Category Archives: Blouses & Tops

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

‘Suzie’ Breton-style top

Now that I have checked out the sizing and fit of the Fraser top view B by Sewaholic I am ready to make a Breton-style top – or two!

I have browsed the internet for ideas of colour and colour blocking ideas, there are so many that it has taken a little while to settle on a particular design.

In the end I was particularly drawn to the outfit worn by Suzie of ‘Threadquarters’ in a recent vlog cast. In fact the outfit was a combination of two tops, a polo neck underneath a scoop neck top which made the look similar to what I intend to make.

I have a selection of Ponte Roma fabric to use on this project:-

Navy with White stripe, White with Navy stripe, Red with White stripe, Burgundy with Ivory stripe (used to check fit of Fraser B) and two lengths of floral printed Ponte, one with Navy background (as used for View A in December) and another with a White background.

For the ‘Suzie’ version I will need plain Navy for a neck binding (not using a polo neck for this Spring/Summer version), sleeve binding and a narrow hem band. I will also need some Red for the bodice yokes, plus deep bands on the sleeves and hemline. The main body and sleeves will be in the White with Navy stripe.

Due to stretch of the Ponte Roma and the fact that I took only 1/4 inch seams at the sides of the body, the top has a relaxed fit. I decided against using Navy for the neckband as I thought it would be better to have the Red next to my face. For the sleeve bands I cut the Navy strips 2 inches wide and for the hem band, 3 inches wide. Once the top was placed onto the mannequin I noticed that the hem of the top and the hem of the sleeves fall at the same level. This is something that I will alter on my next iteration.

I am pleased with how the Breton-style top has turned out although not quite how I had hoped. Let’s see if I can improve on the next version.

Project #11 completed 8th February 2021

Freya Cowl Neck Top #3

Before I embark on the experimentation of Breton-style tops I received a parcel of some jersey fabrics from Rainbow Fabrics of Kilburn. It included 4 metres x 150cms wide of Baby Pink cotton jersey fabric but charged for only 3 at £3.19 per metre due to the damaged end of the roll. I had originally intended to make pyjama bottoms but with this extra fabric could not resist another Freya.

Once the fabric had been pre-washed, it was a little like ‘herding cats’ trying to lay out this vast amount and cut out the pattern. In the end, by cutting off in shorter lengths I managed to succeed!

This top takes around 1 hour to make up using mostly the overlocker with just a little sewing machine basting for the collar and cuffs.

This has turned out to be an ideal top for underneath my pinafore dresses but due to the fine structure of the fabric I will not feel comfortable wearing as an outer layer. Still onwards and upwards…

That’s it for Freyas for the time being – now to try the Breton-style tops.

Project #10 completed 4th February 2021

Striped Top – Fraser View B

I am currently fixated with the idea of making Breton-style tops. At the end of last year I made two tops for my sister and me. For those I used the Fraser sweatshirt pattern view A by Sewaholic and found it to be a good fit. Sometime ago I also made up view B and having reviewed the line drawings think that this view may be the ideal building block for some more Breton-style tops.

I have plenty of Ponte Roma fabrics to use for these projects but before I cut into those I wanted to make the view B Fraser again just to check the sizing and fit. I decided to make a wearable toile using the 1 metre of Burgundy stripe Ponte that I bought from an eBay seller back in November for the grand sum of £9.99.

There were just a few minor alterations to the pattern; I cut a generous size 20 and used only ¼ inch side seams. I lowered the front neckline 1¼ inches at centre front then graded back to the original neckline. I added 3 inches to the length of the front and back body patterns. I would add the sleeve cuffs but ignore the hem bands on this version.

Pattern matching the stripes was fairly easy by pinning the centre point of every other Ivory stripe and checking frequently that the fabric had not shifted. The stretch of the fabric was best across the width and so I cut the neckband parallel to the stripes but for the sleeve cuffs the stretch was not an issue and therefore I cut with the stripes vertical to add a little interest to this otherwise very simple style.

Construction was plain sailing. Due to the care taken when cutting out, the pattern matching of the stripes went like a dream! For the neckband I cut a length 2 inches wide. I measured the neckline in centimetres, multiplied by 85% then added seam allowance. This also worked well and I am delighted with the placing of the Ivory stripe dead centre of the neckband. The majority of the top was constructed on the overlocker but I did use the sewing machine to baste the neckband and sleeve cuffs in place first. The hem was turned up to a level so that I could hem with White thread in the twin needles and that stitching would then disappear into an Ivory stripe. This also meant that the bottom edge of the hem was on the Burgundy shade, a really neat finish.

Now that I have checked out the pattern I can go ahead with drafting a new one for a Breton top with some colour blocking. Watch this space.

Project #9 completed 1st February 2021

Freya Cowl Neck Top #2

I was so pleased with the Freya top that I made recently using some Rust animal print Ponte Roma from Minerva that I wanted to try another version but this time using a lighter weight jersey fabric.

As usual, Rainbow Fabrics of Kilburn came to the rescue. I ordered 2 metres of this Blue irregular spot viscose jersey at a cost of £5.59 per metre.

According to the website this is deadstock from Turkey. A soft viscose jersey with stretch that flows well, drapes amazingly and is ideal for dresses, skirts and blouses. The width is 150cms (60 inches) with 9/10 opacity. When I revisited the website the fabric was out of stock, I am glad that I ordered my meterage when I did! I will keep an eye on the website just in case the fabric is re-stocked. I think a neat elasticated waist Jenna skirt would fit into my wardrobe nicely.

It took just over 1 hour to cut and stitch the top. This time the entire construction was completed on the overlocker. I added double thickness cuffs to the sleeves and folded up a hemband for the bodice, so no need for any twin needle stitching!

The top coordinates well with denim and if I am able to make a skirt from the same fabric it will provide another great look for the cooler Spring days.

Project #8 completed 30th January 2021

Freya Cowl neck Top

I have had the Tilly and the Buttons book “Stretch” in my bookcase for several years now but so far only used one pattern – the ‘Joni’ dress.

Browsing the internet I have seen several versions of ‘Freya’ with the cowl neckline and having some Rust print Ponte in my stash decided that this would be a good pattern to make up and coordinate with my Brown Ponte trousers.

The Ponte is a 97% polyester 3% Spandex mix from Minerva. Although the pattern instructions advise 2 metres, I bought only 1.5 metres at a cost of £6.99/metre as I knew that due to my short arms (!) it would probably be sufficient.

The patterns in Tilly’s book only go up to a size 8 which is 2 sizes smaller than I need. I traced out the pattern and made my grading alterations to give the equivalent of a Tilly-size 10. I also shortened the sleeves by 4 inches, knowing that I could add back to the length with a cuff.

I cut out the pattern from the fabric and there is a generous remnant that I can use for other projects. The cuffs worked well and brought the sleeves to just the right length. The hem of the top was stitched with twin-needles. It took just over an hour to make the top – and what a great result! The colour and style compliment the Brown trousers beautifully and also goes well with my Denim wrap skirt.

I will definitely be making up this pattern again, both as a top or extended into a dress. The only alteration for a top will be to make it slightly bigger at the waist and add at least 2 inches to the length of the body. Otherwise a resounding success!

Project #5 completed 15th January 2021