Simplicity 7305 Shell top in homemade beetle fabric

posted in: Finished projects, SWAP | 19

I made up the shiny beetle fabric. It was all cut out waiting to go. I had meant to wait until after Christmas. But those shiny beetles kept winking at me. The lovely off-white tailors’ tacks were calling out.

“The rules”, they said, “the rules of the SWAP allow one previously made item! And your printing course Christmas party is next week. Surely you want to arrive dressed in hand-printed fabric? Please”, the shiny beetles squealed, “make us up. Wear us with pride. We want to go out for Christmas not wait until the sales are on, and it’s slushy out.”

I caved in. An hour or two later I had a shell top, an overblouse, from 1969.

Pattern, style and alterations

Here is the pattern I used (not evident from pattern envelope, which doesn’t reveal the blouse). As a design it could not be simpler. It is basically a bodice block with the dart transferred into an underarm and waist dart. The necklines of these tops are high fitting round neck – a look I like, and feel is authentic to the period. The back dart is another essential ingredient. As is the zip.

I didn’t alter the design of this pattern, but I did add one inch to the length above the bust to bring the bust dart down to the correct position for me (I made the same alteration to the jacket). I added an inch to the side seams to account for my wider hips and I added 5 inches to the length. Why? In my experience these overblouses are not meant to be tucked in. But I quite like the option. So I made it almost tunic length, bearing in mind the SWAP rules which suggest a dress that can be worn as a blouse. So it is long, but it could be tucked, worn out, belted or indeed shortened.

technical drawing for Simplicty 7305
Simplicity 7305 overblouse (nice shoes!)

I am pleased with it. I love that it is dark greyish navy rather than black. I love the shiny insects. I like it that my silver jewellery works so well  with the silver foil effect.

beetle blouse close up
close up

Here is the full length picture, with dark jeans.

Simplicity 7305 tunic worn with jeans
Simplicity 7305 tunic

The beetle overblouse may be the first item finished for my SWAP. On the other hand this item maybe over the top (OTT) especially when paired with a two piece suit in the squiggle fabric. I will need to try them on together to know for sure.

Charcoal and Magenta wool swatch
Charcoal and Magenta wool

My husband say it looks “Goth”. I have sufficient grey linen to make a plain blouse when the time comes.

19 Responses

  1. lynbromley

    I love it. I’m so excited about going back to sewing – the thought I’d running something up in a couple of hours is wonderful!

    I love the long length tunic – right up my street taste-wise and looks fab with the dark jeans.


  2. Jenny

    I am in 2 minds about this top. I really admire it – love the shiny, silver print and the simple, flattering shape but UGH those beetles are so realistic and I don’t like big insects.

    • fabrickated

      Jenny – you are not alone – my mother made the same comment, and I think that my husband’s “you look like a Goth” comment implied the same thing. But I love insects and find beetles very beautiful!

  3. Stephanie

    You’re full of great surprises. I love this on so many levels. The shape of the top is great, as is the length. I would love to copy for SWAP with a boat neck version if I can find a pattern. The print is great and so nice with your silver shell necklace! 🙂 In fact, I wish I could copy your print for other reasons. Enjoy the party!

  4. Caroline

    That is the most fabulous beetle garment. You look great in it and I agree with the beetles – you definitely needed it ready for Christmas and NOT the January sales.

  5. mrsmole

    Delightful and eye-catching and perfect for large gatherings…I would love to have one for myself! In fact I would wear it for weeks on end with everything, under, over, belted and would try to find bug earrings too…go big or go home!

  6. Kbenco

    Here (but even more commonly further south) we have Christmas beetles, which are beautifully iridescent ,and shiny, and rather numerous in November and December. Your gorgeous top brings them immediately to mind and appears very seasonal – if you ever wanted to visit Australia for Christmas ;). I like both lengths, and admire your clever use of the SWAP challenge.

    • fabrickated

      Thank you Karen – we have been to Australia for Christmas and NY – Sydney twice and Port Douglas once. There is no-where I would rather be when it is so cold, dark and grey over here. In fact I have only been at Christmas as I can get away from work for a longer leave period to make the trip worth while. Now I will have to look up Christmas beetles!

  7. Kbenco

    I also meant to say, that I am very pleased to hear that your fabric speaks to you. I’m glad I’m not the only one – although I do have some that says “I’m too precious to cut” which is not the sort of thing I like hearing. Maybe my fabric is just badly behaved.

  8. amaryllislog

    I love everything about this top including your Christmas insects! I would classify this as all around awesomeness! It seems to me that it fits your sensibility perfectly and such a nice extension of your print making.

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