Sea Change Top (by the seaside): Lily Sage & Co

I’ll confess, I’ve quite a fan of Debbie of the Lily Sage & Co blog. Debbie is Australian (in Kansas) and she has a truly distinct style. I was intrigued when it became obvious she was in the throes of designing patterns. When she put out a call for pattern testers, I couldn’t resist.

And yes, the pattern name had this Aussie coastal sewing girl at ‘hello’.


Debbie has designed the Sea Change top to be worn with high-waisted pants and skirts. From the pattern description: “The Sea Change top is loosely fitted, with wide kimono sleeves. The hem is designed to fall just below the natural waist for a modest, cropped look that will both complement and showcase high waist pants and skirts. The top length can easily be lengthened through the top. The armbands and bottom hem band can also be altered in length for different looks.”

I don’t think I have a single high-waisted skirt or pant in my casual wardrobe. 🙂

My work wardrobe is all fitted sheath dresses (no top-bottom coordination and very little ironing required – excellent choice for a working mum) with just a couple of black high-waisted pencil skirts and shirts. My casual wardrobe is in the opposite direction!

My casual attire tends to be hipster jeans, skinny jeans, denim skirts, tshirts, shirts, shirt dresses and shorts. So was I going to wear a cropped top with my casual clothing? Well not by itself.

Sea Change Top 02, designed by Lily Sage & Co, side view

Sea Change Top 02, designed by Lily Sage & Co, side view

Confession: I hate my stomach. Really hate it. I know people say to wear your scars with pride… but I can’t, so I don’t. And if I don’t have to, why should I? Because others think I should? I’m ok but my overall shape, I wear enough body-con clothes to prove that… I just don’t like my stomach. Don’t try to rationalise this one with me, I’m allowed my irrational quirks. So I don’t often run the risk of flashing my stomach if I can avoid it.

You might think that means no crop tops… actually no. I’m a layering devotee which probably explains my love of draped clothes. So the Sea Change has the potential to fit nicely into my wardrobe.


Where I live it doesn’t get very cold, so this top could easily be paired with a fitted long-sleeved tshirt with jeans on a colder day, or a tank on warmer days. I do love wearing very loose tops, I feel relaxed in them.


I sewed this in a rather ‘un-me’ patterned knit – however I love the colours in this. Blue and green – who said they would never be seen without a colour in between?… ah yes, some of the ‘well dressed’ conservative people I grew up and went to school with. More on that in a future post…

As far as sewing knits goes, this is an easy sew. I used my machine to baste the hem and sleeve band edges together before attaching to the top with my overlocker/serger.

The sleeve and hem band fabric was a fairly slippery black knit (from the stash) which wasn’t a lot of fun to work. Basting the edges together before attaching them to the main body, as per Debbie’s instructions, helped tremendously.

The front and the back pieces are very similar… which may be why I managed to sew the neckband on backwards! I had marked the back piece (I always put two pins through my back pieces) but still managed to stuff up. I had overlocked the neckband seam but made myself unpick it and reattach it. I always find the thought of unpicking an overlocked/serged seam is worse than the reality of doing it. It takes a little longer but it’s not as bad as some other unpicking I have completed lately!


If you have directional fabric – be mindful that you need to flip either your front or back  pattern piece over as the pattern layout as the front going one way and the back the other way on the fold. If you have printed this at home or at the copy shop it’s on bond paper so you can’t see through the paper. In this case I mark the notches on the wrong side of the pattern piece so I don’t forget to cut the notches.

Edited: the pattern and instructions have been updated to reflect this comment.

The Sleeves
I suspect there will be some fearing the peekaboo armhole incident. Yes, the sleeves are enormous and low – however they are so enormous that the fabric tends to foil most peeking opportunities. As I always wear a tank under billowy or tops, it’s not a drama for me. If people get their jollies looking that my tank top, they can knock themselves out for all I care.

Sea Change top 02 designed by Lily Sage & Co, sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy

Sea Change armholes

The Length

I’m on the shorter side of average, I’m 5 foot 4 or just over 1.6 metres tall. I am quite long through the waist – for me this is a short top.

You can lengthen the top or sleeves by increasing the depth of the hem and sleeve bands. I’d only increase the hem band to the same depth of the sleeve bands but that’s just me. I think the volume/width of the body is balanced by the cropped length.


People will love this top… or not… I like that as it’s quite different in style and shape to many of the other PDF tops available. Kimino style jackets and tops are quite popular at the moment and this is rather ‘now’. I think it’s a reflection of Debbie’s rather unique style. It’s ‘not another tshirt’ and it looks great on different body types.

I confess I didn’t expect to like as I was sewing it up, I was thinking ‘this will swamp me’… but I like it and enjoy wearing it. I wore it most of the day after these photos (took four garment photos this day including my Morris Double Take) – just getting changed when my friends arrived for dinner that night as I rather stank of butter chicken after a long afternoon in the kitchen!

This top is designed to be made in a knit or woven. It does use quite a bit of fabric due to the width of the top, between 170cm and 190cm.

I think this top looks very cool in a striped fabric… check out some the links below for that!

There looks to be two more patterns in the Lily Sage & Co workshop. It will be interesting to see what happens next!

Lily Sage & Co
Sea Change Top – I made XS.

ain body: knit of mystery composition from Dancing Fabrics in Port Macquarie.
Contrast bands: mystery knit from my stash aka The Fabric Swamp.

Elk – a gift from a friend. I haven’t seen this piece online but their range and design aesthetic is lovely – you have been warned.

The Somnolent DachshundThornberry | Hannah Jane Fellows | Handmade by Carolyn | Miss Castelinhos (love the striped version!) | Grosgrain Green

Debbie supplied the Sea Change Top pattern to test and then resent the amended pattern after testing. All printing costs, opinions & fabric my own.

I will be back soon – I have three blogs posts waiting for you! Perhaps they include a giveaway… or two…

Thank you also for all your lovely comments lately. I’ve been a little swamped by life but I am finding time when I can to reply to all the comments and emails. Thank you!

18 thoughts on “Sea Change Top (by the seaside): Lily Sage & Co

  1. I love these kind of tops, for their relaxed look and feel. Plus I think they are sexy too. Some people mistakenly think if it’s big or boxy it’s not sexy but as long as the fabric is drapey and moves with your body, it is flattering and sexy. Great top!

    • I agree, I think tight does not equal sexy all the time – in fact the floaty look that moves and sweeps across the body is often much more flattering and sezy. Plus feeling relaxed and at ease probably lends itself to a person feeling more comfortable with themselves.

  2. Beautiful! The mystery fabric you chose is stunning and the way it drapes is perfect for that pattern. Great top!

  3. Thanks for the mention 😉 And I love that Sea Change layers so well, am wearing mine with a 3/4 sleeve boatneck today – and very cool fabric choice, I love the black bands with the grey, green & blue abstract!

  4. This has been on my hit list since Debbie released it, and seeing yours has definitely sealed the deal. LOVE it.

  5. Pingback: Down at the station… | Blogless Anna...

  6. Pingback: Sea Change round up |

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