It was a privilege and honour to pattern test the Alek Rib Top by Just Patterns. What I absolutely love about this knit top is the wide square neckline in the front and the raglan sleeves in the back.
This was a very quick sew. The pattern has 5 pattern pieces, and after cutting the fabric, it took about 2-3 hours to piece everything together. It is recommended to choose a knit fabric that has 100% stretch with good recovery. Fabric choice here can make or break this project, so choose wisely. Rib knits are an especially good fit for this pattern, and the first top that I sewed up was a polyester stretch velvet rib knit. I did most of the sewing on my serger but technically speaking, this top can be sewn up entirely on a regular sewing machine. To be honest, I think that it’s a better choice to put the main seams together with a serger if that is available to you, mainly because of the high stretch percentage of the recommended fabric. If I only owned a sewing machine, then I would go out of my way to get some thread that has some elasticity in it to sew it up. I don’t think it’s crucial but I reckon the results would be better. The stitches on a serger are more durable, and have the elasticity to stretch with knits with high elasticity. If you have a good stretch stitch solution on your regular machine, then you are also good to go.
I sewed up a second version in swimwear fabric. This time round I sized down from a size 38 to a size 36. If you are in between sizes like me, then sizing down might be a better choice. From my experience, the smaller size fits better because this was designed to be a tight-fitting top. In addition, the wide neckline benefited from the snug fit from a smaller size, reducing any possible gaping issues. Just so you know, this top is not so friendly to regular bras with shoulder straps. You must have a strapless bra that can be hidden under the wide and low neckline, or choose to go braless. Or modify the pattern so that the neckline can be narrowed or heightened, or both. However, the beauty of this pattern lies in this wondrous neckline – in my opinion. To be more accurate, the neckline is not entirely square – there’s a slight heart-shape at the upper bust line to accentuate the curves of the breasts. In addition, the neckline at the mound of the shoulder starts narrow, then widens towards the chest. It’s lovely.
The trickiest part in the sewing process is attaching the back and front bands to the garment, because the bands have to be stretched slightly while sewing them on. Attention must also be paid to match up the right notches on the bands to the bodices and sleeves. And since all seam allowances are all ¼” wide, there is a small margin for making errors. Besides these few finicky issues, the pattern is a classic knit top with a nice twist, featuring a standout neckline. What’s not to love?
There are 2 size ranges for this top. The first range is 34-46, and caters to a B/C cup size. The second range is 46-60 for a DD cup size. I think Delphine, the pattern designer will also grade a size for you if yours is outside the range of available sizes. The pattern was just launched, so there is a sale of it right now as well. Go get it before the sale period ends.
I documented my sewing process of the Alek Rib Top, and made a sew-along video of it. Check it out on YouTube, and perhaps it’ll help you when you are sewing up yours, or it may help you decide whether or not to get this pattern for yourself. Included in the video are some tips on how to work with stretch knits:
I am already planning to make another one of these tops, and perhaps hack it into a dress. This top is a perfect companion to the Tatjana Trousers, which is another Just Patterns pattern that I adore. Happy sewing!