I have been wanting to buy into the big sleeve tee trend for a while now but I was just not sure that puffed sleeve tees were really my thing. I made one a few years back now but it just didn't get worn very much so I was a little reluctant to make another. When I came across Forget Me Not Patterns Vera top, I was sold. Now, I say sold but this is actually a free pattern so actually no money changed hands at all. I had heard of Forget Me Not Patterns but had never used one of their patterns before and especially given they are a New Zealand company and I am always keen to support home grown, I was keen to give them a try.
For the fabric for my trial, I dug through my stash and came across a piece of rayon lycra in this lovely berry colour. I am currently committed to sewing from my stash where possible. This is a decision I made during COVID lockdown last year and although I was good while the shops were shut and I couldn't buy anything, I certainly reverted to old habits once they opened again and had amassed quite the stash by the end of the year. This year however, the no buy habit is starting to sink in and I have only bought 8 pieces of fabric and all bar 3 have been made up this far. There is still an embarrassing amount of fabric bought in previous years that needs making up and the piece I chose was one of them.
I graded between two sizes going up one size in the hips because I wanted this top to just skim the hips and I am pear shaped which means I usually grade between sizes anyway. Most of the construction was completed on the overlocker with the hem finished on my coverstitch.
I loved the finished top. The rayon lycra is quite drapey so the sleeves fall nicely. The cuffs are quite snug so I am unable to push the sleeves up much which is a habit of mine so this is my only gripe with this top but that is more of a reflection on me than the pattern. Would I make it again? Well yes I would and yes I have; please read on...
Now I had my test top out of the way and it was a success and in regular rotation, I decided to have a dig around in my 2020 fabric acquisition pile and came across this piece of DVF silk jersey that I bought from The Fabric Store remnant bin. I have recently learnt to stay away from this bin because it is my weakness but this piece of fabric I really have no regrets buying. I had intended it to be a wrap top until I realised that I really don't like wearing wrap tops. The Vera top on the other hand was just perfect and I had enough fabric so it was a no brainer really.
Like my previous version, this one came together pretty quickly. V neck tops don't feature very much in my wardrobe but I really like this one. It is not too deep and makes a nice change from my usual crew neck. The entire top was made on my overlocker with the hems on the coverstitch machine.
I have to say this top is probably one of my most worn tops since I made it because it goes with so much of my wardrobe. This one was instant love.
At this point I may have been reaching obsession point with this pattern because I decided I wanted a warmer winter version and guess what? My 2020 fabric stash had just the piece of fabric there waiting to be made into this top. This time I used another piece of DVF knit but in a wool jersey and not from the remnant bin. This fabric shrunk a little in the wash and was narrower so this top was a it more of a challenge. I didn't have enough for the deep cuff band so opted to lengthen the sleeves as much as I could and made a narrow band. I also swapped out the v neck for a crew neck which was not part of the original pattern. I simply used another tee pattern to cut the neckline.
While I still really like this top, the fabric has more stretch than the others and doesn't hold its shape quite so well, so this is the once I reach for less, but I still really like the top and although I thought I was done with this pattern for a while actually it turns out I wasn't!
For my fourth version of this pattern, I was digging around in the bag of merino offcuts and came across a sizeable piece of wool jersey that I had made a cardigan out of several years ago now and mused that actually it was large enough to make a vest. The brain started ticking over as it tends to do and the Vera top came to mind again. Why not cut omit the sleeves and add a narrow band instead? So that is exactly what I did!
The vest is actually a lovely weight and while it works over all of the tops I made, I think I like it with version three the best. I haven't worn a vest for years and had forgotten how versatile and warm they are.
For now I really have retired this pattern but I will keep it and use it again. If you are looking for a really nice upmarket tee top, I thoroughly recommend the Forget Me Not Vera. Seriously what is not to like about a nicely drafted free pattern!