Finished Object: An Attempt at a Knock-Off

This is the second draft, I felt I would like the finished object enough to risk using good fabric- precious bamboo jersey.  It’s a new fabric, despite the fabric freeze.  We began carrying this at work recently and I need to know how to handle it well.  That’s my story, anyway. 

Remember the recent failed knit top draft and my resulting apathy?  I found a design I’d genuinely like to replicate from Anthropologie:

My first attempt at this looked like a pleated sort of boat neck.  I thought I needed to make it drapier:

Too little drapery.

Slash and spread.

I think it looks a little like something I might find at Target.  Wearable, and pretty close to what I wanted, but it needs more drapery.  I’m not precisely sure how to accomplish this.

I rotated out the vertical dart and rotated the horizontal dart to the lowered shoulder.  I made a cowl and pleated it into the shoulders.  Should I cut and spread along the cowl lines through the pleats, but make deeper pleats?  I’d love to hear any ideas, I’ll probably play with the third draft later this week.

Tulip sleeves.  I put them in backwards and didn’t notice until I’d serged the seams.  So now they’re backwards.

For the next version- a lighter weight bamboo-organic cotton blend in pale aqua, tight long sleeves.


  1. To me that Anthro top looks like it has three separate cowls (maybe even four from the looks of the shoulder where they attach). One (or two) that goes under the bust line, and two that actually drape/hang above it. I think that is why it looks SO drapey, more drapey than you could make it with a single cowl neck.

  2. I appreciate the fact that you can laugh at yourself! Humour really helps when you are trying to make clothes for yourself. Especially the remark about Target, a store I personally love. I like the side profile which means the sleeves are fine.

  3. The inspiration top has deeper pleats and a smaller bustline beneath it. Your fuller bust will require that you compensate to the even deeper side. The other comment could be correct at well about it being multiple cowls, there could be some hidden seaming in those pleats. Do you have a dress form? Draping it out I think would be your best option from a similar weight jersey.

  4. Yay, now I can knock off your knockoff! Apparently I'm all about knockoffs these days :P. I, too, was wondering about hidden seaming (what they call a yoke cowl)… I'll see if I can bring myself to pop by my "local" anthropologie one of these days and try to check. I think you're pretty close, though, I think just more height for deeper pleats at the upper part of the cowl should do it.Darn it, this means I'm going to need to buy more wiggly knits…

  5. How nice! No doubt you need more fabric draping, but even I think there draped under the armhole of the sleeve. Although the weight of the drapery in the original top, I swear the knitted fabric is cut on the bias, just as you would cut the top, if normal fabric.

  6. Hm, let's see if I can try to explain this in English – I lack most of the specific sewing – related vocabulary. I think the drapey bust piece is cut seperately. Meaning you have a front shirt part with a large part missing across the bust, a U-shaped seamline, bottom of the U is the underbustline. The cowls are then set in (with the fabric being cut on the bias). You could try this with a tight fitting old shirt first – cut out a large rectangle or U across the chest and then fill it with a draped fabric. You could try this on your dressform. This sounds so confusing, aargh!, I don't know if you can understand what I'm trying to say.I like your copy nonetheless. Naturally, you bust will fill out some of the drape compared to someone flat-chested ;)

  7. The drape under the bust is cut very wide – run a tape measure under your bust from shoulder to shoulder – that's the first width of drape and it needs to be at least two feet deep to get enough ruching going on. The draping is so deep, you can see that the pleats on the shoulders are on top of one another and I suspect they are also gathered – on the undersides only. The second layer of drape narrows in but not that much, it needs to drape deeply and fully so needs to be at least 2 feet deep. That's a lot of fabric going into those little seams.Steph for your shape you need to do some adjustments. I'd lose the drop at the shoulder and drape directly into the top shoulder seam – the lowered shoulder line is not as flattering for you. And let the front cowl/drape a lot lower also. Boat necks becometh not a mighty bust! V's do. Also, I don't think you can flat pattern this one – I suggest you drape it on a dress form first, or on yourself even if you can fiddle it in front of the mirror. That way you'll get a better feel for how the fabric wants to play. It's possible that the fabric is too bouncy for this treatment – a merino would work brilliantly- I have a merino top that is gathered heavily from shoulder to hem and is off the shoulder and it fits closely and always sits in nice fine ruching. The lighter weight stuff may work grat. Which is another thing – it needs to FIT in order to work.I reckon it will look wonderful on you if you tweak the shoulders and adjust the draping to suit you. :)

  8. Not an easy thing to knock off. I would have no clue. Like others said, it looks to me like the cowl is a separate piece (or pieces) in the anthropologie version. Love the color!

  9. Oh! Dear me! So many ideas to try, thank you! I'll take them all on board and later this evening after I put my daughter to bed I'll mull them over.Jacki- I made a triple, but I think it gets a little lost over my bust. The idea of making a below bust cowl intrigues me.Lynne- No dress form. I have so little space!Tanit- I do think more height will factor in to the end pattern… I plan to use your little cowl-enclosed-seam trick, too. We can just copy each other… :)Rosy- Maybe it is cut on the bias. I wonder if that makes a difference on a knit?Frisfris- This makes a lot of sense, thank you for writing that out. I'll need to ponder that one before I can go make my pattern. Thank you!Mrs C- More interesting ponder-fodder! Thank you! I had to laugh about the "mighty bust". I'm wondering if I ought to even go forward with this top because I worry it makes me look cartoonishly top-heavy. Aside from that, I'll think and play and will definitely post soon about what I come up with!

  10. Oh and Mrs C- the lightweight bamboo-cotton has a touch of spandex. It handles very much like a little piece of merino I have in my cedar chest. Maybe I'd make this one in the merino instead, if I were certain it would turn out beautifully.

  11. While the flat pattern might have started as a boatneck, the resulting neckline already drapes as a u/v so that is not a problem. I think you need to slash and spread to get more fabric in there. Patterns I have with this kind of drape have flat patterns with a convex shaped neckline although it drapes to a normal concave neckline. You might also want to add width so there is more fabric to fall when the two sides are drawn together and sewn to the shoulders. Pivot from the bottom center and add a large wedge down the center front. That additional width with the additional height should get you there. The back basically becomes the stay for all that pleating and you are in the middle of it. You might even experiment with a roughly diamond shaped front. I hope this all made sense. Your top is pretty even with the backwards sleeves.

  12. Do you mean like a sort of kite shape? I think I see it in my mind…About seaming, the more I think about it, the less likely it seems… I don't really see it in the picture. However, I think it might be the best option for keeping the draping in place and dealing with my geometry. And Mrs. C- I'll definitely raise the shoulder seam, I think you're right about that.

  13. Here's how I'd approach this – there is a horizontal seam across the midriff, and the cowls are in 2 layers. The outer layer has the 2 outer pleats/lower drapes – the large one that runs under the bust, and the one that crosses the bust – this layer has a folded top edge/facing and is overlaid over the inner layer. The facing probably extends to the underbust and side seam to give it tension.The inner layer is almost what you have already but a bit fuller, comprised of 2 pleats/drapes.The midriff seam enables you to slash and spread that outer layer really wide so the drape foldlines are at right angles to the CF, without getting baggy at the waist. The lowest drape foldline needs to be the length of your shoulder-underbust-shoulder measurement.Hope that helps – have fun!

  14. Oooh that's clever. I think I understand… And a two tier system would help control the drapes better. When you say a "midriff" seam, am I right to picture a seam running under the bust?

  15. Steph I think this would look great on you! Tops with bust detail can work surprisingly well on a mighty bust, as long as the shoulders have enough happening to balance them out :) I revise my estimate of 2 feet per drape to about 1/2 or 2/3 of that, and I agree that there is probably a midriff seam, possibly curved like a very wide, flat U. No point putting it on the bias as it is a knit. Exciting potential merino project too! :)Can't wait to see your designer take on this top! :)

  16. Raising the shoulder seam sounds like a good idea. Otherwise it might give the impression that the shoulder seams are pulled forward by the bust plus it makes the shoulders look a bit more "busy", not only the bust.Please let us see your results, will you? I'm sure you'll work out something nice!

  17. Yes, I'll post the results though they may not be incredible… I'm so inspired by this discussion I can see I'll derail this week's projects to work on this one… :)

  18. Hi Steph, I love love love your knock off and it has inspired me to do my own. I just read your blog from yesterday and glad that you and your family is safe. Your writing style is superb and was wondering if you have ever thought of writing a fictional novel because you certainly have the talent, the way you describe the detail I could picture it like I was reading a novel.Lee Anne S (sydney)

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