Tops: Matcha and More

By the time I submitted my final draft of Sewing Love back in late 2021, I had sewn hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of test and photoshoot-ready muslins and garments. You know that my tendency is to overdo things, and boy, I overdid the overdoing. I hate to admit it, but I was well and truly sewed out. I developed an uneasy and complicated relationship with my sewing machine (I still loved it but felt resentful of how time-sucky it had become, tethered to seemingly never-ending deadlines) and I stopped using my finicky serger.

It is difficult, it must also be said, to house that many clothing items, especially in a tiny townhouse with pint-sized closets. I had nightmares about loaded garment racks and bins of textiles collapsing on me, and my dream of becoming a minimalist died with a quiet, fabric-choked whimper.

In the last couple of years I haven’t sewn much apparel. I stitched a little bit to prepare for the Creativebug classes that I taught based on Sewing Love projects and whipped out a few roomy tops to wear on my morning walks to replace the haggard ones that I kept in constant rotation.

Instead, I painted a lot more (I dove especially deep into digital painting). I started cooking elaborate meals. I kept my sewing machine covered and let the dust accumulate on it.

Time passed. And then, a few weeks ago I felt that inner stirring, a hankering to sew something just for fun, not because it’s required or practical. It might have something to do with spring and the wondrous blooms I encounter on aforementioned walks. I want to bloom too. I want to wear pretty clothes and — because I am me and I can’t help it — make those pretty clothes. Yes, I have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to handmade clothes already, but I sewed the same patterns over and over to test them, and I craved something new and different.

Which is where the Matcha top by Sew Liberated comes in. I blew off the dust and removed the sewing machine cover. I felt shy around my machine, like we were entering a rekindled romance. I stroked a blue-grey linen and knew it was exactly what I wanted. Trace, cut, gather, sew. Like the flavorful green tea that the pattern is named after, sewing the Matcha top was a simultaneously soothing and invigorating experience.

Shall we go more in-depth? The Matcha top is generously proportioned with a v-neck gathered into a mandarin collar. There are gathers in the back as well. The sleeves are 3/4-ish, just the way I like ‘em. You can also make it sleeveless. There are no closures and the looseness makes the putting on and taking off of the top a cinch. The pattern includes shoulder pieces as an added design element, but I opted to leave them out for both the sleeved and sleeveless versions.

I really like the design; it looks way more complicated to sew than it actually is. I would say the trickiest part is the collar, and I chose to hand sew the facing for more control. Also, I’m so glad I have a sloper (which was at the heart of Sewing Love) because based solely on the printed dimensions of the Matcha instruction book, I would have chosen a size 12. However, by placing my sloper against the pattern pieces I sussed out that a size 10 would fit better. I was right!

I love it in the blue-grey linen:

I made the sleeveless option in a long-hoarded silk (I think — or it could be a silk blend?). I also added a couple of extra inches to the hem to account for my long torso. The armhole facing technique was one I haven’t used much, so that was educational. I also French-seamed this baby due to the sheerness of the material. I noticed that the shaping is slightly slimmer for the sleeveless pattern. You may have caught that I didn’t cut out the front pieces entirely symmetrically, but I actually adore the wonkiness:

This is the long-suffering face of an allergy-addled person. It might be hard to see, but my lips are chapped and swollen and my nostrils are raw and unhappy from all the sneezing and nose-blowing. Oy.


My sewing machine and I are on good terms again. In fact, once I scratched the sewing-for-pure-fun itch, I was more than happy to throw in a couple of familiar patterns like a modification of my very own Sewing Love Batwing Top in a mystery knit:

And a Perri Pullover by Cali Faye. I made this pullover for K many moons ago on two occasions here and here, and though she ultimately never reached for them, I’ve wanted one in my size. It’s a nubby, comfy, hemp? (again, don’t hold me to this) stretchy fabric. And talk about generous sizing! I used my sloper as a gauge again and cut out the XS, though I would have veered toward the M had I relied on the provided dimensions:

Now this is an excellent neckline. I usually mess up these types of neckbands and facings, so I was quite proud of this one. Because it was such a wide neckline and I don’t need to worry about breakage, I used a straight stitch instead of my usual zigzag for knits. I did the same thing for my self-drafted top…come to think of it, the neckline for that one turned out nicely too. Hurray!

Alright, that seems like enough for now. I’ve got a dress on my cutting table that I’ve wanted to sew for years, and I’ll share photos and details of the dress along with the Owyn pants (from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style) next time! Plus, I’m working on culling my outrageous clothing collection — my dreamy streamlined lifestyle still has a chance of emerging from the dregs of sartorial scraps like a magnificent minimalist phoenix, fingers crossed.


8 thoughts on “Tops: Matcha and More

  1. Even though you are suffering from allergies (I’m so sorry / what a hardship that makes of spring), you look lovely in your new tops and have inspired me to get some sewing done.
    Take good care, be well.

    1. Thank you, Hilary! My allergies seem to be on the tail end (whew) and I’m a lot less sneezy these past couple of days. 🙂

  2. I love your new tops! I just picked up your book a week or so ago and have it on my radar this summer (when I’m off from teaching) to work on slopers. What a great idea to use them for checking against patterns. Why had I not thought of that use? I too have ebb and flows with my sewing, right now it has been steady as long as there is time. Three teens at home keep me pretty busy even though I have a couple days at home a week when they are in school. It seems like I should have time but lots of things seem to take up my time! 🙂 Things I love too, though.

    1. Thank you, Kristi! The sloper against patterns has been a game changer for sure. Glad that you’re fitting in sewing in the midst of other loved things!

  3. That was very encouraging to read. I made a toile for a sleeved matcha over a month ago, after eyeing off the pattern for years. The fit was really off and I haven’t wanted to touch it to adjust it. Yours look so nice that it makes me want to go and sort mine out. I think that, as you’ve done, I’ll leave the shoulder panels off.

    1. Leaving the shoulder panels off was a good choice for me and I hope it works for you, too! Thank you, Meg!

  4. Threads magazine review of your book Sewing Love sent me looking for you via google and joyfully here you are! Am buying your book . My allergy season is in July . The triggers are heat and humidity. You have my sincere empathy. Thank you for all you do and for sharing your wonderful spirit.

    Tula Fitzgerald, Maryland. USA

    1. So lovely to see your comment, Tula! I wasn’t aware that the Threads magazine review was out now. Thanks for letting me know!

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