BLACK AND WHITE MARTHE

I have a project to share with you today that's been floating around in my mind for months.  Earlier this year I was wasting time on Pinterest (as I often do!) and came across this photo. 


I fell in love with the top straight away and decided I'd have a go at making my own... as I'd never find the actual one for sale anywhere.  (Strangely, since finishing my version I've actually seen this one for sale in a shop near me.  It was really poor quality, not as nice as mine!).

I knew the first thing I needed to do was to find some lovely lace, the other fabrics being simple enough to find.  I spoke to Lisa at White Tree Fabrics and told her I'd like to make a version of this top for one of my projects for their blog team, and straight away she sent me some samples of fabrics she thought would be suitable. 



The lace she sent was this beautiful Random Flower Guipure lace, together with some white chiffon and some black ITY spandex jersey.  All gorgeous fabrics, and all perfect for what I had in mind.  I duly asked Lisa to send me some of each, and then they sat in my cupboard for some time while I worked on other projects and tried to find a pattern that would be a suitable starting point. 

I was on the verge of drafting my own pattern when I came across the Republique du Chiffon Marthe top.  It was quite close to what I was looking for, and I realised that if I changed the gathered peplum to a semi-circular one it would be even closer.   I drafted a semi-circular peplum myself, making the inner edge the same length as the bottom of the Marthe bodice, and the peplum itself about 8 inches deep. 



I planned on just using a panel of the lace over the join between the chiffon and the jersey, but even with two layers of chiffon my stomach was clearly visible, and to be honest, no one wants to see my stomach.  I decided to stick with the two layers of chiffon and add a complete semi-circle of the lace over these.  To cut this I laid my peplum pattern piece underneath the lace, pinned it in place and then used it as a guide to cut around the flowers.  



Most of the construction was done on my overlocker, but the lace was sewn on by hand after being pinned in place.  I actually put the top on my mannequin while I pinned the lace in place, it really helped to see if I'd got it where I wanted it.  

I wasn't sure how to finish the neck of the top, I really wanted a clean, simple finish so I knew a band wouldn't work.  I drafted a facing and attached that with a long, narrow zigzag stitch on my normal machine.  I'd hoped I could get away with just tacking it down at the raglan seams, but it still flipped out at the front, so I ended up topstitching it down with the same long narrow zigzag stitch, about an inch in from the edge. 



The final top is quite different from my inspiration photo, but I'm really pleased with how it's turned out.  I just need the right occasion and the right weather to wear it now!

Thanks must go to White Tree Fabrics for providing me with the fabrics I used to make this top.  Now I just have to decide what to do with the lace I have left over.  I think there's enough for another top if combined with some other fabric.