Saturday, 23 May 2015

The Four Tops

If you read my last post you will know that I'm joining in with sewing dares and received a dare to 'make more tops for MMM'15' from Gillian at Crafting a Rainbow.  Well, I've made four!

I abandoned the scout I've been playing around with as a bad job (not sure it'll ever be wearable) and I didn't even reach for my trusty Renfrew pattern.  Instead I went a bit freestyle and traced off a couple of RTW tops.   

I've had this pashmina for a while that my mum gave me.  The colour, pattern and drape are all lovely and I thought it would make a great top if I used a simple Kimono sleeved pattern.  I looked at Portia's tips for refashioning pashminas, but I wanted something a bit less boxy and a bit more fitted.  In the end I traced this M&S RTW top:

This top is actually made from a fine jersey, and although the shape is good the fabric is too sheer to wear on it's own and I tend to find the jersey sticks to whatever I wear underneath and stops the top from hanging properly.  I thought it might work better in a lightweight woven.

I folded the top in two and traced it using a Sharpie and tracing paper, then added a half-inch seam allowance before cutting out.   

Before embarking on sewing with the pashmina, I decided to try the pattern with another fabric as a test.  I used this cotton lawn that I've had in my stash for aaaages.  I've been holding onto it waiting to find the right thing to use it for, but I finally just got impatient to be able to wear it so I decided to throw caution to the wind and use it for my test garment.  It's lovely and soft, but still presses well, and the print reminds me of indian handblock designs.  

As the fabric was so fine and liable to fray I french seamed the side and shoulder seams.  I double turned the hem and armholes but I had to make some bias binding for the neck.  I've used shop bought binding a fair bit, but this was my first time (successfully) making and using self bias, as in I've tried it before and gotten into a perfect mess!  Thankfully it wasn't as bad as I'd remembered from earlier attempts and the self bias works so much better than any stiffer shop bought binding would.

Also, I *ahem* sewed my bias on back to front, so instead of turning in I had to turn it out so it is visible on the outside.  Thankfully I think I prefer it like this, so I could pretend I meant to do it!!

I was pleased to find that the top is a good fit and is definitely wearable.  However, once I'd made it up and tried it on I realised very quickly that I'd need an under layer to protect my modesty and stop me from getting cold!  The fabric is pretty sheer!  I had some white viscose jersey in my stash so I grabbed an existing vest top and traced it off to make my own.  The RTW vest top was too short, but otherwise a good fit, so I simply lengthened my pattern by a few inches.   This was such an easy make.   I was really rushing to get it done as I wanted to wear my top the next day so the stitching of the binding/straps is a bit iffy, but even so I'm happy with the result and it only took me a couple of hours from start to finish.

Here's a terrible selfie of me wearing these tops during Me Made May.  I'm sacrificing outdoor photos for the chance to get this post out before the holidays!  Next week is half term here in the UK so the kids are off school.  This means sewing and blogging are unlikely to happen! 

So, I repeated exactly the same process to make my pashmina top, although this time it was quicker as I already had my patterns.  It would have been really quick, but the fabric was not as co-operative as the cotton lawn!

It was shifty and stretchy and hard to cut properly.  I've no idea what it's made of, but I did manage to melt it a couple of times when I was making the binding!  Thankfully I didn't melt the top itself and eventually it all came together.  

I french seamed again, and bias bound the neckline.  It's still pretty fragile so I'll have to be careful not to stretch it whilst wearing it, unless I want to pop a seam!

This top is even more sheer, so I made up a second vest top out of blue viscose jersey - the same that I used for my viscose jersey renfrew.  

All in all, four tops that I am very happy with.  I expect they will all get worn to death!  Thank you Gillian for the dare - it really gave me the boost I needed to get these tops made, and to attempt some pretty speedy sewing.  Sewing dares rock!

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