• No Products in the Cart

What i Made: Orla Madison


In my book, crop tops have been languishing in purgatory for a few seasons. They have leg-lengthening potential; by lifting the natural waist, crop tops make everything below it appear longer, especially with a 2-inch or higher heel. But with a prerequisite of toned abs, they have been the domain of the pubescent, teenage generation. What has made me extremely hesitate to toe into the look is when I see a woman well past her bloom co-opting a bare midriff. Now, I’m nowhere near old, but I am in my “late twenties.” Should women creeping up to 30-years-old wear this? Can I be sexy but not vulgar? I have been doubtful, but then Sallie swung the pendulum and posted her version of a crop top. Sallie, you prevailed and showed that baring a little belly can be womanly and elegant. Another example of a crop top done right was Sonja’s printed version. To both you ladies, thank you. So, when there was a little yardage left after I cut these pair of pants, I said to myself, “What the hell, why not make a crop top to go with?” And that’s exactly what I did.


For those of you just joining my pant making adventures, this is my third stab at the same pattern. My second version, Jasper Lee, was close, but still needed fine-tuning. One detail I struggled with was the slit at the leg opening. Because the leg opening measured 5 ½” flat, it needed a slit so that I could fit my foot through. But, it came out sloppy, partly my fault and partly the fabric’s. It wasn’t sturdy enough to support it. Like sewing a slit on silk chiffon. Instead of messing with that delicate detail, I nixed it completely. I own a pair of pants from Ann Taylor Loft that is peg legged sans a slit, so I copied their construction. By increasing the opening to measure 6” flat, I was able to get my foot through while maintaining the slim leg.

Let’s cover basic construction before I dive into heavier sewing details. Said earlier, Orla Madison is the daughter of Jasper Lee, only better. It has a flat front, no pockets and 2 back waist darts. A simple silhouette, it allows the fabric to shine. Speaking of fabric, OM is made with an orange lace that is underlined with firmly woven cotton that adds stability and coverage. Remember, no hoo-hahs will be exposed on Madalynne. There is an invisible zipper at the side seam, a 1 ¼” waistband clean finished on the inside (machine stitched first; fell stitched second), and a 1 ½” serge and turnback hem at the leg opening.

I’ve been playing around with waistband construction because just like a shoulder seam, it carries the weight of the garment. The waistband for Jasper Lee stretched a lot after wearing despite the fact that it was interfaced. It fit when I first put them on, but halfway through the day, it was loose, and because of this, the pants kept falling down. For OM, I undercut the waistband 3/8″ and interfaced it with hair canvas. It’s a little snug, but lot too much, and it anchors/holds the pant up throughout the day. Anyone else have some good WB construction they want to share?

(side note: if you’re looking for a good deal on hair canvas, go to Wawak. They sell 5-yard pieces for less than $30. Best part about their hair canvas is that it has lines on it so cutting strips is very easy. Thank you Lauren for the reference!)


Another thing I learned on this make is the fit of pants, just like bras, is very dependent on fabric. On Jasper Lee, I increased the back waist darts to account for the stretch. On this make, the lace and cotton combined make for a very sturdy fabric, and I had to reduce the back waist darts just slightly. I contemplated adjusting my pant block, but I think I’m going to keep it as is and determine the dart intake according to each pant and fabric.

Oh, and thank you to Katy and Laney for the gold binding. Ain’t it awesome?! As a thank you for providing quick feedback on their new pattern, The Tap Short, I received this is the mail. You girls are the best!



  1. Reply


    this is freakin’ stunning! love the orange fabric; it definitely suits you.
    I’ve been seeing crop tops creeping around the blogisphere and everyone I see makes me want to experiment with them a little more.

  2. Reply

    Measure Twice Cut Once

    This is divine, on the back of the top did you cut the fabric the wrong side out to show more orange? in the photo it looks slightly more orange based than the pants? Looks good, just wondering as I was forever getting in trouble in fashion college for wanting to use fabric the wrong way out as a contrast. Hey, I like seeing how fabric is made.

  3. Reply

    Kirsty Bunfield (kbfield)

    I love this. What a perfect outfit.

  4. Reply


    That outfit is so cool!

  5. Reply

    Annika Ferk

    how can you even ask whether crop tops are for you? with this perfect body you can totally wear them. looks great!

  6. Reply


    You have a perfect body for cropped tops like this one!

  7. Reply


    wooow this is amazing! 🙂

  8. Reply

    Amanda Adams

    Perfect for summer, lady!

  9. Reply



  10. Reply

    Heather Lou

    Dude, I’m well into my mid 30s and wearing crop tops ALL THE TIME this summer. Age ain’t nuthin’but a number. But yes, the key is a high waist. No one wants to see my belly button.

    As for pants fitting, I read that since the waistband is acting like a belt, it should be a little smaller than the waist seam (like 1/2″) You ease it in, and it create s a snugger fit.

    • Reply

      Heather Lou

      Ps. forgot to mention OMG YES to your outfit. You look like you should be in the movie Shag. Haven’t seen it? Download immediately.

      • Reply

        Maddie Flanigan

        No! I haven’t seen that movie, but i’m going to download it.

        I agree with the waistband acting like a belt. Another way to think of it!

  11. Reply

    unlabelled clothes

    That’s a stunning outfit. The orange lace is really striking. It all suits you really well.

  12. Reply

    Latrice Smith

    If this overweight, over 30 y/o can pull off a crop top, you definitely can. That said, you look fab in your outfit. You look like you are about to have some fun.
    I think knowing your body, and knowing how to sew helps with this look. Knowing just where to chop the hem on your shape and throw in a sprinkle of confidence = awesome crop top wearing.

    Oh and thanks SO much about the info on the hair canvas.

  13. Reply


    This outfit is wonderful, Maddie! That fabric is so… well wonderful too. 😀
    I do love how crop tops are coming back in a chic way (and not as a trashy – look at me kinda way.) As you know I lean towards vintage – I’ve seen so many in 40’s fashions that I debating making one for myself. I dream of a high waisted skirt – billowy crop top kinda way.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thank you! Can I just say that I’ve been lurking your tutorial page lately, especially yoke stabilization. I could have used that on my Gabriola skirt!

  14. Reply


    Ahh I love this outfit. I was having a hard time imagining orange lace pants when you mentioned them in a previous post and it just looks amazing. Getting the waistband just right is the bane of my pants-sewing career!

  15. Reply

    Meg the Grand

    OMG you look FABULOUS! Love the orange lace on you, and the fit of the pants and the crop top is spot on. Well done, dearest!!!

  16. Reply

    S Gunn

    Has Milly seen this? She’d take it and run with it – very chic, Madalynne 🙂

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      If she does, I hope she gives me credit!

  17. Reply


    Such a cute outfit! I love this! Seriously loving print separates these days- it’s such a chic look!

  18. Reply


    This is such a great outfit! You are reminding me of a late 60’s ingenue type in this getup. Like you should be go-go dancing on your kitchen table in bare feet! Love it! Great fabric choice, and you can absolutely rock the crop top!!

  19. Reply


    Love love love this outfit! Seriously can’t get over those pants, great work!

  20. Reply


    It’s such a good outfit! I love the color on you!

  21. Reply

    Gwen Gyldenege

    Get a beehive & you could walk straight onto the set for George Gently. Brilliant outfit. It’s really fascinating to experience how much the fabric affects the fit, isn’t it? We learn this as book knowledge, but it really settles in when we see it in action. I think it’s neat that you’re not changing your block. I’ve vacillated on that with other patterns vs. fabrics myself. I’ve been working with my moulage and knits. One was a poly wicking fabric, another a cotton screen printed single knit. Oh how differently those fabrics behaved with the same pattern. So much difference in the stretch, recovery, and puckering. I knew the differences ahead of time, but seeing the results after sewing and wearing really gets my “little grey cells” going.

  22. Reply

    Amanda Russell

    What an amazing outfit – you look awesome! As always, it’s the details that I love best – the texture on that fabric, and the gold binding… love it!! 🙂

  23. Reply

    Jennifer, Workroom Social

    Super cute!!

  24. Reply


    this is so so cute! love the fabric you use and the photo styling. im inspired:)

Leave a Reply