Category Archives: Blouses & Tops

Libby shirt in Cobra Corsage

I have now made the Libby shirt several times and am also ‘in love’ with the Cobra Corsage print design by Lady McElroy.

However, so far, I have only liked the print on a Cotton Lawn substrate. I have been disappointed in the quality and performance of the crepe jersey and the stretch twill in the Black background colourway that I used for a pinafore dress attracts fluff and ‘bits’ like a magnet!

I bought 2 metres of the Vanilla background cotton lawn from Sherwoods at a total cost of £32.79, back in February 2020 and have only now (inspired by Alex Judge on youtube) to cut into this precious fabric.

I was very undecided what to make but have finally bitten the bullet and cut the Libby shirt by Sew Over It. This time I was reminded by Alex to concentrate on pattern matching, thus avoiding repeats of the large main design motifs ‘marching’ across the front of the shirt. Although I took care to match up the centre front of the design for the front pattern pieces it has not worked, in any event at least I have avoided large motifs on the apex of my bust!

To ensure that the points of the collar had motifs on them, I cut the collar (both top and undercollar) in 2 parts so they have a centre back seam.

I had hoped to do the same for the lapels but unfortunately it did not quite work out. I therefore had to patch in a motif for the right lapel and am pretty pleased with the result.

The bodice pieces, yoke and sleeve cuffs were extended by ½ inch so that the ‘grown-on’ sleeves would be just a little bit longer. I also extended the length of the back bodice by 4 inches and the front bodice (and facings) by 5 inches whilst retaining the curve so that the hemline would be relatively level front and back without having to make a full bust adjustment.

Once again the collar and stand were fiddly and time-consuming but the effort has been worthwhile. I did go ‘off plan’ when it came to stitching the side seams by first separating the allowances of the cuff before overlocking the entire seam allowances. I am pleased with how that has turned out.

As mentioned by Alex, the grown-on sleeves do have a tendency to stick out and whilst I can live with this, I think that I will hack the pattern to have set-in sleeves for the next iteration.

Finally it came to the hem which was overlocked before turning twice and machine stitching in place before making a decision about buttons and buttonholes……I stitched the buttonholes with the same White thread that I had used in construction but could not find any matching Ivory buttons in my stash. My husband suggested picking a colour from the prints. I decided on these pretty textured Greeny/Teal-coloured buttons (the same as those used on the previous Libby shirt) and I think they work well.

Conclusion: Whilst I love the print design of Cobra Corsage in this Libby shirt iteration, I have yet to find a substrate that I am really happy with. I do find the cotton lawn particularly fine and although it presses well, as soon as you wear the garment it also creases a great deal.

Project #37 completed 7th May 2021

‘Frilled’ for a 2nd time!

Having recently re-visited my ‘Mona’ top I knew that it would be a great pattern to use just 1 metre of this tie dyed frilled jersey fabric that I bought from Rainbow Fabrics, Kilburn in their sale.

Whilst I still had the sewing machine and overlocker set up for jersey sewing with White thread it took no time at all to complete this latest top, especially as no hemming is involved!

I stabilised the shoulder seam with some fusible seam tape and then cut a neckband from some Pale Blush jersey remnant, this time 1¾ inches wide. Previous neckbands have been cut 2 inches wide and I knew that this time I wanted a narrower, neater finish.

The neckband stitched on like a dream. The resultant top fulfills the requirement of a distinctive top, fits into my ‘Spring Greens & Daffodils’ collection and I look forward to wearing it.

Project #35 completed 26th April 2021

Audrey #3 for Catherine

Hot on the heels of the Audrey #2 that I made for myself using some textured Ponte Roma that has long been in my stash, Catherine gets version #3 using yet more of this fabric. I don’t recall how much I bought but even after cutting out Catherine’s Audrey there is still sufficient for a short sleeve top for me!

I think that I have now ‘cracked it’ in terms of getting the neckband to sit nice and flat against the body. I used the ‘hack’ as shown by Andrea of ‘Beyond the Pink Door’ in a recent vlog.

For Catherine’s measurements I cut a size 14 at the bust, graded out to a 16 at the waist and then back to a 14 for the hips.

Most of the construction was completed on the sewing machine with a narrow zig-zag stitch set at 1.00 width and 2.5 length. I machine basted the neckband in place before finishing with the overlocker. A good press and then top-stitched with the zig-zag stitch.

Hems on the sleeve and body were overlocked first and then stitched in place again with zig-zag stitch.

The top was completed in just about ONE hour and I am delighted with the finished result. I hope that Catherine enjoys it – and that it fits!

Project #34 completed 23rd April 2021

Libby Shirt in Hyde Park

I don’t mean the Hyde Park in London, this is the name of the design of cotton fabric that I used to make a version of the Libby Shirt by Sew Over It.

This will be the 4th iteration of the Shirt which is definitely one of my favourites to wear although I always have a little trouble making the collar. I don’t let that prevent me from making the Shirt but I always use a nice stable cotton fabric as this helps enormously.

For this version I made my usual alterations to the pattern by extending at the side seams by 1/2 inch and extending the length of View 2 by 4 inches. I wanted to keep back some of the fabric for patchwork and quilting so had to use some White Lily of the Valley printed cotton just for the undercollar. There is also a centre back seam in the Upper collar.

As this is a good stable cotton fabric I did not feel the need to make French seams. Instead all seams are finished with overlocking.

Having attached the front and back bodice to the yoke it was now time to tackle the collar. I revisited the notes on the Sew Over It site and also the ‘sewalong’ that Lisa had made during lockdown. I finally completed the collar and attached together with the front facings. The end result is good but I am still not over confident with the construction.

The instructions for Libby have you attach the sleeve cuffs before sewing the side seams. I like to attach ‘in the round’ but in this case it was not the wisest decision. Next time I will follow the instructions!

Finally the hem was overlocked and then turned up twice before top-stitching. Five buttons from my stash and corresponding buttonholes, all sewn on my Brother 4000D machine which is ‘ace’ at these functions.

Ta dah! A lovely new Libby blouse that fits perfectly into my ‘Spring Greens & Daffodils’ collection.

Project #33 completed April 2021

Audrey #2

The Audrey top by Sew Over It has been in my pattern stash for a long time. I first made a version with long sleeves and a bow neckline using some modal from Stitchy Bee but unfortunately it was not a 100% success.

Having watched the sew-a-long posted by Andrea of Beyond the Pink Door and seen several great versions on Instagram I decided it was time to revisit this pattern.

The Audrey Top is a vintage-inspired knit top straight out of Midge Maisel’s wardrobe! A t-shirt with a difference, Audrey’s ready to give any outfit a touch of elegance. The flattering wide neckline shows off its deep neckband, which comes complete with three options. A standard flat neckband, add a cute little tie, or go big with a showstopping bow. Depending on the season, you can choose from short, 3/4 or full length sleeves.

Designed to be sewn in light to medium weight knits, Audrey looks beautiful in cable knits and Ponte Romas for cooler weather, but sews up equally well in cotton jerseys for when the sun comes out.

The Audrey Top is an advanced beginner level sewing pattern, ideal for those who have sewn a few garments before. It’s a great pattern for those new to sewing knits.

For this version I used some textured Ponte Roma that I purchased over a year ago from Minerva. I don’t know what I was thinking but there are yards and yards of this fabric, even after making a Jenna cardigan at the Sewcial Retreat in March 2020.

The previous Audrey was made in size 24 and was way too big! This time I cut the 22 view 2 with the knot neckband and took the full 1.5 cms seam allowance. For stitching I used a narrow zig-zag set at 1.0mm width x 2.5mm length. Using Andrea’s guidance I made the alterations to the neckband by changing the angle of the shoulder seams, this did help enormously in getting the band to lie flat.

All was going swimmingly well until I got to the stage of attaching the neckband to the bodice. First I tacked with the knot on the wrong side i.e. right hand side when I wanted it on the left! Next attempt I attached the back neckband to the front bodice! Finally, at the third attempt I managed to get it right! I pressed then overlocked the seam before again pressing the ‘bejesus’ out of the thing. By now I was thoroughly disheartened so rather than setup for twin-needle top stitching I finished off with narrow zig-zag top stitching at the neckline plus hems on the sleeves and body . More pressing and now it is done.

Conclusions: I can foresee many versions that I would like to make, but first I really need more practice to get the fit – and that darned neckband exactly right. I will make another for me before tackling the Audrey in the same textured Ponte Roma that I have promised to my sister.

Project #32 completed 15th April 2021

Cowl Neck Freya #4

I bought 1.5 metres of this viscose jersey called ‘Sunny Spring’ for £15.00 from Stitchy Bee just last month. Remembering how well the Cowl neck Freya from Tilly and the Buttons book ‘Stretch’ works with this substrate, decided that was exactly what I would make with this length of fabric.

My copy of the pattern is now Tried and Tested so this time the construction was very straightforward. I stitched mostly using my overlocker but also the sewing machine for the top stitching around the neckline and twin needles for the hem on the body of the Freya.

It took just a couple of hours this afternoon to complete the top which fits very nicely into my ‘Spring Greens and Daffodils’ theme. The top looks good with both Grey and Blue denim jeans and will be comfortable and smartly casual.

project #30 completed 10th April 2021

‘Happy Stripes’ top

Time to revisit the Sewaholic Fraser top view B. I last made this back in February this year with some inexpensive Ponte that I had purchased from an eBay seller.

This time I was using a stunningly soft, fine French Terry called Happy Stripes designed for you by POPPY Europe Oeko-Tex 100. This has beautiful painterly stripes on an ivory background. A gorgeous fabric with a fine looped reverse from Stitchy Bee. The fabric costs £15.00 per metre and I bought 1.5 metres but worth every single penny!

The fabric is 160cm wide, has a composition – 95% Cotton 5% Elastane. Oeko-Tex Confidence Compliant – Tested for harmful substances. So I wanted a top that would compliment this fantastic fabric.

For my Fraser top there were just a few minor alterations to the pattern; I cut a generous size 20 and used only ¼ inch side seams. Lowered the front neckline 1 ½ inches at centre front then graded back to the original neckline. Added 3 inches to the length of the front and back body patterns. Added the neckband (cut 2 inches wide) and sleeve bands cut so that the stripes were vertical and ignored the hem bands on this version.

Matching stripes was relatively easy, especially as I had noticed that they were uneven so made sure to cut out all pieces in the same direction.

Conclusions: The sleeve hem bands were great but I will probably go back and re-cut the neckline wider and lower so will need another neckband and this time a little narrower than before. Other than that a great new top that will coordinate with many ‘bottoms’.

Project #30 completed 11th April 2021

Pin Tucked Tunic Top Butterick B6024

I have had this tunic top on my eBay watch list for over a year. Having checked the price for this 90%polyester/10% cotton blend and read the reviews which were not particularly good I knew that I would have to make my own. Now finally I have got around to making my version using this pretty quilting cotton print fabric.

I bought a length of about 3 metres several years ago at the Festival of Quilts and have made view B of the pattern Butterick B6024.

I have used this pattern before for both a tunic top and also extended to full length for nightdresses so did not feel that it would be necessary to make a toile. I made just 2 changes to the pattern by shortening the sleeves by 2 inches and the body by 1 inch before cutting out the fabric. In my haste, I forgot that the fabric had not been washed so I hope that there will be problems once the tunic top has been laundered.

Construction was straightforward, the only change that I made was to stitch the bias binding on the neckline in reverse, i.e. stitched to the inside first then turned to the right side and top-stitched in place. The sleeve elastic casing was made ½ inch wide. I used cord elastic cut to a length so that once in place there was no tension and thus no impression left on my forearm should I push the sleeves up beyond my elbow. All seams were overlocked and the narrow hem was overlocked, turned twice and top-stitched in place.

Conclusion: There is some ‘dressing’ in the fabric which means the tunic is not as soft as I would like. I hope that this will improve once laundered. If I make the top again, probably in viscose to improve the drape, I will add back the 1 inch length but leave the sleeves as before.

Project #28 completed 2nd April 2021

Hidden Cheetah Top

OK….. I decided to abandon the attempt to draft a draped front neckline for the top to coordinate with the button through skirt. Instead, I would repeat the ‘Moira’ top that I just made using the Butterlfy printed Crepe de Chine.

I was inspired by Alex Judge’s latest post on youtube. Alex’s top was the Selina by Style Arc but as I don’t have that pattern and am trying to budget for a large car repair bill, I simply ‘borrowed’ some of the styling ideas from that garment. I lengthened the top to tunic length, graded out from waist to hemline to give a more ‘draped’ effect and shaped the hemline front and back to a gentle curve. Once again I lowered the centre front of the neckline by 1½ inches and this time rather than bias binding for the neckline, due to bulk, I drafted facings.

The facings were interfaced and my custom label applied to the back facing. Once attached to the front and back bodice the seam was trimmed and under-stitched. To ensure that the facings stayed in place I then top-stitched which also gives a little extra detail. The side seams were stitched with French seams and the sleeves inserted, again using French seams. The hems of the sleeves were overlocked before a double turn narrow hem top-stitched in place.

Now onto the hem of the tunic…. The Selina top has a pretty frill detail and as there was sufficient fabric I decided to replicate the hem frill. I cut 3 strips 3 inches wide to fit the curved bodice hemline after it had been pleated. The strips were joined together and finished with a rolled hem using my Juki overlocker. The frill was gathered using the pleater foot at a setting of every 6 stitches, stitch length 4.00mm. The seam was neatened with the overlocker and top-stitched in place.

I am absolutely delighted with the top which can be worn with the skirt or as a tunic over trousers. The fabric has lovely drape and is really comfortable to wear.

Project #25 completed 16th March 2021

Flutter in a new direction!

Having failed my first attempt at drafting a draped front neckline I tried for a second time. I used some pretty Butterfly printed Polyester Crepe de Chine that had been in my ‘goody bag’ at the SEW SOUTHAMPTON 2018 meetup. I had got as far as cutting out the version#2 and even stitching the bust darts when I realised that I had made a fundamental error with the slashing and spreading!

I quickly retrieved the original ‘Moira’ front bodice pattern and re-cut the shoulders and neckline of my part-stitched top. I lowered the front neckline slightly and then continued with the construction of what would now be a ‘Moira’ top.

All seams were sewn with French Seams including setting in the sleeves. Hems were overlocked before folding up twice to make narrow top-stitched hems. The neckline had a narrow double folded bias binding and this great new shell top was finished!

Project #24 completed 12th March 2021