Casual chic festive capsule – tops

Happy Thanksgiving to those in the US who start their festive wear needs this week. Here in the UK we have to wait ’til Christmas :D

These are casual partying clothes for the 2012 winter holidays, from Eileen Fisher’s Holiday Tool Kit.

”holiday-kit-1”
”holiday-kit-2”
Eileen Fisher

Some quite easy makes for a relaxed special occasion capsule.
As usual this got much too long, so I’ve made 2 parts : this on the tops and pants, and a later piece on the dresses (here).

So, what about patterns ? The tops are all based on the casual dartless block. But if you’re full in front, you may want to add a dart.
Some lengthening or shortening of pattern pieces needed to match the inspiration (even a couple of changed necklines), but otherwise the patterns are straightforward.

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Velvet cowl neck box top

”velvet-top-combo”
Eileen Fisher

What Eileen Fisher calls a ‘box top’ is like a poncho with side seams, very wide.
This one is about hip length.
And has about elbow length sleeves. With the very generous size, the side seams and armholes come about half way down the upper arm.

The key to party wear here is to make everyday over-sized casual styles in special fabrics.

The indoor poncho-like McCall’s 6603 has about these proportions. Make the collar on View A (upper left) continuous and wider, and use the lower left sleeves.

”m6603”

Or there’s the Sewing Workshop Hudson top – in your usual size or one larger, and shorten the sleeves.

”swhudson”

If you prefer something less dramatically sized, there’s Butterick 5816, with a choice of cowl or draped necks.

”b5816”

If you prefer a close fit, here’s a cowl neck knit top from Katherine Tilton, Vogue 8793.

”v8793”

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Ballet neck boxy tunic in shiny knit

”satin-top-combo”
Eileen Fisher

A little narrower and longer than the previous top, but otherwise much the same. The sleeves also end at the elbow, but are longer because the body of the top is a narrower.

This is a shiny knit fabric, with a contrast texture rib band used for the sleeve cuffs.
I think this would work just as well in a heavy satin fabric. Perhaps crepe backed satin so you can use the contrast.

There are multi-fabric versions of a shape like this in new Butterick 5855.

”b5855”

Or use another size of the previous pattern. This is still a style based on a casual dartless block.

Many casual wear patterns can easily be adapted for party wear simply by using party fabric, a party neckline, and elbow length sleeves.
Try one of these :

Katherine Tilton’s loose tunic for knits Vogue 8690 could look very different in shiny fabric with a ballet neckline.

”v8690”

Cutting Line Designs 2×4 includes both necklines.

”cuttingline2x4”

Have a look at my post on stylish sweatshirts for more pattern options.

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Jewel neck merino knit tunic, yarn with a bit of shine

”merino-tunic-flat”
Eileen Fisher

Upper thigh length, with over-wrist long sleeves.
A conventional tunic in silhouette. Still a dartless shape, but not so oversized.
Raglan sleeves. Difficult to see on the photos, but the sleeves have an inset strip of slightly more open weave fabric which runs from neckline to wrist.

For a pattern, possibly lengthen Butterick 5679 View C and omit the side pocket section.

”b5679c”

Or Kwik Sew 3954 is another raglan sleeve choice, this one with fitted upper body and flare below, if that’s better for your body shape.

”ks3954”

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More designer patterns for tops

Not exact copies of the inspiration but in similar style.
From wider to narrower :

Katherine Tilton’s Vogue 8748 big shirt for wovens is even more over-sized, with ‘armhole’ seams at elbow level.
Many variants possible. Omit the cuffs and/ or the collar. Close the front opening, and add your most flattering party neckline.

”v8748”

Loose fitting knit tunics from Alice + Olivia, Vogue 1261. With raglan, fitted and cut-on sleeves, choice of necklines and hem shapes – just the thing.

”v1261”

Or slimmer-fit knit tunics from Katherine Tilton Vogue 8817 with interesting seam detail and fabric combining.

”v8817”

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Slim pants in ponte doubleknit

Large tops are best worn with slimmer pants, so your clothes don’t make you look gigantic. Make the tops long enough to cover your hips, so you can wear pant legs slimmed as far as they will go for you, without worrying about what’s happening at hip level ! My lumpy legs are not good in tight fitting leggings, but slimmer pants are possible.

For stretch knits, you might use McCall’s 6173 View A. Use an elastic waist if you prefer – no one’s going to see it under these tops.

”m6173”

If you prefer stretch woven for pants, there’s Melissa Watson’s McCall’s 6405.

”m6405”

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Your choice of style and details

Would any of these tops make a good relaxed special occasion outfit for you ?
Or make all three tops and the pants for a holiday season capsule, covering most situations where you don’t need to be really dressed up. Add a long slim skirt or very full palazzo pants and you might manage many black-tie events too.

If you’d prefer to copy Eileen Fishers’ simple dresses, I have another post coming on them.

There’s a party clothes sew along at Stitchers Guild, if you’d like some other ideas !

These wide boxy shapes are definitely not everyone’s best shape or favourite style.
Perhaps you have other favourite casual patterns you could make in festive fabrics.
And clothes based on the casual dartless block are not fashionable “body con” party wear.
If you’re at your best in a more fitted styles with body shaping, there’s plenty of choice in the pattern catalogues.

If velvet and shine don’t make you happy but you do like variations in texture : lace, sequins, brocade, and touches of fake fur are current festive options.
Or these ‘this season’ prints can be good for parties : chinese, baroque, flowers on a dark background, computer generated abstracts.

Eileen Fisher uses a current berry shade of red, with black and grey. Happily if we make our own versions we can choose her shapes but aren’t limited to her colours. Especially if we have warm-toned personal colouring. Choose flattering colours that make you feel festive.

Remember Eileen Fisher clothes are usually very simple in cut. It’s the quality of the fabrics that makes them luxurious.

Enjoy whatever you make and wear for the holiday season :D

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Links and patterns available November 2012

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Explore posts in the same categories: Eileen Fisher, specific capsules

4 Comments on “Casual chic festive capsule – tops”

  1. Carol in Denver Says:

    Thank you for showing how readily-available patterns can create the Eileen Fisher looks I love. For some reason, I sometimes fail to see the possibilities right in front of me — in my own pattern stash!

  2. Kelley Says:

    What a great collection of patterns. These are exactly the kind of thing I am looking for. I’ve added nearly all of them to my ‘to acquire’ list! Thanks.

  3. jodieth Says:

    Thank you so much for your suggestions. I just love getting your newsletter. Happy Holidays!

  4. sewingplums Says:

    Many thanks for your kind comments – I’m delighted to know it’s useful and enjoyable :D


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