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Surplice top , new Threads

Josefly | Posted in Feedback on Threads on

I liked reading about the surplice top modifications described in Marcy Tilton’s article in the new Threads. (I have her book on making t-shirts and tops, and have been waiting to fit myself before diving in, but want to ask these questions while the topic seems fresh.) Have any of you tried modifying the under-the-bust crossover to an over-the-bust crossover, as the article describes?

An under-the-bust crossover brings the neckline too low for me, but is the over-the-bust crossover comfortable?

I like the lines of the under-style, (the wide-V-neckline makes my shoulders appear wider) so maybe I should resign myself to wearing an under-layer. Any thoughts on the two style lines for different figures?


  1. Tatsy | | #1

    I was inspired by that article too but have never gotten a surplice top to modestly fit my narrow shoulders and wider hips without filling in the V or pinning it.  Over the bust does not work for me because my upper chest is short and the V crosses at my neckline, so it chokes me and I cannot get in without a zipper or buttons.  I have thought about putting narrow elastic inside the crossover but haven't tried it. 

    1. Josefly | | #2

      It does seem that the elastic you suggest inside the neckline would help to keep it close to the body, at least, maybe eliminate gapping that often occurs with wrap-dresses and tops, especially when sitting. The low neckline problem is solved in the article photo, showing a camisole, or perhaps a dickie, under the surplice. Your answer addressed my concern exactly. I want to play with the style a little, as the author suggested, and see what happens if the cross-over is neither completely above nor below the bust, but somewhere in the middle, so the too-high/too-low neckline issue is resolved. I'm afraid this would be uncomfortable too, slanting over the bust, but maybe not if it's looser-fitting?

      Edited 9/3/2007 12:52 am ET by Josefly

      1. Tatsy | | #3

        I haven't had any luck with true surplice tops, but I wonder if a surplice/cowl hybrid would work to eliminate all the problems. I'm thinking of making the overlay long enough and tall enough that it could come over the bust and drape in soft folds with enough give to get my head in and out of.  I've drafted patterns somewhat like this before and getting the folds is simply a matter of slash and spread.  If the folds were staystitched in place before the sleeve is applied, they should not represent too much of a construction challenge either.

        1. Josefly | | #4

          That sounds like a good idea. I look forward to learning more about your experiment.

        2. Josefly | | #11

          I just saw a pattern review for Vogue pattern 7799 which appears to have the kind of cowl/crossover neckline you're talking about. The crossover is above the bust and joins the side seam just where the sideseam begins under the armscye, from what I can tell from the picture. Have you seen this one?

          1. Tatsy | | #12

            Thanks.  I haven't seen it.  I'll take a look.

          2. woodruff | | #13

            This one has many reviews (with photos), mostly favorable, at patternreview.com

          3. Josefly | | #14

            Thank you. I did notice that the recent positive review I saw also included a negative review of another view of the same pattern, a view which did not have the surplice, crossover style. I'll check the other reviews to see what others did/didn't like.

          4. BernaWeaves | | #15

            I read recently, and I'm afraid I don't remember where I read this:

            Get a man's collar stay and make a small cover for it in a color that matches your skin.  Sew it with a short chain stitch to the front outmost layer of the suplice top, right where the fronts cross.

            When you wear the the suplice top, you tuck the stay into your bra between your breasts.  It keeps the top crossed and snug to your body right where it counts.



          5. GailAnn | | #16

            What a great idea!  Who wouldda thought?  Gail

          6. Josefly | | #17

            Great idea, thank you. That may work for me, too, but I don't like my cleavage showing, so the neckline has to be higher than that pictured in the article in Threads. I'll check it out, though.

          7. solosmocker | | #18

            Hi, Berna! I recently read that idea in Sandra Betzina's MORE Power Sewing. Something I have done with v-necks is use a piece of narrow clear elastic in the seam. I carefully measure and make it 1/8 inch shorter. It makes a huge difference and makes the neckline hug you without being obvious. solo

            Edited 9/17/2007 12:53 pm ET by solosmocker

  2. User avater
    CostumerVal | | #5

    I made Vogue 2064 (over the bust crossover with sleeves) and I love it.  The front is 2 layers, the underlayer goes straight down from the neck and then curves under the bust to the waist,  and the overlayer curves over the bust to the bottom of the armscye.  I would do that again with a regular T-shirt pattern.  Now I did stitch a hook to the curved overlayer and made a thread eye at the underlayer neckline to maintain that assymetrical shape, but it's a wrap shirt.  Since the T would be stitched into the sideseam, I don't think it would be necessary.   Val

    1. Josefly | | #6

      Oh, that is a beautiful pattern. I like that assymetrical neckline very much. Thank you so much.

  3. Teaf5 | | #7

    When I was a young, skinny athlete, the underbust surplice was very, very flattering, and I used a simple hidden snap at the crossover point.  As a mature, much more rounded and full-busted former athlete, the style calls attention to all kinds of extra curves I'd rather forget, and simple v-necks work much better.  In either case, the surplice style is much, much more effective and comfortable in a stretch knit in darker colors or interesting patterns.

    1. Josefly | | #8

      Thank you for your comments. There are curves I don't particularly want to reveal, also.

      1. Teaf5 | | #9

        If you get a chance, try on a ready-made top of the same style to see what it does for your figure.  If it's flattering, take note of the placement of the wrap, the depth of the neckline, the location of the side tie, etc.  If it's not flattering, you won't waste fabric and time finding out!

        1. Josefly | | #10

          Good idea. I'm due for a shopping trip, anyway, and I hope I can find several surplice tops to try on.

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