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.
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.