GBSB Shell Top – a Mini Review 

I’ve got a decent collection of sewing books, but haven’t really read much of any of them, nor used the related patterns. 

After purchasing the latest GBSB book a couple of weeks ago, leafing through it I liked the sound of the pattern hack of the sleeveless shell top with a button back. I’ve yet to make anything with one or more buttonholes so this simple top seemed like a good chance to try out the feature of my new machine. I have some pretty pink Liberty fabric from the autumn Knitting and Stitch Show, which I thought would work well. 

After a little consideration, I thought it would be practical to make the standard pattern in a cheaper fabric first. I chose some blue and white thicker cotton with a slight stretch, that my dad bought for me on a trip to Mexico. I traced the pattern onto greaseproof and cut the fabric. In retrospect, I could have/should have tried to adjust the fabric so the top had the pattern aligned better and a more symmetrical front. 

The make was straightforward and I liked how the facings finished the arms and neckline neatly. The pattern asked for a button and loop to finish but this confused me so I ignored that step and stiched right up the back. I tried the top on before hemming it, and was a little disappointed with the fit – this top curves down at the back but I hadn’t really anticipated it going up at the front. This made it shorter than I would like. 

All that was left to do was hem it, and, if I read the instructions correctly, this meant zigzag along the bottom, turn up once, press and stitch. I was a little surprised how untidy a finish this left, as I would normally turn up twice so there was no raw edge. As I was trying to conserve all the length possible I stuck with the pattern, but I am unsatisfied with the finish, especially after going the all the trouble with the facings around the neckline. Is it me, or is it a little odd? 

I think I would like to alter the pattern a little before I committed to making it with Liberty, to lengthen it at least. Liberty cotton is a lot lighter and softer, though, which could make a difference. Maybe it’s worth practicing with a similar weight cotton (especially the  button holes) just to be sure. 


7 responses to “GBSB Shell Top – a Mini Review 

  1. Don’t forget that GBSB is for beginners, the books especially so. I agree that overlocked, or at the very least double turned hems are essential for a professional looking finish, but absolute beginners may find it too fiddly. Why not read all instructions through first, before cutting, and try to foresee any adjustments that would make a more pleasing finish? At least you worked out what you’re going to do when you make another in Liberty fabric!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess you are right, I just feel like there is a bit of a contrast in standards in this make, it’s half professionally finished and half beginner-y. I am guilty of not reading all the way through a pattern before beginning, definitely a bad habit!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I always try to read all the instructions through, before making something, but sometimes they only fully make sense once I’m actually making it! I’m very jealous that you managed the neck and armhole all-in-one facing without any twisted bits though, any tips?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know! I can’t attribute it to any particular personal skill, so it must be due to the pattern, but thank you! 🙂 I think I’m the same, sometimes instructions are abstract until I have the exact pieces in front of me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I bought this book today and definitely wanted to make this top so thanks for this – I will probably lengthen it a bit, at least to add a bit more seam allowance to hem it nicely.
    I think your top looks good though! Is it not so nice on? And is it easy to get on and off without the button?


  4. The facings look so neat and I’m sure the method could be used on other makes too! I really like the fabric and the fact it has come from Mexico. I don’t think it looks too misaligned either 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. .xslipstitchx

    For a neater hem finish try using seam binding or bias binding in a contrast colour. I’ve recently downloaded this pattern, but think there’s some of the back pattern piece missing, did you find this?

    Liked by 1 person

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