders in the final release version of the pattern. There is also a lengthen line included on the pattern and I lengthened both front and back by 1 inch (personal preference). This version is by far my favourite and although have been wearing my knit version I think this one will prove more versatile and comfortable.
Nice inside with the french seams
Helena has done a great job with this pattern to create something unique and versatile and I now happily have a few new separates for my wardrobe. I initially found styling the top a little difficult because I usually wear more fitted tops but have come up with a few combinations and I think it looks just as nice tucked in as it does out.
*Helena provided the pattern free for testing.