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!