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My Next Everyday Staple: The Arenal Top

I've had a few troublesome sews lately...machine failures, buttonhole catastrophes, zipper insertions just not working out. I decided a brief interlude with a fun knit project was in needed.

The Arenal Top from Itch-To-Stich was on my radar, so I moved it up to the top of my sewing queue.

I printed the size 10, same as my Hepburn Turtlenecks from a few weeks ago, hoping that it would have a similar draft through the shoulder, bust and sleeve because I like the fit of my turtlenecks so much. And it is very similar. There is just a smidge more ease through the body and sleeve to provide a slightly more relaxed (but not at all sloppy) fit. I also found the sleeve to be a few inches longer than the Hepburn. I chopped off the sleeve to match that length because it's a length I prefer.

For my first version, I decided to use this pink striped sweater knit found on the Joann's Red Tag table many years ago. I had initially wanted to use this for an Itch-To-Stitch Irena when it was released last winter, but with only 1.5 yards, I didn't have nearly enough to cut the bands and collar of it properly. But, there was plenty to cut an Arenal with the hi-lo hem detail.

The directions walk you through mitering the corners on your hem. It was really so easy! 

The Original (sewing machine) is out of commission right now. She's slipping stitches, and the tension disk is all jacked up. That leaves me with just Fat Singer as my standard machine. Though she's a sturdy girl who can chomp through top stitching jeans like a champ, she does not have an extra post to run a twin needle with 2 spools of thread. (She also doesn't like narrow hems on delicate fabric, and may have ruined the side seam on a cotton/silk voile work in progress. I haven't had the guts to try to remove the stitches yet.) I probably could have done a zig-zag finish, but I really do prefer the catch stitch. It's a great because it has a little stretch in it and the hems stay nice and soft.

I finally got to a point where I couldn't put off making the V-neck any longer. I even cut out the second version with the regular, body/hem...but I'll get to that in a second. 

Even though I consider myself an intermediate seamstress who has tried lots of different things, I still find some of the most basic techniques give me fits. Buttonholes, for example. In this case, however, It's the V-neck. I've never made one before! I've tried, unsuccessfully, early on in my sewing adventures but set the process aside as I couldn't sew the point properly. I finally gathered my courage, followed the pattern instructions step-by-step and BAM! Beautiful, isn't it?

So thrilled with my pink version, I quickly finished up the neck on my second. This second top uses a rayon jersey I bought at a semi-local mom & pop fabric shop called Fabrications. They've got some lovely high-end stuff in it's a good thing that I have to plan a half-day to drive out. As you can see the V neck on this one came out perfectly as well. I'm just tickled!

I was really concerned about using rayon jersey. Like V necks, my history with rayon jersey is mostly miss. Either the item is too clingy and shows off all the curves I'm trying to hide, or it's so saggy and baggy and sloppy. I must admit that I expected this top to be a sausage casing...or possibly look like old timey prison wear. 

Clearly, I was totally wrong. It couldn't have come out more prefect in fit and ease and comfort. I really enjoyed wearing this top, and I think it shows.

Both tops were created right off the pattern with minimal changes. Just a 1/2 forward shoulder that I do on everything and I chopped a few inches off the sleeve to achieve the high forearm length I like. (I didn't have enough pink fabric to cut them longer anyway).

I am finding myself reaching for these, even though I've just worn them. That's the sign I need to make more!

Taking pictures of myself is hard!


  1. I hope I am as successful as you- still printing and cutting since sewing room is still torn apart! They both look lovely!

    1. Thank you! It's hard to sew in that kind of chaos. I had to stop and clean up my space just the other day. I couldn't walk in it.

  2. Both of those came out lovely and look really comfy.

    1. They are definitely comfortable. I'm sad they are both in the wash right now, LOL.

  3. Great makes. The colours of both tops are really lovely.

    1. Thanks, Sonja! I was a little worried the pink would read a bit Little Girl, but fortunately it just looks "cheerful".


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