Monday, 12 April 2021

Teal Bamboo Rib Elio Top

The Elio Top from Allie Olson caught my eye as soon as it was released. I love a wrap neckline and particularly liked that this has nice clean lines without any bulky ties which means it can be easily tucked into high waisted trousers. This is due to it being a 'mock wrap' and the edges of the wrap are sewn into the side seams. When thinking about gaps in my wardrobe and what I miss when I'm getting dressed it is often comfy, casual tops that I can wear with high waisted trousers and skirts. The Elio fits the bill perfectly and goes with my Dawn Jeans, Persephone Pants and Evie Bias skirts beautifully.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Allie Olson Elio Top in Ocean Teal Bamboo Rib Knit from Patterns & Plains

I had barely put my mind to what fabric to make this in when Amanda from Patterns & Plains got in touch to see if I'd like to try out some of their new Fuji Bamboo Rib Knit it felt like serendipity. It is the absolute perfect match for this pattern and I love that the rib adds a bit of an interesting texture as opposed to a flat colour. The bamboo gives it a beautiful fluid drape whilst the rib gives it thickness and the combination of the two equals a wonderful weighty fabric. If, like me, you're trying to put some more thought into the sustainability of your fabric choices you'll be pleased to note that its is certified to OEKO-TEX Standard 100. (EDIT: thanks to Nina for pointing out that OEKO-TEX100 just means there are no harmful substances in the final fabric, it doesn’t speak to the manufacturing process itself so is not necessarily an eco friendly choice. For that look for GOTS certified). Bamboo is a step up from most cottons and polyesters if you're looking to make more sustainable choices but still isn't perfect as it is generally manufactured in a similar way to rayon/viscose. I read a great article on Seamwork a while back which helped to decipher a bit of the confusion about eco-friendly fabric choices. 

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Allie Olson Elio Top in Ocean Teal Bamboo Rib Knit from Patterns & Plains

The pattern recommends quite a weighty knit and I'd recommend following those guidelines. This top hugs the body nicely and I think in a super fine and slinky knit you'd end up with things pulling in odd places. This bamboo knit is 332g/m and has turned out great. In this weight of knit (I'd call it medium weight rather than super heavy) it all sits nicely in place, helped by the tight and stable feeling of this fabric. The density of this fabric also means it is completely opaque even at full stretch and the colour doesn't fade at all.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Allie Olson Elio Top in Ocean Teal Bamboo Rib Knit from Patterns & Plains

I spent quite a long time deliberating over which size to cut. When making a closely fitted knit garment I often debate the right size to pick as it can hinge quite a lot on the stretch and recovery of the fabric you are using. With this top I didn't want it to end up too clingy but also was wary of it being too wide across the shoulders or gaping at the centre front. This fabric is listed as having less stretch than the pattern recommends but once I had it in my hands it felt like it had enough give. It has a gorgeous, spongy stretch and good recovery. In the end I erred slightly on the side of caution and cut the size 6 (from the B cup range), grading in to a 4 at the waist - a fraction larger than my measurements. I also shortened the top by 1" at the lengthen shorten line after checking the centre back length on the finished garment measurements. I kept the sleeve length as it was.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Allie Olson Elio Top in Ocean Teal Bamboo Rib Knit from Patterns & Plains

With knit tops I usually gravitate towards the short sleeve option which I nearly did with this as the cap sleeve is really nice. However, when I think about what my wardrobe needs it is probably more long sleeve tops! I'm glad I went with the full length sleeve now as it is a comfortable slim cut. I actually have plenty of fabric left over to make a short sleeve version if I want to...the fabric recommendations on this are quite generous. I got two metres of this bamboo knit as it is 125cm wide and only used 1.3m with a big enough chunk left to cut another set of sleeves!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Allie Olson Elio Top in Ocean Teal Bamboo Rib Knit from Patterns & Plains

One of the features I initially liked most about this top was the deep neckline which still looked quite secure and like it wouldn't expose too much. I'm delighted to report that my high expectations have matched up to reality and I couldn't be happier with how this neckline sits. The construction method uses a lot of elastic to keep everything snug and sitting in place. There is narrow elastic attached all the way around the neckline; applied flat rather than stretched out so it isn't pulling tight, just keeping the edge flat and secure. I would recommend matching your thread carefully to this project as the front neckline is topstitched down and it is a very obvious spot to have a wobble in contrasting thread!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Allie Olson Elio Top in Ocean Teal Bamboo Rib Knit from Patterns & Plains

There is also clear elastic added to the side seams. This was a completely new technique to me and is included to stop the side seam pulling to the front where the wrap meets the side seam and there is some horizontal tension. My side seam is still pulling a little (as you can see in the slightly strange photo below!) but I tried in on before adding the elastic and am amazed at the visible difference it has made. Don't skip that step!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Allie Olson Elio Top in Ocean Teal Bamboo Rib Knit from Patterns & Plains

I love that you end up with a double thickness of fabric across the tummy. It hugs the body nice and firmly and feels strangely comforting! To hem the top without adding too much bulk and creating a lump if it is tucked into a slinky skirt or trousers Allie suggests using a fold over elastic to cover the raw edge. I loved the idea of this and would like to try it in future (I'm always up for a new sewing technique!) but I didn't have any fold over elastic to hand so opted to hem it like I usually do with a knit; by turning up the raw edge once and stitching down with a twin needle. It hasn't turned out too bulky at all in this rib, even along the front edge where you are stitching through four layers of fabric.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Allie Olson Elio Top in Ocean Teal Bamboo Rib Knit from Patterns & Plains

I was really careful when hemming all edges of this top (and sewing all seams for that matter) not to stretch anything out as I sewed. I've previously found rib knits quite tricky to work with in that respect and have ended up with many a wobbly hem! I had no trouble at all with this fabric. I don't know if I've got better at handling knit fabrics or if perhaps this just has better recovery and resilience than those I've sewn with before, it certainly responded well to a good steam and press. Either way I am really pleased with the finish I've achieved. 

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Allie Olson Elio Top in Ocean Teal Bamboo Rib Knit from Patterns & Plains

I will 100% be using both the pattern and this fabric again; particularly the fabric as it comes in four more rich, bold colours (this is the Ocean Teal colour by the way). I think it would make a really wonderful Nikko Dress! If you'd like to try out this fabric Patterns & Plains are offering 15% off any of the colours until midnight on Monday 19th April. Just use the code FUJI15 at the checkout!

5 comments:

  1. I love this! Also lacking nice plain long sleeves and kind of want the exact same one, though also drawn to the sandstone colour. Thanks for the construction and fit tips - that neckline looks so neat.

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    1. The sandstone is beautiful! I had a hard time choosing!

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  2. It looks great, Fiona! Do you think the steps using clear elastic would work with another type?

    A note about Oeko-Tex certification - it's not really about sustainability, it's about (absence of) specific chemical residues in the finished product. They test the finished product itself but don't look into the production process/environmental impact. Organic certification (GOTS) is kind of the opposite - it's all about the farming of the raw materials and manufacturing process, so that speaks much more to 'sustainability'.

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    1. O that is really interesting Nina, thanks very much for pointing that out and correcting me, I’ll amend the post. It is so confusing the different certifications and different parts of the process, I’m trying to learn more about it at the moment

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    2. And yes I don’t see why it specifically needs to be clear elastic, I think any elastic would do to reinforce those seams

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