The newest pattern from Itch to Stitch is the super cute Nittany top for woven fabrics. As usual, as soon as I saw the line of art, I was hooked with the pleated neckline and knew I would test the pattern and make it multiple times. This design is seriously original, with different options, and better yet, well fitting with bust cup size options. In this post, you will see my three versions.
Features of the Nittany Top: pleated neckline
The Nittany top has a semi-fitted fit at the bust and a relaxed fit at the waist and hips. The length hits the full hip and there is an optional sash.
The neckline has pleats, and they overlap the ones in the center over each other. You can opt to sew the cute keyhole detail or not.
The front is partially lined. The hem is curved. Short sleeves complete the look for spring/summer weather.
Best fabric choices for the NIttany top
The style of the Nittany top needs fabrics that are flowy and drapy. I think it’s imperative. The pleats above the bust need to drape. Even a lightweight fabric that is structured will cause the pleats to stand away from the body and especially over the abdomen. I would rather avoid this. Fabrics I would not use include: chambray, shirting, cotton, cotton lawn, cotton voile.
- Rayon/linen blend for the burgundy Nittany top.
- Chiffon for the flowery Nittany top
- Rayon twill for my “winter” version with long sleeves.
The cup sizes are gold and worth so much for a great fit. Sizes 00-20 have A-D cup sizes and sizes 22-40 have cups B-DD. You can see the intended fit in the graphic above and the amount of positive ease.
This design does not have a bust dart, instead, this volume has been transferred to the neckline in the form of pleats. The space for the bust comes from above the bust. The partial front lining does have a bust dart.
I chose size 14 for the bust and waist blending to 16 at the hips. I chose the C cup option.
The finished measurement charts has the finished length and knowing the length I prefer, I decided to shorten the front and back pieces by 1″at the shorten and lengthen lines. This is not fitting adjustment for my height discrepancy, but rather a change based on personal preference.
The front is partially lined, and this piece has a bust dart. I lowered the dart by 5/8″ to match my bust height.
- The main seams are sewn with 1/2″ seam allowance
- The neckline is sewn with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
- The front neckline is finished with the front lining piece.
- Once the neckline is finished, the front piece and the front lining piece is treated as one. The sides, armholes and shoulders are basted together.
- The back neckline is finished with narrow bias binding
- Once the front neckline is finished and the back neckline is finished, both separately, then the shoulders are sewn together.
- The option with the keyhole has many more steps than the options without the keyhole
The video on YouTube: how to sew the neckline with the Keyhole
In my video you will see a comprehensive overview of the pattern and sewing footage that includes how to sew the neckline with the keyhole detail in a full step-by-step tutorial.
Let’s see them!
Burgundy rayon/linen Nittany top
This is my favorite color, it’s actually burgundy, but comes up dark red on camera. I love the cute neckline and the keyhole is super original. It’s a top that I can wear comfortably, it’s flowy and I know I’ll wear it a million times.
I love the result, and it’s so unique and fun to sew. The lining does not fell bulky inside at all.
Sleeveless light chiffon version, no keyhole
This version is simplified, it does not have the keyhole, only the pleats. This is an option in the Nittany top if the keyhole is not for you. I did not line this top. I also made it sleeveless and this is not included in the pattern. When I convert to sleeveless, I usually raise the armhole by 3/4″-1″ to have more coverage under the arm. This armhole does not have any gaping at all.
My tracing paper marks for the pleats were not going to last, so I did some hand basting to have longer lasting references.
I finished the raw edges of the neckline and armhole with self made bias tape. It was a real fast project. If you are daunted by chiffon, check out this comprehensive video on my channel with over 20 tips and tricks.
This Nittany top used very little fabric! just a front and a back. I’m happy when I can make a top with 2/3 of a yard! I have a cami underneath because this fabric is 100% sheer.
Nittany top “dress” with elbow length sleeves
For my 3rd Nittany top, I wanted to lengthen it into a dress. I added 14″ to the hem and followed the curved shape and also the angle of the side seam. The 14″ includes about 1.5″ extra for a little “blousing” when I wear the dress with a belt.
I used rayon twill and had enough to cut the front lining with the same fabric. The keyhole is here again and I love it.
Another change was to lengthen the sleeve by 5.5″ to reach just above the elbow.
This is a “autumn/winter” dress for me, believe it or not 🙂 I LOVE the colors here and my yellow shoes came out to play.
I have enjoyed sewing my dresses a great deal. It’s a great style and classic. It also does not use too much fabric. All wins! I will make more Nittany tops for sure and I really recommend this pattern 🙂 It’s fun to sew and most importantly, it’s DIFFERENT AND UNIQUE.
DISCLAIMER: The links to the Nittany top are affiliate links. I was a pattern tester and had access to the PDF pattern in exchange for my feedback on instructions and fit. I purchased all the fabrics. I produce sewing content independently from pattern brands and share my unique way of sewing with you. I don’t necessarily follow instructions rigidly. My opinions are honest, especially around fit and sewing techniques.
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