On my "to sew" list for some time has been the Akita pattern from Seamwork Magazine. Akita is a simple top pattern with just one pattern piece. I decided to have some fun and embellish my top with some graduated tucks. Tucks are simple to add, and just require a little basic math, and some planning ahead of time. Yes, math, I am sorry but there is no way around it! I added a total of six 1/4 inch tucks to the front and back of the top. (Since Akita is one pattern piece, what you add to the front must also be added to the back.) While six 1/4 inch tucks don't sound like a lot, each 1/4 inch tuck requires a 1/2 inch of fabric - 1/4 inch for the top and 1/4 inch for the bottom of the tuck. All together, that is a total of 3 inches - 1/2 inch times 6 tucks. If I had just started making tucks, my neckline would have been 3 inches smaller! This pattern is cut out on the fold, so to add the required 3 inches of fabric to the top, I simply moved the pattern piece 1 and 1/2 inches away from the fold.
The one other item to note is that I did not cut out the neckline until after I stitched the tucks! Mark the tucks on the front of the fabric where you would like them and stitch each front and back tuck as one continuous tuck. My fabric (a rayon from my stash) isn't the best choice for photo purposes, so here is a graphic of what I did.
The solid blue lines are the stitching lines and the dotted lines are the fold lines for each tuck. The pink line is the center front and back. I measured a 1/2 inch from the center front and back for the first stitching line. There is 1/4 inch between the first stitching line and the fold line, and then an additional 1/4 inch to the next stitching line. There is a 1/2 inch between each tuck. To stitch the tucks, bring the stitching lines together by folding the fabric on the fold line, and stitch along the stitching lines. This gave me 1 inch at the center front and back without a tuck and three 1/4 inch tucks on each side of the center front and back. (My diagram only shows one side, you need to do the same thing on the other side of the center front and back).Once you have stitched the tucks, lay the pattern back down on the fabric, this time putting the center front and back line of the pattern on the actual fold of the fabric and cut out the neckline. Finish the top according to the pattern directions. Here is a close-up of the finished tucks.
The one other change I made to this pattern is that I serged each side seam separately, then sewed the side seams together. For the armholes, I simply folded the serged sleeve edges to the inside and stitched them down.
The directions have you apply bias binding to the side edges and that sounded like more work than was necessary, although it would have given a lovely finish. I hope you enjoy this easy and fun way to add a personal touch to your next project.