Category Archives: Blouses & Tops

Possibly not my favourite Paola Top

Oh well, perhaps I should not have attempted sewing when feeling a little under the weather. I thought that as I was using my TNT Paola top pattern, all would be OK. How wrong I was. Those of you that have followed my blog will know that I have made up this pattern ‘hundreds’ of times!

Two metres of Cotton Spandex from Girl Charlee at a cost of £15.96 so not cheap. The fabric had been laundered and was waiting near the top of the stash pile so I waded in with pattern and scissors at the ready!

Standard construction. Narrow cuffs on the sleeves, twin needle stitched hem on the bodice. How is it that the Paola has not turned out as I expect? I have lengthened the top by 3 inches but other than that no other changes. Is it the colour? Have I come to the end of my love affair with Polo-necked tops? I don’t know. The top needs a good press and maybe to be teamed with a terrific pair of trousers, stunning skirt or charming Cleo dungaree dress. We shall have to wait and see.

Back to Basics – Striped Paolina Top

Taupe & White Broad Striped Paolina Top

Back at the tail end of the year I bought several metres of various jersey fabrics (no change there then!). This wide stripe in Taupe and White is 1½ metres purchased from Fabrics Galore at a cost of £6/metre. The challenge for this project was to get the stripes to match across the bodice with the sleeve heads and also at the side seams. I think that I have just about achieved the goal. 

The top is made using my TNT Paolina pattern, a hack from the Paola turtle neck by Named. There was ample fabric to make the long sleeves and shirt tail shaping to the bodice front and back. The neckline shaping was cut freehand so is possibly a little higher than I wanted. To avoid any ‘colouring outside the lines’ for the neckband, I opted to cut the fabric lengthwise so that the stripes on the neckband are at right angles to the horizontal stripes on the bodice. Maybe next time I work with stripes I will take up the challenge and cut the band crosswise.

There is not a lot more to say about this make – hems on the bodice and sleeves are stitched with a twin needle and because of the shirt-tail shaping given a good press.

I plan to wear this top with White Capri-length trousers so can’t wait for my holiday to warmer climes!

Researching a Raglan-Sleeved Bodice Pattern

For some time now I have been on a quest to find my ideal raglan sleeve bodice pattern.  So far I have stitched McCalls 6754 which was OK but the sleeves were very wide and the neckline quite low. Not insurmountable problems but not yet my ‘Go to’ pattern. I have also tried the Lekala 5656. Again the pattern was not quite right. This time the fit at the underarms was tight and again not an insurmountable problem. I think I will probably re-visit the pattern at a later date.

Lekala Pattern                                        McCalls 6754

Meantime, I have just made up the Blank Slate Rivage Raglan.


For the wearable toile I used some remnant of Dark Teal Ponte Roma that has been hidden at the bottom of my stash for some 20 (yes twenty!) years. Checking the measurements on the pattern I cut out the XXL size. The original pattern is drafted with a high-low hem but I cut mine the same length at both front and back. I had insufficient fabric to cut the sleeves full length and instead cut wide double cuffs to bring the sleeves to ¾ length.

Close up of the sleeve cuff

I top-stitched the cuffs and used a twin-needle for the hem of the garment. I ignored the pattern piece for the neckband and used my TNT method. 

close up theneckband

Really too big Rivage

The finished tunic is too big! The neckline is very wide and the sleeves are also too big. On the plus side, with the weight of the fabric and the ‘A’ line shaping, the body of the Rivage is ‘trapeze’ style and has a pleasant swing to it.

Another item that will probably sit at the back of the wardrobe until it ends up on eBay or in the charity bag!




Positively Stretchy Paola Top

As mentioned in an earlier post, now is the season of Paola tops. I purchased 3 lengths of jersey fabric from Girl Charlee sale offerings. This particular one was described as Light Yellow Wide Wale Cotton Ribbing and I bought 2 metres at £4.71 per metre. I duly cut out my standard Paola pattern and having threaded the overlocker with Cream, set to to stitch the top.

Within 1 hour I had completed the Paola which has turned out much larger than usual due to the stretch of the ribbing of this knit fabric. As it is a cotton and was not washed prior to construction I am hoping that it will shrink a little in the wash. Meantime it is still wearable.

Due to the stretchiness of the knit, rather than twin needle finish, I have applied deep cuffs to the sleeve hems. For the hem on the body, I used the overlocker and with additional stretch have resulted in a ‘wavy’ hem to the garment. This is quite pleasant but I think in future I may wear the top with a high- waisted skirt so that it  can be tucked inside. Alternatively, I have sufficient fabric to cut a hem band, similar to a previous Dartmouth top and this may be the way to resolve the issue.

So, final analysis, not a 100% positive result but this type of knit has provided a step on my learning curve. In future I will only use rib knits for ribbing or where excessive stretch is an advantage.

Eyelashes Everywhere!

From my previous post you will know that the overlocker is currently threaded with Red and therefore I wanted something Red to stitch. Enter this fabulous Eyelash fabric from the Textile Centre. I purchased 2 metres at £4.49/metre. 

Using a ‘hack’ version of Style Arc’s Amy top set about making a tunic top to wear with Black trousers.

The hack was basically using only the shoulder line, sleeves and length of the Amy. I drafted a new scoop neckline and levelled off the hem whilst retaining the ‘trapeze’ shaping of the side seams.

I used my TNT method of setting the shoulder seams with some fusible interfacing, set in the sleeves and stitched the side seams (leaving a 6 inch slit as per the original pattern) and underarms in one. At first fitting I adjusted the front hem to allow for my full bust. At this stage I had to stop to get on with household chores. I left the sewing room in a mess the floor and every surface was covered in eyelashes of the RED variety!

Back again, I completed the neck binding, hemmed the sleeves and lower edges.

Whilst the sewing room is still awash with Red eyelashes I made a detachable Cowl collar.

Warm and cosy cowl collar that is detachable and can be transferred to other outfits

At present the weather has turned deceptively mild so I won’t be wearing the collar just at present but no doubt the temperature will drop in January and February – I will be prepared.

Remnant Paola

If you have read my previous post you will know that I was not ‘over the moon’ with my latest make using this charming printed Ponte Roma from The Textile Centre. However, I still love the fabric and print so was pleased to find that I could just get another Paola top from the remnant left over.

No new comments on this wardrobe staple except to say that I have not hemmed the top – Ponte Roma does not fray and I did not want to reduce the length at all. I cut out on Sunday evening then stitched using my overlocker first thing Monday morning. The construction took just 45 minutes and I wore it under my new Red fleece tunic (Simplicity 2289) when meeting up with friends for Brunch.

As I have the overlocker threaded up with Red, I was wondering what else I could stitch. Lo and behold! Happy mail from The Textile Centre contained a length of ‘Eyelash furry knit’, just enough to make a super Christmas top. I’m off to get stitching!

Lady in Red – Simplicity 2289 Fleece Tunic

Building on the success of the Fleece Tunic in Blue, I made another Tunic top,this time in a cheerful RED!

The fabric came from Fabricland at just £4.44 per metre and as I bought 2.2 metres I still have approximately 30 inches remaining that I can combine with the same amount of the Blue colourway to make ‘something else’. I have no idea what, let’s just wait and see what inspiration strikes. Possibly a colour-blocked Lekala 5656 Raglan sleeved top?

Again I cut an XL with sleeves extended by 3 inches and this time I changed the neckline slightly. I dropped the point of the collar insert by 2 inches and extended the collar piece accordingly. It has not quite worked but at least it is now comfortable with more ‘breathing’ space and not too close to the neck.

The entire tunic was sewn on the machine using a jersey needle and straight stitch, length 4.5. Again I reduced the size of the pocket width and set them 2½ inches in from the side seams. There were no other alterations to the pattern.

The sleeves are now just the right length although they could be reduced in width slightly – a note for if and when I make a THIRD version – maybe in Dark Forest Green? The tunic goes easily over a basic vest or if required – a long-sleeved polo neck when the weather is very frosty.

In the Pink with another Paola top

Yep, it’s that time of year again when the Paola polo neck tops take over the wardrobe. For this one, I used some T-shirting viscose spandex jersey purchased from Fabricland at £3.99/metre. Again with judicious pattern layout and cutting, I have managed to get two Paolas from just 2 metres.

The usual construction methods applied. Time to construct is just 1 hour. I cannot praise this pattern enough and certainly feel ‘in the pink’ with this latest creation.


New Season Paola Top in Charcoal Grey Quilted Cloque

On a recent buying splurge for jersey/knit fabrics I came across this Mid-weight Quilted Cloque Jersey from The Textile Centre. I have seen the fabric made up by others and it has been highly recommended by dressmaking vloggers.

I bought 2 metres at £3.14/metre and have been able, by judicious pattern layout, to make 2 long-sleeved tops. The second top will be posted at a later date but for now here is yet another Paola.

Pattern alteration: Added cuffs to the sleeves so that when it is really cold they can come down beyond my wrists.

Construction: I took 1 cm seams and apart from the hem on the bodice which was straight stitched on the sewing machine, all other construction was completed on the overlocker. In this way the Paola is a really fast project. Amanda from ‘ISEWALOT’ has filmed a vlog in which she makes up a Paola in just 1 hour and I to can certainly achieve this.

Comments: As this fabric is thicker than my usual jerseys, I really should have taken just ¼ inch seams as this version has come up a little more snug than usual. However, it still fits and is very cosy. A new polo neck sweater for just £3.14 – how bad can that be?

Simplicity 2289 – Secret PJ’s Fleece Tunic Top

A very long time ago I made this pattern in a Grey fleece fabric that had been gifted to me. The tunic has always had a place in my wardrobe ‘just in case’ the weather turned exceptionally cold or I needed a cosy top to wear. As we are expecting to be in the wake of Storm Caroline (sic!) over the next few of days, I thought it would be a good idea to re-visit this style and a fleece fabric.

I bought some 150cms wide Dark Blue Fleece from Fabricland at just £4.44 per metre to make this new tunic top. The fabric is a lovely Blue colour and has a pile that is very soft and velvety. A real pleasure to wear.

Referring to my original top to double-check measurements, I cut an XL. The pattern took just 2.2m so this works out to be a very cost-effective tunic top at £9.76. The thread used came from my stash and no other notions were required.

The entire tunic was sewn on the machine using a jersey needle and straight stitch, length 4.5. I reduced the size of the pocket width and set them 2½ inches in from the side seams. There were no other alterations to the pattern.

On completion I have found that the sleeves are a little short and I have therefore not turned back the cuffs. In future I will increase the sleeve length by 3 inches and continue to wear the cuffs unfolded.

The close-fitting shawl collar

I also found the shawl collar comes up tighter to the neck and is altogether a closer fit. Next time I will not double fold the hem on the collar and maybe this will provide a little more ease and a looser fit.

Whilst in Fabricland I bought an additional length of the same fleece fabric in Red colourway. After the weekend I plan to make another 2289 with that and will therefore be set up and ready for whatever the Great British Weather throws at us!