SPRING TOP WEEK Day 5: Rae’s Victorian Collar Top

This is the last completed top for this week; I’m hoping to have enough nap this afternoon to finish just one more…we’ll see! I’m not exactly sure what to call this top, but the neck seems a bit Victorian to me so I’m just going with that. It’s actually just a ruffle around the neck (ruffles seem to be my thing this spring) which I’ll give a few directions for below.

This top was a make-it-up-as-you-go creation. I started by putting a set of pleats in the fabric (before cutting even), each 1/2 wide and 2 inches apart. I traced the line on the bottom of my modified Smashing Smock pattern so I’d know where to stop the pleats, and then traced a “front” piece from some newsprint pattern I’d made along the line. The pleats made it baggy enough in front to work for maternity, and I did a non-pleated back to match. I made up a flutter sleeve using the armhole circumference. And there you go!


The ties are 3″ below armpit and can go in front or back. The fabric is from JoAnn and as you can see above, has a sort of fuzzy nature to it. It’s also really see-through and thus requires a tank or camisole underneath. You may also have noticed that Kate made a top of the exact same fabric that was posted yesterday in the Spring Top Showcase.


I roll-hemmed the ruffle, sleeve, and bottom hem again with my serger (some of you have asked: it’s a Brother 1034D) which worked great for this weight of fabric. I also serged the inside seems since this lightweight stuff always seems to fray. The beauty of the rolled hem on the bottom is that when I’m post-baby, I can just hem it shorter to make it more normal-looking.

Here it is mid-construction:


How-to add a ruffle to a neckline:

I cut 2 yards of 1.5″ wide fabric for the ruffle and finished the top edge of the ruffle with my serger. Then I stuffed it under the presser foot on the right side of the blouse while sewing 1/4″ away from the edges. This gathered it just fine (I imagine this is what a gathering foot does, but a bit more unpredictable and erratic). You can see this finished step above. Then I serged that raw edge you see there (you could also pink that edge or cover with bias tape), pressed the ruffle away from the blouse, and topstitched the seam to tack the edges down underneath the neckline and force the ruffle up.

19 thoughts on “SPRING TOP WEEK Day 5: Rae’s Victorian Collar Top

  1. Cute! Love the ruffles. Thanks for the serger recommendation too. I have been thinking about it, but now I am off to get one!

  2. This is so pretty! It’s classic and modern at the same time. I must look harder at JoAnn’s the next time for some of this fabric!!

  3. What a wonderful top!
    I do love the fabric! And you look amazing pregnant!!!! lol…
    Keep posting please!!!!!!!!

  4. Oh Rae this one is killa!! Lovin’ it – really works w/ that fabric. And since it’s May 1, i’ld just like to give you a big thank-you for doin’ the spring top week thing for all of us!!

  5. Wow Rae! I have just discovered your blog and spent ages reading through it! I have recently begun to learn a few dressmaking skills and your blog is SO inspiring! Oh, and your little Elliot is just adorable – as are the outfits you make for him! I love your style… I love your fabric choices and would just wear everything that you make! How wonderful to have discovered you!!!
    I hope you are keeping well, you look radiant in your pics! :-)
    Warm wishes! Vikki

  6. i have to agree with cassandra who commented also– my favorite of the tops i’ve seen posted. although i didn’t get to my machine this week, now i’m glad as i can steal this great look when i do find some time for sewing. thanks for the inspiration.

  7. my newest little one is four weeks old. i wish i’d seen all this inspiration for maternity/cross-over tops before she was born! i had trouble finding decent-looking maternity tops, and eventually gave up. i ended up wearing the same three or four tops over and over again!

    ….do you know whether the new little one is a boy or a girl?

  8. I didn’t get a photo taken till Saturday (so I didn’t add it to the flickr pool), but I made your ruffle sleeve shirt from the SMS tutorial you posted and I LOVE it! I’m obnoxiously pregnant right now and it fits perfect and I don’t feel like I’m wearing a mumu or squeezed into a sausage casing! I just wanted to say thanks for the pattern/tutorial! Love your blog too!

  9. This is so cute, Rae!!! My head is spinning with how I can refashion a shirt to look like this now. :)

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