Image from Paco Peralta's blog
I placed an order through the Etsy shop, and even had a brief messaged conversation with Paco. He's a delight! The pattern arrived in only 8 days - not bad for mailing from Spain.
And the pattern itself is just plain fun to work with - reprinted on onion-skin textured tracing paper, with original handwritten notes in two colors and languages. Four sizes on one sheet, easily traced and pretty easy to assemble.
Testing the pattern in a hopefully wearable muslin was my first goal. I generally need to make my tops by truly customizing the size - 2 or sometimes 3 different sizes between my neck, bust and hip. Tracing off the medium at the neck and shoulder, large in the armscye and bust, and tapered out to the extra-large at the hip, I left 1" seam allowances everywhere. I found a piece of satin-back crepe - left from some client's project - in an ecru color that could become a good addition to my wardrobe, if this muslin turned out to be successful, and assembled it using the crepe side as the face.
Results: not so much. The poly (my fabric snob side is trying to speak out here) crepe is nowhere near as drapey as the crepe shown on the Etsy shop, and the cowl doesn't fall prettily. I need every bit of those extra seam allowances at the hip and waist. For this first attempt, I followed Ann's lead in curving out the diagonal seam between upper and lower front to create a full bust adjustment. Only I needed even more, for my nearly D cup, so I let out the shoulder seams, and dropped the point at the base of the upper front piece by 3/8" as well. Better, but still not the dreamy top I'd hoped for. Now, I know that my nearly plus-size body isn't going to look like the sweet shapely models/model garments used for photography, but this style looks like it should work beautifully once fit properly. The test muslin has been put aside, never even added a zipper to see if I'll be able to use it at all. Here it is on my dressform - not really the same size as I am, but she'll do.
That cowl just doesn't fall nicely, even cut on the bias!
I can see the distortion on this seam in the area I curved outward to add fullness
On to test #2. I went for a straight out of the envelope XL on this one, and cut it in a drapey rayon knit from Sawyer Brook (long ago sold out, I made a long-sleeved top out of this print last Fall and had a lot left over). I thought long and hard about the FBA (full bust adjustment) that needed to be done. Adding a curve to the straight seam joining the upper and lower fronts - which is so integral to the design - really bothered me, and I'm one who needs to know and understand the "whys" along with the "hows" in making changes. I reasoned that if I were to do a normal FBA I'd be opening a dart out to the side seam and one down to the waist. Design changes are achieved by rotating those darts to create new seams. As I envisioned them rotated into one and downward, I decided to simply push the point of the upper front piece down 3/4", and redraw the diagonal seams from the armscye to the new point. Presto - added length and width for the bust.
I didn't even add paper to the pattern - just marked the point extension and used my clear ruler to cut back to the armhole, seen next to the rotary cutter in the photo above
Here are both front pieces. I left a full 1" seam allowance on the side seam, which you can see at the left of the lower front piece on the left
I really love the way this came out. There's just the right amount of room in the bust, and the top drapes really nicely on me. I may still want to reduce the size in the neck, so I'll be making that adjustment in the next one I make. And forgive me, Paco - but I may try drafting a 3/4 sleeve and new armscye to cover my less-than-beautiful upper arms...
Again, it fits me better than it does Gwendolyn. I'll get someone to take a shot of me wearing it, soon -
Oh, and I discovered something new, to me at least. Who knew a machine rolled hem could come out so nicely on a stable knit?