Sewing A ‘Block’ : Sew Over It Whitley Top

Hi sewing buddies!

I’ve long wanted a basic top pattern, an everyday easy-wear woven top that could act as a ‘block’ to be customised at will. I’ve tried a few over the years – some of which ended up taking so much redrafting, I basically lost the will to finish. However, roll of drums please, I think I may have found it, without much effort, in Sew Over It’s ‘Whitley Top’!

It’s an easy and quick sew and helpfully comes with four different front pieces depending on your cup size (A-B, C-D, E-F and G-H), two neck finishes (round or ‘V’) and three sleeve lengths. It’s available as a stand-alone pattern or as part of an online course. It’d make a great beginner sew!

It fit pretty much how I wanted it to without any major tweaking on my part – my only alteration being to lower the darts – considerably! 1.5″ to be exact. I like the drafting of it; there’s shaping to the waist and it hangs nicely through the back – even without doing a swayback adjustment! (I’ve since made a more fitted version of this pattern in a non-stretch woven, with extra fit adjustments, see HERE).

Centre Back Seam Pattern Matching Happiness! Fabric : Lady McElroy viscose ‘Hunters Quest’

As I say, it has two neck finishes – a round and a V. I pattern matched the centre back seam on all three of my versions. I belatedly realised (after sewing the first one) that if you’re doing the V neck version, there’s really not much need for the neck opening at the back; you could get rid of the centre-back seam altogether. However, I quite like the neck opening as a design feature and so kept it with all three. (If you want to see how I pattern match busy prints like this, I’ve a step-by-step tutorial on it HERE).

As I want the Whitley to act as a basic pattern on which to launch a 1000 tops, I’ve donned my ‘Scrutiny Glasses’ every time I’ve worn them to see where I could improve the fit for my shape. On reflection, I will faff with it, perhaps forward rotating the shoulders and sleeve cap a little, for example. I’ve also spent a bit of time thinking about the bust darts. I’ve lowered them but I also think I could reshape them a little to better fit my chest…

I’m a DD cup at the moment, and sewed the E-F front (DD = E in my book). As I say, I lowered the darts 1.5″ but having worn these three tops on more or less constant rotation recently, I think I may sew the darts in differently for the fourth; they’re a little long at the moment, going slightly past the fullest part of my bust. Also taking into account the particular shape of my bust (round-sided), as well as tapering to a slight curve near the apex, I think altering the shape of the dart legs to be more concave might help, like this…

Image from Closet Case Patterns – they have a really useful post on darts HERE

I’m just musing aloud really; what’s your preferred method?

I purchased this fabric HERE

Bust dart musings aside, I can see myself making so many of these. During the hot weather we’ve been having recently (and where did it go?!) they’ve been absolutely ideal. It’s a perfect pairing of fabric to pattern really. The fabrics were a dream to work with and handle beautifully; they barely crease and wash and press fabulously – they’ve even got a bit of stretch to them which makes them really comfortable in the wear. So even though I’m not usually much of a ‘print’ wearer; I’m rather loving these! (kudos to the Husband who chose them all!)

I purchased this fabric HERE

Oh and can I just say, the photos in this post were all taken in about 5 seconds flat … it’s pretty hard keeping a straight face when your daughter is heckling from the sidelines and shoving herself in the frame! I managed to get just a handful of pictures of the tops and about a billion of us both falling over each other laughing – they’re some of the best pics I’ve taken of us together and I love ’em all! I shared this one on my Instagram feed…

And now I’ve sewn these tops I really need more summer weight trousers to go with them – elasticated to cope with my Lockdown Waistline. After much pondering – which is all I seem to do these days – I finally plumped for New Look 6517 as they’re almost identical to the RTW ones I’m wearing in this post. I reckon I need at least three pairs. If you need me, you’ll know where I’ll be, haha!

Happy sewing, take care

Disclaimer : Not a sponsored post – all items mentioned were purchased. Post does contain affiliate links; if you choose to make a purchase via one of these links you will be supporting this blog at no additional cost to yourself, for which I thank you! Sarah x



17 thoughts on “Sewing A ‘Block’ : Sew Over It Whitley Top”

  1. Oh goodness, these tops are gorgeous and I love the fabrics. Sadly having far from a full bosom, the vagaries of bust darts leave me flumoxedThis is definitely a pattern I’ve got to try. So many patterns so little time. Thanks so much

    Liked by 1 person

  2. thabks Suzanne! Yes exactly…that liberating feeling of being able to customise a range of different tops from a known, well fitting, block! hope it works out for you .. please let me know how you get on! x


  3. Thank you for this Sarah! All 3 look absolutely great on you. I think I may have to get this pattern too: not having to do a FBA will save me some time (always have to make several modifications). I have narrow shoulders as well as a D cup bust and I struggle to get a good fit in a top, whether it’s a dress bodice or blouse. I’d love to get a simple pattern like this to fit well: there are so many possibilities once it does!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. thank you!!!! Yes you’re absolutely right!! The dart should end at the side where your bust is fullest before it curves towards the apex/ nipple, especially on a larger bust…this has really been cemented in my mind lately and makes such a difference doesn’t it!!! xxxx


  5. Thanks for this Sarah. Always a little frisson of excitement when I see a notification for your post appear in my email. This looks like something else to try – thanks for sharing. As for the darts –
    I would definitely expect the concave shape to be better as it narrows to the point. As for placement of the point – I just made a top where the dart ended ( it was designed that way 👍) nearly 2 inches away from the bust apex ( towards the side of course!!!) and I really like the finished look. Thanks again! Jill x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. These are cool- saving this post for future consideration. SO many woven casual tops are very boxy [although I’ve learned to embrace that lately]. As I’m a similar shape/size to you by the look of it, I may have to try some! Thanks fpr sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  7. wow these fabrics are truly stunning and work so well with simple clean patterns like this one. Love them all. I have no understanding of darts whatsoever but seriously need to start learning to do more than just cut out a pattern and hope for the best 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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