A not-so-basic black top

One of my makes this winter was this top: 

It is always nice to clear some stash, and for this project I managed to use up some black merino fine rib of that quality that was ubiquitous about 15 years ago, and some black silk satin leftover from a Ruby Slip that has since died.

I totally just wanted to copy this Dion Lee top, but not only do I have a thing against copying directly, I wanted to make it more everyday/work appropriate. The lower end of the keyhole needed to be raised and the amount of shiny satin reduced, and that’s how I came up with my option.

This merino rib has ‘grown’.  The top feels looser overall – which I’m OK with, the annoying bit is that I planned the lower edge of the satin to sit on the bustline (there is bust shaping incorporated into this seam) and it actually now lies about 1cm lower.  I guess most people won’t notice!

If you look closely you can see I bound the edges of the keyhole in satin too. Initially I planned on double folding this edge, but it stretched and no matter what I did I couldn’t get my stitching to look straight so after precariously unpicking a couple of times I reverted to plan B.  One of my favourite details are the cuffs.

The top has been in regular rotation this winter, it is comfortable and goes with most things. Care is required with underwear though – that satin strip above the bustline shows every lump and bump right down to the seams on your bra!

I seem to be going through a black phase again, with a few black works in progress.  For me it is a wardrobe essential, although I admit it isn’t the most flattering colour next to the face when you get a bit older.  And it is tricky to photograph when you come to blog about it!

Are you a black fan too?

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Designer, Patternmaker, Blogger Of All Things Sewing. Follow as I share projects, patterns, and my favourite tricks of the trade.

23 thoughts on “A not-so-basic black top

  1. I love black. To me it's a colour that's very alive. I am in the troisième åge and black looks like a “bright” on me. I don't think it's aging for everyone. Really depends on your colouring and élan. And yes, it's just about impossible to photograph, though the details of your top show up well. Your new top is beautifully done.
    Vancouver Barbara


  2. This top looks great on you, I particularly like the satin-bound keyhole. I smiled when I saw this because I just yesterday finished making a little camisole top in a black knit with a black satin band across the bust. Must photograph and blog it soon. Black is a strange colour, I couldn't wear it when I was your age, but now that I have silver-grey hair, it looks okay.


  3. Hello, Sherry! I must admit that I am trying to avoid a black colour at all costs. For me it is so sad and depressing to watch people on the streets who are wearing mostly dark and dull colours all year around! Probably the kids only wear light and bright clothing. I recently was invited to a funeral ceremony and I realised that I did not have ANY black or dark outfit in my wardrobe at all! I managed to find a very old black skirt that I had made years ago and wore it just couple of times since and I also borrowed a dark pullover from my husband's wardrobe for the event. For me black colour has a very strong association with the sad things that happen in our life, so I deliberatly tried to eliminate all black fabrics, yarns or garments I ever had. I left for myself dark navy, anthracite and dark moss green colours as an alternative to a “total black” 😉
    And of course after I discover a colourful world of textile designer Kaffe Fassett I can not think about having anything black in my stash or wardrobe at all 😉 hmmm…maybe just a one black cocktail dress in a good quality velvet 😉
    Anyway, your top is nice, well constructed and beautifully executed and suits you very well. We all have our favourite and ” not-so-favourite ” colours and it does not mean that we all should wear just bright or just dark clothing 🙂 Everybody at different stage of his/her life prefers some colours to others and it is OK 🙂 the great artists has their own colour periods too 😉


  4. Love your interpretation of the design. I wear alot of blacks and greys, but only lately have started making things in those colours. I think I get distracted by patterned/coloured fabrics, when really I should buy more dark fabric as I'll get more wear from them.


  5. Nope, don't wear black at all unless it's in the background of one of my wild novelty prints. I like your take on the top and it looks good on you. I may have to wait until my hair turns silver and see if I can wear the color but up to now black just makes me look sick.
    Theresa in Tucson


  6. I love your top Sherry, very understated chic and I really like the satin accents. I don't think black does my colouring any favours either but sometimes you just have to add a bit of black to your wardrobe! x


  7. I was just thinking that fabric stores don't really stock a lot of plain black fabrics, when you compare what is available in ready-to-wear. They often tend to go for prints and colours, or is that just my local fabric store…


  8. Oh, your top looks so chic and as usual so beautifully constructed. The contrasting textures look fantastic and I love the little keyhole feature too, just the right amount of interest. It's just gorgeous in every respect. I love your style 🙂


  9. Yay you're back you're back you're back! And well too from the sounds of things. All good stuff.

    Gorgeous top – I love the satin-merino combo. A bit of shimmer is always good. I too wear black a lot – today is no exception. I'm with you on the practicality of it, though as we all know not all black is created equal. All that being said I am endeavouring to bring more colour to my wardrobe, one slowly made garment at a time. There will always be plenty of room for the darker shades, however.


  10. Well… Not really 😉 somehow I ended up with dark moss green, taupe, burgundy, “ashes of roses” sort of colour, a little bit of cream and some warm brownish hues 🙂 but I am trying really hard to add more bright positive colours 🎨🌈


  11. Such a cool top. I love your fabric choices. I’ve made a bit of a return to black too. Not my favourite colour to sew but certainly my most comfortable to wear.


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