masha’s make-it-work marais

This is a post about how not to sew the Marais Knit Top + Dress. Because I did a lot of things wrong. I took shortcuts and made poor choices. But I made it work, and ended up with a top that I really like.

I made up a quick muslin of this pattern a few months ago. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the size large D-cup seemed to fit nearly perfectly right out of the packet. But then I got too busy to sew, and the muslin disappeared into the vortex of my sewing room. Once I did get to cutting this Marais, all I remembered was that I had been happy with the fit, so I just cut out another size large D.

DIY tank top with lace trim from the Marais Knit Top pattern.

I used the last of a long-stashed medium-weight navy blue jersey knit. I’m not sure of the exact content, but it definitely contains both rayon and Lycra and has better recovery than my muslin fabric.

DIY tank top with lace trim from the Marais Knit Top pattern.

I had thrown my muslin together with my serger, and one thing I did remember was that using the serger made it very hard to get those bodice seams sewn neatly. So, this time, I sewed them with a sewing machine and all was well. Once I got the bodice put together, though, I was dismayed to realize that the neckline was a bit too low. This could be due to:

  1. The fact that I had not sewn the facings on my muslin and didn’t consider that the neckline would be 3/8″ deeper once I did.
  2. Imprecise cutting.
  3. The weight of my final fabric, which was heavier than that of my muslin.

I had already serged the facing to the neckline, contrary to the instructions, which recommend sewing this part with a sewing machine. It’s possible that I stretched the neckline while doing this, which could also account for the neckline being too low. In any case, I didn’t want to pick it out, so I ended up taking two tucks out of the neckline to raise it up instead. This was pretty bulky, but the bulk isn’t really noticeable when worn. It’s actually fairly common for me to have to shorten deep necklines, so I will make the adjustment to the pattern for the next time I make this.

DIY tank top with lace trim from the Marais Knit Top pattern.

When it was time to bind the armholes, I serged the binding to the armhole even though I knew it was not the best idea. And the seam ended up very bulky, bulkier than I had expected. Gee, I wonder why that was?

And once again, I was loath to pick it out. But I also knew the bulky seam would look pretty terrible if I folded it over and stitched it as instructed. So instead, I decided to wrap the binding over the seam allowance and stitch in the ditch of the seam line, creating a band. This actually worked quite well and I like how it looks. The inside finish is not as neat because I didn’t fold the binding over on the inside, but I’ve never been a girl who is super-bothered about the inside of a garment.

DIY tank top with lace trim from the Marais Knit Top pattern.

Finally, I got to the end of the sew, and realized to my chagrin that I really should have lengthened the top about two inches. I’m 5’8″ and I prefer my tops on the longer side, and if I hadn’t lost my muslin I would have noted this.

I ended up adding length by sewing on some vintage crochet trim from my grandmother’s stash, and I really like the effect. I stretched the hem a little while sewing the trim on to make sure that the woven trim wasn’t too tight. But I should have stretched it a little less than I did; the effect is just a touch more peplum-y than I was going for.

DIY tank top with lace trim from the Marais Knit Top pattern.

So as you can see, I made a lot of changes on the fly. And this definitely wasn’t the first time I’ve had to do this. But my adjustments all worked and I ended up with a top that I will wear. As you can see in the photos, I’ve tried it with shorts and with high-waisted pants. I definitely prefer it with the high-waisted pants and plan to wear it that way for the remainder of the summer.

I have some orange jersey laid aside to make a second version. For that one, I plan to add 2″ in length and shorten the neckline so that I don’t have to take darts the next time.

What about you? Do you make it work when a project isn’t going the way you had anticipated, or do you move on and try something else?




  1. Erica

    Well done, Masha, for making this work out. Great save! If you hadn’t mentioned all the “mistakes” along the way, it would be easy to chalk up the changes as intentional “design features”!

  2. Cindy Cooksey

    I salute you for ending up with a cute top, despite the mishaps. You really did make it work! I confess that the insides of my garments are also not always as neat as I would like. But I learn things for the next time I make it.

  3. Elisabeth

    These are all good saves! It looks great and I would have never known they weren’t intentional 🙂

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