Category Archives: Blouses & Tops

Top Twenty Makes in 2018

As promised, here are my Top Twenty Makes from last year. With the exception of the Ultimate Travel Bag that I made to take as Cabin luggage on my flight to the Caribbean, I am pretty sure that I will be repeating all these garments using fabric from my stash. So watch this space!

Dartmouth Hack by Cashmerette
Plantain by Deer & Doe
Plantain by Deer & Doe
Lady Skater by Kitschy Koo
Ultimate Travel Bag
by Annie Unrein
Simplicity 4032 hack
Kwik Sew 3736
Fraser by Sewaholic
Teddy by Style Arc
TNT Bodice & Gathered Skirt
Drunken Caribbean Birds
TNT Bodice with box-pleated skirt
Libby Blouse
by Sew Over It
TNT Bodice & gathered Skirt
Joni dress by
Tilly & The Buttons
TNT Bodice & gathered skirt
TNT Bodice & gathered skirt
Companion Carpet Bag by Mrs H.
TNT Bodice & gathered skirt
Collar from KwikSew 3736 hacked to TNT bodice & box pleated skirt

Paola Top in Cloque Jersey

Cloque Jersey from The Textile Centre

I had a bare 36 inches of full width Cloque Jersey remaining after making the two tops previously posted. Despite a cursory search through my patterns I could not find my printed copy of the Paola top by Named Patterns. So I re-printed and prepared for a new iteration of this most definitely TNT pattern.

There was insufficient fabric for the long-sleeved version, I contented myself with elbow length sleeves combined with a reduced height of collar which still turns down as a ‘turtle’ neckline.

Short sleeved Paola top by Named Patterns

Construction was completed on the sewing machine in approximately one hour. You can’t beat a Paola for a quick and easy top. I can foresee several more being made for the coming colder months of the year!

Elmira Tie Front Shrug

In the previous post I mentioned that I bought the Blush-coloured Cloque jersey with a view to making a tie-front shrug cardigan.
This cloque fabric is quite substantial and even though it does not have much stretch I felt it would be suitable for this pattern.

Blush-coloured Cloque Jersey from The Textile Centre

I have several of this type of shrug made from lightweight jersey and purchased from eBay. They are OK but I would prefer something longer in the body and from a better quality fabric.

I had previously made the Elmira wrap tie cardigan from Seamworks in a Cotton Jersey which sadly did not suit and was donated to a charity shop. However, I noticed that Seamworks were offering a hack for a tie front shrug so thought I would give it a try.

Elmira Tie Front Shrug hack

I cut out the XL size with the ¾ length sleeves which took 1¼ yards of fabric (60 inches wide) and using my sewing machine constructed the top very quickly.

Elmira Tie-FrontShrug in Blush Cloque Jersey

Conclusion: The sleeves are a little tight around the bicep, there is not much coverage by the front bodice pieces and the ties are very large and ‘clunky’. I therefore count the garment as a ‘FAIL’ and have donated to the local charity shop.

I think the best course of action for me would be to draft my own tie front shrug using my TNT bodice pattern and use a less substantial jersey fabric. Watch this space for the next incarnation.

A Birthday Gift

Right, after the mammoth sessions of gift making, I have at last been able to sit down and make a garment.

I purchased 3 metres Cloque Jersey from The Textile Centre at the grand sum of £1.79/metre intending to use it for this top and also a tie-front shrug/cardigan for myself.

First I had to decide on the exact style of top for my friend. I checked with her daughter – type of neckline, length of sleeve and approximate size. With this information to hand I decided on Kwik Sew K3915 which I have made previously in a variety of jersey fabrics.

KWIK SEW K3915

I would make view A and having cut out noted that I had used a little over 1 metre of fabric.

As my overlocker was threaded up with Charcoal Grey and as I did not have sufficient reels of Pale Pink thread, I had to use the sewing machine to construct the top. The neckline has been stabilised with Vieseline bias stay tape –a new acquisition about which I am very pleased.

Vieseline Bias Tape

I used a lightning stitch for most of the construction plus a narrow zig-zag stitch for the hems on the sleeves and the body.

Completed View A in Blush Cloque Jersey

I am very pleased with the result and hope that a) the garment fits and b) that the recipient likes my choice of style top. I am keeping my fingers crossed!

Fraser Tunic Top in Peach Schnapps Jersey

Back in June 2018 I purchased 1 metre of a beautiful viscose ponte roma jersey fabric by Lady McElroy called Peach Schnapps from Stitchy Bee at a cost of £14.90. The fabric is so lovely that I hesitated to make it up for fear of the finished garment not being worthy of such fine fabric.

Finally I have decided to bite the bullet and make up this lovely fabric. I have made the Sewaholic Fraser top a couple of times in the past so think of it as a TNT pattern – what could possibly go wrong?

I always retain notes when I make up a pattern, especially if there are any changes. Unfortunately, on this occasion my records have let me down as there are several points where, had I had sufficient fabric, I would have made changes.

I cut the standard size 20 but added a little to the side seams to ensure that the top looked more like a tunic and was not too form-fitting! I did not cut the hem band but instead added 3 inches to the length of the bodice back and front. I should have extended the front bodice by a further 2 inches to account for an FBA. As it is, the front rides up in what I think is an unattractive way. As I had a scant metre of fabric, I had to cut the sleeves as long as possible and then add a cuff which extended their length by a further 2 inches. Still not quite long enough and now they hit just below the crease of my elbow – not my favourite length.

I did remember that the neckline sits quite high and after stitching the shoulder seams I lowered the centre front of the neckline by 1½ inches, grading to 0 at the shoulder point. With the addition of the neckband this has brought the neckline back up by a further ¾ inch which means that it is still not quite as scooped as I would like.

At fitting stage I also noticed that although the sleeves are beautifully set in, the shoulder is a little dropped. I don’t feel that this is very flattering when one has a full bust and is something that I do try to avoid. I don’t recall this problem with previous makes so perhaps it is the weight of the fabric in the sleeves that is causing it.

I stitched the entire garment on the sewing machine using a lightning stitch length 3.5 for most of the construction. I did use the overlocker once I had basted the neckband and then top stitched 1/8 th inch away to set the seam allowances. I left short slits at the side seams,turned in ½ inch and then top stitched the hem in place.

In conclusion, unfortunately this is never going to be a favourite top and I have been unable to track down a further supply of the fabric. I will just have to mark this exercise down to experience and when my fabric-buying ban is over may well try another viscose ponte roma jersey fabric.

Libby Blouse by Sew Over It – Cat print cotton

   

One of the many lengths of fabric purchased at the Festival of Quilts was 2 metres of a charming Cat printed 100% cotton from Fabrics Direct (1914 Kitty Cats © makowever uk). I have been unable to track the fabric down online and cannot remember how much I paid.

I thought this ‘frivolous’ print would look great as a Libby blouse to be worn over cut off trousers during the last few days of our glorious hot Summer and maybe even if we are lucky enough to have an ‘Indian Summer’ in September and October.

Although I was a little unhappy with the construction method for the partial collar stand of the Libby blouse I certainly liked the end result so decided to re-visit the pattern and try once again to master the construction technique.

Having reviewed the pattern measurements I cut a standard size 20 but added 3 inches to the length of the front bodices, back bodice and front facings. I also combined the back yoke with the back bodice and re-shaped the armhole/sleeve edge so that it would match up with the sleeve cuffs. I retained the gentle shaping to provide a ‘shirt tail’ hemline.

Once laid out on the fabric the pattern took only 1¾ yards of fabric (1.58 metres) so is a good stash buster for those odd lengths of cotton fabrics that I have in my stash.

Construction was fairly simple with the exception of that darned collar stand! I re-visited the sew-along on the Sew Over It blog which does help to complete the method as shown in the instruction booklet.

The seams are neatened with the overlocker and the shaped hems were machined in place before completing the side seams ( a trick shown by Jules of Sew Me Something). I have stitched the facings in place to prevent any ‘misbehaviour’ of them turning to the right side. The front closure is completed using 6 Turquoise spotted buttons (from C&H fabrics in Winchester) and buttonholes.

I am very pleased with the completed Libby blouse and hope to get some wear out of it before transferring to my Autumn/Winter wardrobe. I also have sufficient fabric remaining to be able to combine with the Turquoise faux leather and make a co-ordinating saddle bag – result!

Teddy Designer Tunic Top – version 4

 

Those of you who follow my blog will have seen this particular Teddy Designer Tunic top before – yes three times!

The previous makes were cut from a size 20 pattern which although is very comfortable, especially in our recent very hot weather, is possibly a little too roomy. So, I printed and prepared the pattern in the size 18.

For this iteration I used a fine Red 100% cotton with White polka dots purchased from Fabricland, Salisbury branch.

As I have mentioned before, the instructions from Style Arc are not the most comprehensive but as I have made the tunic before I did not encounter any problems. I repeated the additional rows of White top stitching on the collar, the facings around the neckline and the hem bands. Again I overlapped the collar at the point of the V inset and top stitched in place for a couple of inches. The seam allowances were overlocked and for the most part stitched together with the exception of the centre front which needs to be pressed open and flat to accommodate the collar inset.

This top is still very roomy but I do feel more comfortable with a little less volume of fabric around me.

Joni dress hack into a Top

Joni Dress line drawing

Those of you following my blog will have noted that I have now made two Joni dresses from Tilly and the Buttons ‘Stretch’ book. I love this pattern. I had a sizeable remnant of the viscose jersey from the first version and as promised I thought I would have a go at a hack into a top and at the same time, change the construction of the bodice front to eliminate the problems that I was having re finishing of the neckline and twist.

So after several sessions of virtual sewing I planned to cut the front bodice twice and stitch the neckline BEFORE the twist. I would also apply a neck band to the back bodice, let’s see how that worked out.

Method:

I stay-stitched the necklines front and back, applied clear elastic to the back shoulders and waistlines. I cut a piece of fabric on the crosswise grain, 2½ inches wide x approximately 10 inches. This was folded in half wrong sides together and pressed. As I basted the neckband to the back neckline, I stretched the band slightly. I stitched on the overlocker, pressed towards the bodice and then top-stitched 1/8 th inch to secure the seam in the same way as a standard neckband.

For the front bodice I stitched the lining and bodice right sides together, trimmed the seam and turned right sides out. Now here is where it starts to get tricky!

I placed the front bodice down, right side up with the lining flipped away. I placed one of the back bodice shoulders right side down to match the front. Then I flipped the lining back over so that the back bodice shoulder seam was encased within the two front bodice shoulders. I stitched and trimmed the seam.

Now for the twist. In the same way as the instructions, I flipped the bodice front twice. I then stitched the lower centre front seam making sure that I stitched as far as the twist would allow. I then repeated the system of encasing the back shoulder. The front neckline was top-stitched for a neat finish.

The remainder of the construction was completed with the bodice and front lining treated as a single layer of fabric. The skirt/peplum was cut 10 inches long but another time I think I will make it 12 inches.

The use of a lining for the front bodice seems to work on this fine viscose jersey but I don’t think it would be appropriate for a heavier fabric.

    

                                    Joni Peplum Top                                          back neck band

So yet another Joni for my wardrobe. I particularly like the fluttery skirt/peplum and am sorry now that I did not make the co-ordinating butterfly sleeves.  Maybe next time I will do colour blocking. I could use a print for the bodice and sleeves then a plain solid for the skirt. I will have a look in my stash for some fabrics!

Fabric Buying Ban

Oops! What part of a fabric buying ban did I not understand?

Having recently spent my budget on a gift for my husband to celebrate our wedding anniversary, there was supposed to be a fabric buying ban in force until the Festival of Quilts in August.

Somehow I seem to have misunderstood.

I purchased some pretty cottons in Franklins, Salisbury on Monday last week and then this week I visited Fabricland for some more that I simply had to have! 

The Red with White polka dots is to be made up into a shirtdress – pattern tba.

The Blue spotted teapots print is to be my version of a Betty by Sew Over It with short/cap sleeves

The Beige floral will be my TNT bodice with a full gathered skirt (inspired by a dress seen in a shop window in Salisbury).

The Lilac floral has been made into a Teddy Designer Tunic by Style Arc – details already posted.

The Turquoise fern print could possibly be a Vogue 8577.

The Brown background floral will possibly be another Teddy Tunic – getting ready for the Autumn already!

Not shown in the picture is a length of Classic Blue denim that I ‘needed’ to make the Pippi Pinafore Dress by Jennifer Lauren.

All fabrics have now been laundered and are ready to ‘sew&go’ so watch this space for some new garments!

Teddy Designer Tunic by Style Arc – version 3

Yes, I know – I love this pattern. The tunic is so very comfortable to wear in hot weather.

I abandoned my fabric buying ban and purchased (along with some other lengths!) 2 metres of quilting cotton that was on sale at £6.95/metre in Franklins, Salisbury. I chose a beautiful Spring/Summer print in Lilac called McKenzie by Dana for the Free Spirit collection.

By the end of the afternoon the fabric had overlocked raw ends and been laundered ready to ‘Sew&Go’. After washing, the fabric had not shrunk and I still had 2 metres. This was plenty for laying and cutting out the tunic pattern which has been adapted by removing the excess at the side seams both front and back plus re-drafting the hemline facing to suit.

The collar and neckline are not my favourite parts of this pattern to construct but once that is done it is full steam ahead.

I am in love with this print and the completed tunic top – it is definitely going to be worn a lot!