It’s time for a Spring Top Sewalong!

I’m getting antsy for a little selfish sewing. It’s time to sew new tops for for ME! Who’s with me? Anyone?

The Spring Top Sewalong (previously Spring Top Week, but it’s not really just a week so I’m changing the name) is a now annual event I hold every spring in that hopes that we can all get eachother inspired and excited about sewing new tops for ourselves. And that last word is key: there’s no sewing for anyone else allowed here, it’s time for a little self-indulgence. Time to buy the fabric you’ve been lusting after or pull out that pattern you bought years ago thinking you’d make it sometime. What better time than now?

Here’s what I’m thinking: we’ll have about a month to find a pattern and some fabric, sew it up, and enter a picture in the pool (link below). As you enter your tops we’ll enter them in a spreadsheet and send them off to judges (will introduce later) to be scored and narrow them down into a batch of finalists, and in May we’ll have a round of voting here on the blog to find a winner. We’ll have prizes for the two best tops (Reader’s Choice and Judges’ Choice) and prizes!! But really it’s not about the prizes, it’s just alot of fun!

Spring Top Sewalong Rules


  • Selfish sewing only: Your top must be sewed FOR you and BY you.
  • A top and not a dress meaning it covers the majority of your top half but not the majority of your bottom half.
  • Sewn this spring: no hauling out something you finished last summer; to qualify for the contest your top must have been completed after March 1, 2011.
  • Photographed on a person: preferably on you, but I know that can be difficult so do your best here.
  • Is entirely made by you: this year we are not going to include embellished tops in the contest because it’s too difficult for our judges to see how much of the top was made by you and how much was pre-made (like if you purchased a shirt from a store and added ruffles for example). You may upcycle an old or thrifted garment as long as you harvest the fabric from the shirt (i.e. cut the old garment apart) and then construct the shirt so that it the majority of the new seams/elements are sewn by you. See FAQ below.
*A maximum of three tops per person may be entered in the contest
  • One photo per top: Pick one photo of your top to enter in the contest. If you have other pictures of the top that you’d like the judges to see, please feel free to add a link to the rest of your photostream in the description.
  • Is a square image: crop it to a square before uploading it to Flickr
  • Is mostly of the top: your top should fill the majority of the picture so the judges can see it clearly; this means full-body shots of you wearing the top are probably not the best.
  • Should be text and AD-FREE: We understand that you want to protect your work; however, if you become a finalist we will be posting your picture here on the blog and cannot have any text on that image. If you decide to use a watermark, it must be extremely subtle (clear and small) or digital/invisible.
  • Is added to the 2011 Spring Top Sewalong Pool sometime between now and 8 PM Eastern on Monday May 9th, 2011 (link below)
  • Has a title with your name in it: The title of your top should contain your name (Ex: “Daisy Tunic by Martha”)
  • Is labeled: in the description area of your top, please include your NAME (yes again), the PATTERN you used, the FABRIC you used (describe or provide as much information as you can about it (name/type/designer), and — if you would like — a LINK(optional) to your website where we can see more (this can always be added later). Please feel free to write more in the description area if you would like!
  • Is “ENTERED” by a moderator: As the tops are entered in the pool, a moderator will check your photo to make sure it contains the necessary information, add it to the judging spreadsheet, and then put a comment underneath it that says “ENTERED.” Please let me know if you do not receive this comment within 48 hours of adding it to the pool; sometimes we miss one or two and we don’t want it to be you!
Here’s a great example from last year (click to go to the Flickr page):

To see previous years’ contests, click here.


May I use a top I started last summer but never finished?

Yes. All tops must be completed sometime after March 1, 2011. If you started something last year and then set it aside and want to finish it this year for the contest, that’s perfectly fine, I just want to avoid “old” entries, if that makes sense.

May I embellish a pre-made or purchased top?
No, unlike in previous years we are not going to accept tops that are embellished versions of a purchased or pre-made top, since it is too difficult for our judges to distinguish how much of the top was made by you and how much was made by someone else. Your top should be made entirely by you (see exception in the next line)

May I upcycle another top into a new one?
You are welcome to recycle fabric from another garment to make your top, but please make sure that any details retained from the original top are minimal. For instance, you might decide you want to keep the hem from the old shirt or the button placket. The rule of thumb is that you should be sewing the majority of the seams and other elements of your new shirt. Also: you MUST divulge all elements that you did not design or sew yourself in your photo description when you enter it in the pool.

May I design my own pattern?
You may use or adapt any sewing pattern or design your own. If you use a pattern, you must provide the pattern information in your photo description when you enter it in the pool.

We will begin entering tops on Monday, April 18th, so don’t be alarmed if your top doesn’t get a moderator comment right away. The pool will close at 8 PM Eastern time on Monday May 9th so that we can finish scoring and get the top 40-60 put together for reader voting on the blog. (please enter your tops as early as possible to make it easier on our judges)

UPDATED: We have extended the entry deadline to MAY 10 (Tuesday) at 8 pm eastern!

As I’ve mentioned in previous years, this contest is a huge project that I cannot possibly pull off all by myself. So I’m going to shamelessly beg for help. Here’s what I need some assistance with:

PHOTO MODERATORS Updated: All set, thanks everyone!
If you think you would be able to moderate the entries in the Flickr pool, email me with the subject “photo moderator!”  This would mean making sure the tops in the pool are actually meant to be there (you’d be amazed), properly labeled, and that the creator leaves proper contact information. I’ll send your email to Amber, who is in charge of the moderating this year so she can put together a schedule (you can sign up for the days you’re available) and let you know when/how you’re needed. Generally though the time requirement is about a half hour to an hour tops each day you moderate, you just need to check in a few times or even just once at the end of the day to check the pool for new entries. The majority of tops get entered during the last week, so availability between May 2-9 is helpful but not required.

I am looking for one or two people who would be willing to hunt down prizes (meaning emailing people to ask if they’d be willing to donate them, and let me know if you have ideas here!) and put together a nice list of the prizes along with descriptions and links for me to post on the blog. Email me with the subject “help with prizes” if you think you could do this.

PRIZES Updated: All set, thanks everyone!
If you have a shop or business that could offer something relating to sewing tops (I’m thinking fabric, sewing patterns, notions, books here or even accessories? sewing room art? a sewing machine?) to our prize packages (there will be two winners), please email me with the subject “potential prize for Spring Top Sewalong” and let me know what and how many you would be willing to donate. Links and photos are a must, so please be specific. Your shop/business will be featured in the prize package post along with a link to your website. You do not have to be a sponsor of this blog to donate a prize.

Whether you’re going to be sewing along, entering tops, or just participating as a voter or spectator, please help me spread the word by putting up a button (copy and paste the button code in the box for easy application). The images at the top of this post are larger files (400px) and the ones at the bottom are smaller (200px). I couldn’t decide if I liked the yellow or the green better. So I went with both, hee.

To get the button above, copy and paste the code below into a sidebar  html widget/gadget or directly into the html editor of a blog post. It will automatically link to the spring top posts.

To get the button above, copy and paste the code below into a sidebar  html widget/gadget or directly into the html editor of a blog post. It will automatically link to the spring top posts.

Thanks everyone! Let’s get sewing!!!

44 thoughts on “It’s time for a Spring Top Sewalong!

  1. Excited!!! I haven't done spring top week before but I think I might be up for it this year. Also considering moderating or prize donating… have to think on that a bit though.

  2. I LOVE spring top week! So excited to see everything people do. I've never actually entered anything, but maybe this year will be a first, depending on… oh, a million things as everyone knows how that goes!

  3. Yay! I was planning on making a top soon anyway! Now I have some motivation to actually do it!

  4. AHH! i'm so not ready for this! but will definitely try. so many sewing projects this month!

  5. I never sew for me. Well maybe a handbag here or there but never clothes. Maybe this is the motivation that I need! Thanks! I can't wait to see all of the entries.

  6. Yay!!! And May is "Me Me Me Month" on my blog, so this is perfect timing. Now to sort through my stash for the perfect material and dream up a cute pattern. Sorry family – I'm sewing this Easter!

  7. Ok, I'll try !!!! The thing is I don't have pattern in here for me…..any advice on an etsy shop ???

  8. Thank you for the hard work of organising Spring Top Week again! I am super excited about it again!!!!!!

  9. This is going to be my first ever sewalong… *yay* Thanks for motivating me and giving me the courage to actually participate. Very excited! THANKS

  10. Yes, I'm totally ready to do some sewing for me. Just have to get the Easter stuff done first. Then, memememe!

  11. This is so silly but it be completed by March 1 but that has passed? no?
    This would be my first sew along so Im just trying to figure it out.

  12. Hi!
    I'm a Canadian (an a French one !!) Can I enter the contest?

    Pleaaaaaaase! I'm just starting a top tonight (green frog color.. do you see the fun here??) and it would be perfect for this contest…..
    Thank you!


  13. I'm very excited to have a reason to sew for myself . I just wish I had seen this post sooner, but I will try to get something finished. Thanks for the motivation

  14. I just found your blog and I'd love to participate!

    A question though, I would like to follow your blog through blogger, yet I do not see the normal option to click-and-follow? Am I missing something? This is the only way I follow blogs and am hoping that I've somehow overlooked the means to do so on yours? Thanks for any help!

  15. Great! I'll be sure to add a post about this at the online sewing community:!

    Hopefully we can round up some participants!

  16. I'll try to answer all the questions here if I haven't replied directly to you:

    ricebabies: Yeah,that's a little confusing, but I wanted to be able to include tops that people had finished this spring before I announced the contest, since I'm not giving a ton of time. So if you started something ages ago and set it aside, that's fine, you just have to have finished it recently (after March 1), if that makes sense. But yes, the final date to enter is May 9th.

    Sonia: if you click on my picture here in the comments section, you should be able to follow my blog via that link.

    Jewels: Thanks dude! With such a tight date range this year we appreciate the help getting the word out!!! 🙂

  17. Thanks Rae for helping. I didn't see a link but I added you through Managing my blogs. I appreciate your help!

    I look forward to seeing everyones' tops!

  18. When you posted it was coming up I thought we'd only have a week so I quick made mine! I just so happened to have finished it on Friday right before checking your blog and seeing the post! It's uploaded now!

  19. Happycindys:

    Oops! Sorry I forgot to answer your question: yes, we allow international entries for this contest, so you may enter. 🙂

    Alison: You may enter a cardigan; that will qualify as a "top"

  20. I'm in! I want to make a tunic with the Pillow and Maxfield Gypsy Bandana border print. Maybe a skirt too.

    Pasted your button on my blog so others will join in!

    I did Spring Top Week last year and it was fun!

  21. EEKS, I have been waiting so patiently for this! Have been wanting to break into sewing garments for myself after being a lifelong quilter and embroidererrr (is that a word?) and came across you last year just after it closed. Now I've got patterns and fabric just waiting for me…thanks for the inspiration and motivation!

  22. Hi, I'm visiting from The Brassy Apple. What a fun project link up. I even have a great pattern I bought and I have never name a thing with it. Now I have a reason and a challenge!! Thanks for the great inspiration!!

  23. How timely! I've been itching to make myself something, and just haven't found the inspiration. Why is it that I can never decide what to make for myself?

    I'll be making my own pattern, using the basic bodice sloper draft along I'm hosting on my site, with modifications of course! I'll grab your button too, let's see if we can get lots of participants.

    Thank you for hosting this sew along. I've been sewing for years but have never done a sew along before.


  24. This sounds like a lot of fun! Will have to think about what kind of a top I would like to make.


  25. Lovely Rae – I loved your sewalong last year. It was sooo much fun and really inspired me to branch out a bit in my sewing. Not being a top-wearer, but more of a dress-over-jeans wearer, I'm attempting to start a summer dress challenge when your lovely event comes to an end. You can see more about it here:

    Paisley and Lace

  26. Hi Rae! I'm kinda freaking out a little bit because the contest closes in half an hour and the shirt I entered today (Spring Denim Top) still isn't entered. I had forgotten to put a title on it but it is fixed now. Thanks!

  27. melissamo1: Email me (rae dot made at gmail dot com) your direct flickr link and I'll take care of it!

  28. Love this .I had my fabric out last night, having a think of what to make just for me so this is perfect:)

  29. Hello, i think that i saw you visited my site so i came to “return the favor”.I am trying to find things to improve my website!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

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