Today I’m going to show how easy the Vera Jollytop would be to replicate, but first, a few words about copyright and fashion copying.
In the United States, there is no copyright protection for fashion design. The reasoning is that clothes are basic, useful items, and as such cannot be copyrighted. Even though the Council of Fashion Designers of America, led by Diane von Furstenberg, has made attempts to get legislation passed, it has come to nothing.
There is rarely anything in fashion that is actually “new.” Designers visit and revisit the past, and each other on a regular basis. Can anyone claim ownership of a French cuff, or a ruffled hem, or a bateau neckline? It just isn’t possible, and because of this freedom to pick and choose design elements, creativity is fostered.
Of course, the lack of protection also allows companies to make cheap versions of expensive goods. This is the type of copying that the CFDA opposes. I suppose that if I were Diane von Furstenberg selling a $3000 dress, I’d be pretty irritated about seeing a copy of it selling for $60 at some fast fashion store.
I think it is interesting that copying by the home sewer seems to be above this criticism. Designers have been selling their designs to pattern companies for many decades, and for the price of a pattern and some nice fabric, the home sewer can have her own Givenchy or Diane von Furstenberg or Dior.
But note that there is a copyright symbol next to the Vera signature on my top. The protection was granted for Vera’s artwork, not for the design of the top. Vera got copyright protection for all her scarf designs, a protection that is still owned by the Vera Company. Simply put, it is okay to copy the blouse, but not the art on the blouse.
To copy this scarf top, you need two scarves the same size. Mine is made from 20 inch squares, which fits about a 36″ bust. The back and front of mine are identical, but that is not really necessary. Someone has a similar scarf top on etsy that she made using two Vera scarves with the same colorway, but with different designs.
This is the basic layout of the top. Place the two scarves right sides together, with the correct top and bottom orientation. I’ve put in the stitching lines at the shoulders, the sides and for the drawstrings.
This diagram has the measurements for the 20 inch scarf added. Of course, you’ll have to make adjustments if you use a larger or smaller size.
There is a 4 1/4 tuck taken on the front 1 1/4 inch down from the neckline. That is to make the front a little lower than the back, and helps prevent choking!
The shoulder seam is sewn between a point 4 1/2 inches on the top side, and 1 1/2 inch down the side. That leaves a neck opening of 11 inches.
The side seam starts 9 inches down from the top, and is 6 inches long. That gives a sleeve opening of 7 1/2 inches.
The casing for the drawstrings is sewn directly below the side seams on both front and back. The area below the side seams is left open. They used strips of bias seam binding to make the casing and also to make the strings, which are 32 inches long.
Any questions? Let me know if you decide to make this one. There is nothing hard about it, just be sure to adjust the measurements for your own needs.
The best explanation of fashion and copyright I’ve ever seen is in an old TEDTalk by Johanna Blakley.