All posts by caroline

Peach Schnapps Freya hack

Back in November 2018 I made a top using this fabric that I originally purchased from Stitchy Bee. That particular top was worn a great deal despite not being exactly right. I had only purchased one metre of fabric and thus the length of the bodice was a little shorter than I like and the sleeves were a little too long. All through 2019 I tried to find an alternative supplier but to no avail. Imagine my delight when I saw that the fabric was again available, this time from Minerva. The fabric is by Lady McElroy and is a96% viscose Ponte Roma. I ordered 1.5 metres at £17.99 per metre as I knew that I wanted to make a long-sleeved top using my hack of the Freya by Tilly and the buttons. My third expensive top coming up!

Learning from the error on the Tattoo scuba top, this time I cut the Freya longer in the body. I cut the long sleeves and also cuffs. I lowered the centre front of the neckline by 1½ inches and cut a neckband 2 inches wide.

Apart from top-stitching the neckband and twin-needle stitching the hem, the entire garment was sewn on the overlocker. A real speedy make!

I am absolutely delighted with this top and can’t wait to wear it. I think it will coordinate well with denim jeans, skirts and when the weather warms up – with lighter coloured bottoms.

Project #21 completed 6th March 2021

Floral Tattoo Scuba Top

Here is some Floral tattoo vintage playing cards scuba.

I bought 1metre at £6.99 from Fabric Styles in June 2020. I must have been having a senior moment and temporarily forgotten that I don’t love scuba fabric. I was obviously seduced by the print!

I cut out my hack of the Freya top but this time dropped the centre front of the neckline by 1¼ inches. I also reduced the length but will have to add it back on for the next make as I was too enthusiastic with my cutting!

Construction was straightforward and although I cut the neckband 2 inches wide, this was reduced by taking a wider seam allowance when attaching with the overlocker.

Due to differential in length of the back and front bodice, I have made a slit hem which is top stitched with the twin needle. The sleeves were an odd length, too long for short and too short for ¾ length. I turned up 2 inches before hemming with the twin needle.

The top is ‘OK’, but that’s as far as my enthusiasm allows. My husband even had the nerve to say that the top was ‘too young for you’. The garment will probably end up being sold or donated to charity.

Project #20 Completed 6th March 2021

Leafy Lemons Tee Shirt (Freya #4)

When I last cut out a Cowl neck Freya top I noticed the scoop of the neckline. At the time I thought to myself that this shape would make a good design feature on a top made for the Spring/Summer and I had just the right ‘Lemons and Leaves’ printed cotton jersey for the garment! Back in May 2020 I had purchased 1 metre from Jelly Fabrics at a cost of £16.83 – this was going to be yet another expensive tee shirt!

As I have already made the Freya top three times before, I was confident on the fit of the top. There were no surprises as I cut out the top. I was only able to cut short elbow length sleeves due to the minimal amount of fabric available. However there is a large rectangular remnant that I am sure to be able to use on a.n.other project in the future.

The construction was straightforward. This time I cut the neckband only 1¾ inches wide and this has made a very neat finished neckband. The length of both the body and the sleeves was such that I was able to turn up deep hems before finishing with twin-needle topstitching.

I am delighted with yet another unique, well fitting tee to have in my wardrobe, ready for when the weather warms up!

Project #19 completed 2nd March 2021

Springtime Tee – Mona #4

Back last year I made three basic tee shirts using a hack of the bodice of the Moneta dress from Colette Patterns. Whilst I still have the sewing machine and overlocker set up for jersey sewing with White thread, I checked my fabric stash for more yardage that could be used for Mona tee shirts. The bodice of the ‘Mona’ is more fitted than the usual boxy tees and would make a nice change to the Fraser Breton-style tops.

I came across two lengths of Cotton jersey and one of lightweight Scuba that would be appropriate and decided to see if I could get three tops made in two days.

The first tee was made using the Painted Florals cotton jersey that I bought from Pin & Sew in March 2020 for a total cost of £17.50 for one metre. This is going to be an expensive tee shirt!

There was just 1 metre of fabric so short sleeves were dictated and I would wait until first fitting to decide whether or not to add a band at the sleeve hem. I did manage to cut the slightly longer length of the front and back from this piece of fabric. I stabilised the shoulder seam with some fusible seam tape and then cut a neckband, this time 1¾ inches wide. Previous neckbands had been cut 2 inches wide and this time I wanted to ‘trial’ a narrower one.

The neckband stitched on like a dream.

At first fitting I found that the sleeves were plenty long enough to have a deep hem of 2 inches and then a 1¼ inch hem on the body. I top stitched with a twin needle set 4mm apart and stitch length 4.00. The resultant tee shirt fulfils the requirement of a distinctive top and I look forward to wearing it as soon as the Spring weather warms up a little!

Project #18 completed 2nd March 2021

And finally, Breton top #8

Yes! The final Breton-style top is done. Well there was just about enough fabric left for this one before I called it a day on Bretons.

This year I have been ‘on a mission’ to make several Breton-style tops for my sister and me which, hopefully, we will be able to wear on our next cruise holiday.

I started this quest with several lengths of Ponte Roma but now having made 8 different tops am left with pretty much a mis-match of remnants from the various stripes and prints. I am not quite sure what I will do with the final odds and ends but no doubt something will come up.

The alterations to the Fraser pattern by Sewaholics were similar to those before; extended body length and no hem band. Similar to the #7, the sleeves were shortened. Again the neckline front is deepened by 1½ inches and widened by ½ inch at each side neck point. The back yoke was cut in two pieces and has a join that is off-centre but no matter, it is behind me and will be hidden by my hair. Once again the construction was made a lot easier with the gentle curve of the front yoke.

The neckband was cut from the White background floral as I have now run out of the Navy background print. This time I cut the band 1¾ inches wide.

All seams basted on the sewing machine before being sewn with the overlocker. The yokes and neckband were top stitched on the machine. The single turned hem on the sleeves and body were overlocked prior to twin needle stitching in place. I took care to ensure that the Navy stripe sat on the edge of the hem and stitched with White thread on the White stripe with the twin needle.

So, that’s the final Breton-style top completed. I can now graduate to the floral jersey bought from Pin and Sew before changing over to woven fabrics for a while.

Project #17 completed 28th February 2021

I’m frilled – something different!

In a recent order with Rainbow Fabrics of Kilburn I included some 3 metres of Rainbow Ruffle for a total of £8.22. I have often seen tops in this type of fabric and thought that just for a change from the Breton-style tops I would give it a go!

I already had the Paola by Named Clothing pattern printed and sized for my sister so decided to ‘hack’ this into a scoop neck, short sleeved top. How hard could it be?

It turned out not to be particularly difficult at all. Drafting the alterations to the pattern were straightforward and cutting out was also relatively easy. I had to make sure that all the frills were laying in the correct direction and none were caught up when cutting out. I knew that there would be no requirement for hems on the body or sleeves but would need to have a think about the neckline.

I stabilised the shoulder seams with stay tape before checking my jersey remnants to find something suitable for a neckband. I found plenty of this Blush Pink that was purchased from Stitchy Bee back in 2019. I cut a strip 2 inches wide by my calculated length of the neckline (x 85% + seam allowance) and applied to the staystitched neckline. It seems to have worked well. Next time, I think it would be even better if made a little more narrow.

The sleeves were set in and the side/sleeve seams stitched all in pass. In no time at all the top was completed. In order to control the frills, all seams were machine basted prior to overlocking.

I am pleased with the final result and hope that my sister will also enjoy this ‘different’ top which has taken just over 1 metre to make. I know that I have some more of this type of fabric in Black somewhere in my stash and I think it would make an ideal ‘cocktail’ top or shift dress, next time the overlocker is threaded with Black I shall hook it out.

Project # 16 completed 26th February 2021

Breton-style top #7

Oh no! Not another Breton-style top I hear you say. Well there is just about enough fabric left for one or two more before I call it a day on Bretons.

This year I have been ‘on a mission’ to make several Breton-style tops for my sister and me which, hopefully, we will be able to wear on our next cruise holiday. I started this quest with several lengths of Ponte Roma but now having made 6 different tops am left with pretty much a mis-match of remnants from the various stripes and prints. Hence #7 will be a ‘mash-up’ of those remnants.

The alterations to the Fraser pattern by Sewaholics were similar to those before; extended body length and no hem band. Due to lack of fabric in the Red stripe colourway, the sleeves were shortened. Again the neckline front is deepened by 1 ½ inches and widened by ½ inch at each side neck point. When I laid out the White background floral print fabric I found that I did not have a sufficiently large enough piece to cut the front yoke all in one, hence there is a centre seam. The back yoke was cut from the Navy background floral print. This time around the construction was made a lot easier with the gentle curve of the front yoke.

The neckband was cut from the White background floral and I think that there is just enough left for one more neckband in this colourway.

All seams were sewn with the overlocker, the yokes and neckband were top stitched on the machine. The single turned hem on the sleeves and body were overlocked prior to twin needle stitching in place. I took care to ensure that the Red stripe sat on the edge of the hem and stitched with White thread on the White stripe with the twin needle.

So, that’s another Breton-style top completed. There is probably enough of the Navy/White stripe remaining to make one more top and then I shall be moving on to other projects.

Project #15 completed 25th February 2021

Breton-style top for Catherine #6

Back in December I made Breton-style tops for both my sister and me. For those I used the View A of the Fraser sweatshirt top by Sewaholic. This year I am ‘on a mission’ to make several Breton-style tops for us which, hopefully, we will be able to wear on our next cruise holiday.

I have just finished version #5 for me and here is #6 for Catherine.

Again I revisited View A of the Fraser pattern but as I had found the points of the contrast panels a little difficult to manage I decided to re-draw the yoke with a more gentle curve.

Catherine had chosen the Blue stripe on White ponte roma combined with the White background floral print for the front and rear yokes. She did not want the contrast sleeve yokes.

The alterations to the pattern were the same as before; extended body length and no cuffs on the sleeves or hem band. Once again I found that I wanted to deepen the neckline front by 1 ½ inches and widen by ½ inch at each side neck point. When pattern matching the stripes it was made much easier by the fact that Ponte was such a stable knit. When I laid out the floral printed fabric I was reminded that the stretch was opposite to the width. I had to be careful when laying out the pattern to be sure the stretch was crosswise on the yokes. This time around the construction was made a lot easier with the gentle curve of the front yoke.

From my experience of making #5 I knew that a contrast fabric neckband would not be appropriate and therefore cut 2 inch wide piece from the floral Ponte which I think works well.

All seams were sewn with the overlocker, the yokes and neckband were top stitched on the machine. The single turned hem on the sleeves and body were overlocked prior to twin needle stitching in place. I took care to ensure that the Navy stripe sat on the edge of the hem and stitched with White thread on the White stripe with the twin needle.

I am pleased with how this top has worked out and look forward to seeing Catherine wearing it.

Project #14 completed 23rd February 2021

Breton-style Top#5

Back in December I made Breton-style tops for both my sister and me. For those I used the View A of the Fraser sweatshirt top by Sewaholic. This year I am ‘on a mission’ to make several more Breton-style tops for us which, hopefully, we will be able to wear on our next cruise holiday.

According to Sewaholic the Fraser Sweatshirt is the perfect year-round layering piece! Slip it on over sports bras and knit tops, under jackets or wear it simply on its own. This semi-fitted pullover knit top features set-in sleeves, contrast options, and sleeve variations so you can customise it to best suit your wardrobe. View A has contrast yoke panels, a crew neckline and long sleeves. View B has three-quarter length sleeves. View C features a set-in collar contrast detail and elbow length sleeves. All views create a comfortable fit as you move through your day. This is a great project for beginners who want to develop their garment-making skills with no overlocker required! Banded hems are used to finish the sleeve and body for a professional, clean finish.

For this version I revisited View A of the Fraser pattern but as I had found the points of the contrast panels a little difficult to manage I decided to re-draw the yoke and sleeve headcaps with a more gentle curve.

I wanted to use the Red with White striped Ponte Roma that I bought from the York Fabric Shop and would combine it with the White background floral Ponte Roma bought from an eBay seller.

The alterations to the pattern were the same as before, shortened sleeves, extended body and no cuffs on the sleeves or hem band. Once again I found that I wanted to deepen the neckline front by 1 ½ inches and widen by ½ inch at each side neck point. When pattern matching the stripes it is made much easier by the fact that Ponte is such a stable knit. When I laid out the floral printed fabric I was reminded that the stretch is opposite to the width. I had to be careful when laying out the pattern to be sure the stretch was crosswise on the yokes.

I auditioned a plain Red neckband but decided against it as I felt it was too dramatic a change and broke up the printed yoke. I cut a 2 inch wide neckband from the floral Ponte which I think works well.

This time around the construction was made a lot easier with those gentle curves and although my original sketch shows no contrast sleeve headcaps, as I had drafted them, I decided to use them. The added advantage meant that I used less of the Red striped Ponte and I hope there will be sufficient left to make a short sleeved tee-style top.

I am very pleased with how this top has worked out and look forward to wearing it with jeans, skirts and even a dungaree dress.

Catherine has already chosen her colour blocking and I have repeated the re-draw of yoke lines on the pattern ready for my next session of cutting out.

Project #12b completed 21st February 2021

‘Jane’ pinafore dress #2

Back in November last year I ordered 4 metres of a Maroon stretch brushed twill from one of my favourite stores, Rainbow Fabrics who are based in Kilburn. The fabric was competitively priced at just £5.79 per metre and I thought would be an ideal candidate to make some tailored (albeit with elasticated back waist) trousers. These would coordinate well with the Burgundy striped Ponte Roma Fraser view B that I made earlier this year.

However, I believe that 4 metres is more than required for the trousers and so I went ahead and cut out my second ‘Jane’ pinafore dress. The trousers would have to wait.

I knew that again I wanted to line the bodice of the pinafore dress and scouted around in my remnants stash for something suitable. I chanced upon the last few pieces of Red paisley print viscose that I had used to make a Montana dress (project #43 in July 2020). There was just enough to make the bodice lining and as the overlocker was already threaded up with Red would be an ideal coordinate for the Red print lining.

The days of being especially ‘picky’ over the colour of thread for overlocking are now past – in fact I often enjoy having a contrast!

All seams have been overlocked with the Red thread and the pocket linings are also in the Red paisley viscose fabric. Unfortunately due to a flare up of arthritis followed by tummy upset, this pinafore dress has taken quite a while to complete. However, last night I finally managed to get all 14 buttonholes and buttons sewn on using my Brother 4000D machine (this machine is absolutely ‘ace’ at buttonholes!) and hand stitch the hem in place.

I am absolutely delighted with the fabric which is so soft to the touch and how the dress has turned out. Only problem now is that I do not appear to have many blouses/tops to wear beneath it. I will be shopping my stash for some pretty ‘low volume’ cotton and viscose prints. Watch this space!

Project #12 completed 19th February 2021