Thursday, October 31, 2013

FO: Camber Top by Merchant and Mills

Alert the Press:  I sewed something!
Luckily it is Hallowe'en, because I am ghostly pale in these pictures.  Possibly because it was far too cold to be outdoors in a flimsy t-shirt!

Pattern:  The Camber Top by Merchant and Mills, size 8 (the smallest size)
Fabric:  1 metre of silk / cotton voile from Cousette, about £12 if memory serves me right.
Other:  Just thread, from stash.
I wasn't planning to make this top, but when the pattern arrived I had a sudden attack of cold feet about cutting into my lovely flannel to make the dress version when I had no idea how it was going to turn out.  I have scoured the web, and haven't yet found another blogger who has made this.
Merchant and Mills patterns perhaps appeal to a different demographic:  dare I say slightly older women, who may be less likely to blog...?
So despite the autumnal chill, I excavated this lightweight voile from the stash and set to work on the top, just to try out the pattern.
I am really glad that I did, because despite its simple shape, sewing the Camber is all about attention to detail and achieving a high-quality finish.  I had to put the brakes on and take it one step at a time, because the yoke construction was entirely new to me and I was in serious danger of botching it up by going too fast.
Breathe, Roo, just breathe!
It is described as "easy to make" and I suppose that is true if you already know how to sew.  It would be a really good pattern to use in a dressmaking class, because there are no awkward fastenings to insert, no buttonholes, no interfacing. But I think a complete beginner might get into a grumpy strop tackling that yoke on their own at home.  It is beautifully constructed.  The end result has the potential to be immaculate... but only if you are meticulous with your measuring and stitching and instruction-following. 
Me?  I took two shots at the shoulder pivot before I got it right.  Just saying.
I decided to cut the smallest size and made no attempt to alter anything.  I had read on the Raystitch blog that the designer bases her sizing on a Toast or M&S model, so I expected it to have lots of ease and it does.  I am very happy with the fit across the shoulders and the neckline is just right - not as high as my 60's shell pattern, and easy enough to pop over my head as long as I remember to take my glasses off!
The darts are in a good place for me:  not too high. 
It might be a little too roomy for me through the hip, but better that than too tight.
Yup.  This could very well become my go-to pattern for a woven summer top.
I can't imagine wearing it for another 6 or 7 months without at least two more layers above and below, but that's my own fault for sewing such thin fabric in October!
Next up?  The dress version, in seasonally-appropriate fabric.
Woo hoo!  I am sewing again!


mags said...

Lovely top and the finish looks great, brave of you to model it outside.

Jen Forsythe said...

Merchant and Mills garments look simple styles, but there is usually some wee detail that just makes it a bit different. Hadn't noticed the yolk on that one, I thought it was quite a simple shift. Would be nice in check fabric with yolk using check on bias. Very nice, but I think one of your lovely cosy cardis is called for!

beate grigutsch said...

i had great expectations for this pattern on you - and it works perfect i think!
nobody would think so at first sight but i love "simple" patterns with the devil in the detail. once i learned all this tailoring stuff, only to swap it over bord of my pattern making ship. i dumped all the books and complicated math for just a french curve and messuring tape. and freedom - construction wise and movement in the finished garment :-)
looking forward to the dress........

Ruth Wilson said...

Glad to see some sewing - simple and elegant top - perfection!

Scruffybadger said...

How wonderful to break your sewing drought with such a high end top!! It looks class if I might say, and it must be that attention to detail. The fabric is a great tone for this season, even if it does end up being a layer! Can't wait to see the dress next

unlabelled clothes said...

It looks really pretty :)

Carolyn said...

It looks so prettily floaty. The colour really suits you too :)

MaryinTN said...


dovegreyreader said...

So here I am in England, a reasonably competent stitcher and I get completely stuck on the Camber Top yoke...and here is your wonderful blog post showing the finished version. I just can't figure out the shoulder/ yoke pivot moment, it seems to take in the bias edge too much that right ?? Would be so grateful for some advice

Tina Davidson said...

In desperate need of help with Camber Dress Yoke construction... I was so happy to find your notes and dovgreyreader's too. But, I could use some details around the yoke construction. I have seam ripped this yoke piece and sewn it back together so many times the fabric is about to turn to dust. Could you provide any more details around:
"there has to be an overlap of yoke beyond the bias seam to allow for the pivot and stitch (are you keeping up...anyone attempting this will thank me) and the pivot has to be EXACT, even one stitch too far is a stitch too many."?
I just can't figure it out and it is consuming my brain every second of the day...driving me crazy. Many thanks for any help you can provide!!! And thanks for writing this up, I wasn't alone being confused at this step. Tina

Roobeedoo said...

Hi Tina - I have replied to your comment via email. Hope this helps!

Sam Currie said...

Arrggggh the yoke of doom! Have got myself into a right pickle with this today, managed to fudge it almost, then I seem to have a big bit of the yoke hanging out on the outside edge so I've reached an impasse at installing the sleeves #sob