Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Top "My new fave"

Hello everyone!!

It has been a minute, but I have been sewing away!!  In fact, the top I am showing you today is my third attempt at this pattern!  Now, there was nothing at all wrong with the pattern, I was just determined to figure out this shoulder pulling I kept having.  It took me until this recent garment, but it was oh....soooooo.....worth it!  Here is my latest project:

Yep, it's a mouthful to say, but a wonderful basic top.  I originally saw this top on Crafted by Carrie's blog.  Her versions were adorable, and looked like they could go with most anything.  Any top that you can dress up or down is my kind of style, so I decided to give it a try.

It is a free download if you sign up for Maria Denmark's newsletter, so I jumped right on it.  I had no problem printing out the pattern, cutting it out, and sewing it together, but I made one critical error: I chose the wrong size!

I decided to go with a Small based on the chart measurements.  My bust is 33.5" and the chart said a Small was a bust size of 34.5"  Well, my finished garment was much too big in my shoulders and back, but fit well throughout my waist.  

Around this time I started reading my Palmer and Pletsch Fit for Real People book.  In the latest edition, it states to choose your size by your high bust measurement (unconventional method)!  My high bust measures 32.5, and the Maria Denmark size Small is 32 1/4".  

So I went back to the drawing board, printed an Extra Small with some minor adjustments, and came up with Version #2.  This version fit ok, but I was once again having issues with shoulder pulling.  

I FINALLY figured it out!!  I needed more length to my shoulder seams.  The average size 10 pattern has a 4 3/4 shoulder seam length, but my neck to shoulder point measures 5 1/4.  Since I couldn't determine the seam length for this top due to it's Dolman sleeve style, I assumed it was close to average and adjusted by 1/2" for my broad shoulders.  My result is as follows:

I used a lightweight value knit I found at Hancock Fabrics for this version.  I love it!!  I have to wear a tank underneath it for coverage, but the color and stretch is good.  The recovery is just ok, but doesn't bother me.  The instructions for the top were great, and this is a nice pattern for sewers of all levels, especially beginners.  The binding was not difficult at all, but then again, since this was the third top I made, I got much better at sewing it right the first time.  I even used my serger for the neckline binding!  

Here are the adjustments I ended up making:
1. Chose a smaller size according to my bust measurement
2. Square Shoulder Adjustment
3. Forward Shoulder Adjustment 
4. Broad Shoulder Adjustment
5. Added 1/2" for long torso (could have added more)
6. Enlarged the waist by 1"

In my last post I mentioned that I would be working on a Swayback adjustment.  Well, exactly how do you do a swayback adjustment on a long torso?  What I mean is...I need at least 1/2" of length in the back, but I also need to take out at least a 1/2" wedge for a Swayback.  Does that cancel each other out?  For now, I left it as is until I can get a better understanding of what I should do.  I did a dry run of both adjustments and did not notice a difference.

In the end, I left it "as is" for the back, with only a length adjustment:

My work on this top has restored my faith in creating wearable pieces!!  I just love it!  In fact, I took these pictures last night, but I am wearing this top today as I am writing and sharing this with all of you!  Since I didn't have enough handmade garments to participate in Me Made May, I feel like I am at least being able to enjoy the one really nice thing I have created so far.

And yes, I am already working on another one!  I don't even want to say it because it seems like once I put it out there I end up with a wadder, but as long as that doesn't happen, I will show you another Maria Denmark top soon.

 By the way, my kids will be home for summer vacation soon (one already is), and I have plans to blog about quite a few things in the upcoming weeks.  A lot of it is about upcoming sewing plans, as well as a commentary about the Sunshine Blogger Award.  

Stay sew-filled!


  1. Yay for success!!!!

    I love this pattern. It is my go to for knit tees especially when I have just one yard of fabric!

  2. Lovely top. That color looks great on you.

  3. WOW, you are really getting into the fitting aspect of sewing! great job!

  4. This looks great! The color and the fit.

    I have have only heard wonderful things about Fit for Real People. It is on my list of books to order.

  5. It looks great! and the color is so flattering! I'm happy to have encouraged at least one other person to try this wonderful FREE pattern :) Now I just want to make more of this top haha

  6. Congrats on sticking with the adjustments. It's looks like a RTW top. It's great!


Let me know what you think!