Shell tops are so useful. If you can master applying facings and adding an invisible zip you will look forward to a lifetime of simple tops in whatever pattern or colour you like. 

I like to wear them at weekends, with jeans or in the week with work skirts. I always try and match up one of my cardigans for when my arms are not tanned or the weather is a still a little nippy in the mornings.

My wardrobe has been getting a bit green and blue lately so I plumped for this wonderful plum coloured Michael Millar Cotton. It is so soft and an ideal weight for this kind of project. Some people are a bit sniffy about using quilting cottons for garments but if you choose well you can have a really useful top for Spring, Summer and Autumn. 

This cotton has a strong geometric print which needed some thought on cutting. I made sure that there was a row of diamonds down the centre front and that the deep bust to waist darts didn't effect the pattern too adversely. It is the same on both sides giving a pleasing and slimming symmetry to the overall balance of the top.

The pattern is Simplicity Jiffy 1364 (now out of print) but you could also use Newlook 6483 which is very similar.

I used a binding technique on the arms which I find more comfortable than armhole facings on smaller items of clothing like this. I flip between selecting facings or bindings depending on what the fabric wants to do or in more desperate times, if I don't have enough fabric!

I had a clear out of three older shell tops, probably about six years old now. They went in the fabric recycling weigh-in bag. One which had a broken vintage zip, one which had faded with very frayed facings before I had an overlocker and one which was too small across the bust. I think I have room for one more to go back in my wardrobe now that I have improved my sewing skills. 

Mmm, what shall I choose next? Something floral, whimsical or a pattern with a retro vibe. Camelot Fabrics are another good source of garment worthy quilting cottons.

Thanks Minerva for a wonderful fabric that rings the changes.

You can see other sewing projects on my blog Three Stories High.

Jo xxx