Category Archives: Blouses

PS to Paisley Print Dartmouth Top

Although the top looked fine on Dolores the mannequin, when I put it on this morning I noticed that it was too wide at the hips and also a little shorter than I would like.

Quick as a flash – I used my overlocker to reduce the width at the side seams. Then, using some of the remaining fabric, cut a strip the total width of the top at the hips x 8 inches deep. I made a seam to join the strip into a loop. Folding in half and keeping wrong sides together I then had a loop of fabric 4 inches deep.

I carefully pinned the raw edges to the right side of the top at the hemline, taking care to keep all layers even and pinning just above the zig-zag stitching of the hem. Whizzing around with the overlocker resulted in a very neat hem band that extended the length of the top to (as Goldilocks would say) ‘just right’.

Long Sleeved Dartmouth in Red Paisley Print

Whilst browsing the internet in general and eBay in particular I came across a seller named cheapestfabricsuk313. I purchased 2 metres at £4.95 per metre with free post and packing. The fabric that was labelled Stretch Viscose Jersey Large Paisley Print arrived swiftly and was well packaged. It has since been sitting in the ’roundtuit’ pile whilst I concentrated on preparing for sewing workshops and getting Christmas gift-making under way.

I traced off the Dartmouth by Cashmerette pattern

as my original printing has now becoming very tatty. The adjustments to the original pattern remain the same; shortened sleeves, shortened bodice and cut as a 20 at the shoulders, grading out to a 22 at the waist and hips.

The fabric was a joy to sew even though it sometimes had a tendency to curl to the right side. Being in control with plenty of jersey pointed pins ensured that everything went together well. As usual the banding for the neckline went together and attached like a dream.

This time I had lapped the front right side over the left (the same way that females button their clothing) although the instructions DO say to lap left over right. On closer inspection of the picture on the pattern, it does not appear to matter which way the front is lapped.

I have now made several Dartmouth tops and also hacked into a dress. It is definitely one of my all-time favourite patterns.

Testing – New Look 6412 – Tunic Top & Cowl

Finally, I have got around to making the first version of this New Look 6412 pattern that I bought way back in March at the Sewing for Pleasure show, NEC, Birmingham. To make this first ‘wearable toile’ version I chose some winter weight jersey fabric that I bought at the show held at the Bath & West show ground, Shepton Mallet. The fabric has a random print in Autumnal shades, blended with a little of what I think is leopard print. I have no idea of its construction but is probably 100% synthetic. I bought about 4 metres of the fabric at £5.50 per metre so if this worked out I would have a great new tunic top and cowl scarf for just £22.00.

I made view A which is the straightforward tunic top with asymmetrical hemline.

Judging by the measurements on the pattern envelope I cut a size 20 for the shoulders and bust, then graded an additional 1 inch from the waist down to the hem on each side seam.The only other change was to reduce the length of the sleeves by 3 inches as I prefer 7/8 or bracelet length rather than those sleeves that come down over the hand! I used my sewing machine ‘lightning’ stitch to construct the tunic but did not follow the order of construction from the instruction sheet.

First, I added some lightweight fusible interfacing to the shoulders before stitching the front to the back. Then I made up the neck banding, which incidentally, fitted exactly, before setting the sleeves on the flat. Then I stitched the side seams from the hem up to the under arms and along the sleeve seam. Finally I used a twin-needle to stitch the hem of the sleeves and the main body of the tunic. Although the tunic fits me fine, it does look better on ‘Dolores’ the mannequin than it does on me.

Front view New Look 6412

I am unhappy about the ‘dangly’ bits of the hem (especially at the back)and will most probably level it off or make a gentle curve shirt-tail style hemline, similar to my other tee tops.

Rear View New Look 6412

Once the tunic top was completed I quickly cut the fabric for the detachable cowl collar. This looked as though it would be huge – and I was not wrong! The cowl is 68inches long x 18inches wide, sewn into a loop. The instructions advise making French seams and double-turned hems but I did straight seams, pressed open and flat. I will ensure that the raw edges are tucked in when I wear the cowl as I have not hemmed them in any way.

Cowl collar New Look 6412

So, another pattern has been tested. I like the pattern but not the asymmetrical hem in this particular fabric, it may be better in a Ponte Roma. I will try again as a tunic/shift dress (View D) with the cowl to wear with thick tights or leggings as the weather gets colder. This style could also lend itself to some colour blocking, a good vehicle for using up some scraps of jersey fabrics.

Basic Tee Top from Remnant

Having finished the McCalls 6754 dress, there was just enough fabric left over for a short sleeve tee top. Using the basic block from Paolina, I made quick work of yet another top for my fast-expanding wardrobe of jersey tee-style tops. Not a lot to say other than this is a dream to wear as the fabric is very soft and super stretchy. Being constructed of entirely synthetic fibres I am not sure how nice it would be to wear in a hot climate but for the Autumn,underneath a cardigan, it is fine. I love the print and am sure to get a lot of wear out of this ‘free’ top!

AMY by STYLE ARC patterns

I received an e-mail advising that there would be Arc Style printed patterns available on special offer at Amazon.UK. I often browse the Arc Style site and decided to check out the sale offerings. I was particularly interested in the Amy design as this has a handkerchief hemline combined with a cowl neckline, two style ideas that I have been wanting to try for some time. The printed pattern arrived yesterday and today I made a ‘wearable toile’ of the design. I used roughly 2 yards of 60 inch wide ‘shimmery’ printed jersey bought in June from Minerva Crafts for £8.97.

It was an interesting experience. The pattern is printed on good quality paper and having checked the measurements, I reduced the sleeve length by 3 inches. Other than that I made no changes to the size 22 pattern.

Seam allowances are only ¼ inch which means there is no wastage but you do need to be careful when clipping the notches. The pattern markings are sparse and in the case of the collar, some are missing. The text on the collar is particularly confusing, as there is no layout diagram I cut two of the pattern piece before realising that only one is required.

The construction information is also very basic. The text for applying the cowl collar to the neckline differs from the diagrams which for a beginner dressmaker would be very confusing. Fortunately, I now consider myself to be of intermediate level when sewing with jersey fabric. I ignored the written instructions and applied the collar in the same way that I would a neckband, i.e., stitched the centre back seam then folded in half wrong sides together and attached to the neckline with the overlocker. The seam allowance was then machined down on the outside with a row of stitches 1/8 inch from the original overlocked seam. The sleeves were inserted flat before the side and sleeve seams were stitched in one go. I did not leave the side seam hem vents as I particularly did not want the sides ‘flapping about’.

I turned up the sleeve hems by 1 inch and stitched with a twin needle. The sleeves are now at 7/8 length which suits me fine. The bodice hem was turned up by 1/2 inch and stitched in place with a twin needle.

Overall the fit is good except that once again by not making a full bust adjustment, the front bodice is pulled up so next time I will add to the front hemline.

A skimpy cowl collar

Having read the pattern reviews I must agree that the cowl neckline is nowhere near as full as the drawing suggests. I shall re-draft a cowl that is closer to the one offered in New Look K6412.

The top will look good over plain Black trousers, ideal for a casual evening out over the Festive Season. I have approximately 1 metre left to make a basic tee top-I might try a hack of the bodice of Butterick 6754 which has the lovely raglan sleeves.

Lapped Collar Knit Top – Butterick B6388 Hack

I bought this pattern for a lapped collar top or dress, waterfall waistcoat and elasticated waist trousers back in March at the Sewing for Pleasure Show, NEC Birmingham. Since then it has been tucked into the pile of sewing patterns and had been temporarily forgotten. Then Sian of Kittenish Behaviour mentioned it in her vlog and I made a search for my copy. I had a length (the last off the bolt) of Winter-weight jersey that I bought from Franklins in Salisbury and thought this would be ideal for use as a wearable toile.

Having prepared the pattern and fabric I then discovered that I had too little fabric to make the top (view C). A little bit of ‘hacking’ was required. Out came my collarless version of the Paola top with the shaped hemline, which I traced onto fresh paper. I overlaid the pattern pieces from Butterick B6388 and a new version was born. I had to seam the collar piece rather than lay on the fold and also add cuffs to the sleeves as they were cut short. However, I have managed to get this top out of the 1.3metres of fabric that cost a grand total of £4.50 (I had received a 10% discount).

Construction was simple and straight forward. The top took just over 1½ hours to stitch and that takes into account the fact that this was a first time using the pattern. The only criticism I have to make is that the collar is a little baggy at the back – unless I pull the top forward and down at the front so that the collar then hugs the back of my neck. This may be due to the centre back seam in the collar or the stretch in my fabric. I am sure that I can resolve the issue next time. I do plan to make this style of collar again but think I will transfer the design to the neckline of New Look K6412 version A that has the asymmetrical hemline.

Plans for October 2017

Despite going ‘off plan’ with several projects in September I did manage to complete some of the items on my list.

The Pink floral print jersey ‘Elmira’ ballet wrap cardigan was completed and with the remnant of fabric I made a co-ordinating tee shirt. The Dark print viscose jersey for Kwiksew 3915 for a friend was also completed and again another tee shirt for me from the remnant of fabric. I did not get to the Cobra corsage lawn dress but I have today washed the plain Black lawn that I will use for a lining so maybe that project will finally make it to completion. The other dress using a Lewis & Irene cotton print, ‘Our friends in the garden’, was started in September but was not completed until earlier this week. But still with tights and a cardigan it should get some airings until the really cold weather sets in.

Whilst I have made several samples for the classes to be taught in the Autumn and Winter terms, there are still a few outstanding plus the workbooks to be prepared. The final outstanding item from September is the Sewing print linen-look seat covering. That should not take too long as is basically a shape with elasticated hem so hopefully that will also make it to completion in October.

Now, let’s think about sewing plans for the coming month, the list looks like this:-

  1. Cover for sewing room chair in sewing theme linen-look
  2. Samples for classes – Coat hanger peg bag, Scissors Case, Dresden Plate Blocks (2) and Zip top Window Project Bags.
  3. Cobra and Corsage print cotton lawn dress. Style as yet undecided.
  4. Cobra and Corsage print luxury scuba top with asymmetrical hem & cowl collar. Fabric just arrived from Sewisfaction. Absolutely yummy!

    5. Paisley print jersey trapeze tunic with cowl collar. Fabric just arrived from         eBay. Fine weight with a good drape.

  5. Coat with waterfall collar.                                                                                                                                         This is probably too much considering that we are already 7 days into the month but still it is good to have targets!

Goldhawk Charcoal Paolina Top

As mentioned at the end of my previous post, there was just enough fabric left over from Kwik Sew K3915 for me to squeeze out a Paolina top. By reducing the length of the sleeves and then adding a cuff I have even managed to get a long sleeved version. Other than that there is not a lot to say about this make. You have all seen the many, many Paolina tops that I have made. This Charcoal print will be ideal for the coming cold weather, worn with Grey Leggings or trousers and topped with a Grey print scarf. 

Having gone off plan, now I am continuing with making some samples for the workshops and classes that I will be tutoring in October through to Christmas. There I said it – Christmas is coming but I won't say any more until at least November!

Goldhawk Charcoal Top – Kwik Sew K3915

KWIK SEW K3915 View A

Back in the Summer (remember when the sun was shining?) my friend and I took a bus ride to the Goldhawk Road. We browsed several shops and bought 3 lengths of fabric. I have made up the 2 lengths that I purchased and since then this (3rd) length of Charcoal Grey printed jersey has sat in my stash waiting for the overlocker to be threaded up with dark thread. That day has dawned and so this morning I cut out version A of Kwik Sew K3915.

I have previously made up this pattern in an ‘autumnal print’ for me but this version was to be for Adrienne. Stitching was fairly straightforward. I was prepared for the ‘fiddly’ part of the gathered collar which all comes together at a V-point. Again I have omitted the decorative fabric button loops and buttons – as far as I can see they really do not serve any purpose at all other than to add even more layers of fabric in an already ‘congested’ area!

I was very pleased with the sleeve cuffs on the Elmira wrap cardigan and have therefore repeated this method on the sleeves of the top. Completion was with a simple hem of twin-needle stitching.

KWIK SEW K3915

Adrienne purchased 2 metres of fabric and I was pleased to discover that there was sufficient left over to cut a Paolina top for me. Result!

Fortunately as the fabric is a jersey, the top stretched to fit my mannequin but I hope that it also fits Adrienne!

Rose Pink ‘Paolina’ Top

Rose Pink ‘Paolina’ Tee Top

I know that I keep saying I will change the thread on my overlocker – well now I have. But, before I did so, I made yet another Paolina short sleeved top! Those of you that read my blog on a regular basis will be well and truly sick of reading about this top but it is a quick, easy sew that takes just a bare 1 metre (in this case just 30 inches!) of wide width fabric.

30 inches was all that I had left after making the Elmira ballet wrap cardigan. Whilst the overlocker and sewing machine were both still threaded with appropriate coloured thread- why not finish using this pretty pink fabric with a top?

There is really no more to be said regarding the construction. A very, very easy sew which would have been even quicker if the twin needle stitching had been better. I did manage to resolve the issue (sort of – that particular twin needle has now been disposed of) and now with the overlocker threaded up with Black thread it is onwards and upwards for Autumn sewing!