Category Archives: Blouses

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.

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.