When Rae released the pattern for her Ruby Top and Dress, I was on it like white on rice. I had been wanting to make it from the moment I saw it. Additionally, I've been wanting to make more clothes, to get over the fear of fitting, to sew more for myself. This seemed like a good place to start.
I made my first Ruby on a Saturday afternoon two weeks ago. I had taped the pattern together earlier in the week and cut out the pieces on Friday. I used a Tula Pink voile that had been sitting in my stash as the fabric for my "muslin." I figured that it would be better to get a good idea of the fit with a fabric that would drape well and I was willing to sacrifice this voile as I don't wear red that often (I bought it for Jane originally). I reasoned that if it fit well, it would be wearable under a cardigan this fall/winter and on its own next summer.
The sewing part went smoothly and it is a fast and easy top to put together if you have gathered something before. The trickiest part is the bias on the arm hole and neck, but that isn't very difficult if you take your time. And, that my friends, is where I diverged from the written instructions. Instead of applying the bias over the raw edge (like you would on a quilt), I folded it towards the inside on the neck and arm edges and top stitched it down (like in this Cal Patch tutorial). I forgot to add the extra 1/4" that doing the bias in this method requires which made for a slightly smaller bodice. The fit? I made a size large based on my upper bust measurement. And it fits, but with some puckering at the bust line. It's not horrible, especially if I wear an unlined bra, so I will still wear it as a layering piece. Also, it's important to note that I did not have enough length to give it a proper hem, so I used bias tape around the bottom as well. I am long in the torso and almost always have to add length to tops and dresses, but I kind of forgot to do that in the excitement of getting this top cut out. Oops.
After finishing the first top, I immediately set forth on making a second one with a few changes. And when I say immediately, I mean that same afternoon. This fabric came from my stash as well - the yoke was cut out scraps leftover from my Love of Liberty quilt and the body is an Anna Maria Horner Field Study voile. (As an aside, I am completely in love with the color palette of this print. In. Love. And there is no green. Huh.). This time, I cut two front and back yokes, adding 1/4" to the neck and arm edges so I could self-line the yoke using Rae's video. I adore how nice this looks! It was a joy to sew and there weren't as many seams to finish - win! I also added 1/4" to the arm edge on the body pieces so I could fold the bias binding to the inside.
To solve the issue with the tightness/puckering at the bust, I added 1" of width to the front body piece of the size L instead of going up to the XL. I laid the front piece 1/2" in from the fold when I cut it and it worked very well. It fits a whole lot better than my first attempt - full enough, but not too full. I can wear a lined bra which is key with a sheer, light colored fabric like this one. I also added 2" to the length so I could make a proper hem on this version. It hangs much nicer that way. I wore this one out at night on the day I finished it. It seems to have been our last hot, summer-like evening of the season, but I am also excited to wear it under a cardigan in the coming cooler months.
As I look at these photos, I do think that I like the way the neck/arm looks on me in the first version better than in the second. For the next one, I think I will line it without adding the 1/4" on the neck and arm edges, but still adding the width in the front body piece. I would also like to make the dress version. I think it will look super cute belted, with tights and boots.
I'd highly recommend this pattern for any seamstress. Rae does a wonderful job of guiding you through all the steps, making this a good pattern for beginners. If you have more experience sewing garments, you will love how fast and easy this one comes together. I mean, c'mon - how often can you make two tops in one afternoon?