Today I finished a top designed by Louise Cutting called Relax A Little (RAL). I've seen so many pretty versions of this on friends, in the blogosphere, on Flickr and on patternreview.com. But this is my first.
My fabric is a turquoise linen that has aged nicely in my stash. I do love linen, especially for spring and summer. I had already prepared it using Sandra Betzina's technique - press unwashed linen on high heat, then wash and dry on hot. After that it is soft. The inevitable wrinkles are also soft and pretty, IMO.
I made very few changes to the pattern's original design. I did add about 2 inches to the hem and then used a bias strip to hem it so that it is really more like 2.5 inches longer than the original. I'm glad I did not make it as short as intended. My tummy needs to be under wraps, or at least in the shadows.
Since this is intended for hot weather, I decided to omit the collar, going with just the collar band. I have always been drawn to a mandarin-style collar and it makes for a cooler hot-weather top.
Speaking of an Asian look, I love Chinese knots as buttons but I rarely find a good place to use them. This would have been perfect.
I pulled out my favorite knot instructions from a wonderful Sandra Betzina book, created the tiniest bias tubes I could manage with the linen fabric. Then I made the buttons as tight (that is, small) as I could manage:
Aren't they sweet?
Sadly they did not work for this garment. The top has cut-on front facings that are too narrow for the buttonholes these knots required. Next time I'll remember and make the facings wide enough. I hope.
The mother-of-pearl buttons seem to fit well with this design and I like them too. And of course, I added a little sashiko stitching.
I really like the instructions for patch pockets. These CLD patterns always provide opportunities for neat and attractive results, don't they?