Three tops in a jiffy

I have made three new tops since I’ve been home, two qualifying for Jiffy June in the Make a Garment a Month challenge on Instagram as the fabric has come from my stash, and they were all pretty quick makes.

The first one is self-drafted, and based on a top I saw in a shop window on my recent travels. The original was tunic-like, with a wide neck and stand up collar, slightly dropped shoulders and a pocket formed by having a second layer over the top of the front which is stitched down in various places.

I planned this make whilst I was away and decided to use my Pattern Union Maisie DIY drawstring dress as a starting point and drew lots of diagrams as to how it would be constructed. Almost any woven tunic pattern could be used, but I knew that I had the basics with the Maisie; it is drafted for my size, it’s easy to add ease if necessary and the shape was a good starting point.

The Maisie has a slightly grown on sleeve which I reduced in length to make an extended shoulder, and drafted a sleeve to match. I am quite liking the 1980s revival of the dropped sleeve as it makes armscye drafting so easy. I also had a fiddle with the neck to make it slightly rounder and bigger in the front and drafted a collar, which I wanted to be lower in the back than in the front, as I’m not keen on collars riding high on the back of my neck.

I made it with a piece of striped cotton fleecy stuff I found in an op shop and which proved to be 100% cotton, which made me pretty happy. It had all sorts of bits cut out of it but I managed to finagle most of what I wanted out of it.


Just a few very small scraps left over.


I couldn’t achieve the front panel pocket from available fabric, so I drafted the pattern piece and just used the lower half. May I say that it didn’t end well! It was so ugly! I left it whilst I thought about it but the minute I saw this photo I had my unpicker out!


It reminds me of something, but I can’t think what! Anyway, the rest of the top worked out well except the collar, which stood so far out from my neck that it also looked stupid. This was an easier fix – I just put some thick elastic through and pulled it in, and I am rather enjoying the effect. I also had to piece the collar together so the stripes have some odd angles but I’m calling them design features!

As soon as I got home from our holiday place I used the unpicked pocket to create a new one on the bias. I wanted it to be angled and for the bottom to be caught up in the hem and I did manage to get the basic shape from the original unpicked pocket. I also wanted it to be big for some reason. Mark thought it would look better with piping so I found some vintage cotton bias binding in the right colour and used one strand of piping cord.


Mark was correct, the piping finished the pocket off brilliantly.


Such a warm, comfortable top, perfect on our walks. IMG_3165

The third top doesn’t qualify for Jiffy June in Magamsewalong as it’s made from a tablecloth I bought in a thrift store in the UK and therefore wasn’t a stashbust. It’s the closest yet to the top I saw in the shop window.


The tablecloth is cotton and handwoven (according to the label). It is textured and pretty heavy, and I love the colours.


I managed to make the collar lower in the back than the front, which is really comfortable and I rather like the way it stands up. I also managed to get the front panel to work the way I wanted it and I don’t think it’s at all ugly.


The sleeves are a bit long but they are nice rolled up so I might not shorten them just yet. Pattern matching proved almost impossible as it wasn’t a very big tablecloth, so the stripes aren’t quite symmetrical, but I don’t think it’s overly noticeable.

I also added side splits and instead of wrapping the overlay into the hem I pressed it flat and sewed it on top of the hem. I think this is a much neater finish.

I had intended to make my third top, the Orono to take away on holidays but alas, it wasn’t to be, so I made it soon upon my return and took it on my mini break to the bush at the weekend, where I hung out with my favourite Snottygobble bush (yes, seriously, that’s what it’s called!)


The Orono has some nice features. It is designed for less stretchy knit fabric such as sweatshirt knit and double knit, and my fabric is a French Terry with no stretch at all. It is a bit classier than a regular sweatshirt because of the overlapping fronts and high-low hem. I find the collar a bit high but it can be folded over easily and is the perfect height at the back when I do this.


It also has pockets and they are really nice pockets, not the regular in-seam versions, but quite cleverly constructed. The seam line has an extension to provide a pocket facing and the pocket bag is sewn to the inside which makes it very neat.


It is the perfect top for our beautiful winter weather and I can add a jacket over the top if necessary. I can also layer it over the top of things – I have a cashmere jumper under this, which I machine knitted and accidentally felted so it’s very thick, but still fits underneath. I wore it with my pride sewing machine pin given to me by Andrew when we caught up in London.

So three new tops. I think the cotton one will be the most useful as it will be a fantastic trans-seasonal top too, but Mark and I have both agreed that the elasticised collar is the best, so any new ones may sport this feature.





27 thoughts on “Three tops in a jiffy

  1. You told me you were working on another blog and here it is as very interesting and inspiring as ever. I really enjoyed reading about and seeing your adventures in the UK, but I am also glad you are now back to the sewing stuff. Thank you, you give me so many ideas.

  2. Your tablecloth top is so gorgeous–both in style and in colors! Could you please explain about your collar? How does the pattern bring the collar down in back? I have rounded upper back and it is so hard to get the back to hang straight and not have it riding too high when doing that adjustment.
    Thank you!!!

  3. My favorite is definitely the tablecloth top, mainly because of its magnificient warm colours. This said, I found it very hard to remain focused on your tops while reading this blogpost, as my eyes were constantly drawn to these amazing stainglass windows behind you. You obviously have a beautiful home Sue! xx

    1. Our home is rather scruffy Hélène, needing constant maintenance and we are never home of course! Having said that, it’s quite old by Perth standards and has some lovely Victorian features. The stained glass window is really special and came from a building in the city; we built part of the house around it. I love and treasure it and am thrilled that you appreciate it too. x

  4. It made me smile when you revealed that your husband is now giving you design tips, and he’s right, the binding does take the pocket up a level.
    Maybe he also has a hobby which you are sometimes drawn into?
    I like the tablecloth top best. I am currently searching for a pair of curtains suitable to make a Tilly and the buttons Cleo dungarees dress from but your tablecloth was an excellent find.

    1. I like the tablecloth top best too, it’s all in the colours I think. And yes, my husband does seem to be growing in confidence about giving me advice. I do supervise his activities and stick my nose in, so I guess we are even!

  5. Three great tops! I particularly like the table cloth one as the colours are so lovely! Each of them has a cool pocket. I’m glad to see you’re wearing your pin too 👍👏🙏😃

  6. I’m stunned by your industry. The tops are amazing, and you are fortunate to be Mark to give extra design input. The shirtdress you saw on my table still isn’t finished. I’m ashamed!

    1. Haha Kim, I don’t do much else though and probably am not as fussy as you are! That dress is going to be gorgeous when you’re finished with it.

  7. Hello, Sue,
    the first shirt really looks better with the diagonal pocket. The second really great! Those colors!! They are so cheerful and with the window a complete artwork.
    I like the pattern of the third shirt very much. Say, is the front part double or is it fake?

    1. Thank you Regina, I also like the colours of the second one. The front of the third top is double so takes a bit more fabric but is really nice.

  8. Awesome work. Love it when you can make something functional that looks interesting and creative at the same time.

  9. Three great looking pieces. The place change of the pocket makes a big style different.When I showed it to husband he had to look twice to see that it was the same Top and that the only pocket had got a different place. Good work as ever!

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