Trying to write a post before the lovely weather goes away has proven a little tricky so I’m currently typing in my car before work starts! Every day I have to leave 2 hours to get to Stockport and find a parking spot but when I catch some good luck it takes an exceptional 1.5hrs and I get the sweet delight of bonus podcast listening, a breakfast snack window or typing time.
Today I’m sharing my version of Simplicity 8342. You’ve probably seen this top crop up on my social media a few times. I made it for my birthday last year and it’s a great summer item. It’s sold out on the Simplicity site but I bet you’ll find it elsewhere online. I’m wearing it here with my turquoise denim A-line skirt, made from a pattern we gave away on issue 44 of Love Sewing (also sold out, sorry!).
Simplicity kindly sent me a copy of this pattern for free when I made major googly eyes at it. It was part of the Summer Sewing Challenge where everyone could claim a free copy but as I couldn’t enter (work conflict) I was super pleased to still be allowed a copy. The top features an empire line bodice with keyhole and front ties, elastic back channel and different sleeve options. There’s a great pair of high waisted capris included for stretch fabrics and a wiggle skirt with sewn on buttons and frill hem details.
The top is super quick to put together and is a major stash buster! I used some breton striped jersey from Empress Mills that was left over from a t-shirt I made for work. It’s a rather thin viscose jersey that isn’t very stable but the stripes are great for a fun vintage pinup nautical feel.
The bow is constructed by self lining the upper bodice and then the wrong side can show as you tie the bow. The bow isn’t so narrow that it creates any bother turning things out, you just need to trim your seam allowance nicely. Don’t expect a super crisp point on your ties.
The fit for a small bust like mine is a touch roomy. Everything is secure but there’s probably more space than you actually need for an A cup. Empire lines where the seam line ends in a point can be a little tricky for some sewists I know, but this project is super simple as the keyhole means you don’t have to pivot around a point!
I’m pleased I matched the stripes down the side seams but the area I fell down on is the centre back seam… though I should have gotten rid of it really if I’d had my wits about me. My elastic channel in the upper back edge could be tighter too. Oh the failure! Don’t look at that white zipper head either please (lazy seamstresses don’t always wait for the right colour zipper to arrive).
Next time I’ll make the classic straps rather than the halter. And I’ve got a lot of jersey scraps that should be large enough! I also made a toile of the trousers but never stitched them up so need to rectify that right??
I love novelty prints. Especially when they’re on a crepe or polyester-mix, something I don’t have to iron. This swan print polyester crepe de chine was from Fabricland’s online shop. They had it in navy as well but red has to be one of my favourite colours.
I used to wear red shoes everyday when I was a young girl and I wear red converse, red ballet pumps or red loafers most days. I used to have the most beautiful pair of red Carvela heels but they are sooooo worn in now that they’re a danger to wear in case the sole splits in half. I’m most commonly found with red nail varnish on my fingers and as you may have guessed, my car is red. So why don’t I have more red clothes?
I got the True Bias Sutton top as part of the Sew Indie Month pattern bundle but wasn’t sure the boxy style would suit me. It’s a great top with fun features like the yoke that rolls over into a dropped front shoulder seam, high low hem and nice v neckline so I thought I’d give it a go… and it’s a top, not a blouse, let’s not fall out over this.
Just to add if I hadn’t found my favourite new jeans I’m not sure I would have been able to pull this look off. For me boxy tops need a streamlined lower half to stop things looking entirely box shaped.
The centre front seam was a real bother for me so that went straight away, and I made the centre front the cut on the fold line. That changed how I finished the neckline a little but I did follow the instructions roughly. It sews up really quickly!
Self made bias binding finished things off prettily inside but polyester cdc fights you with every press. I have tape makers in multiple sizes which is very useful but you can always use a pin attached to your ironing board and make a little channel to feed the fabric through. I’d kill for one of those mechanised tape makers but they stopped producing them.
Above is my 90s tv star pose which shows off the hem step. I wish I could reduce the amount of polyester in my wardrobe but I do not have time for ironing. I barely have time to check I’ve put together a decent outfit in a morning and most days I get to work and discover my make up is all uneven. The perils of leaving the house in the dark.
The crepe is floaty but stable and didn’t snag as I worked. It only gets a little static throughout the day but I wear a cotton vest underneath most days anyway. It makes me feel like I’m wearing a Hawaiian shirt somehow, which I LOVE. Just call me Magnum PI.
Hello ladies and gents! Hope you’ve been having a good spell since I last blogged. It’s been fun watching how much sewing time everyone had during the snow storms. That was certainly how I was keeping myself sane! My area of Leeds gets a lot of snow because it’s really high and flat so driving is out, walking anywhere is out, letting the cat out the house is out, basically unless you have ice skates or a snow plough, stay in the house.
So I stayed in and whizzed up some sundresses for my honeymoon, worked on my wedding dress toile(s) and did some embroidery. Thanks to my humungous backlog of finished projects and speedy sewing skills there are still plenty of garments to share on the blog.
Today I thought I’d show you the speediest t-shirt on planet earth… McCall’s 7322. This was a double stuffed pattern I stole from the office (is it stealing if it’s from your own magazine?) that we ran on issue 46 last Christmas. I ended up sewing the size 8-10 with no changes. Normally I’d have to grade to a 12 at the hips but as the pattern works for wovens too there is a good bit of ease built in. If you want to make a close tshirt, definitely go down a size. This is view F which has a boat neckline and 3/4 length sleeves.
In true bargain hunter style I found my fabric in the remnant bin of Abakhan fabrics. It was a knock off Art Gallery Fabrics print I think but I can’t work out the original design name. Please do comment if you know it! It’s a good quality jersey, e.g. the print is crisp, the base doesn’t show through, the recovery is nice and it hasn’t gone bobbly yet. These are all excellent bonus qualities considering I was taking my chances in the mystery metal bins in shop. I think this came to £4 or similar which is a steal.
Now I know I’m not really a t-shirt kind of girl but these are COLD TIMES people. Desperate measures are needed. Although I’ve found I don’t like how it looks with my cardigans so that’s a slight problem. The sleeves are cute though. I like how wide they are which feels balanced with the wider boat neck. The colour is super bright and makes me especially happy when I wear it with my orangey red loafers and this coat! My twin needle top-stitching turned out pretty good and with the help of my new overlocker it only took an hour to make in total!
In other news I’m totally loving Stitcher’s Brew, the new podcast from Gabby and Megan! I like listening to crafty podcasts like Clothes Making Mavens and Love To Sew as well as endless amounts of other podcasts on my drive to work. It’s a nice way to bring my craft in the car with me! Check it out and let me know what you think.
Hello everyone. It’s a new year, hooray! It’s also the year I get married. Double hooray!! Project Wedding Dress is about to commence. I have £370 in my budget, I’ve ordered most of my fabrics, notions and extra bits and pieces. It’s time to get serious! First up is sewing my corselette. I’m winging it using a number of online tutorials and books on the subject. Wish me luck please. And let’s see if I can come in on budget! If you have any good links to bridal or occasion sewing, corselette or corset sewing or generally couture techniques please link them. I’ve got a good collection of books and found a few blog posts but am very eager to hear more. It isn’t possible to overwhelm me people.
PLEASE INNUNDATE ME. I’m going to collate everything I’ve found into a super online document so no future DIY bride will struggle to find resources.
Ahem, in other news I have a fun top to share. I hope you like it.
So I’m in love. There I said it. I’m in love with this top. It makes me feel so wonderful everytime I wear it. The colours are just so epic. They’re the perfect shade and saturation to stand out from across the room. That’s obviously helped by the scale of the print and yes, those frilly little ruffles. It goes perfectly with my ochre cardigan and blue jeans.
This is the Sewaholic Pendrell top which I can’t remember buying but must have because I have the PDF. (There’s a lot of PDFs like that on my computer). It’s got princess seams which mean a great fit and the option to add different styles of frills (or you can leave them off if you prefer). It’s easy to overlock the entire inside for a neat finish and it’s a SUPER QUICK sew.
I made view B with ruffles set into the princess seams and regular cap sleeves. You gather everything up to match the notches and then set the frill into the seams and encase the sleeve with bias tape. The length was a little crazy on me and even after chopping off 5cm I still might lose a little more. At 5ft5 I like to be able to see some hint of hips when I wear a top to establish my proportions. You can see my “human butternut squash” body type here in full glory. Why did Triny and Suzannah never include that one in their tv show!? I used bias tape made from excess fabric to finish the edges and it throws on over my head without a keyhole loop. A tiny needle made sure there were no pulls in my fabric.
This polyester fabric was astoundingly cheap; If I remember rightly it was £1 per metre. I bought it on a shopping trip to Birmingham from one of the stalls outside the rag market and I’m happy to report Marie and Roisin bought some too. You can see more of Marie’s gorgeous kimono here.
There’s only one problem with this top and it’s my own fault. The ruffle on my left shoulder has one wonky area of gathering that makes the ruffle stand up. And no amount of pressing will keep it down! On the above picture it’s even peeking out from behind my hair for cripes sake. With the raw edges overlocked inside, I haven’t had the motivation since I made this to unpick and adjust the way the gather falls and don’t know if I ever will. It’s a problem, but one I’m happy to live with.
Now it’s time I shut up and do the I LOVE MY TOP DANCE! (Yep I’m that big of a nerd and it’s been captured on photo.) Bye for now.
Looking for more inspiration? See Fiona’s gorgeous sleeveless version here. And Shannon made a version in jersey! Here’s Sil’s version with step by step pics incase you’re curious how the ruffle comes together.
Hello everyone! I’m sharing something slightly different today. I often wonder if you’re all sick of seeing my dresses. Sometimes I even wonder if I like what I’m sewing.
Do you ever get that feeling? Where you finish a garment and you’re not sure why you actually made it… like it was all just to use the fabric up and you didn’t really learn anything or love the finished make? I’m having a bit of a wardrobe crisis as I’ve got so much fabric waiting to be sewn up that doesn’t seem to fit with the clothes I want to wear lately, but I can’t seem to get rid of it. To distract myself I’m seeing what I can use from my disgustingly huge stash to help me practice for my wedding dress.
This simple looking top was actually a really good challenge PWD – Pre-wedding dress. I wanted to ease myself back into using silk and had been hoarding this piece of Liberty silk satin for years. I used one of those amazing Liberty tokens that has the building embossed on it. Very hard to give up in all honesty.
The print is called Alice Alina C. It’s a photographic winter garden print exposed in a dark room using photo sensitive paper so the leaves and buds have a ghostly feel. The yellow heart shapes in the print are especially gorgeous.
The top is part of a bumper pattern pack from New Look. I originally picked this up to make the jacket (another thing that isn’t a dress to look forward to) but decided to try the top first instead. There are no darts, just neckline gathering as easing for the bust and you can add hem vents if desired.
I used French seams throughout, a super fine needle and cut out with my rotary cutter. I didn’t need tissue paper or gelatine or any other stabiliser which was reassuring. When making the bias I tried my best to have as few joins as possible to avoid those unsightly seam lines showing. This is super skinny 12mm bias which was then folded in half to make 6mm trim. I basted the bias in place before topstitching so I wouldn’t go totally insane.
Aren’t the little yellow leaves adorable? The colour is quite dark for me but feels very luxurious. Focussing so intently on not warping the seams, keeping the fabric on grain and not slipping around as I topstitched the bias was a really nice exercise in calm careful sewing. I’m using duchesse satin as one layer of my wedding dress so I’m definitely going to sew some more slippery silks before it’s time to start just to keep my skills in check. I think I’ll also make another top in polyester or crepe to tuck into skirts. And really, it would make a great pj top too. It’s an all round staple throw on item!
If you have any tips that might help me with my current wardrobe predicament please let me know. Part of the issue is knowing that when I start my wedding dress and potentially the bridesmaid dresses I won’t have much time to sew other things so it puts more pressure on each garment I do choose to make. To-do lists never seem to work but I did start look at each piece of fabric I have, to work out what garment it may become one day. This was an exercise to justify it staying in my stash… I got through one box. EEEK HELP ME!!