Introducing the Tundra Top/Sofiona Designs

Welcome to the fastest Sofiona sew thus far!! We are starting to be known as "clean, but not quick" and I'm totally good with that! But I also know that people want a quick make and it's been a regular conversation around Sofiona headquarters that we need to keep the quick sews in mind.

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Photo: Aukje of @sewcucio

I love fall. I love sweaters. I love boots! This is my favourite time of year and when I see the opportunity for cozy layering, I'm inspired. Tundra came up as a way to layer up the Tide dress. With specific attention to the ties on the dress, I wanted to create a neckline that would work well between the two patterns. What I didn't see (and rarely do at the beginning of a new pattern) is the way the testers would inspire me beyond my initial intentions. Like this fuzzy version with the Pinecone skirt.

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Photo: Zoe of @zoe_craggs

So, let's talk about the options.

  • long, fitted sleeve
  • 3/4 length cuffed sleeve
  • short "sleeve" with facing
  • visible or hidden neckline facing
  • crop length
  • waist length

Because I was thinking fall, the long sleeves were my first thought. I like a loose top but I prefer a fitted sleeve to balance out the look. Especially over a dress with a skirt like the Tide. My personal style is not all-baggy-all-over and to be honest, my body shape doesn't like that, so when I design I am naturally skewed in the direction of what I know I like.

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Photo: Rachelle of ThatsSewVenice

So let's talk about that long sleeve a second. It was one area that we had the most variance among the testers so I feel it's important to talk about it.

The long sleeve should be long enough to gather or "bunch" slightly at the wrist. And it should be fitted. That's the intention. Arms on children are vastly different though, so please keep that in mind when choosing a size. You may need to shorten it slightly as I've left it on the longer side to accommodate the longer arms and knowing that you can cut off, but you can't add.

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Photo: Emma of @snowdropsews

Width is the other thing that was a bit of a game to figure out. Also something that varies so much from kid to kid. And then throw in different types of knits! Do you see the many ways this can go?

I think the biggest suggestion I can give for the long sleeve is to think carefully of your fabric choice. Stiff fabrics (very popular these days with all the custom knit fabrics out there) or fabrics with high recovery are going to feel tighter at the wrist and lower arm. Personally, I love this sleeve in a relaxed sweater knit. The looser weave of a sweater knit allows that sleeve to feel fitted but not tight and the overall soft nature of a good sweater knit in this style of top is my favourite. If you do choose a fabric that has that tighter feel to it, consider blending out to a larger size at the wrist, but I'm going to say think "loose" fabric and consider the width of the wearer's arm.

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Photo: Kyla

Moving on. I decided to add a cuff to the 3/4 length. No reason. It was pretty much a random thought, but I like it!

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Photo: Geneviève of @genevieve__o

After playing around with the muslin process I fell in love with the "sleeveless" version. I'm not sure what to call it. Is it a short sleeve or no sleeve?? Whatever it is, I find the silhouette is super flattering.

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Photo: Sherri of @mamidesofiona

The cropped length was my thought for the Tide and Tundra pairing, but why stop there when we can pair it with a Fireweed too?! (No flounces on this Fireweed.) With that shorter cut line on the Tundra it allows us to see the shape underneath.

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Photo: Lois of @windsorwoollies

For some more Sofiona pairings, try out the Dandelion tank underneath.

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Photo: Janine of @janineduguiddesigns

The facings were something I wanted to do to give this pattern more than just another binding on the neckline. Sometimes I'm tired of binding! And with this facing, I like the idea of being able to turn it to the outside for a visible facing and a chance to leave the raw edges as a feature. (While the arm facings could be turned to the outside as well, it does mean some different construction in the side seam. ) Turn the hem the opposite way as well to tie the whole look together

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Photo: Lauren

The very subtle V is that moment of allowing the Tide to shine as I mentioned earlier, but it's not too low and without the Tide underneath, it's still a beautiful little detail that doesn't wow you, but you like it, you know what I mean?

The waist length option is just that. Waist length. Use your own "house rules" for how you want to wear it. LOL You know what I mean, right? Throw it over a tank top and make it 100% school friendly or wear it in what I call "dancer style" - just as a top. Just know the belly button will show!

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Photo: Annie of @dalilahtrew

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Photo: Heather

Vinyl iron-on transfers are a great way to "decorate" the top.

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Photo: Katy of @katydesmarais

And this trim down the sleeve was such a great idea to give it yet another look.

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Photo: Lesley of @frullemieke

I'm waiting to see this as an upcycle out of a graphic T!!

One of my favourite #Sofionahacks that I saw with this top was making the extra long sleeve into a thumb sleeve. Once you get past the distraction of how incredible this fabric is, take a look at what she did with the sleeves. Someday I'd like to add a tutorial here and update this post so that more of us can do that too!


Photo: Kirsi of @salonki_finland

For such a simple pattern, I could go on and on! But I think that's enough for today.

As always, we love to see your versions of our patterns. Tag us on IG or join us on the Sofiona FB group and show us there. Use the hashtags #sofitundra #sofionadesigns #tundrainthewild and we'll be looking for them.

Thanks for being here and showing interest in this adventure of ours.