An Aurora tank

My second Seamwork make was the Aurora tank, another very summery garment, and entirely inappropriate for the cold, wet summer we’re having this year.  As I type it’s pouring with rain outside, and I had to put my warm and fluffy slippers on this eveningto prevent my feet from freezing solid.  Not exactly the weather for this:


The main fabric is a lovely, drapey, fine viscose knit from Croft Mill – they don’t seem to have it anymore – with the yoke in an ivory viscose knit with a very similar hand, from Edinburgh Fabrics.  I love this colour and the print is pretty too, but I’m not entirely sure that it’s particularly flattering on me.  It blends a bit too well with my skin colour I think…..
P1010296This is the only picture I’ve got of the back, apologies for the fact that I’m nearly out of shot and that my neighbour’s old washing machine is lurking in the stair.  You can at least see the little pleat below the yoke, and the lovely wide neckline.  I’d seen a few versions of this where the neckline looked quite high and narrow, exactly the opposite of what I like in a top, but then saw Helena‘s versions.  She lengthened the straps slightly, as well as scooping out the neckline a bit, and it looked so much more ‘me’.  I didn’t bother with scooping out the neck, but I did lengthen the straps by 1 cm (I think…).  This, combined with my short-shouldered-ness, did the trick.  Other than that I cut a straight size M and it’s just right. I really like the gathers, and where the straps sit on my shoulders.


I used a twin needle to finish the neck and armhole edges, and for the hem.  The hem has gone a bit wavy, I’ve not quite mastered this technique yet.  I think using a walking foot might help, but I’ve never quite worked out how to fit it onto my machine!  I’m sure a bit of googling would help but I have an instinctive aversion to anything in the way of a ‘how to’…..might have to overcome this though – my usual approach of just fiddling about until something works is not producing the desired result with this.


I really like the length of this too, with the slight high-low effect of the curved back hem.  All in all, a very successful little top.  Now all we need is some suitable weather and I’ll be able to wear it!  Is it wrong to contemplate going on holiday just so you can wear the summer clothes you’ve made?

A Seamwork pattern

I do like a magazine – even when I was a child I used to read my mum’s Women’s Weekly when she’d finished with it. I have no idea why I enjoyed reading something aimed at….shall we say the more mature woman? I think at least part of it was the idea that this was a little treat – a little luxury in life that costs a lot less than a massage. Anyway, most of the magazines I read now are either knitting or sewing related, but I still love to take half an hour to myself with a cup of tea and a nice magazine. I’ve really enjoyed Seamwork magazine (published online by Colette Patterns if you haven’t seen it) over the last few months, but up until the last month or so I hadn’t actually downloaded any of the patterns. Now that Edinburgh has finally started to see some summer weather, I thought it was time to make up a couple of the summery patterns. The first was the Adelaide dress.


I made this up in a beautiful, sunny yellow linen which felt just right for a summer dress.  I bought this at one of the stitching shows held at the SECC in Glasgow, from a company that sells gorgeous Irish linen and tweed.  Their stuff isn’t cheap, but I got almost 3 metres of this at half price, because apparently it had a couple of marks through the length.  Well, I had a pretty good search after prewashing and couldn’t find a single mark…..bonus!

I made the size 10, grading to a 12 at the hips.  In some of the sample photos of this dress there seems to be quite a lot of ease around the waist, and I’m glad I didn’t go with the size 14 that my waist measurement falls into!  This is just right – not too clingy around the middle but also not entirely sack-like.  As always, I chopped about 4 cm off the shoulder straps, and this also brought the bust darts up to where they should be.  This is an alteration I always have to make with sleeveless tops / dresses, but with this pattern it has made the armholes a little bit smaller than is comfortable.  It’s really just a comfort issue, I don’t think it looks too noticeable unless you’re really looking for it….


You can see here how it’s just digging in a bit around the armhole-fat….not that I stand like this very often in real life!  Apart from that, I’m really pleased with the fit.  The back darts work really well to give just enough shape.


There’s a self-fabric belt as part of the pattern, but I couldn’t be bothered to faff about with turning it inside out, and I haven’t got round to it yet.  To be honest, I much prefer the dress in its semi-sack like shape.  I have experimented with a leather belt but it’s not really me….


The other slightly less successful element of this dress is the neck and armhole binding.  I used pre-made bias binding, mainly because I had quite a lot of fabric left, definitely enough for another top or skirt at least, so I didn’t want to use it up on bias strips.  I think the pre-made stuff was a little bit too firm for this lightweight linen – so there is some puckering on the straps and around the neckline.P1010287

I used some lovely pearl snaps, and as usual with these things I was glad I’d bought more than I needed…..there were several attempts where I managed to put the pearl part on the underneath band or just generally messed up.  I was slightly concerned about getting them lined up properly, so I did a bit of cheating….I put in one bottom part, then rubbed some tailor’s chalk across the top of the prong bit.  Then I pulled the top band over so it lined up with the bottom band, rubbed over the prong bit and hey presto!  A handy chalk mark exactly where the pearl part of the snap needed to go.  I really like the look of these, and no buttons to sew on….win win really.

I’ve worn this to work twice now, and it’s been one of my most successful makes judging by the number of compliments it’s received.  My work colleagues are always gratifyingly amazed at whatever I make, but this also received a comment from the slightly odd lady in the coffee shop across from my office.  She is completely obsessed with change – if you try to pay for anything at isn’t a round number of pounds, she’ll always say ‘have you got the 20p?’ or whatever.  She even told one of my colleagues that she’d have to pay by card if she didn’t have the 30p.  Anyway, I had absolutely no change on me, only a 20 note.  As I got to the till she said ‘I love your dress’….I said ‘thanks, I made it’, and she was so gobsmacked that she didn’t even notice handing over a whole handful of change!  Definitely one of the best reactions I’ve had to something I’ve made……

The other Seamwork pattern I’ve tried was the Aurora tank but I think I’ve burbled enough for one evening.  Hopefully it won’t take me long to get round to blogging that one….