The minute I glimpsed Meg McElwee’s Matcha Top pattern I was in love. I’m almost positive I uttered “that neckline” low and slow in a tone not dissimilar to the growl of a tiger before it pounces. (One of the great benefits of existence as a solitary sewist is that no one has to hear these things, right?) I knew I was going to be making Matcha tops and I was thrilled when Grace of Maker Mountain Fabrics agreed to let me try it out. And, I love it. In fact, I love the Matcha top so much I had to make two, one in linen and one in rayon.
As it happens, this combination is a perfect illustration of the behavior of different fabrics because while I love both tops they look quite different due to how the fabric drapes. By making my matcha tops in linen and rayon I inadvertently created a fabric side by side. Scroll down to compare how one the rayons clings while the linen holds its boxy shape. They look so different that it’s almost not apparent I’ve made two of the exact same thing. I love when that happens.
This linen matcha top is at the absolute tippy top of my list of favorites right now. I made the cropped version, sleeveless obviously, and I love the boxy fit and the fantastic collar and the fabric, of course. I’m in a bit of an interesting place when it comes to my clothes these days. I find I’m really drawn to more interesting pieces rather than conventional shapes/lengths//styles. I’m really loving interesting textiles such as handwoven looks like ikat or subtle textures within the fabric itself such as the Alison Glass mariner stripes. I hate to admit it but I swoon every time I see an Ace & Jig outfit in person. Dang, those textiles!
As for the fabric in this top, there is a bit of a story. A long time ago I bought 1/4 yard of this linen/rayon Nani Iro fabric from my previous local quilt shop Rock Paper Scissors in Montclair, New Jersey (it has since closed down, sadly). As you probably know, Nani Iro is expensive and I made the silly mistake of falling in love and buying just a tiny bit of this scrumptious textile. I know, total rookie mistake. You are supposed to fall in love and still buy enough to make something! Lesson learned, once again.
I hung onto to my sweet little quarter yard for a while but as soon as my Matcha Pattern arrived from Maker Mountain, I realized I had to use the border to its full advantage and turn it into a blouse. So, I scoured the internet for a bit more of this fabric and discovered what I swear was the last yard on earth at the sweetest/coolest shop in the Netherlands, The Fiber Lab. Kim, who is one of the nicest shop owners is also exploring sustainable options including natural dyeing, etc. I was meant to find this place, I tell you.
The defining feature of this top is definitely the collar but it’s also important to recognize the lovely shoulder details. I love that I was able to play with the hem border, collar and the shoulder details with this fabric. It’s stuff like that that makes sewing my own clothes so exciting.
I did a terrible job of photographing the back of the shirt (as in I forgot completely) but it also has lots of gathers, together with the front gathers it makes the top very billowy. The front gathers also act as bust darts by creating room for the bust. As a result, the top isn’t at all fitted at the waistline.
As for the pattern, it was easy to pull together. The instructions are clear (and come in an adorable package along with the pattern by the way). For some reason, I thought it would take a while to make this blouse. I guess because of the beautiful details? Whatever it was that led to me think that, the truth it it was easy to sew it up. It probably took an hour, along with the cutting.
I have seen some complaints about the collar being difficult. Some folks found it hard to keep it lying flat. I did not run into that problem, thankfully. It is possible that is because of my fabric choices but I also followed her instructions really closely and she has some tips about how to do execute the gathers, which help the collar come out flat. What can I say, I’m a rule follower and sometimes it pays off?
My rayon top is in Art Gallery rayon designed by Pat Bravo and I made it in the longer length. I just about jumped for you joy when I found out that I had enough fabric left from my Georgia Dress to make this. It was intended to be my muslin but I’m so happy it worked out beautifully because I will definitely be wearing the heck out of this top.
One of my favorite things about both of these Matcha Tops is that they are so versatile. They fit into that little-bit-fancy-but-not-too-fancy category. It’s a sweet spot and I’m so happy to have two tops added to this slot in my wardrobe. It’s just right for throwing on and heading to some summer BBQ’s or a girls night out and even a casual date.
I’m eager to make a version with the three-quarter length sleeves for more of a beach shirt. But, in the meantime, I’m going to get a ton of wear about of these two matcha tops, my linen and rayon duo.
Lodi Srygley says
That Pat Bravo rayon-bestill my heart! Needless to say I love this Matcha top. However, ditto for the Nani Iro version. Sigh…
So, when does a Matcha become your dress?
Melissa Q. says
Ha! You know I am so tempted to lengthen it!! Thanks for your sweet words, lovely.
Leah Adams says
I appreciate the amount of detail you included in your post. Like you, I’ve made two versions of this pattern. My muslin was huge and completely unwearable. I made the second version four sizes smaller (1st was a 14, 2nd and 8). The body is a better fit but the shirt slips back when I walk, exposing my middle. I wonder if I need to remove the collar and remake that piece in a larger size. Have you had any issues with it riding up or slipping back?
Melissa Q. says
Interesting question. It is definitely roomy…I can totally understand your sizing issue. I have noticed that my linen version slips back a little bit (also, you have reminded me that I moved the slit down on my linen version. I placed it somewhere between the two options because I felt like the highest slit was too high on my rayon top.). The slipping, however, isn’t a big deal. Just like I would reposition a skirt when I stand up; I basically do that for the shirt every once in a while. Hmm, I wonder if a collar adjustment would work? Maybe giving you more neck room. Definitely let me know if that helps? I feel like part of the problem is there just isn’t much to hold it in place on the lower body. I definitely always wear a tank top underneath on the cropped version.
Leah Adams says
That makes me feel better. Perhaps I won’t redo the collar, just make another in a different fabric. I, too, wore a tank top tucked into my jeans with the shirt. Also, same adjustment to the neck opening. Halfway between the two options was perfect. My version has the 3/4 length sleeves, which are perfect for being inside most air conditioned environments in the summer. One other adjustment I made in my 2nd shift: pleats instead of gathers when attaching the collar. I was able to finger pleat, hold in place with clips, iron and then sew it in sections more easily than my attempt at gathering and then sewing it all in one go with my muslin.
Hi Leah, I just finished making a wearable muslin of the long sleeved option. After reading Megan’s comment on sizing I went for 2 sizes smaller than usual and the bust and body fit well. I find my collar and shoulder details start to slip back as I move, until the neck opening ends up near my collar bone. I wasn’t sure if I had twisted the sleeve but after reading your comments maybe not. I really like the design details so I’m hoping I can come up with a fitting solution.
I would love any solutions. It’s a great shirt, and I would like to make another.
Melissa Q. says
I wonder if this would improve as the fabric is washed and worn? Dunno. But maybe?
I particularly like your linen version Melissa!
Melissa Q. says
They are both so pretty! I have been stalking that rayon and I think I may just copy your lovely top. May I ask how much yardage you actually needed? The pattern details online say 2 1/2 yards but that seems excessive for a sleeveless version. I hate to buy more than I will need. Thank you!
Melissa Q. says
Yes, good question! The sleeves add a lot of yardage. For my sleeveless cropped version (the one in linen) I managed to squeak it out of a yard and a quarter but I bet you could use only a yard for a cropped version. I had to pay attention to the border of the fabric, etc. and that added to fabric needed. But, you might want to go with a bit more…it stinks to run out of fabric mid-project.