Category Archives: Blouses & Tops

Two Tees in Two days

I have a ‘Tried and Tested’ (TNT) pattern that I use on a regular basis to make tee shirts. This was originally a Paola Turtle Neck top by Named and I have lost count of the number of times I have made up this style for myself, my sister and friends.

Paola Turtle Neck Top by Named

I have changed the neckline and added a neck band, changed the hemline to have a ‘shirt tail’ curve and changed the sleeves so that they now have a cuff that is either incorporated or added depending on the length of the original sleeve and my fabric availability.

For these two tees, I used just 1 metre of fabric in each print.

loop back cotton jersey

The Yellow floral spring print is a cotton blend loop back jersey bought some time ago from Cheryl of Stitchy Bee. This is the first time that I have used loop back jersey and this particular fabric was fabulous to work with and to wear. Although it is no longer in stock with Stitchy Bee I have seen some at my local Franklins, Salisbury branch and I may well purchase some more to make a simple dress for the Spring.

Paola hacked into TNT tee

The second tee is made from a cotton/elastane jersey bought from an eBay seller for £8.60/metre. I first bought the Duck Egg Blue colourway which sewed up well in exactly the same pattern. Thus I decided to purchase the Blue colourway and it has been laundered and sitting in my stash for quite a long time.

Blue birds and floral Tee

These two tees are a great addition to my wardrobe and I would like to make a pinafore dress in Denim so that I can continue to wear them as the weather cools down in the Autumn.

Blouse hack of Penny Dress

When I attended the Sew Southampton meet up in August I picked a remnant of quilting cotton from the swaps table. The length was a just 1 metre so I knew that there was a limit to what I could make with such a short length.

Fabric remnant from the Swap table

As the Penny dress by Sew Over It has a bodice with grown on cap sleeves and a narrow yoke I thought it would be an appropriate candidate to hack into a blouse. I was right.

Penny Dress by Sew Over It
Inside view showing contrast yoke and label facing

I extended the bodice back and front as much as I could and used a contrast fabric for the back facing, yoke lining and bias binding for the armholes.

Penny Dress hacked into a Blouse

A quick project which has fitted in well to my Autumn wardrobe to wear with trousers or tucked into skirts.

Tunic Top x Two

On a recent visit to my sister who lives in North Wales we had a day out at Abakhan based at Mostyn on the North Wales coast.

Abakhan Mill, Mostyn, North Wales

We enjoyed a thorough rummage through their fabrics that are cut lengths and priced according to weight. Several lengths of fabric were purchased – no change there!

On returning home we browsed through some patterns that I had picked up from the swaps table during my trip to SEW SOUTHAMPTON organised by the lovely Sian of Kittenish Behaviour.

McCalls M6205 picked up from the swap table

One of the patterns was McCalls M6205. There was no envelope but the pattern and instructions were complete and I therefore downloaded a copy of the picture so that we could see what the finished garment should look like. The pattern came in sizes 16 – 22 and would be suitable for both my sister and me. According to the body measurements, Catherine would need the smallest size and I would need the largest (sigh!).

Bold Border Print Polyester Jersey from The Textile Centre

A quick check of jersey fabrics in my stash revealed a 3 metre length of bold print Korean polyester jersey that I bought from The Textile Centre in June this year for £2.49/metre.

First I cut out the tunic top with ¾ sleeves in my size and then again in the smaller size for Catherine. Unfortunately I did not have sufficient for the long/wide cowl collar/scarf but hope to make this another time.

McCalls M6205 size 22
Back view of McCalls 6205 size 22

I made up my version which I am pleased with – especially the centring of the print on the neckband. However, next time I will lengthen the front and shorten the back as I have never been a particular fan of the high/low hem style.

Catherine’s version McCalls 6205 size 16

Catherine’s version was also constructed very quickly and again I managed to centre up the print on the neckband. As is usual with the big four commercial patterns, in addition to the ‘design’ ease there is plenty of ‘fitting’ ease in the pattern. So….. I tried on Catherine’s top. It fits! Next time I will make both tunic tops in the same size!

I popped Catherine’s tunic into the post and she received it the following day. I have one very pleased sister although she tells me that she would prefer a little less width at the hem. For the next iteration I will slim down her version (she has very narrow hips) from under the armhole to the hem.

Catherine modelling her new tunic

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