I wanted to try a simple boxy top as my first garment with my new-to-me Singer 99k. I have lots of smaller fabric remnants from India that aren’t enough for a fancy pattern, and boxy tops seemed to be a flexible way to work with the limited yardage.

DSC_0997The pattern is a free Nano Iro Woman T-Shirt from 2013. It’s in Japanese and you have to diagram the whole thing yourself, but it was mostly straightforward, except for one confusing bit around the arm that didn’t look right when I drafted it.


There were lots of ups and downs with my first top – I had done some hemming and patching with the machine, but never stitching from scratch! I messed everything up initially – winding the needle and bobbin, getting the tension and stitch length right. I ended up running out of red thread working through all my mistakes, and eventually used a taupe color, which did blend nicely in the end.

The fabric is a light cotton. I read somewhere that I’m supposed to use a chiffon or flowier fabric, but I this fabric is so comfortable and I like that it falls in a boxy way because of the stiffness. I have about half the fabric left over, surprisingly, so now I’m debating some sort of co-ord skirt or shorts? We’ll see.

(It’s also very clear to me that I should have steamed out that middle fold a bit more, because it’s very visible in these photos!)


I deepened the scoop of the neck a bit, but it still feels too wide and shallow for my taste. Next time I might narrow in the arm-to-body curve and scoop the neck more (or maybe a v!), especially if I do it in a stiff fabric like this. I also like my boxy tops a little shorter, so I’d lose a few cm in length. There’s a lot of bulk in the back, so there might be an opportunity to add some darts or pleating, but I’m not too pressed about it.

Overall, I’m quite happy with how this one came out – it’s a very forgiving and comfortable pattern, and I’ll definitely reach for it on hot days and travel.

Pattern: Nano Iro Woman T-shirt

Fabric: Paisley-and-geometric print from India

Alterations: No pockets, rounder neck

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