M6130: Crewel Drop Vintage Top


I’ve been really hooked on the idea of embroidery as embellishment lately, and the swirling drops in graduated colours shown above (from a DIY kit) were the perfect match for me. I practised the crewel embroidery technique with the kit first as the lovely thick wooly threads included weren’t colour-fast, so they were hardly appropos for something to wear’n’wash! 

I came across the vintage McCall’s pattern 6130 on Etsy a while back (it even comes with pattern pieces for the cute little bow and belt!) and I’m yet to come across a woven princess seamed blouse pattern I like the idea of more. After rather a LOT of fitting adjustments (I’m still in amazement at how tiny the waist was in ratio to the bust and hips, and how those side darts pointed up towards my chin initially instead of the bust point – fallout from the bullet-bra’s of yesteryear, no doubt) and making the bateau neckline slightly wider – I’m happy with the end result. 

M6125 3

M6125 7

For the embroidery, I simply transferred a slightly curvier translation of the drops outline onto my fabric, embroidered then cut it out (After a lousy first attempt I realised you need the tension that comes from having your fabric secure all around the embroidery ring, rather than having an already cut piece in there, which yielded a pretty messy result).

I really love the the textural aspect of linen (making it perfect for embroidering) – but its proclivity for wrinkling and creasing has always kept me at bay. After reading about Marina’s gorgeous linen panel dress and how she underlined it to minimise this, I pulled out the silk organza and got busy. I chose the linen to match the ‘neutrals’ on my colour wheel – very cool because I’d never normally choose a fabric in this shade (although I can always be found swooning over earthy toned textural linens in fabric stores) and it makes a perfect backdrop for the red and pink droplets. 

I even catch-stitched the seams down with silk thread, couture style, because I liked the inside pictures of Marina’s dress so much. I was more than a bit worried about fraying from normal wear so I also used some fray-check too. Mostly I was just too lazy to use the standard rayon seam binding treatment.  The linen also had a really pretty striped selvedge which I kept for around the sleeves.

I really loved being able to veg on the couch with my beau at the end of a long work day (unfortunately for me all my work days are long at the moment), switch off mentally and slowly work through embroidering this. Especially as the weather has been SO dreary of late. It was definitely sewing for the soul.



  1. Really lovely! I love to hand sew and spend some of my evenings basting together my projects if I can't find anything else to sew.I think I'm inspired by your embroidery idea and might try it on my next Cambie dress.

  2. Love the idea of crewel embroidery on your top. Fantastic sewing skills, as usual. I can see how having your colours done has really helped in choosing correctly. I'm saving to have mine done in Spring.

  3. This is a) so beautiful on you and b) so beautifully made. This kind of attention to detail and love for the craft is an inspiration and challenge to my (just effing serge it) mentality. Brava!

  4. Your work is fantastic and imaginative. I really like your blog, and find it rather inspiring. Thank you so much! This blouse is just genius!

  5. Gorgeous top, so unusual and a lovely way to use embroidery. I've just bought a book called New Crewel, the motif collection by Katherine Shaughnessy – will be looking at it for more inspiration!

  6. My mom used to do crawl work on the top of our dresses when we were little! So for me, this has a touch of the 70s vibe to it. Love it!

  7. oh wow! this is just SO beautiful! the embroidery is the perfect touch and makes an otherwise basic top extra special! great job on the fitting too, it looks like it fits you perfectly.

  8. I'm now an official fan of linen too – the underlining works a treat! I'm definitely going to be sewing with this fabric more from now on :) And thankyou!

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