Butterick 5890 Centipede Lace Top

By | February 26, 2016


I have been so good at not having UFOs around lately. This top was the exception. I cut it out a few months ago along with a couple of other now-completed projects, then put it away when my budget freeze ended and I got distracted by new fabric. Of course, why I finally committed to this UFO when I knew my (drumroll) new serger was on its way, that’s a mystery. My new favorite toy has been sitting unused while I futzed and fussed over this mesh lace top.

So, this fabric came from Hart’s. I was captured by the unusual feather detail in the lace. I have a lovely pair of ivory trousers that I never wear (because my job is often unexpectedly messy), and I thought this would be a companion for them. I’m having a rather tempestuous relationship with the fabric, falling in and out of love depending on whether I’m having to handle it or not.

Fabric close-up!

Fabric close-up!

I choose Butterick 5890 because I wanted something that a) used a yard or less because I never learn and that’s all I bought and b) had as few seams as possible, since they’d be very visible in this sheer fabric. I thought the modest cut of the top would balance out any potential tackiness.

With a couple of fitting tweaks, I’m actually really on-board with this make. (While making it, I was kind of expecting it to be a wadder.) I omitted the back zipper, took in the sides by a couple of inches and did a sloppy alteration on the sleeve to match.


I really like how the details of this garment all make sense together: the high neck, the gentle box pleats (front and back), and the moderate sleeve length. It sounds super boring when I put it like that, but it makes for a garment that looks… just… right. (I submit as evidence, this yellow floral version at House of Lane and this polka dot perfection at That’s Sew Amy.)


My struggle (you know there had to be a struggle, right?) was with the very mesh-like lace. I quickly realized how much machine stitching would stand out. And, confession, I was too lazy and cheap to go buy thread that really matched, which could’ve solved the problem.

In order to work with what I had on hand, I had to do so much handstitching. Like, so much. And it was so fussy! Because the fabric is so light, the needle and pins just wanted to slip right out of the fabric. I learned some appreciation for a nice, crisp fabric!


I French seamed the sides and armholes. (Sidenote: I got too focused on setting in the sleeve and forgot to start with wrong sides together. I finished the French seaming and only then realized I put the seam allowance on the outside of the garment. Whoops. I cut again, folded over again, and voila, fixed.)

I hand-stitched a narrow hem for the neckline, the sleeve hems, and the bottom hem. Good times. It does look pretty nice, though. (I mean, not on the inside, but YOLO. Or whatever acronym applies.)

The box pleats were a first for me. I fought with the fabric a bit in terms of marking. My tailor’s tacks were just falling out when I picked up the pattern pieces, so I tried to use pins. They also kept falling out of the fabric as a tried to match them. Eventually, after a few misfires, I found the marking solution that worked best: washi tape.

The yellow darts are where the pattern markings were. In retrospect, why didn't I just lay the fabric on top of the pattern and then place the tape? SMH

The yellow darts are where the pattern markings were. In retrospect, why didn’t I just lay the fabric on top of the pattern and then place the tape? SMH

I pinned the pattern markings, then I lined up the ends of the tape to correspond the markings. Super easy, super effective. I highly recommend it, if you think it’s a good fit for your fabric.

Also, note that the more you work with the fabric, the more the feathers start to look like centipedes. I can get down with that.

Welcome to the fold, Surprisingly Successful Centipedal Blouse!


8 thoughts on “Butterick 5890 Centipede Lace Top

  1. Jude

    Another great way to mark mesh knits (lots of knits, actually, and many other fabrics, too) is to take up a little nip at the marking point with a safety pin. I keep a supply of quilter’s safety pins (I’m not a quilter) for this purpose. The quilter’s safety pins have a convenient slight bend and are made of a lighter weight wire, so easier to open and close.

    Your top is very cute!

    1. Sara in Stitches Post author

      That makes SO MUCH sense. I’m face-palming over here, because it never crossed my mind. I’ll need to keep an eye out for quilters’ safety pins, because I have another stretch lace in the stash. Thank you so much for the tip!

    1. Sara in Stitches Post author

      Thanks! I’m so glad I found your blog when I was looking for other versions of this. That floral high-waisted pencil skirt you made recently? Amazing!

  2. Jennifer A

    Not once did I think centipedes until you mentioned it, now it is all I see. But regardless I still think it is a super cute fabric!

    1. Sara in Stitches Post author

      Thanks, Jennifer! I can’t unsee them either. In a weird way, I like it even more now.

  3. Claire

    Love it when a make is veering toward wadder territory and then makes a comeback! Looks great on you!

    1. Sara in Stitches Post author

      Thanks, Claire! I agree, comeback projects are so satisfying!

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