Category Archives: Blouses

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!

Loving Lekala #5656 Raglan Sleeve Top

This was my first venture into the realms of Lekala patterns. For those of you that have not encountered this site before it is a great resource for made-to-measure pdf patterns at very competitive prices. You simply input your personal measurements (in inches or centimetres), choose whether or not to add seam allowances and select a pattern. There are many free patterns but on this occasion I chose a raglan sleeved top costing the grand total of £2.15.

The pattern is a simple top with just 3 main pieces, front, back and sleeves. There is also a pattern for the neckband but I did not use it, more of that later.

For this first ‘wearable toile’ I used the remnant of shimmery’ floral printed jersey bought in June from Minerva Crafts. I cut all the pieces and was able to extend the length of the bodice by 6 inches which still left plenty of remnant fabric should I need it.

I stitched the main raglan seams on the sewing machine using the ‘lightning’ stitch, length 3.00. I had my suspicions that the neckline would be too high and having attached the neckband they were confirmed. I removed the neckband and re-shaped the neckline slightly. I then cut my own banding across the width of the fabric x 2 inches wide. My ‘go to’ method to attach banding means that I only cut to the correct length once I have pinned  to the neckline whilst stretching a little as I go. Once I have established the correct amount of ease and length, I cut off the excess, make a narrow seam in back and proceed to baste the neckband with straight stitch on the sewing machine. This is then completed on the overlocker and another row of straight stitching worked from the right side to hold the seam allowance in place.

I kept to the 1 cm seam allowance and found that the extended length of the top was just right. I thought the sleeves were a little short and have added a cuff. This was made from a piece of fabric the same length of the cuff x 3 inches wide, folded in half wrong sides together. The cuffs were also top stitched to keep the seam allowances in place.

Alterations: On this particular fabric which does not have a great deal of stretch for next time I will add ½ inch at the side seams at the underarm point and grade to 0 at the hip. I will also add ½ inch to the side seams of the sleeve pieces. It may be that on a more stretchy fabric this alteration will not be required but it is always easier to take a garment in than to let it out. For the next ‘wearable toile’ I will keep to the extended length of the bodice and the revised neckline scoop to see how it pans out before drafting a new ‘master’ pattern.

I count this top and pattern as 8 out of 10, just a couple of points need improvement!

Ice Cream Flavours Sleeveless Vest Top

In several recent editions of my sewing magazines there has been an advertisement for Minerva Crafts which features a unique printed jersey fabric. Further research revealed that this was an Art Gallery product from a range called Boardwalk Delight designed by Dana Willard.

The particular design that called to me is ‘Flavor of the Day’ which is constructed from 95% Cotton 5% Spandex. The fabric is available from Minerva Crafts at a price of £22.99 per metre x 147 cms (58 ins) wide. This was a little more than I was prepared to pay at present and so a further search on the internet revealed that Habbydays were offering a remnant for sale at £15.94 (inclusive of £2.20 p&p) for a piece 60 cms (23 inches) long. So although this was pro rata of the price for 1 metre, I decided to trial the fabric.

Due to lack of fabric I wasn’t able to cut even tiny cap sleeves therefore, using my TNT tee shirt bodice block I have made a sleeveless vest. I used all the fabric for the front and back pieces. The neck and armhole bandings were pieced together from the surrounding scraps.

I would not normally pay over £15 for a vest top, but this will surely be a unique garment for wear on the cruise and during the hot days of Summer 2018!

Pastel Sequinned Evening Top

My new favourite eBay seller appears to be ‘cheapestfabricsuk’ as this is the 3rd length of fabric that I have purchased from them. It is always a lottery when ordering cheap fabric, especially it seems, when that fabric is a jersey. I am not yet totally ‘au fait’ with the different types of jersey and their fibres.

This particular fabric was listed as *NEW*Stretch Viscose Jersey Animal/Floral Sequinned Dress/Craft Fabric*. It behaved well in that it did not curl towards the right side although the sequins were a little troublesome. I will definitely have to replace my sewing machine needle now that the construction is completed.

I bought just 1 yard at £6.95 with free post and packing. When laid out on the cutting board the fabric actually measured 1 ½ yards x 46 inches folded in half across the grain. There was a wide border of non-sequinned fabric at each selvedge and I used this to make the neck band – a good idea as it meant there were no scratchy sequins rubbing against my skin.

I used my now TNT basic bodice pattern and cut at a length to come just below my widest hip point and scooped down at the front to take account of my full bust. I cut the sleeves as long as I could without trespassing into the non-sequinned area. I re-shaped freehand the neckline to give a wider scoop.

The entire top was stitched with the overlocker with the exception of top stitching the neckband and straight stitching the hems on sleeves and bodice.

I am delighted with this top which will be set aside to wear during the Christmas holidays and later for when I go on my cruise holiday to the Caribbean.