A simple top — knit or woven — doesn’t have to be complicated. Have a look at this pattern layout for a knit top, and at the line drawing below. I just made this, took it on vacation and I predict it will go under many cardigans. It has a front, back, front facing and back facing. That’s it. How many of these tops do we pay at least $25 for, when with a little investment of time and 1.5 yards of fabric (at most), we can have the right fit and right color?
These tops are a great way to frame the chunky jewelry you’ve already got. I used Simplicity 2603, which features a wrap, but have a look at any pattern line and they’ll have a simple knit top. I used a cotton/Lycra knit in peach. I purchased the fabric from Katherine Tilton at this year’s SewExpo. I don’t do pink, but peach is great for my coloring. So what colors of tops can you never find? Are you an autumn girl and can only find your favorite olive knits in the fall? End that madness.
I highly recommend a fusible interfacing strip at the hem. It makes a crisp bottom, prevents wrinkles from appearing at the hip line, and helps manage any curling that might happen before you topstitch. I also recommend pressing under the sleeves of the back and front before you sew these pieces together — chances are your armholes will be small and hard to turn under afterwards.
Though a serger might be nice, it’s not necessary because knits don’t fray. Simply select a slight zigzag stitch to accommodate some stretch. Finally, woven tops are also simple, but the neckholes must be larger to compensate for the minimal give, so choose a pattern for wovens.