Frivolous at Last - Seamwork Elmira Wrap Tops

A Tale of Two Elmiras

I can’t explain why I am so attracted to wrap tops with ties! It’s a compulsion — put a pattern for one in front of my eyes and my lizard-brain kicks into gear, causing a rush of adrenaline, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations. (In my world, apparently, lizard brains have what biologists have identified as exceptionally over-developed Sartorial Cortexes.) See my recent post about the Fibre Mood Wallys wrap blouse as well.

Frivolous at Last - Seamwork Elmira wrap top

This is the Elmira Wrap top from Seamwork. This teal green one is my second go at making it. I used a rayon-cotton-modal blend sweater knit which is the perfect soft, stretchy, luscious, comfy knit. It didn’t behave all that well with my serger, as you can see from some of the wavy seams, but that hasn’t stopped me from wearing this a lot.


Which is a bit surprising, since I assumed the cropped length would make me NOT want to wear it. I feel like my waistline has been slowly expanding lately, so I thought a cropped sweater would make me feel all self-conscious about that. Wrong! I actually feel great wearing this sweater with a longer top underneath and a pair of high-waisted jeans.

ElmiraB_6_backFrivolous at Last - Seamwork Elmira wrap topElmiraB_3

Rewind to version #1. If I do say so myself, this hot pink one looks terrific! But alas, the smile on my face hides the sad truth that my fabric choice was all wrong for this. I used ponte di roma fabric (leftover from my fabulous Sew Over It Heather Dress), which is quite a bit more structured and less stretchy than the ideal fabric for the Elmira should be.

Frivolous at Last - Seamwork Elmira wrap top - pink ponte

It looks pretty good in these pics but in real life if I so much as blinked, that front wrap would disarrange itself into a hot mess. I can’t wear something that I feel I have to be rearranging to sit properly all the time.

Frivolous at Last - Seamwork Elmira wrap top - pink ponte

I have that problem with a lot of wrap tops. I think between a short shoulder-to-bust-point length, narrow shoulders, and a smallish bust, standard-size wraps just don’t want to sit correctly on me. I’ve learned that I usually have to take a good sized dart-shaped chunk out of the front edge of the front pattern pieces so that they don’t gape open. (I hadn’t done that here.)


What a waste of this beautiful colour! <sigh>


And now here’s a gratuitous pic of my Ernesto-Pesto Ernie-Burtzel Tiny Chicken. Spending more time cuddling with him has certainly been an upshot of the whole lockdown situation.

Close up of Lori snuggling her cat on the porch bannister

Do you like sewing and wearing wrap tops? Do you have any issues with fit? Would love to hear about your favourite patterns.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

— Lori

12 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Elmiras

  1. I used to love wearing a couple of VERY pricy cashmere/angora ones but my belly is now way too big to look good with a bow on it! Yours look cute- maybe take the ties off the pink one if they aren’t playing nice, and add some buttons so it’s more wearable?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, i can just *feel* how great this type of top would be in cashmere or angora! Thanks for the tip. I’ve waffled between putting this in the ‘alterations’ pile or the ‘donate’ pile. We’ll see. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This wrap top looks absolutely lovely! A wrap top is one of my next “to sew” items. Having similar fit issues (I am broad-shouldered, but also have a short shoulder to bust length, and am small breasted) I am intrigued by your alteration. Can you tell me more about the dart-shaped chunk you take out? I would love to try this!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love reading your posts! You make me think of me if I were to live another life. 🙂 anyway, bummer about the hot pink top–looks so cute! Love the green.

    I recently (6 months ago) bought a wrap top pattern from ellie and Mac that is super cute on the modal. I haven’t tried it yet. I can’t decide which fabric to use and like you, I have narrow shoulders, etc. And I’m worried it’s not going to fit me right. I’ve also been hoping to get the guts to make and wear a crop top. Seriously, this post has addressed every hold back I’ve had about making my own wrap top. I appreciate it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Cherry! Narrow shoulders is really easy to overcome — just shave a little bit off the edge of the armholes of the front and back pieces before you attach the sleeves. Or if that seems too risky, I have often just sewn it up as-is, tried it on, then gone back to the serger to shave off more fabric at the top of the armholes. Easy fix.
      That Ellie and Mac pattern looks great on a whole bunch of different body types judging by the tester phots! You should definitely go for it!


  4. Last fall I was on a bolero making production run 🙂 Never in a million years would I have considered a bolero until watching a video of someone with a similar body shape to mine made one and it looked fantastic on her. So I tried one on in a clothing shop and lo and behold it looked fabulous. Certainly better than any sweater that goes to my full hip. You look fabulous in that length too! It does give you a definition – very sexy! I promptly bought a couple of patterns and one I fell in love with is by “I AM” patterns – the Cupidon. When you see it, it might also give you some suggestions on how to fix your tie one that keep slipping out of place and I’m with you! if a garment doesn’t stay PUT, it’s off to thrifting you go 🙂 I downloaded the free wrap top on Peppermint magazine to try – a woman on youtube has a full sew-a-long on this one which I think I’ll follow. It’s not a knit but a woven but I keep seeing it in linen 🙂 I hope you’re managing all this stay at home business okay Lori! You are such an active woman, I’m sure this must be getting VERY old for you indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kathleen! Isn’t it great to see different styles on people who have the same body shape? It’s mind-boggling why ready-to-wear clothing sites continue to insist on showing their clothes on only one single body type.
      You know, I really love the I Am patterns, and somehow I have not yet bought or made one. The cupidon is a really cute take on the wrap front sweater. Kinda preppy. Love it. I also have my eye on the Peppermint wrap top…it would be really great in linen.
      I hope you are doing OK, too, Kathleen. Stay safe and well.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. No, no, not a waste of a beautiful colour. Don’t ditch it. Just cut off the ties and wear it as an open.bolero. If I could figure out how to send it to you, I found a photo of a Japanese jacket that is just that. It’s open but the fronts, if the jacket were closed, would wrap across the front. So that means they are long. And they hang. And the jacket looks fabulous and I want to make one. And that would also take care of the excess fabric at the front neckline — the excess wouldn’t show.
    I used to have your email address but no more. If you want me to send you the pic just get in touch and I will send it on.
    I think the tops looks great on you. Colours too. Sorry the pink one didn’t work.


    1. LOL! Barbara, you are like my fairy sewing godmother, always ready with a solution to a sewing problem! I can totally picture what you mean, and I think I would love that look. I will experiment with it. You can always reach me by email at frivolousatlast at gmail dot com.


  6. Barbara has a great solution! She’s right, the color is too wonderful to waste! If you make the alteration will you post it?? I would love to see how it turns out. The other is gorgeous also!


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