Category Archives: Blouses & Tops

Simply Spot-on Paola Turtle Neck Tee

Paola Turtle Neck Tee
by Named Clothing

Regular readers will know that the Paola tee is one of my ‘all-time’ TNT tops which have been regularly hacked into many variations. For this iteration I wanted a plain and simple turtle neck tee to go under that ‘oh so subtle’ appliqué corduroy pinafore dress featured in an earlier post.

Colourful Appliqued Corduroy Pinafore Dress

I purchased 1 ½ metres of Pink spotted cotton jersey which is a new line offered at New Threads Quilt Shop, Weyhill Fairground, Andover. As soon as I got home the fabric was washed and hung over the airer to dry.

Meantime, I was distracted by making up the SORA top by Blank Slate Patterns and also completed another version of the Paola using Cloque jersey, neither of these garments was an unqualified success so it was with some trepidation that I cut out the Pink spots Paola.

SORA sweater
Hacked about Paola

I used my latest adapted version of the pattern for the bodice front and back. Bearing in mind my thickening mid-section, I ignored the waistline shaping and cut a straight line from under the arm to the hips. I extended the length of the bodice by 3 inches. Using the original sleeve pattern, I increased by 1 inch at the underarm seam, grading to 0 at the wrist. The length of the sleeved was reduced by 2 inches. The turtle neck collar was reduced in height by 1 inch but increased in width by 1 inch.

It took just over 1 hour to construct the tee which included drafting a pattern for a double cuff which does away with the need to twin-needle stitch the sleeve hems and provides(I think) a professional finish. The hem of the tee was turned up by ¾ inch and pressed with steam before top-stitching with a jersey twin needle.

Simply Spot On Paola Turtle Neck Tee

I am delighted with the fabric, fit and finish of this tee and can foresee that it will get a lot of wear both now and into cooler days of Spring. In fact, I am so pleased I may well re-visit New Threads as I know that they have this fabric in several other colourways.

Hacking the Paola tee

Those of you who follow my blog will know that the Paola top is one of my favourite TNT patterns. I have hacked it to within an inch of its life! Today I hacked again.

Paola Turtle Collar Tee from
Named Clothing

According to Named Clothing, the Paola is described thus:-

Classic semi-fitted turtle neck tee

Full-length sleeves and a turtle neck collar

Choose a light jersey with approximately 50% stretch. The sample is made up in a rayon blend jersey.

Mink Cloque Jersey from The Textile Centre

For this iteration I used yet more of the Cloque Jersey mentioned in the previous post. What I should have done before cutting out was to read the stretch requirements and check the Cloque fabric (it turns out that it does NOT have 50% stretch). If I had checked then I would have adapted the pattern and this garment would have been the original Paola turtle neck top. However, I did not do that!

I pulled my original adapted pattern (previously used for viscose/polyester blended jersey fabrics) and cut out the Cloque jersey.

I used clear elastic in the shoulder seams and set in the turtle (polo) collar. I then attached the sleeves and stitched the side and underarm sleeve seams.

First fitting – what was I thinking? The tee was so tight over my head that I was in danger of being strangled and the effort of pulling the collar over my head also pulled out my earrings! The sleeves were a little short so I decided to use the cuffs that were left over from the SORA top.

So an almost completed garment had to be altered. No way is that my favourite past time.

I removed the collar and re-cut the neckline, dropping the centre front by approximately 1inch. I made up a neckband that was 80% of the measured length (plus seam allowance) and attached to the neckline. It looked OK but not great. Next the sleeves – the cuffs were a lot smaller than the diameter of the hem of the sleeves. I re-stitched the underarm seam grading down to the same width as the cuffs. The cuffs were then folded in half and attached.

Second fitting – the neckline was still not good and now the sleeves were very tight. I cut off the neckband and re-cut the neckline AGAIN, this time dropping the centre front by approximately 1½ inches. The second neckband was attached and this time looked much better. I pin marked the point on the sleeves where they became uncomfortably tight. By laying the sleeves on top of one another I cut off the bottom and drafted a new cuff pattern. The pattern folded double and shaped so that it is wide enough to attach to the sleeve cut -off- point but narrows down to a snug fit at the wrist.

Long double thickness cuffs

Apart from top-stitching around the neckband the entire garment was constructed using the overlocker. Finally I pressed up the hem and stitched with my jersey twin needle on the sewing machine.

Basic hacked Paola tee

I am pleased that I now have a wearable tee although I know that it will never be a favourite. I have a good pair of Bright Terracotta Jeans and with changes to scarves I shall be able to wear the top in both Spring and Autumn.

Spring-time Scarf
Autumn Scarf

Sora Top by Blank Slate Patterns

Pattern illustration

I have had the pdf of this pattern for some time and was reminded of it when I saw another version(the cardigan) on someone’s instagram. I had recently purchased this lovely Pale Mocha-coloured cloque ponte roma from The Textile Centre at the bargain price of £1.79 per metre. Due to the very wide width of the fabric and by cutting the back with a centre back seam, this top took just 1.3 metres of fabric.

I checked my measurements against the size chart and cut a 1XL which should fit just right. Unfortunately, although the pattern pieces look large when laid out flat, they turned out to be just that little bit too small around my middle.

Side seam godet

I stitched the godets using the lightning stitch on my Brother 4000D sewing machine, but most of the construction was completed using my Juki overlocker. I used clear elastic to stabilise the shoulder seams before inserting the collar. This feature is what attracted me to the Sora design and I will be ‘hacking’ the collar onto an alternative top/tunic pattern in the future. In hindsight, I wish that I had top-stitched the edge of the collar and its facing but a good steam press means that it is sitting nicely.

The side seams were sewn and the sleeves inserted ‘in the round’. The Sora has a dropped shoulder and I should have known that I would not like this feature on me. My shoulder width is quite narrow in comparison to my bust and waist. In my eyes, the dropped shoulder just looks awkward especially when combined with these particular sleeves which turned out to be very slim (and LONG!). Was this pattern designed for Orangutan arms? I omitted the cuffs and have kept them back to put on the Paola top that is next in the queue. I turned up the sleeves and the hem of the top, giving them a good steam press to set the crease. Both were then top stitched with a jersey twin needle.

Sora by Blank Slate |Patterns
Back view with Centre Back Seam

I hope that I can sell the top on eBay so that it won’t then be a complete fail. I look forward to ‘hacking’ the collar design, and maybe the side hem godets, onto an alternative top pattern with a standard set in sleeve that is the correct length for me.

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.