Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Finding Community on the Internet - The Minttu Swing Top Tip!

Like many of our experienced home sewists who have been using patterns and following directions for years, we have learned different techniques, tricks, and shortcuts to accomplish the same result as what the pattern maker intended. But when we make a garment from one of our indie pattern makers for the first time, we always try to construct it according to the instructions included in the pattern. We want to understand the methods given from the designer to better help you construct your own version of a particular garment.

The Minttu Swing Top from Named Clothing's Playground Collection is a "simple and loose fitting A-Lined jersey top with round neck and slightly angular armholes."  It does look easy at first glance, and definitely cute. We chose this gorgeous cotton lycra knit print, available online or at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in BerkeleyWe thought that the side panels could be cut on the bias to add a flattering detail to the top. 

So many great knits to choose from! Follow the link to check 'em out!

Putting on my new Minttu Top with my Flint Pants

The first steps of the instructions include attaching the side panels to the front and back sections of the top.  Easy enough.

The all in one facing is a great design feature for a sleeveless top such as the Minttu.  An all-in-one facing is sewn around the neckline and armholes, giving the garment a very polished look - no bias bindings to sew down or top stitching needed. Laurel, my seamstress, loves the all-in-one facings, but typically sews the neckline and armholes up to the shoulder seams, leaving them open to allow turning the facing, then sewing the shoulders carefully by hand.

The Minttu uses a different technique that was confusing to Laurel at first.  She read and reread the instructions a few times, but was having trouble deciphering exactly what they meant.

So what do you do in such a case? It took a while to find it, but on the Internet we found a You-Tube video explaining the application of the all-in-one facing on this exact Named top, the Minttu. Eureka!! This is what we love about the sewing community - sewing bloggers love to show their accomplishments and their projects, and many of them do tutorials. You have to love don't ever be afraid to do a search when you reach a stumbling block such as Laurel experienced.

After watching the video, sponsored by Indie Sew, we realized the instruction that was tripping Laurel up involved the "grabbing of the seam allowance and pulling the armhole wrong side out."  We discovered that it's all in how you reach up in between the bodice shell and the facing and do the "grabbing."

It really difficult to demonstrate in these still photos.  As they say in the studio, "you have to see the movie" to get it. But once we watched the video a couple of times, we wondered why we made it so hard. It isn't a challenging technique if you know what you're doing. And yes, you can teach an old dog (or sewist) new tricks!

The armholes are sewn in two steps...first the front is sewn using the "grab, pull and pin" technique, then the back of the armhole, following the same technique.  When the garment is turn right-side out, the result is a beautifully finished neckline and armhole.

We used a twin needle to hem the Minttu Top after adding a little fusible tape to cut down on the rolling that often happens with knits.

Such a polished finish on the neck and armholes...and no hand sewing.

Fabric on the bias for the side panels.
What a great detail!

Feeling good in my Minttu Swing Top with my new Safran Jeans!

We could totally make this top again - we love the flowing nature of it.  And once we got the technique of the all-in-one facing down, we aren't likely to forget it.  The beauty of it is that the shoulder seams are smooth and flat which is sometimes a problem using the open shoulder hand-sewn method.

Thank heavens that we have such a powerful resource in our community through the internet. Where would we be without our blogging and social media friends!  There is much to learn about sewing, and we like to think that we here at Fabriclady and Stonemountain Fabrics inspire you as well to try new techniques.  We are not too proud to learn from you and nor are we thinking we know it all.  Both Laurel and I have been creating garments for years, and we love to call ourselves life-long students of all that is creative and beautiful. We learn from you and you inspire us everyday.

Thank you for being a part of our story.

With love and many blessings,

What fabric would you use for your Minttu Swing Top?


  1. I have made this top as well. The all in one facing technique is tricky without a video to look at. But once you see how it is done it is easy. It is a very cute top

    1. True, true Louise! What did you make top out of???

    2. It's a great top and we look forward to making more! So great to have the support and teaching of others to get us through the tough spots! Love to see your top!