I am a sucker for lists. I have them all over, and for all sorts of things. Grocery shopping list? Got that. Errands list? Yup. Sewing projects list? You betcha! Lists help my brain deal with a chaotic world. I am not going to say that once I write a list, everything will get done, but the structure helps. Especially with sewing. Without a list of the projects I plan to tackle, I’d be chasing shiny new patterns all day long.
Every so often, however, a pattern shows up in my sewing landscape that forces me to place it at the very top of my sewing queue. This was the case with the Vera Top by Forget-me-not Patterns. I was unaware of its existence until I started searching the Internet for free patterns that I could add my own goth spin to. Let me tell you, friends, the Vera is just perfect for a goth makeover. And you heard right—this pattern is FREE!
The Vera by Forget-me-not Patterns is a knit pattern for a top with two options of sleeves, two options of cuffs, and a V-neck. The bishop sleeves can be finished with narrow or wide cuffs; leave the cuffs out, and you have beautiful flared sleeves. The top is fitted at the bust with mild shaping at the side seams and a mild high-low hemline. You can also get the paid extension if you prefer a scoop neckline.
The Vera, like all other Forget-me-not patterns, is designed for an averagely curvy figure with a B-cup bust and a height of 5’6” (168cm). I followed the size chart and selected a size 44 for bust grading to a 42 at the hip.
I had about a yard of my go-to knit fabric for tops, a nice rayon knit from Joann. I used it for the body of the t-shirt, the neckband, and the cuffs. This fabric is super finicky with heat. If you choose to buy it, make sure to use low heat and iron the wrong side of the fabric.
I had the idea of using lace for the sleeves, but I had no stretch lace. What I had was this awesome net fabric with skulls that I bought just because it looks so damn cool. The fabric worked perfectly for the bishop sleeves.
This is an easy project that you can tackle in an afternoon. The whole process is quite simple. The most challenging aspect of the top is the V-neck. I stopped another project (the Portia Party dress, another beautiful free pattern) because I am terrified of V-necks. I am so glad that Heather @heathersewist has not only inspired me with her gorgeous version of the Vera but also given me the pep talk I needed to get this done.
The secrets to get this type of neckband done are marking your seams accurately and taking your time.
The markings will guide you so that you know exactly where to pivot for a nice V. You can reduce the stitch length to make sure that the needle will sink into the exact point where the two lines meet to create the V. Then, go slow. Sewing is not a race; you don’t get a prize for being faster than the other sewist. And if that V does not look its best, you can always undo the seam and redo it. Sewing is forgiving.
Everything else went as it always goes with t-shirts. I stabilized the shoulder seams with twill tape (the instructions say interfacing—potato, potato). Then, I sewed the sleeves, followed by the side seams. The cuffs were attached once the top was almost finished.
One word on the cuffs: It gets pretty narrow in there as you try to squeeze the sleeves into the cuffs.
I ended up using the threads from the gathering to secure the sleeves nice and tight. This really helped. Also, make sure to mark four points (divide the cuff into four equal parts using the seam as your guide) on both the sleeve and the cuffs. The markings made matching both pieces much easier.
I am still struggling with my coverstitch. I have made some progress as I now can overlap the stitching for a nice finish, but I am still struggling with wonky sides and wavy hemlines. I need to take a class on how to use the machine (I think Craftsy has one) to get the hang of it.
The Vera Top
Look at this beauty! How awesome are these sleeves? They balloon as they reach the cuffs and then drape over them as a cascade of fabric. I love how my skin shows through the eyes of the skulls. I don’t wear a lot of long-sleeved tops because I have issues regulating my temperature–I am always warm–but I think the open net will help me stay and look cool.
The Vera is an incredible pattern. The instructions are super clear and supportive (there are cute messages to help you through the toughest spots), it is a quick and easy sew, and you can customize and hack it to your heart’s content. Go and download it now!