Pattern Reviews · This 'n' That

Tilly and the Buttons Agnes Top Polo Hack

Bonjour! I’m still laid up with my ruptured Achilles, so I can’t sew at the moment, however… here’s one I made earlier!

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It’s the Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top that I made into a polo neck (pre-injury). I’ve made the Agnes a few times before and I think it’s a fabulous pattern, with plenty of options to make each one different. I make it in a size 3 at the sleeves, waist, and hips, and grade it up to a size 4 at the bust.

The construction is really straightforward and the sleeves are very simple to insert, as there’s no easing; you just sew them in flat. As I’ve made it before I didn’t take any ‘work in progress’ pics this time, so, instead, here are some photos of one the first one I made last year, with some fabulous pink stripe jersey from Fabric Godmother, that I named my Bagpuss top…

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Check out that stripe matching; it took a LOT of careful cutting and pinning!

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I also had some fabric left over, so I made another one for my gorgeous niece, AKA Titch!

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Anyway, back to my latest one… when I knew we had a French-themed exhibition coming up at our gallery, I naturally *had* to have a black and white stripe top for the preview day. I chose a lightweight, ribbed jersey fabric from Fabworks.  I decided I wanted it to be a polo neck, so I thought I’d have a go at hacking the faithful Agnes.

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I traced my existing pattern, then compared the width of the shoulders and the height of the neckline on my Agnes pattern with a RTW polo neck and adjusted my pattern accordingly. Here you can see the original lines and how much I added:

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Once I’d cut and joined the front and back pieces, and attached the sleeves as usual, I measured the opening of the neck hole and cut some fabric 15cm high, so it’d be 6cm high once folded in half and stitched on, and 25% shorter than the neck opening in length, as that’s how much I’d usually make a neckband on a stretchy jersey top. I then, stupidly (hindsight’s a wonderful thing!), plunged straight ahead and sewed the ends together, then attached it to the top… but when I tried it on it was far too tight – let’s just say breathing was impaired! So out came my seam ripper and I spent then next hour-and-a-half carefully unpicking all those teeny zigzag stitches… I *hate* unpicking jersey!

What I hadn’t considered was that this was a funnel neck, not a normal neckband, and I’d also forgotten to add the seam allowance back onto the length measurement. Argh! I re-measured, cut out a new piece of fabric at 15% shorter (+3cm seam allowance) and sewed the ends together, then I tried it on before sewing it to the top and hurrah, it fitted perfectly! Breathing was resumed! I quickly made a note on my pattern piece for future reference.

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So that’s pretty much all there is to it. Here’s a photo taken at the exhibition preview. If you’d like to know about the exhibition by Kent artist Graham Clarke, visit (shameless plug alert!) www.gallery-plus.co.uk

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2 thoughts on “Tilly and the Buttons Agnes Top Polo Hack

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