No toile roulette – the Fielder Top

I’ve written before about being a Planner. I plan a lot of my life, to fit as much in as possible, and it’s been quite the eye opener since my small person arrived that not only must one plan life Even More with a small around, but one must be fully prepared that the day may turn to shit and that precious plan flies out the window. Quite the paradox.

Anyway of course I plan my sewing, and since my available sewing time has shrunk to just a couple of hours a week I’m finding sewing with a plan even more necessary. Interestingly I’m finding I’m actually sewing more for the upcoming season, rather than the current one. I used to have such an enormous sewing list that I’d always be trying to squeeze one more thing out of the current season then be alarmed that I had nothing to wear that I liked when the new season hit. I digress. 

Anyhoo my careful spring plans tootled themselves out the window when I saw this version of the Fielder Top by Merchant and Mills posted by Leslie from Fibresmith, a delightfully curated fabric and wool store that opened about a year ago in Melbourne’s inner western suburbs.

I don’t know what it was about it, but I was very enamoured. It’s not a new pattern at all, but I’m rarely drawn to the grim dour styling of the M and M patterns. But I loved the idea of a woven sweatshirt and I was SO sick of making knit garments. After my York pinny I yearned for more woven fabrics. So into my Fibresmith shopping cart the pattern went, along with some pieces of M and M cotton Lycra ribbing. Quality ribbing is very hard to find (other excellent online Australian sources include Maai Design and Crafty Mama).

So the Fielder. It’s a woven raglan top, with a bust dart and a lovely little shoulder dart that creates a beautiful curved shoulder line. Being a M and M pattern the recommended fabric is (their) linen. The neckline, cuffs and hem are finished with knit ribbing for a sporty look. It also has a dress variation (see Anna’s lovely version here). The sizing and ease seems generous but still flattering and stylish.

Initially I thought I’d have to face the unknown and do an FBA, as my prebaby C cup is still a distant memory – I’m currently a 14 E. My full bust measurements put me into a size 14 of the pattern. So I tried to do an FBA, then came unstuck when I realised the dart legs were not the same length. I couldn’t work out how to true the dart and after a couple of futile hours of slashing and spreading I cracked the shits over the wasted time (oh how I seethe these days if my time is wasted) and decided to sack the FBA and just cut out the 14 as drafted.

I was clearly in a bit of a reckless mood, and decided to through caution to the wind, cutting out some precious and fabulous palm leaf printed cotton-linen from Spotlight without making a toile. In my defence I did partial tissue fit after I traced it (I trace onto very cheap interfacing, which makes tissue fitting very easy, and can even be sewn for a quick fitting). I made sure the sleeves wouldn’t be too tight around my biceps, and that the bust dart was in the right spot.

Miraculously this turned out pretty damn well considering the extra weight I’m carrying and the extra boobage I’ve got going on. I did wonder if I should move the shoulder dart forward a little (as I always need a forward shoulder adjustment unless one has been drafted into the pattern) – and it turns out it would sit just a little better if I’d done that (and to be fair as modelled on the M and M website it would too). And maybe I could benefit from having the bottom of the armscye raised just a smidge, maybe just a centimetre, for better range of motion. If I was to do this I believe I’d need to remove that length from the front, back and sleeve pieces above the level of the armpit, then I’d need to drop the dart back down the same amount. Those with drafting/fitting prowess feel free to weigh in. Then again raglan’s tend to have a lower armscye and I’ve worn this several times and had no issues with range of motion which is pretty terrific considering I’ve often got a 10kg small in one arm. 


I feel this will be the perfect top for our Melbourne spring – great for layering and cool by itself on warmer days. I love how sporty and chic it is in the palm print. I’ve some Nani Iro double gauze that would be a lovely weight for this top, and I can’t get a navy and white linen stripe version with contrast millennial pink bands out of my head either.

I’ve won this round of #notoileroulette don’t you think?

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