More Mods to The French Sailor Top


Good morning! I’ve been experimenting with the French Sailor Top pattern from a couple of weeks ago and hallelujah, I now have two tops that will be a staple in my wardrobe. This is my original French Sailor Top (size medium with no modifications other than an extra cm in sleeve length):


This first attempt was too tight across the chest and the bust darts were a joke.

To rectify the situation, I started by modifying the medium. I liked Angela’s suggestion of doing a broad back adjustment from that last post, so I widened the back piece by 1/2″ using step 8 of this method. I also added 1/4″ to the base of the armscye for the front pattern piece to allow for more movement and made corresponding changes to the sleeve pattern. Then I lowered the bust dart by a couple of inches, but decided a full bust adjustment probably wouldn’t be necessary. I also remembered to add an inch to the hem. Because I used an uncooperative cheap double-gauze that I cut off-grain, it looks pretty wonky. This was just a test, though, so that was ok. The fit is WAY better. I can lift my arms in this version! See image on left:


Then, I went up a size and sewed the large for comparison. It’s weirdest thing…the shoulders were even tighter for the large, though the rest of the bodice was much looser. See how the top seems to rise above my shoulders in the image on the right? Very odd. I lowered the bust dart and added an extra inch to the hem for the large as well, and did away with the side slits. Aside from those two things, I didn’t make any changes to the larger pattern pieces.

So the winner was the medium with modifications.


I wanted to sew it up in a polka dot fabric, but I was all out of the white-dots-on-black piece that I had in mind. Instead, I defaulted to my usual indigo. This very thin cotton has pinstripes and just the right drape. Love. Ignore the big ole burn near my wrist and word to the wise: never reach over a boiling electric kettle.

modified-frenchsailortop7 modified-frenchsailortop8

I’ve been hoarding this Kokka gingham for many years, and I’m glad I finally cut into it but I’m on the fence about the result. The texture is reminiscent of brushed cotton and it’s a teensy weensy weightier than the pinstripe indigo cotton.


The fit is awesome. Look how the dart is in the right place — that’s my expert eyeballing skills for ya.


It feels…a little too country for my taste, I guess. I usually adore gingham so I don’t know why this one isn’t totally floating my boat. Despite its quintessential Japanese-ness, I also can’t shake the sense that I ought to incorporate a butter churn as a prop. Or maybe it’s because I get the urge to squat down and start milking a cow when wearing this shirt.


I’m sure the top will grow on me; sometimes it takes wearing the garment a few times for me to fall in love.


Ah, that’s better. Anyway, this was great practice for alterations. Because of its straightforward shape, I was able to make minor tweaks and see how they would change the fit without having to spend a lot of time (or fabric! I was able to squeeze out a top with less than 1.5 yards). I could probably add just a hair to the shoulder width and it wouldn’t hurt if the neckline lay flatter, but I’m going to call this one good.

I’m looking forward to trying the other patterns from this book!

12 thoughts on “More Mods to The French Sailor Top

    1. I’m impressed that you know Omedeto!! Yes, totally applicable. :-). Not quite perfect fit, but close enough — way better than most RTW, I’d say. And I’m working on our little project too ;-).

  1. No no no – the gingham one is perfect! It’s not country at all. And if you really decide you don’t like it, I can send you my mailing address 🙂 I would have had to lower the bust darts too so it will be a perfect fit 🙂

    1. Ha! Well, I hate to disappoint you Masha, but I wore the top all day and it’s official: the top is a keeper. So comfy and really cute with a scarf. 🙂

  2. I just finished a dress from a Yoshiko Tsukiori book, and it also took me a few times of wear to fall in love with it. 🙂 I love these tops – they look great. MY favorite is the thin pinstripe one – looks very sharp.

    1. Isn’t that funny? There are quite a few things I didn’t like when I first made them, and now I wear them constantly! Thank you, Jeannie!

    1. Thanks Shelley! This one WAS surprisingly tricky. Happily, I’ve been wearing my two tops regularly, so the effort was worth it! 🙂

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