Category Archives: Blouses & Tops

Classic Cowl neck Top

Hot on the heels of the successful Bold floral ‘Scarlett’,

Scarlett by pattyboo
Bold Floral “Scarlett”

I quickly made another.

I had some fine, very drapey viscose jersey that I had purchased from The Textile Centre sometime ago that I thought would be an ideal candidate for this pattern. I was right!

The only change to the pattern as previously made was to turn up a narrow hem on the sleeves and top stitch into place. After several attempts to have the same finish to the bodice hem, I gave up and simply left it raw – this jersey does not fray so why try to enforce a hem?

Teal “Scarlett”

A plain top is such a versatile garment and is something that I need to add into my wardrobe in the future. But first I want to make up some of the gorgeous prints in my fabric stash!

Bold Floral Scarlett

Readers of my blog will know that I have been searching for my ideal Cowl Neck top/dress pattern for some time. I have already made two versions of the Prima pattern but not been completely satisfied, the search continued.

SCARLETT by Pattyboo

Purely by chance, I returned to the pattyboo site to browse their patterns. Pattyboo is a German Pattern company and as I do not speak any German, I use the translation option to read about the patterns. This is what they said about ‘Scarlett’:-

The pattyboo waterfall shirt ”Scarlett“ is an elegant cowl neck shirt. The cascading neckline creates a sleek feminine feel and flatters the décolleté. 

The pattern contains:

  • all of the pattern pieces in sizes DE 32-54 / UK 6-28 / US 4-26
  • variations: short sleeves, half sleeve, 3/4 sleeve and long sleeve
  • measurements in cm/inch, as well as sewing instructions.
  • Pattern and video tutorial for an elegant waterfall shirt. This basic part can be worn very well on different occasions, by the cowl neck looks it to both pants and skirts very chic and can be combined under a blazer as well as casually to the leather jacket. You van sew it with long or short sleeves or combine itwith hem bands. So get to the sewing machine, learn to sew and get started right away with this great pattern for a waterfall shirt with which you can make you or a loved one a pleasure. The video makes it easy to sew a cowl neckline. Learning to sew is fun and the result is guaranteed to succeed.

All the written instructions are in German but there is a sewalong video that I watched. Whilst watching, I prepared my own personal detailed instructions for how to construct a ¾ sleeve version.

Poly Crepe Stretch Jersey Floral Print

I used 2 metres of L/Weight Poly Crepe Stretch Jersey Floral Print  at £4.70/metre from cheapesmaterialsuk – an ebay seller that I have used in the past.

The construction of this top was super-easy. In less than 1 hour I had completed the top. As my overlocker was still threaded with Jade thread, instead I used my sewing machine and the ‘lightning’ stitch for the construction. The only changes that I made were to reduce the length of the bodice by 2 inches and add a cuff of approximately 1 inch to the sleeves. This latter is now my preferred method for finishing sleeves as it means I can adjust the length if they are too short and it is also provides a good clean way to finish the sleeve without having to use the twin needle.

Scarlett version 1

I was so pleased with this new pattern that I almost immediately cut out and stitched another version using a plain Jade viscose jersey. More about that in another post.

Pretty Paolina Tee

In addition to the Tropical cowl-neck top I needed a second top to wear with the Teal jersey trousers made to Simplicity 2289.

I purchased just 1 metre of a charming printed cotton elastane jersey (called Floral vines & birds flower) from ohsewcraftyltd at a cost of £8.60 for the metre.

Floral vines & birds flower

Although I refer to this tee top as ‘Paolina’, it being a hack of the Paola by Named, infact once I have hacked the neckline, sleeves and hemline it is absolutely nothing like the original turtle neck top.

I have ‘finessed’ and refined the pattern so many times that it takes just 1 hour to cut and stitch this top. I have drafted a gentle scoop neckline that is finished with a neckband. The sleeves have a cuff that is formed by folding back 2 inches and then running the overlocker around to make a seam before top stitching. The hemline is shaped, overlocked and then top stitched with a twin needle.

Paolina Tee Top

I am so pleased with the print and quality of fabric that I have ordered another metre in a different coloured background!

Same print but with a Blue background

Tropical Print Cowl neck Top

Despite being disappointed in the previous fabric purchased fromcheapestfabricsuk on eBay, I was ‘in love’ with this Tropical print at a cost of just £4.95/metre.

Tropical print jersey crepe

I bought 1 metre and was pleasantly surprised as this was a much better fabric to be used to make a second version of the Prima cowl neck top. Sadly the fabric is now out of stock as I would have purchased more if it had still been available.

Again the construction was straightforward and the top completed in record time. The only negative, and it is a small one, is that the fabric is not so ‘fluid’ and drapey as the toile thus the cowl does not immediately fall into the folds but has to be gently arranged by hand.

Tropical print Cowl neck Top

It is worth noting that the pattern is drafted to be used with either jersey or woven fabrics. When using the latter, the front and back bodice are cut on the bias which makes the garment rather fabric-hungry but if I can find a suitable length, I will definitely try the top in a woven fabric.

Prima Cowl-neck top – a wearable toile

For a long time I have been wanting to make a cowl neck top to wear with trousers (and maybe a skirt?) in the Spring/Summer months. I found this pattern Prima January 2012 in my stash of old, long-forgotten patterns when I was having a clear out.

Just the thing so as the pattern is printed on both sides of a single sheet, I set about copying onto plain paper. I made a couple of simple alterations; increasing the size by adding a little to each side seam, making a sway back adjustment and adding to the front hemline to account for a full bust.

Prima pattern January 2012
Line drawing and information sheet

The fabric used was a length of 2-way stretch Poly Viscose Jersey Paisley/Damask Print Dress/Craft Fabric that I originally purchased from cheapestfabricsuk on eBay sometime ago. The cost was only £5.50/metre but I was disappointed when I received the fabric as it was of a poorer quality and the print was not what I had expected. I had kept it back for the sole purpose of making jersey toiles.

Poly Viscose Jersey Paisley/Damask Print Dress/Craft Fabric

The instructions were straightforward and the top was quick to make using my overlocker. Once completed I found that it fitted well and the cowl had a pleasant drape. I had already ordered up some other jersey fabric to make another version of this top so now it was ‘all systems go!’

Prima January 2012 Cowl Neck Top

Altered Joni Top

Original Joni dress

I used whatever fabric was left over when I made this Joni dress to make a top. Unfortunately it was not quite long enough and has therefore been stuck at the back of the wardrobe – unworn. Until now, I found a length of the fabric that was just sufficient to add a frill. So with no further ado, I gathered up the length, added a twin-needle stitched hem and hey presto, the top is now just the right length!

Joni top with added frill

An adventure with Double Gauze

When visiting Franklins in Salisbury for my monthly Patchwork & Quilting Club class, I was browsing their fabrics when I came across a selection of Double Gauze in pretty colours. I could not resist and purchased 2 metres (£9.99 per metre) of the Soft pink printed with white outline of Ginkgo leaves.

Close-up of leaves of Ginkgo biloba

I thought this fabric would be ideal for a Spring/Summer blouse.

Double Gauze from Franklins, Salisbury

I overlocked the raw edges and then packed laundered the fabric together with my TNT bodice pattern to take to the Sewcial Retreat. Cutting out was ‘interesting’ as I had to use 2 tables covered with cloth. Fortunately later I managed to find 2 large cutting mats to protect the cloth and avoid cutting that in addition to the double gauze.

I used a hack of the collar from an old Out Of Print dress pattern McCalls 6438.

The width and length of the bodice were cut ‘by eye’ without a pattern to make a loose-fitting bodice. Likewise, the sleeves were cut in a fairly ‘random’ way, using as much of the remaining length of fabric as possible. I ended up with ¾ length sleeves which I set into the armholes with some gentle gathers at the sleeve head.

The sleeves also turned out very wide at the hem but I prefer a more tailored look. I made some cuffs by cutting two pieces 5 inches wide x the length that would fit neatly around my forearm. The cuffs were stitched into a circle, the hem of the sleeves was then gathered into the cuffs with a non-gathered area either side of the sleeve seam. I am particularly pleased with the way that the sleeves have turned out.

Soft Pink Double Gauze 3/4 sleeved Blouse

McCalls 2797 Short-sleeve Blouse

Just before I headed off on my Sewcial Retreat I checked my wardrobe for a lightweight blouse suitable to wear under the Black Corduroy Applique Pinafore Dress.

Applique Pinafore Dress

As I am a lover of exuberant prints, I was unable to find a plain(ish) blouse – all my ‘memade’ tops tend to be very colourful and would clash with the applique.

There was nothing for it but to make a new blouse using some fine cotton ‘low volume’ print that I purchased way back in 2015 when holidaying in Hunstanton, Norfolk. The fabric was originally intended for a ‘Block of the Month’ quilt but that never even got started!

McCalls 2797

I used my TNT McCalls 2797 pattern with a lengthened bodice and shaped hem. I also rounded the corners of the collar and facings. The pattern has princess seams in front and back making it easy to adapt for a full bust. If I make the pattern again, I must remember to reduce the size of the collar which currently is reminiscent of the 70’s!

Low volume printed cotton McCalls 2797

As I have made the pattern several times before, the construction was straightforward and within a few hours I had a completed blouse. This is not the most exciting garment that I have ever made but it is fit for the purpose of wearing under the pinafore dress. Now I can go on and make something a little more interesting!

Border Print Jersey Paolina Top

I appeared to be on a roll when I made the Plantain top by Deer and Doe. Whilst the overlocker and sewing machine were set up with Charcoal thread and jersey needles, I continued and made this unusual print fabric into a ‘Paolina’ top.

The fabric was a ‘steal’ from a new supplier, ‘miss-clio’, that I discovered whilst watching a vlog (sorry, can’t remember whose). The polyester(?) jersey was listed as 62 inches wide at the ‘giveaway’ price of £2.99/metre an as I was a little unsure of the quality at that price, ordered just 1 metre. The fabric is indeed as it was described, ‘beautiful’.

Border print Polyester(?) Jersey

Due to the extra width of the fabric I was able to cut a ¾ sleeved Paolina tee top with just enough remaining for the neckband and a few odd-shaped scraps. The ‘Paolina’ is my hack from the Paola turtle neck top by ‘Named’.

Paola Turtle Neck by ‘Named’

I have adjusted the neckline to a shallow scoop with neckband and added a shaped hem to the extended length of the bodice front and back. I have already made several versions – this hack now falls into the TNT category.

The fabric was a little troublesome in that it insisted on curling at the edges but with plenty of fine jersey pins I managed to get it under control. I used the bold coloured-abstract pattern for the front and then the more restrained stripes for the back. The sleeves were cut from whatever I had left. The top was constructed on the overlocker but with some top stitching on the neckband and twin needle stitching at the hems completed on the sewing machine.

Paolina Front

Paolina Reverse

This top is a delight to wear being very light, drapey and comfortable. I may well re-visit miss-clio to check if she has any more similar fabrics on sale.

Plantain Tunic + Detachable Cowl

I have been cruising the internet and in particular, made yet another visit to The Textile Centre website. This is fatal as I simply cannot resist their fabrics!

This time I fell in love with a Striped Native American Inspired Soft Cloqué Jersey Dress Fabric Material (Blue)£4.49 per metre. This is a light-weight ponte type jersey with a cloqué effect pattern. According to Wikipedia: cloqué is a cloth with a raised woven pattern and a puckered or quilted look. The surface is made up of small irregularly raised figures formed by the woven structure). The composition is Polyester/Viscose/Elastane. I ordered 2 metres (Width: 145cm) and had in mind to make the Plantain tunic by Deer & Doe.


Striped Native American Inspired Soft Cloqué Jersey

Although the stripes of the fabric run from selvedge to selvedge I thought it best to have the stripes vertical. This meant that I lost the advantage of the stretch of the fabric but as the Plantain is a loose-fit did not think there would be a problem – and I was right.

Plantain by Deer & Doe

The fabric is an absolute dream to sew! It has a good drape, is soft to the touch and even has a two-way stretch although as I cut down the fabric rather than across I could not take advantage of this. The fabric has a smooth soft feel on the reverse and is machine washable on a 40° temperature.

This finished tunic is in fact a hack of the Plantain top. I used the pattern as a base for some tunic tops that I made last year and knew that I liked the style and fit of the extended length and slightly re-shaped neckline.

I extended the length by 4 inches, raised the neckline by a couple of inches, added deep side slits of 12 inches, added cuffs to the sleeves and adjusted the front hemline slightly for a full bust. I used the percentage of 85% of the neckline to calculate the length of the neckband and this worked out fine. I made a detachable cowl collar (the full width of the fabric x 19 inches) which fits neatly over the scoop neckline to be worn when I need some warmth around my neck and is easily removed when I have a hot flush!

Detachable Cowl collar
Tunic with neckband finish
Tunic with detachable Cowl in place

The tunic goes well with leggings and denim jeans. I have worn the top several times now and received many compliments. I love the fabric so much that I have ordered the last 5 metres and hope to make a dress and another top. Watch this space.