You know how your style is supposed to become more conservative after you get older and become a mom?
Now that I’m not going into the office five days a week, I feel the opposite. I can wear skirts above the knee! I can wear lower cut blouses! I can wear… a crop top? (Serious question here.)
I certainly did not anticipate taking up crop tops after having a geriatric pregnancy (lovely term, btw), but here we are. I blame the #catpants. Once I wore them, I realized they were ridiculously high-waisted. A crop would be a more suitable companion. And since I had an old thrifted dress on hand for refashioning, why not?
First, the good news: this project was so fast and easy, and super fun to sew. Win!
The fabric is a polyester-spandex blend that’s pretty thick and a bit textured and squishy. I thrifted this dress a couple of years ago for less than $5; it’s from K-Mart’s house brand, so… super classy. (Honestly, I have a soft spot for K-Mart, and have found some awesome things from there through the years.) It’s pretty cute to start with, but it’s a couple of sizes too big for me and it also has a stain on the front. That makes it a perfect candidate for a refashion!
Because the skirt consists of 6 panels, I wanted to find a pattern that similarly used panels in order to avoid piecing anything together. I’d like to claim some sort of thoughtful scheme, but really, the whole project came together in a flash of inspiration while flipping through my pattern collection.
I used the bodice for Vogue 9078, as it looked like it would be the right length, is constructed with princess seams so uses panels, and I’ve been wanting to use this pattern for a couple of years, but hadn’t found the right fabric fit.
Between cutting apart the dress and sewing, this top only took 3 nap sessions to complete. Because I was working with a knit, I was able to make the following changes:
*Eliminate the back zipper
*Cut center back piece on the fold, and scooped out the v-back
*Fold over and stitch the neckline and hems
I also set the sleeves in the flat and serged all seams, making this super fast and easy. I cut my usual 10, and narrowed the sleeves a bit (as usual, because chicken arms). The top is a big large in the back, but I’m not worried about a perfect fit with this garment. When people talk about cake vs icing? This top is definitely icing, and not going to be a wardrobe workhouse. As I was making it, I started to get excited, thinking that I might wear it with more than just my #catpants.
Then I tried it on.
OMG it’s so short. I mean, I knew I was making a crop, but I was picturing an inch or so above the belly button. You know, a tasteful, stately crop. Because of the fabric limitations, I really had to squeeze the pattern pieces, and, well… it’s really cropped. I chickened out of wearing it to an event, and fortunately, I have a friend who was like, “Stop worrying and wear the damn crop top,” though said more eloquently than that. She suggested I try a high-waisted pencil skirt, so I raided my closet, and found more ways to style this top than I expected! (I had a ridiculously good time playing in my closet, something I haven’t done in years. Thanks, Kristen!)
Also, the stripes on the side panels are a bit wonky, again because this is a refashion. I just didn’t have the leeway to engage in any stripe matching, or even in making sure the angles were totally coherent. I knew that going in, and it was freeing. That was a lot of the fun of this project: the feeling that it was all play, and not some skills challenge. So yeah, the side panels don’t go in any design-related direction, and I can’t say that I care right now.
We’ll see if I actually wear this more than a couple of times. Hopefully, I feel like a total badass and end up loving it. You know, screw societal expectations of women over 35 and mothers and all that. On the other hand, if I end up wanting to cover my belly with my arm all day, this isn’t going to stick around for long. Either way, I’m happy with the process as much as the product. It’s easy to get caught up in technique and value and wearability when you sew, and sometimes, having a ridiculous experimental project is the best way to remind yourself that hobbies should be fun. (Need another reminder? Check out this brilliant post from This Blog Is Not for You.)
Welcome to the closet, my Conspicuously Cropped Cat Companion!