Finished Object: Mirabilis Top

She’s basically a woven button front camisole with bias bands.  I’m beside myself to have a properly fitting sloper.  For as long as I’ve carefully altered patterns to fit my body, I suspected it would work just as well to start from scratch.  True that, and now I’m only limited by the inspiration I can scrape together.  I feel like this has completely changed my sewing.

I took photos during construction, but it all looks like happy Madras cotton and not much else.  In case I need to reference this later (because this is first and foremost my projects notebook):

  • Darts and tucks.
  • French side seams
  • Underarm seams on armbands/facings
  • Arm bands to bodice
  • Facing to arm bands
  • Stitch folded edge of facing down
  • Front placket
  • Front neck bands sewn to shirt
  • Back neck band sewn to shirt
  • Shoulder seam
  • Facings
  • Finish

She’s not perfect but I love her anyway.  As I trimmed the back neck facing seam, I pinked a hole in the back fabric.  Without batting an eye, I interfaced the little hole and darned it.  So she’s a casual top, though I wore her to work tonight.

(Scanning the skies)
My boss is an expert seamstress (among her other virtues) with a sharp eye.  She criticizes my work constructively with no sugar coating so I learn much from her.  For instance, she told me today that busty girls need to make their first buttonhole marking right at the gappage point, and then measure the other buttonholes from the that point.  I usually mark the top and bottom buttonholes, then space the other buttonholes evenly so this was a revelation.  Also, I should remind Future Stephanie that her tops would gap less with smaller buttons, closely spaced.
Maybe it’s my fat ass, maybe it’s my spine, but I have some major back fit struggles.  On my sloper, the CB curves inward over my middle back.  I’d apply that to anything with a CB seam, but for a silly little shirt I left it straight.
Worn tucked in and allowed to settle, the blouse follows my natural waist-hip line instead of puffing out.  Wicked.
In the class, I marveled how woman after woman sewed up her pants muslin and it fit.  I’m not kidding.  I had to re-attach my jaw later that night since it spent so much time on the ground.  After my recent pants fitting struggles, I have no end of respect for the mind who could dream up a way to make pants fit everybody.
This morning I drew up a plus-fours pattern and cut it out.  Remember my knickerbockers fixation?  It hasn’t left me these 8 months.

Expect Plus-Fours with Chinese takeout pockets in the near future.


  1. Steph, I share your excitement with this discovery! Your top is adorable. And it fits so beautifully. I agree, the woman who put together this system is genius. I looked at her website with the clever all-in-one tracing tool and the instruction book. The price point makes me stop and think. It is not inexpensive – but she certainly deserves a good payback for her innovative approach.I am planning how to fit it into my budget!! It will join my arsenal of tools eventually!!!enjoy wearing your cute top and thanks for sharing your project journal with the world :)

  2. I am so pleased for your breakthrough! The fit is indeed what it should be, and now you can simply use your old patterns for inspiration recreating them from your sloper.Have fun, looking forward to future projects. Did you also draft a sleeve?

  3. Your top is cute! The plaid, helps to show up all the darts and seams which look like design details. It fits you very well.

  4. It looks great and you look like you're having so much fun with this. I can definitely see the appeal of the system (and it costs no more than a decent sewing machine, for example). Now that you have the slopers, is there a reason to buy the system itself, or would you only need that to make patterns for other people?

  5. Your boss is entirely right about button placement. I haven't had gaping since I started doing that systematically. Sometimes you get ankward placement on the bottom and you need to fiddle with the number of buttons between top and bust so that you can end gracefully at the bottom. But it's all very much worth the fiddling.

  6. Cute top, and well done for drafting yourself such a pretty top – I'm admiring how you made a nice thickness for the band, and how it sits nicely across the shoulders – which are all design decisions you had to make on your own.I did know about the button thing, I don't always do it myself because of the issue mentioned my Marie- Christine above – if you place button at apex and waist as you are "meant" to – the spacing isn't always that good for the rest of the buttons. When I did my coat refit recently I did do a bust and waist button for my spacing and it worked perfectly – but that is not always the case! I always leave plenty of ease through the bust anyway because I do not like to be straight jacketed in to my clothing.

  7. Cute top! I also love madras, so fun :) Nice fit on your blouse and hooray for well fitting slopers! They're great for altering existing patterns too.

  8. Tanit-Isis, the sloper fits me now, but what about later? If I want to make them for other people, can I? For example, my mom in Texas has the same problems shopping I have and similar fit issues and I've long dreamed of making her blouses to her exact specifications. Also, Maria says I can use the template to make man-pants, too. Thanks everyone for your kind words! It's such an incentive to keep working.

  9. That is adorable, and the fit is awesome. I looked at the link to this fitting system too, and yeah, whilst it's not cheap, you make it sound really worthwhile. I look forward to seeing what else you make and deciding if it's worthwhile for me. Trousers that fit straight off? Sounds a lot more fun than a trillion muslins. Yay!

  10. Well done! Good job on matching the plaids and on the fit. I've been using a bodice sloper to base my patterns on and to check the fit on other things — it really works well and saves a lot of time.

  11. Congratulations! And can I say how envious I am at how flat your sleeve bindings lie. And I love the fabric. And I'm envious that you have managed to sew so much for yourself. Plus "she can make shirts that fit" envy. So lots of envy all round.

  12. Gosh you’ve been a busy girl lately, I love reading your thoughts on sewing, patterns and fit. Makes me want to make everyting of mine fit as perfectly, and look as fabulous as your creations do!! X

  13. Pingback: Fluffers At Home- Betty Draper « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

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