I've had a bit of a love affair going with crop tops lately. Now, believe me when I say that I have never been a midriff-showing kind of person, but in all honesty that probably stems from a life of not loving myself for exactly how I am. The more I've worked on loving myself and self-acceptance over the last couple of years, the more I have learned to love my body and therefore, my tummy, too. This journey of self-love has been undeniably linked to being more exploitative with my me-mades. Learning to love myself for how I am has lead me to look at my body differently, and to accentuate the parts of myself that I used to hide away. Namely my hips and waist. I've embraced my figure for what it is and trying out new styles of clothing that I wouldn't have dreamt of previously, has lead my personal style to take a bit of a U-turn.

Now I don't shy away from high waisted bottoms, in fact, I adore them. This new obsession with high waisted bottoms has got me trying new top styles too, and it's there that I found the magic of crop tops. The only crop tops I've tried so far has been t-shirt style crops, so pretty basic. I've been looking for a crop sewing pattern for the longest time when I finally stumbled upon McCall's 7812 I couldn't wait to give it a try.

M7812 is a pattern for tops and dresses with drawstring detailing to the centre front and has 4 different views - A crop top, a longer top, a top with a pepulum, a dress and also 2 sleeve variations. I went for view B, which is the drawstring crop with the balloon sleeves.

I spent a while choosing which fabric to use. I wanted something that would be a good neutral, so that I could mix and match it and get a lot of wear out of it. But I also didn't want it too plain. I started looking at the Art Gallery jerseys as I'd heard such great things about the quality of their fabrics. When I saw the Splendid Oath Ink Print, it was love at first sight. It's a natural coloured base with a linear watercolour dash print. Nice and neutral so it'll be easy to style and wear, but with enough interest to make it not boring. Plus, I'm totally digging the inky paintbrush dash print.

I pre-washed the fabric when it arrived, just in case and it washes like an absolute dream! The quality of this jersey is second to none. It has a lovely weight and stretch to it, making it the perfect jersey for a beginner. The stretch is all ways too, so it means that you can play around with the cutting layout and mixing up the print direction, and have less waste from cutting out.

Going by the size guide on M7812, my bust and waist falls into size L, and the rest of my body in XL. There is a stretch guide on the pattern packet, and this fabric had more stretch than was necessary, and knowing I wanted quite a fitted top, I opted to cut a size M. My bust is 40", and the finished garment measurement at the bustline for a size M is 36 1/2". I knew that with the stretch of the fabric, the size M would be best for how I wanted to top to fit.

Cutting out was straight forward, as there are only a few pattern pieces to cut - the sleeves, the back bodice and the front bodice. I played around with the placement quite a bit, and cut the front bodices on opposite grainlines. The print is linear so I fancied having the print running in different directions.

Sewing was really simple and sewing this top was really enjoyable. The sleeves are raglan, so there wasn't any set-in sleeves to contend with, and the neckline and hemlines has double turned hems which I really enjoy sewing and made for a super quick project. In fact, I think I managed to sew this top up in about an hour and a half.

The only points to mention really are the sleeves - they're not full length like shown in the pattern drawings. They're more 3/4 length actually and I'm only 5ft 4, so that's worth noting for taller people. As I'd opted for the balloon sleeves with an elastic cuff, I was instructed to take a piece of elastic 1 inch bigger than my wrist, but as the sleeves sits halfway to my elbow when on, the elastic was too snug. So I had to redo the elastic, with another inch added - making it my wrist measurement + 2".

Also, for the drawstring they advise you to use a 1cm ribbon. I did this as instructed and it just didn't look right (and the length was way too long!). So I decided to make a self-fabric drawstring from the fabric scraps. I simply cut a length that was about an inch wide, and 50" long and folded it like bias tape, using a 3-step zig-zag along the full length. It looks much better with the shorter self-drawstring and it looks much more professional.

As soon as I'd finished the top I tried it on and I was amazed. It looks like such a fancy, high quality garment but it was so easy to make! The jersey that I chose I think works really well with this style. The fabric feels soft yet sturdy, and the print is exactly what i wanted - neutral but not boring.

I absolutely love this top. It was really easy to sew, and really straightforward. I love the way that it looks, the sleeves are fantastic and the wide neckline is a great shape for me. I can see myself making a lot more of these in the future. They make great every day tops in a plain jersey, but if you picked a fancier jersey, or even a velvet, you'd get a great dressier top too. This is a huge winner for me and I can't wait to make my next one!