Category Archives: Blouses & Tops

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!

Teddy Designer Tunic by Style Arc – 2nd Version

I liked the Teddy Designer Tunic top by Style Arc so much that I decided to make another!

For those of you that have not seen the previous iteration, the pattern is by Style Arc and the description is as follows:-

This uniquely crafted design comes in two lengths – top or tunic. The gorgeous collar sits high on the neck. The stitched facings and swing back with a high-low hemline give this style a luxe look. Make the top to give your look an instant update or make the tunic for a more effortless silhouette.” The fabric suggestions are linen, silk, crepe.”

I made the first ‘wearable toile’ in a quilting cotton that had been in my stash for at least 1 year. The quilting cotton worked so well that I re-visited the stash and came up with a bare 2 yards of a charming floral print ‘Reflections’ by Ro Gregg for Paintbrush that I had purchased from New Threads in their 2016 sale.

This photograph has come out much more pink in colour than real life!

I particularly like this print that has a distinct ‘vintage’ feel to it. Again the fabric had been laundered and was ready to ‘sew&go’. However, the pattern envelope states that fabric requirement is 2.4 yards of 58 in wide whereas I had a bare 2 yards of 42 in wide. No matter how I laid out the pattern pieces there was no way of cutting the entire tunic from this fabric alone. I quick rummage through fabrics and I found a ½ yard of a complimentary print cotton that I won in the Tombola at the Rookwood Retreat Day. Result! I used the contrast fabric to cut the sleeve cuffs (on the bias) plus the collar and neckline facings.

I cut and stitched the standard size 20. The understitching of the collar will show as I always wear the collar folded down. To make a feature of that I made a second row of stitching ¼ inch away.

As this fabric has good structure and has some ‘weight’ to it, I ignored the pattern instructions in respect of where to interface. I have only used fusible interfacing on the collar and neckline facings. The sleeve cuffs and hem facings are uninterfaced.

Unfortunately, on this make I did not manage the junction of front point of the collar, centre seam and facings quite so well.

In order to prevent ‘gaposis’ and restrict the depth of the front opening I have carefully overlapped the collar at the base point and top stitched for approximately 3 ins. I also re-visited the previous Teddy Tunic and repeated this feature.

Conclusion: This is indeed a very stylish make. When made in cotton fabric it is very comfortable to wear providing plenty of ease and comfort during the warm weather.

Since completing Teddy no. 2 I have re-drafted the side seams of the pattern (and hem facings) to reduce the fullness so that for make no 3 it will have a much slimmer silhouette. I may also re-draft the shoulder/armscye so that I can make set-in sleeves as demonstrated by another seamstress featured on the pattern review website.

Colour Blocked Fraser Tee by Sewaholic Patterns

Hot on the trail of making the Green Butterfly print Fraser top and whilst the sewing machine was threaded up with the Pale Aqua thread, I scouted around for some more jersey that would co-ordinate. I found a length of Apple Green cotton jersey that I had purchased from Girl Charlee in their sale (according to my spreadsheet – November 2017 for £9.52). There are 2 metres of fabric – more than enough for two new tops especially when combined with the Butterfly and other print fabrics. To add to the delight, the fabric had already been laundered and is therefore ready to go&sew!

Back to the Fraser pattern, this time I would use version A which utilises different prints and/or colours of fabric. A great stash buster.

It was plain sailing for the construction. I lowered the neckline by 5/8 ths of an inch – and made a point of centring up the neckband. As a result there is an ‘interesting’ part of the print exposed at the neck.

The contrast yoke and shoulders have been pressed down and top-stitched with a straight stitch (length 3.5). 

The only downside of this plain cotton jersey is that it is very fine/light. I encountered some difficulty when twin-needle stitching the hemline. It is a little ‘fluted’ but I can live with it.

Butterfly Print Fraser Tee by Sewaholic

        Back in December last year I purchased 1.5 metres @ £6.00/metre, of this charming Butterfly print from Fabrics Galore. Having been washed it has been waiting patiently in the ‘roudtuit’ pile.

I recently made a version of the Fraser Sweatshirt by Sewaholic using a Ponte Roma which turned out very well. I decided to re-visit this pattern but this time would make version B and use a cotton/spandex jersey.

  

As I had previously adjusted the fit, I was able to sew up the top at record speed. Most of the construction was stitched on my sewing machine (Brother 4000D) with zig-zag stitch no. 1-09 width 1.00, length 2.5. The only time that I used the overlocker was on the neckband – and that is going to be removed. I am not keen on the neckline as it is ‘out of the packet’. There are two reasons, firstly it is a little too high for my taste and secondly the centring of the butterfly design is just off and that really annoys me! I will re-cut the neckline and when I apply the neckband, this time I will ensure that the design is centred.

The length of the body was extended by 3 inches then for the hem I simply turned up 1 inch and zig-zag stitched in place. I have added the bands on the sleeves which I do like and will repeat on the next version that I make. 

Whilst the sewing machine is threaded up with the correct coloured thread and I am ‘on a roll’ I will have a scout around my stash and see what else I can make with the ½ metre remaining of this fabric……

 

 

TEDDY DESIGNER TOP by STYLE ARC

Inspired by garments made by my pen friend in Germany, I decided to try out a tunic top with faced hemline. Back in March 2018 I purchased the pdf pattern of TEDDY DESIGNER TOP and tunic by Style Arc.

The product description states “This uniquely crafted design comes in two lengths – top or tunic. The gorgeous collar sits high on the neck. The stitched facings and swing back with a high-low hemline give this style a luxe look. Make the top to give your look an instant update or make the tunic for a more effortless silhouette.” The fabric suggestions are linen, silk, crepe. For this wearable muslin from my extensive stash of cotton prints I chose some pre-washed fabric in a Blue stripe print that I thought would be ideal.

By comparing the body and ease measurements I decided to use the size 20 and add a little extra at the bust and hips. I then steamed ahead and cut out the pattern.

                                                                   No pattern matching!

In my haste I forgot to take note of pattern matching and centring of the stripes – I just wanted to get on with construction of this new-to-me styled tunic top.

According to the fabric requirements I would need 2.2metres of 148 cm wide fabric. I had just 2 metres of 105 cm wide fabric but by cutting the collar in half and placing the collar on the bias with the collar facing on-grain I succeeded in cutting all the pieces required.

To begin with whenever I started sewing, I was interrupted, so the early part of construction was completed in blocks of 20-30 minutes at a time. In fact this worked out well as I was able to prepare the collar, facings, sleeve cuffs and hem facings in advance of the construction of the main body of the tunic.

I did find the different seam allowances a little confusing. Mostly it was 3/8ths of an inch but on the collar and neckline this was reduced to ¼ inch. I was pleased that I had read somewhere NOT to sew up the centre front seam of the neckline facing before completing the rest of the collar/neckline facing stitching. Leaving that step until later certainly made life easier. Also I completed the collar and facing construction BEFORE stitching the side seams which meant I could more easily get to this important section for pressing. Slow and steady working my way through the sparse instructions I was then able to whip through to the final construction.

At fitting stage I realised that the additional width was not required and it was removed thus the tunic has been made to a standard size 20.

A lapse of attention meant that I stitched the hemline facings upside down so that the shaping at the side seams did not match. I was able to ease the additional fullness in so that was not too much of a disaster.

I am pleased with the final result and will definitely be making the tunic again. This style is very comfortable to wear and looks great with leggings or skinny jeans.

From the photograph on the website there does not appear to be as much fullness in the back.

Next time I will be reducing the fullness by approximately 5-6 inches of excess. I am sure that can be removed without spoiling the design feature of the ‘swing’ back.