Okay, so let’s be clear: this is my attempt at knocking off the Amadi Off-the-Shoulder Cowl Tee, retailing at Anthropologie for $68.
Let’s also be clear on this: I was wildly successful here. My version cost about $8, for about a yard and a half of ponte, and a bit of 1/4″ elastic.
I have to give most of the credit to the pattern. Knowing which pattern to use to make this top was a no-brainer: Simplicity 8045. Still, I was impressed at how easily the pattern went together, and how clear the instructions were. It’s the first Mimi G branded pattern I’ve tried (I have another in the stash), and I’m optimistic that the others are as good.
I shortened this to make it a top, and I eliminated the side ruching and also the foldover ruching (weird uniboob effect successfully avoided!).
Here’s what stood out to me:
The sizing — It starts at a 10, which is totally unusual. I cut a 10, and it fit like a typical 6. So, definitely check the flat pattern measurements when choosing a size. I lucked out–I cut the smallest size and crossed my fingers, and it worked. Honestly, I could’ve done this with 3/8″ seams and been good. Seriously, be careful on the sizing.
The instructions — Clear and simple. The use of elastic for a ruching effect is an easy and seemingly smart application. I nixed the ruching on the side seams and only used the elastic on the collar (not the collar sides, just around the neckline/shoulders) and it was easy to apply and functions well.
The drafting — What?! Curves actually built into a knit pattern? Well, knock me over with a feather. Perhaps I’m exaggerating, but so, so much of the sewing world is about shapes that are “interesting” but perhaps not flattering or — dare I say it? — sexy. And in my experience with knit patterns, shape is usually provided through negative ease, not through actual shaping. The front and back pattern pieces provide all the curve needed to create the body-hugging silhouette, without relying solely on negative ease.
The simplicity — Just a front, back, sleeves, and foldover collar. Easy. There’s so much shape and style built into so few pattern pieces. I can’t decide if I should be underwhelmed or overwhelmed, to be honest. The pieces aren’t complicated or some miracle of drafting or design, but they do what they’re supposed to, without any extra fuss.
The only drawback is that this was so easy to make that I don’t have the sense of hard-won victory that typically comes with a challenging pattern.
I had a brief stitching session in the morning, then finished it in the afternoon and wore it that evening. (I ran out of thread with less than an inch of sleeve hem to go, so I said “screw it” and left it like that.) I only made a top, but the full dress would probably have taken about 30 minutes more, tops.
Seriously, I love it. It’s a date night t-shirt basically, and so far it looks good with everything.
So, enter my closet, my Nailed-It Knock-Off Top!