‘Suzie’ Breton-style top

Now that I have checked out the sizing and fit of the Fraser top view B by Sewaholic I am ready to make a Breton-style top – or two!

I have browsed the internet for ideas of colour and colour blocking ideas, there are so many that it has taken a little while to settle on a particular design.

In the end I was particularly drawn to the outfit worn by Suzie of ‘Threadquarters’ in a recent vlog cast. In fact the outfit was a combination of two tops, a polo neck underneath a scoop neck top which made the look similar to what I intend to make.

I have a selection of Ponte Roma fabric to use on this project:-

Navy with White stripe, White with Navy stripe, Red with White stripe, Burgundy with Ivory stripe (used to check fit of Fraser B) and two lengths of floral printed Ponte, one with Navy background (as used for View A in December) and another with a White background.

For the ‘Suzie’ version I will need plain Navy for a neck binding (not using a polo neck for this Spring/Summer version), sleeve binding and a narrow hem band. I will also need some Red for the bodice yokes, plus deep bands on the sleeves and hemline. The main body and sleeves will be in the White with Navy stripe.

Due to stretch of the Ponte Roma and the fact that I took only 1/4 inch seams at the sides of the body, the top has a relaxed fit. I decided against using Navy for the neckband as I thought it would be better to have the Red next to my face. For the sleeve bands I cut the Navy strips 2 inches wide and for the hem band, 3 inches wide. Once the top was placed onto the mannequin I noticed that the hem of the top and the hem of the sleeves fall at the same level. This is something that I will alter on my next iteration.

I am pleased with how the Breton-style top has turned out although not quite how I had hoped. Let’s see if I can improve on the next version.

Project #11 completed 8th February 2021

Freya Cowl Neck Top #3

Before I embark on the experimentation of Breton-style tops I received a parcel of some jersey fabrics from Rainbow Fabrics of Kilburn. It included 4 metres x 150cms wide of Baby Pink cotton jersey fabric but charged for only 3 at £3.19 per metre due to the damaged end of the roll. I had originally intended to make pyjama bottoms but with this extra fabric could not resist another Freya.

Once the fabric had been pre-washed, it was a little like ‘herding cats’ trying to lay out this vast amount and cut out the pattern. In the end, by cutting off in shorter lengths I managed to succeed!

This top takes around 1 hour to make up using mostly the overlocker with just a little sewing machine basting for the collar and cuffs.

This has turned out to be an ideal top for underneath my pinafore dresses but due to the fine structure of the fabric I will not feel comfortable wearing as an outer layer. Still onwards and upwards…

That’s it for Freyas for the time being – now to try the Breton-style tops.

Project #10 completed 4th February 2021

Striped Top – Fraser View B

I am currently fixated with the idea of making Breton-style tops. At the end of last year I made two tops for my sister and me. For those I used the Fraser sweatshirt pattern view A by Sewaholic and found it to be a good fit. Sometime ago I also made up view B and having reviewed the line drawings think that this view may be the ideal building block for some more Breton-style tops.

I have plenty of Ponte Roma fabrics to use for these projects but before I cut into those I wanted to make the view B Fraser again just to check the sizing and fit. I decided to make a wearable toile using the 1 metre of Burgundy stripe Ponte that I bought from an eBay seller back in November for the grand sum of £9.99.

There were just a few minor alterations to the pattern; I cut a generous size 20 and used only ¼ inch side seams. I lowered the front neckline 1¼ inches at centre front then graded back to the original neckline. I added 3 inches to the length of the front and back body patterns. I would add the sleeve cuffs but ignore the hem bands on this version.

Pattern matching the stripes was fairly easy by pinning the centre point of every other Ivory stripe and checking frequently that the fabric had not shifted. The stretch of the fabric was best across the width and so I cut the neckband parallel to the stripes but for the sleeve cuffs the stretch was not an issue and therefore I cut with the stripes vertical to add a little interest to this otherwise very simple style.

Construction was plain sailing. Due to the care taken when cutting out, the pattern matching of the stripes went like a dream! For the neckband I cut a length 2 inches wide. I measured the neckline in centimetres, multiplied by 85% then added seam allowance. This also worked well and I am delighted with the placing of the Ivory stripe dead centre of the neckband. The majority of the top was constructed on the overlocker but I did use the sewing machine to baste the neckband and sleeve cuffs in place first. The hem was turned up to a level so that I could hem with White thread in the twin needles and that stitching would then disappear into an Ivory stripe. This also meant that the bottom edge of the hem was on the Burgundy shade, a really neat finish.

Now that I have checked out the pattern I can go ahead with drafting a new one for a Breton top with some colour blocking. Watch this space.

Project #9 completed 1st February 2021

Freya Cowl Neck Top #2

I was so pleased with the Freya top that I made recently using some Rust animal print Ponte Roma from Minerva that I wanted to try another version but this time using a lighter weight jersey fabric.

As usual, Rainbow Fabrics of Kilburn came to the rescue. I ordered 2 metres of this Blue irregular spot viscose jersey at a cost of £5.59 per metre.

According to the website this is deadstock from Turkey. A soft viscose jersey with stretch that flows well, drapes amazingly and is ideal for dresses, skirts and blouses. The width is 150cms (60 inches) with 9/10 opacity. When I revisited the website the fabric was out of stock, I am glad that I ordered my meterage when I did! I will keep an eye on the website just in case the fabric is re-stocked. I think a neat elasticated waist Jenna skirt would fit into my wardrobe nicely.

It took just over 1 hour to cut and stitch the top. This time the entire construction was completed on the overlocker. I added double thickness cuffs to the sleeves and folded up a hemband for the bodice, so no need for any twin needle stitching!

The top coordinates well with denim and if I am able to make a skirt from the same fabric it will provide another great look for the cooler Spring days.

Project #8 completed 30th January 2021

‘Harley’ Shirt Waist Dress #1

This is my take on the Darling Ranges dress by Megan Nielsen which is an easily adaptable modern shirt dress. That pattern features a V-neck, button front, high waistline and ties at the back to allow it to be worn in a fitted or loose style.

The pattern is listed at a cost of £21.99 on the Minerva website. Unfortunately my measurements fall outside those of the pattern so even if I were to splash out and purchase the pattern I would still have to make a number of changes to get the dress to fit me.

I took a comparatively short cut. Using my TNT bodice block I drafted a V-neckline with button front and short sleeves. Depending on my desire at the time of cutting out/making up, the dress could also be made to include a button-through the skirt, bodice with or without waist darts front and/or back, concealed side seam pockets, with or without self fabric tie belt set into side seams. At a later date I can also draft different sleeves: tulip, ¾ length or full length into button cuff.

For this first wearable toile I used some charming Blue background printed cotton poplin featuring abstract flowers, retro leaves and partially hidden cranes that I bought from JJ Textiles of Manchester. I purchased 5 metres for £25.00 inclusive of post & packing. After cutting out the pattern including skirt panels measuring twice the width of the fabric x 30 inches length I still had a generous 2 metres of fabric left. Enough to make a blouse or shirt.

So on with the construction. This is a comparatively easy make but as it was a wearable toile I did have to make some minor fit adjustments; I reduced the length of the back bodice to allow for my sway back. I found the front bodice too fitted and so let out the front waist darts a little. I made the rear neck facing extra deep so that I could add my ‘Carousel’ label but the front facing was kept to 2½ inches wide. I marked up for 5 buttons on the bodice and later added 7 buttons for the skirt. The buttons are placed 2¼ inches apart. I used ½ inch 4-hole faux tortoiseshell buttons from my stash that I originally purchased from Abakhan many years ago. Concealed side seam pockets were added and the skirt panels gathered onto the bodice waistline. The hem of approximately 1 inch was stitched using the blind hemmer on my sewing machine. All seam allowances were overlocked.

Conclusion: The dress is a good fit on the bodice and I like the V-neckline with button front. However, this cotton poplin has a lot of ‘body’ and I would have preferred a 4-gore ½ circle skirt. A gathered skirt would be best if using a viscose or polyester that has better drape qualities.

The only other thing which has annoyed me – and it is totally my own fault, is the fact that I did not pattern match the bodice and thus there are two dominant motifs on the front. I will remember next time!

Project #7 completed 26th January 2021

‘Moonflower’ Moira Dress#8

As mentioned in a previous post, Catherine chose this printed Viscose Challis for her next dress. She asked for the ‘Moira’ style but with no frill at the hem. Her wish is my command!

I cut out the dress from the fabric that came from Rainbow Fabrics, this version takes a lot less fabric as you don’t need 3 x the width of the fabric for the hem frill. I guess the dress takes around 2 metres plus a similar amount of lining. I added the usual side seam pockets and self-fabric tie belt attached at the side seams. This time I set my timer and the entire construction took just under 5 hours. All seams were overlocked rather than French seams and this cuts down the time requirement quite a lot.

The dress has been posted off to North Wales. I hope it fits and that my sister is pleased with her ‘Moonflower’ dress.

Project #6 completed 18th January 2021

Freya Cowl neck Top

I have had the Tilly and the Buttons book “Stretch” in my bookcase for several years now but so far only used one pattern – the ‘Joni’ dress.

Browsing the internet I have seen several versions of ‘Freya’ with the cowl neckline and having some Rust print Ponte in my stash decided that this would be a good pattern to make up and coordinate with my Brown Ponte trousers.

The Ponte is a 97% polyester 3% Spandex mix from Minerva. Although the pattern instructions advise 2 metres, I bought only 1.5 metres at a cost of £6.99/metre as I knew that due to my short arms (!) it would probably be sufficient.

The patterns in Tilly’s book only go up to a size 8 which is 2 sizes smaller than I need. I traced out the pattern and made my grading alterations to give the equivalent of a Tilly-size 10. I also shortened the sleeves by 4 inches, knowing that I could add back to the length with a cuff.

I cut out the pattern from the fabric and there is a generous remnant that I can use for other projects. The cuffs worked well and brought the sleeves to just the right length. The hem of the top was stitched with twin-needles. It took just over an hour to make the top – and what a great result! The colour and style compliment the Brown trousers beautifully and also goes well with my Denim wrap skirt.

I will definitely be making up this pattern again, both as a top or extended into a dress. The only alteration for a top will be to make it slightly bigger at the waist and add at least 2 inches to the length of the body. Otherwise a resounding success!

Project #5 completed 15th January 2021

Moonflower Moira Dress #7

Using the credit voucher that I received from Rainbow Fabrics I purchased 7 metres of this beautiful Viscose Challis that I have named ‘Moonflower’. After laundering the fabric I asked my sister if she would like a dress in this fabric and she jumped at the chance! But first I wanted to make yet another Moira for myself using this slightly heavier weight viscose.

The usual construction method was followed including a full lining in Ivory viscose voile. The challis fabric is a dream to sew with other than the fact that it does tend to fray. I finished all the seams with either a French seam or the overlocker. The dress has the usual side seam pockets and deep hem frill.

The beautiful colours of the print are matched with at least two of my cropped cardigans – the Pale Blue and the Tan.

This dress has turned out well and will be making regular appearances despite the fact that currently I am not going out!

Project #4 completed 14th January 2021.

QAYGO Cushion Cover

Back in mid March 2020 one of the tutorials given was ‘Quilt as you Go’ patchwork. I completed a panel using a variety of Blue-toned scraps of cotton and poly/cotton and some cotton wadding. The finished size was approximately 18 inches.

Since that day oh so long ago the project has been in my ’roundtoit’ pile. One of my ‘resolutions’ was actually to get around to those projects! I have already completed the faux clamshell patchwork panel and I am pleased that I have now finished the second from the pile of cushion panels. There appears to be just one remaining but more of that later.

I used a remnant of polyester cotton sheeting for the reverse of the cushion cover plus a full width Aqua-coloured zip from my stash for the closure. Also in the stash was a new cushion pad that was just the correct size. Half an hour of stitching was all that was needed to complete the project of which I am absolutely delighted. Little things mean a lot!

Project 003 completed 11th January 2021

Jenna Skirt #4

When browsing the internet I have often purchased fabrics from an eBay seller, J J Textiles based in Manchester. Recently I ordered a pretty Blue background floral printed Viscose but when it arrived, unfortunately it was the wrong print.

I contacted the seller and they immediately sent the correct print free of charge. So now I had 8 metres of Teal Blue background floral printed viscose to ‘play’ with. I used some of the above to line the bodice of my ‘Jane’ pinafore dress I also bound all the seam edges with this print. There was still over 3 metres of this design left and I was delighted to be able to get a long sleeved blouse and a Jenna skirt cut from the fabric. Now there is absolutely nothing left!

According to Seamwork magazine separates can add great variety to any wardrobe, and a simple gathered skirt like Jenna effortlessly marries cute style and comfortable fit. Jenna’s elastic-back waistband and in-seam pockets make this skirt as practical as it is stylish.

The ‘Jenna’ skirt is fast becoming my TNT skirt pattern. Another time when I use it with a heavier weight fabric I plan to hack it with buttons down the front but for this lovely drape viscose I have stuck to the standard configuration.

I cut a size 22 for the main skirt panels but a 20 for the waistbands and elastic. The front waistband has 2 sets of fusible interfacing but as the rear waistband has to be gathered with the elastic insertion, this is simply the 2 layers of viscose.

All seams were finished with French seams, including the in-seam pockets. As I was so short of fabric, the pocket bags are made from a patchwork of plain cotton with a band of the viscose on the rear pocket bag just in case it shows when I put my hands in my pockets!

The elastic insertion was still fiddly but it does give a comfortable and stylish finish to the skirt. Next time I will have a think and see if there is an easier way to complete this part of the construction.

The hem was finished with a narrow double turn top-stitched in place.

The skirt will be a great addition to my wardrobe for every Season. It can be worn with the coordinating blouse, a plain tee shirt or plain blouse (when made!) or sweater.

#02 2021 completed 10th January 2021