Saving the planet... one garment at a time!

... and one upcycle at a time... Welcome to my blog: A place to have an "over the fence conversation" about sewing, altered couture, upcycling, and all kinds of crafts using found objects, beads, ephemera and other vintage finds!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Free Pattern Review: The Port Elizabeth Top

The Port Elizabeth Top is a cute boxy cap sleeved summer top available as a free pattern download on BurdaStyle.  It is certainly more work to find the free patterns on the BurdaStyle site these days, so it helps to either know the name of the project you are looking for and search it, or have the direct url of that project.  This link will take you to the page for downloading this pattern if you are interested.  The top was drafted by Sarah Magill, a UK designer who sells more of her designs on Etsy, and has an interesting blog, Goldfinch and Eagle.  Here is the line drawing of the top:

A nice thing about this top is that it is so simple and versatile you can do virtually anything with it in terms of personalization and variation.  I know!  You're sold already, right?

The first step, of course, is to download, print out and put together your pattern.  This can be daunting if you have not put together pdf patterns before, but this would be a great pattern to start with, as it lines up easily.  With this, or any other pdf pattern, it is crucial to line up the pattern lines very carefully when you are taping your pattern together.  Small errors at this phase can affect the whole outcome of the garment.

Once you have your pattern taped together, cut it as you would any other pattern.  The directions included with this pattern are succinct and complete.  The printout says "very basic, because it's free!"  I chose to make several variations, or upgrades to the pattern to suit my needs and purposes.

First, I drafted neck facings to finish the neckline instead of using the recommended bias tape finish. I did use self bias to finish the armholes.

 I have boatloads of trims I've acquired at yard and estate sales over the years and this lace just seemed perfect to accent this fabric, so instead of joining the front seam as instructed, I added lace.

And, my last variation was to add a faced hem, instead of a turned one.  I wanted a little extra weight at the hemline.

And there you have it!  The Port Elizabeth Top, free on BurdaStyle!

Do you have favorite free sewing patterns you've used?  I'm planning to do several more reviews of free patterns.  Especially if you're sewing to be frugal, free patterns can be a terrific headstart!


  1. Is this a pull-over or are there fastenings that I'm not seeing?

    1. It's a pullover. The neckline is generous enough that it does not need a closure... though that would be another optional upgrade to the pattern!