Array top in rayon

I got the Papercut Patterns Array Top pattern last year at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics‘ Valentine’s Day event (printed version is sold out on the New Zealand company’s online shop but you can get PDF version). Thinking back, that visit was likely one of the last times I was physically inside the store. Wow.

A month after the event, Alameda County issued a stay-home order. Now it seems like years ago instead of less than a year. The Berkeley store’s doors have remained closed for in-store shopping but they put the majority of their merchandise online and it is open for curbside pickup and they also ship worldwide.

At that same event, I got some lovely Nani IRO double gauze at Stonemountain to make the tunic version of the Array pattern, which you can make in three lengths — top, tunic, and dress. I’ve been trying to add more teal to my wardrobe ever since I made Papercut’s Sapporo Coat in a teal wool coating.

Nani IRO double gauze fabric - teal blue background with lines in dark blue and bright blue creating shapes

I didn’t want to cut into Nani IRO fabric until I made a muslin (a mockup or test version). Over the holidays I finally made a muslin of the Array Top to get a sense of how it would fit. My shoulders are a bit square and I wanted to see how the dropped shoulder would hang on me. I had this purple rayon in my stash and decided to use it and attempt a wearable muslin. There is plenty of ease in the pattern so I figured it would fit even if I cut it as is.

Size range

The size range for the Array Top goes from 1 (bust 29.9″/76 cm , waist 22″/56 cm, hip 32.3″/82 cm to 8 (bust 46.5″/118 cm, waist 38.6″/98 cm, hip 48.8″/124 cm). I made size 5, which has these measurements: bust 39.5″/118 cm, waist 31.5″/80 cm, hip 41.75″/106 cm.

Pattern adjustments

It’s a simple pattern — front, back, sleeves, and tie pieces. The rayon fabric I was working with was a bit fiddly so I decided not to make bias tape for the neckline, which is what the pattern calls for. Instead, I made a facing by tracing the front and back pieces around the neckline, making to about 2.5 inches (6.3 cm) wide. Then I had to figure out how to finish the raw edges and opted to pink them so the facing wouldn’t be visible. The fabric is lightweight and has a soft hand. If I folded over the raw edge or even serged it, I was afraid the facing would be visible.

The Array top design has a bias tape neckline that’s finished with topstiching. I didn’t want a topstich around the neckline so I handstiched the facing in place. I think the neckline looks pretty good. Here’s what the Array top looks like without the ties.

Array Top - Papercut Patterns - in purple

I topstiched the hem as instructed because I didn’t want to hand stitch it. This patterns has a center back seam, which you can barely see here.

Array top - back view

The design has you sew one tie piece to each side seam at the waist. But that means you must always tie it or you’ll have two long ties dragging behind you. If you attach the tie, you’d wrap it around and then tie it in front. But, I thought, what if you didn’t want the tie? So I decided to make it optional by sewing the two tie pieces into one long tie. This means that you’ll have a shorter tie and it will have a center seam.

I tied this with the center seam in front, criss-crossing in the back.

Array top in rayon with tie

Here’s the top tied with the center seam placed at the back and then criss-crossing at the front and then going around to tie at the front, which makes the ends quite short.

When I make the tunic version with the double gauze, I will add a little more ease around the hips. But otherwise the pattern fits well.

The sleeves

The sleeves are nice and full at the bottom and will be more poofy if you use a fabric with a crisper hand. You could finish the sleeves with elastic like I did here or just hem them. If you hem them then you’ve got statement sleeves with dramatic flare as you can see below from this image from Papercut’s website. You can make the fabric in a variety of fabrics — from wovens to knits.

Array dress version - Papercut Patterns

I have long arms and the sleeve length is fine. I think the sleeves would be long for most people so pay attention to the length of the sleeves, particularly if you make the version without elastic at the wrists.

Array Top with elastic on sleeves

Fabric weight

The weight of the fabric will have a big impact on the sleeves. This rayon is lightweight with a soft hand so the sleeves aren’t that dramatic. If I made the Array top in a medium-weight woven, the sleeves would be quite puffy at the bottom. If you want statement sleeves, use a fabric that is more crisp.

Heres another look, wearing it tucked in front.

Stay tuned for the Array top in the Nani IRO fabric. I’m not sure if I’ll go with elastic on the sleeves or just hem them. My issue with flared sleeves is that you have to watch them when you eat. If you reach over, the sleeve will just dip into whatever’s on your plate when you’re eating. Which sleeve do you like? The elastic poofy one or the flared? Let me know in the comments!

The rest of the ensemble

I’m wearing the Joan Trousers by the Friday Pattern Company. (I have only blogged about the pair I made in yellow.) I’m also wearing a self-drafted six-section cap I made several years ago and suede boots by Børn that I got on sale at Nordstrom last year.

Note on photos: I took these photos four days after the insurrection at the Capitol and did not feel much like smiling. These are grim days for democracy. Sewing is my respite from the enormous challenges we face with the pandemic raging in the United States, the dangers of white supremacy, and economic catastrophe. Stay safe.