This top all started with the fabric. I found this piece of super soft striped mystery fabric at the Michael Levine LOFT and snatched it right up. It would have made a fabulous scarf. Did I mention it’s super soft? But I decided it would also make a great Lou Box Top. If you're not familiar with the LBT (as I call it), it's a loose fitting top for wovens and knits with three different hem options and two necklines. It's extremely versatile and it's also my most popular pattern.
For this tunic style hack, I made a lot of changes but they're all really easy to do. I started by adding a yoke to create directional stripes. I was inspired by some striped tops I’d seen that alternated the direction of the stripes on the yoke and body. I did some sketches and settled on vertical stripes for the yoke and horizontal for the body. To make the separate yoke and body pattern pieces, I cut the front and back a few inches above the bottom of the arm hole and added a seam allowance to the newly cut lines.
I wanted to maximize the yardage I had as much as possible (no waste!) so I also added a center back pleat and lengthened the body. I actually ended up cutting off about 6 inches from the back body because it was just too long in comparison to the front and looked silly.
Besides the yoke, I made a few other adjustments. I made the scoop neck a little higher than the original pattern, squared off the hem (just cutting along the stripes) and made a split hem at the side seams.
The fabric was really a pain to work with. So soft and pretty but it also frays, snags and wrinkles like crazy. I decided to do french seams to keep the fraying in check. I really don’t like doing french seams because it just seems to take twice as long to sew. But they do look awfully pretty. So, I suck it up and do it from time to time.
The only tricky place for the french seams was at the split hem. I didn’t really think about how I’d do it until I was already stitching it. And when I realized that it was not clear how to transition from french seam to the split hem, I started googling. A few places said it was not possible but I eventually found this thread on Pattern Review where someone posted how to do it. Mine are not as neatly finished but it worked.
I started this top way back in May and finished it up last month. I've worn it to the beach one day over my swimsuit. I got an unfortunate sunburn on the back of my neck through the keyhole opening. I may hold a slight grudge against the top because I haven’t worn it since. But, it’s a really nice addition to the wardrobe that I need to take out more often. Here I’m wearing the top with my high-waisted woven Hudson Pants variation plus this watch and these sandals. I love these woven pants for summer because they’re breathable but keep me covered up and protected from the sun.
The Lou Box Top is such a great, versatile pattern. It's easy enough for beginners, requires minimal fitting and it's super easy to hack. I really love seeing how people adapt it and change it. So inspiring! You can pick up your own copy of the pattern right here and if you make one, make sure to share on social media with the hashtag #louboxtop. Happy sewing!