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True Bias Calvin Wrap Top

True Bias Calvin Wrap Top in Lime Gingham
The True Bias Calvin Wrap Top in Lime Gingham

Fun in the Sun

If you find yourself melting away in the heat of the day, it may be because you stepped out of the house wearing too much clothing for comfort. Don’t sweat it! Today we present the cool, and casual True Bias Calvin Wrap Top. Don this top and stroll by the river with an ice cream cone in hand for a peak summer day!

Length to your Liking

The Calvin Wrap Pattern comes in two views. View A is a short top that errs towards a crop. But, no worries if a true crop top isn’t your thing! The hem falls about two inches below the natural waistline, and the pattern can always be lengthened. The second view, View B, is a straight dress that falls to mid calf. Both views feature a continuous binding which forms the long ties. 

Bias ties
The continuous binding ties are very long!

Made for the Sunny Season

Immediately drawn to the silhouette of this summery True Bias pattern, I wanted a fabric that made it clear this top was made for a hot August day and Robert Kaufman’s Carolina Gingham in Lime rose to the occasion! Additionally, we carry this fabric in two more summery colors: Pink and Seafoam. All three ginghams are sure to add a touch of whimsy to your summer wardrobe!

The pattern recommends using a light to medium-weight, woven fabric. To achieve a flowy look, you’ll want a fabric that presses well and has more drape than it does structure. Our newest Linen with a Digital Print in Black would look stunning as the full dress, as would any of our Cupro Tencel Linens. If you’d like your shirt or dress to hang like our Lime Gingham version, Carolyn Friedlander’s Lawn Green Wall in Wasabi is another adorable option.

Adjust as you Go

When Bonnie first started on this pattern, I measured to a size 8. She then began construction while I was rafting my way through Desolation Canyon in Utah. As such, fitting adjustments weren’t made throughout the sewing process. No problem for our seamstress extraordinaire however! She just had to do more adjusting than anticipated once I’d returned, ready to trade my life jacket for this wrap top! 

My first fitting was a little wonky, proving, once again, that a sewing project’s success depends entirely upon the fit. The shoulder strap placement was wide in the front and narrow in back. This led to the armpit being a bit too snug in the front and gaping in the back. It’s important that you fit this pattern based on the undergarment you plan to wear with it. I happened to wear a push-up bra during the initial measurements, rather than my preferred everyday t-shirt bra. This seems to be what caused the majority of our struggles.

Calvin Back view
You can see where Bonnie took it in in the back.

Bonnie brought in both sides and the back which dropped it down a size in the bust. (Talk about Wonder Bra!)  Since the Calvin is a wrap it’s important to have the right fit. Otherwise, the front tends to gape with anything other than perfect posture. Additionally, a sew-on snap in the front is listed as optional. But after wearing this top a few times, I’ll say it’s a requirement.

Calvin Top front view
The hidden snap keeps the front from gaping.

Endorsed Adjustments

This pattern is rated at 2.5 out of 5 for difficulty, and Bonnie agrees with this rating, but she had a number of suggestions for simple modifications that will make this pattern much more beginner-friendly.

  1. The biggest hassle is the continuous exposed binding which forms the very long ties for this wrap top. Because the bias tape has to be cut – you guessed it – on the bias, the amount of fabric needed increases significantly (as does the amount of leftover scraps.) However, you can purchase less fabric (or use up a few fun fabrics you have stashed away), and avoid a lot of tedious measuring and cutting by using a complimenting bias tape for the ties instead.
  1. Once the bias continues into the ties, the right side emerges through a button hole while the left side is held in place by a thread loop. Bonnie thought it would be much easier to leave a small gap in the side seam rather than inserting a button hole. Similarly, a small piece of bias could easily be used in place of a thread loop on the left side.
  2. A final adjustment that would make the Calvin more beginner friendly is forgoing the adjustable straps. These straps are theoretically helpful to keep a snug fit if your undergarment changes, however, as my experience with the push-up bra indicates, being able to change the strap length is only so helpful. Instead, we suggest simply measuring for the undergarment you intend to wear while fitting this top. This should eliminate the need for any strap adjustment once finished.

Sun, Sun, Sun Here We Come

Overall, Bonnie found this to be an easy pattern to make in an afternoon. While it is quite simple, she only gave it a 2 out of 5 star rating since there are better patterns for this style, such as Christine Jonson’s Wrap Dress #526 which Bonnie loved. While we mostly LOVE True Bias patterns, we struggled getting the Calvin to fit how we wanted it to. As such, we highly recommend that you do an extensive fitting from start to finish, and perhaps take Bonnie’s suggestions into account to ensure satisfaction with your finished garment.

Something else to consider, is that we only have experience with View A, and you may find that the weight of the extra fabric on View B helps the final product fit better.

Despite our fitting struggles, the True Bias Calvin Wrap Dress & Top is a chic pattern for a hot summer day. Pair it with any of our stunning Carolina Ginghams for a bright statement piece. Or – if you’re using this top as a stash buster – let us know how this pattern went for you!

Lime Gingham

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