March Sewing challenges

March is the month of a couple of challenges: SewOverAgeism, which I’ve already mentioned, and SewFrugal, where we are challenged with finding and making a free pattern. I’m wary of free patterns, and I also don’t like to download free patterns unless I am paying for something as designers have to make a living.

First up is another make inspired by Hélène and the designer has a beautiful bag business, which would be nice to support. The pattern is the Imby Flowy Top, and it comes from Karmme Apparel. It’s described as:

An easy to wear top with a round neck with back opening with a tie, oversized sleeves and gathered front and back onto yoke which sits just above bust level. * UPDATE there is now an alternative neckline available with opening at front included*  The pattern is not graded, I expect it would fit approx 8 – 14 AUS sizes.

I chose to do a front opening and used a print from an Aboriginal artist, Rosemary Pitjara, called “Roots and Seeds” which I bought in Darwin. I saved the selvedge and sewed it to one of the seams, so I don’t forget.

I love the colours of this fabric and I had just enough for this top – the pattern pieces are quite big and there’s a lot of gathering.

I chose the front opening, as I felt I might like the neck open on occasions.

I don’t really enjoy gathering, I’m not sure why, so I tend to use the overlocker method. I simply overlock the edges, find the two needle threads and tease them out and then draw them up, making sure that I have secured the other end. On a long run I draw up from both ends.

To even out the gathers I run along with a pin, which seams to work well. I have to say at this stage that this works really well when the overlocking is close to the seam line – that is, a 1cm seam allowance. This top had a 1.5cm seam allowance so the gathers didn’t work as well. If I made another one I would reduce the seam allowances.

I thought it might be a handy top for our holiday, and it was nice to wear. It was even admired by a young woman in the coffee shop, so I was pleased.

I have messy hair in these photos as I forgot to take a hairbrush, or even a comb, on holidays with me!

This is my hair post washing, and tamed down with a bit of finger combing. I had to just keep running my fingers through it until it smoothed out, so I probably spent the day looking a bit unkempt, but it could have been worse. I should have bought a brush, but I have so many at home, I decided I would attempt to survive without one.

I wore the Imby top with my Pattern Union Beverley Cape. This qualified for the Sew Over Ageism challenge on Instagram, so I thought I’d better grab a photo of the pattern model, who just happened to be me! This cape is named for my late Mother in Law as I found a fox fur of hers in this shape and Sarah copied it. Much more acceptable to have it made from wool!

Now you would think I’d be able to Pose Like the Pattern Model wouldn’t you? Well I couldn’t! I finally asked Mark to have a go at posing me and he gave me the giggles when he described me as smirking in the original photo. You be the judge, do any of these work?

I had tried, very hard, to get a good photo for the challenge, including propping my phone inside our cabin. This is what I got – which I think has been the subject of another SewOver50 post.

You can see my laptop open whilst I try to copy my own pose. This photo could actually have been worse; there’s a large lampshade made entirely of emu feathers, and I could have been under that, although unlikely as it gave me the creeps.

Sadly my Imby top doesn’t qualify for the SewOverAgeism challenge – I must have asked everyone I know how old they think Imby is, and I decided it wasn’t worth the risk.

In fact I made two free tops for this challenge. This one was suggested by Megan and it is the Fabric Store Monique Simple Linen top. Megan, Katherine and I all thought we’d make it as our sewing challenge, so I found the fabric and made the top. Took about an hour and it was dreadful! It has dropped sleeves, which I hate, and luckily I noticed how short it was and added 10cm prior to cutting out, otherwise it would have been unwearable.

I chose a piece of cotton that I had dyed, very badly it seems, but I still didn’t want to waste it, so when the top turned out with a really high neckline and the most creases I’ve ever seen around the shoulders, I decided I’d better fix it.

I played around with big darts that created faux raglan sleeves. I don’t have it right yet, but you get the idea.

then I had to unpick the binding around the neck, including in the back neckline slit. I recut the neckline and reapplied the bias binding.

Having made the neck bigger I didn’t need the back slit, so sewed it down. With all that unpicking I finished up with a bit of a hole at the back. I patched it and then hid the crime with a label cut on the Cricut.

You can see that this top doesn’t sit nicely anywhere, but I will get some use from it and I might keep tinkering with it.

After my experience, Katherine and Megan chose to make different boxy tops. Here we are at our catchup, trying to show off our different hemlines. Their tops were much more successful than mine.

The thing about free patterns is that you sometimes get what you pay for, and that was certainly the case here.


6 thoughts on “March Sewing challenges

    1. Thank you. I have done it very roughly to see if it would work. All I did was pinch out two fish eye darts along the armscye front and back. It certainly removed a lot of excess fabric. I will tidy them up at some point.

  1. I’m sorry Sue but I was completely fixated on your antlers!
    Great try but I think I would have given in on that top. Generally the fewer seams/pieces a pattern has the less likely I am to make it fit over my …. assets 😂

    1. The antlers were a bit hysterical – I had no idea until I went to post the photo! I did think I shouldn’t make the top, especially as I hate dropped shoulders and no bust darts. I really struggle to abandon a project, but I will tinker with this one, I don’t have much to lose.

  2. According to my experience with the free Fabric Store patterns, some are excellent whilst others are trash. Anyway, you Imby Flowy top is a true success and I love this style so much. I shall make a second floral one for next summer and I hope I get compliments from a young person… 😉

    1. I’ve only made the trashy ones! I am very grateful to you for putting me onto the Imby top, I didn’t know if it would work in that fabric but I really like it. I will make a gauzy one next summer! I hope you get a compliment too. The girl who gave me the compliment was wearing a top made out of tea towels. Photos were taken!

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