This top was put me in seamripper purgatory for a very long time. Hours of it. But I persisted, and here it is!
This is the XYT top by Fehr Trade. It is not a difficult top to make, really... many people out there have successfully made them. And I thought it would be a quick make when I basted together the pieces, without the internal bra inserted, and it seemed to fit great.
The problem I had was when I inserted the internal bra. Unfortunately, I didn't realize how bad it was until I had all of the binding put on. The internal bra is stretched to fit, and basted in place. It looked a little funny, but I thought that perhaps when I had put all of the binding and elastic on then it would all work itself out.
It didn't. It was horribly, uggily baggy around the armholes and the neck. Here are some not so great pics. I think it looked worse in person. It was so bad that I would have never work something like that in public.
My first theory was that the compression bra was actually making me a size or two smaller. I had originally cut a size small, so I cut the neck and armholes down two sizes to the smallest size, an xxs. Then I reattached the bindings. Still saggy-baggy!
Off came the bindings again. FYI, I was attaching the bindings by serging my binding strip to the wrong side with a 4 thread stitch, then turning it under and topstitching with a twin needle on the front side. So unpicking all of this was arduous.
Taking note of the direction of the fabric pulling, it seemed clear I needed to take in the side seams. I took them in an inch, and this helped but did not entirely remove the bagginess. At this point adjustments were faster because I had gotten smart and was just basting the bindings on.
What finally worked was adjusting the neck, armholes, and side seams to be the same size as the internal bra pattern pieces. This is a very drastic reduction! It is about 1.5 inches in the side seams, over an inch in the underarm, and about .5 inches in the neckline. In the pics below, you can see the pattern piece for the top (cut to a size Small) with the compression bra piece laid over it (size Medium). I decided to size up for the compression bra, since pattern reviewers almost universally felt that it was rather tight (I have a 39 inch bust right now). I then curved the side seam back out to a size Medium, since I was thinking I needed the width in the hips.
Finally, nice smooth neckline and armholes.
Of course, while I was struggling with this problem, I read many, many reviews of this top. It seems that this bagging around the armholes and neckline are very common for people who try to make the compression bra version. People get around it in various ways... many just skip the compression bra. Some people seem not to be bothered by the bagginess... it makes a very functional top even if the top layer isn't perfectly smooth. Other fixes I've seen out there involve doing a FBA and adding darts to the neckline and armholes.
I don't know if my solution will work for other people out there, but cutting the outer layer to be the same shape as the inner bra definitely worked for me, and would probably work for other versions as long as you were using a 4-way stretch performance fabric.
I also added 3 inches in length to the top, and flattened out the waist curve quite a bit (I don't have much of a waist). I probably went a bit overboard on the length... probably 2 inches would have been sufficient, but I don't mind the extra really. I probably could also have gone down to a small in the hips, it is a bit flared... which doesn't bother me, but I probably would change next time.
I do wonder though if there is a more elegant way to attach the bottom of the X to the top. Admittedly, I could have done it more neatly, but I was ready to be done with this top!
Oh, and another modification, inspired by my RTW tops... I added some very light weight supplex over the mesh so that the mesh would not be right up against the most sensitive part of my chest. The supplex panel is not attached on the side, so you can also slip in an extra foam cup for more coverage.
This top matches my last two makes, the Greenstyle Sundance Jacket and the Hey June Sloan leggings. I used the same fabrics... in this case, I used a burgandy mid weight supplex and a scrollwork mid weight supplex, both from Peak Performance Fabrics in Calgary, from their LLL fabric collection. The powermesh I used (two layers!) came from Emmaonesock. The light weight black supplex that I used for lining the cups also is an LLL supplex form Peak Performance Fabrics.
After all of that, I'm pretty happy with the top! I have yet to go for a run, but it feels more supportive than my other RTW tops with internal bras.
Thanks to Pattern Review for hosting an activewear contest... I hate seam ripping, so I honestly think this would have been headed for the UFO bin if I didn't have a deadline!
Will I make this again? Probably, after I get over the saga of fitting. Hopefully the next one will come together more quickly now that I have worked out my issues with the bagginess.