Some hopefully-not-boring basics

I’m always meaning to try and sew more ‘frosting’ – incidentally does anyone else find the whole cake / frosting thing confusing?  I always think that the cake is the fancy stuff, until I remember the alternative is frosting rather than, say, bread.  Possibly because I love cake, and my main thought when I see the word is ‘mmmmm cake……sorry what were you saying?’. Anyway, my wardrobe is basically full of cake, with very little in the way of frosting, so what I have got to show you today?  That’s right, a couple of knit tops which I’ve been wearing in heavy rotation since they were finished, no frosting in sight.

P1010509This lovely green number was made from a free Simple Sew pattern included with a recent issue of Love Sewing magazine.  It’s exactly my sort of thing – raglan sleeves, wide neckline, not too fitted – so it was an obvious choice for the first one of these patterns I’ve tried.

P1010521It was a very straightforward sew, I have to say I didn’t really look at the instructions at all so I can’t comment on them.  There’s not a lot you could possibly include in instructions for this sort of top – 4 raglan seams, 2 side seams and then neck, arm and bottom bands – all sewn on my overlocker in an afternoon.

P1010518I really like the back neckline as well – it’s very close to being completely identical back and front which gives that lovely wide shape across the back and shoulders.  Actually it’s only the neckband seam that means I can put this on the right way round now that mornings are gettIng dark, and I’m not entirely convinced that wearing it the wrong way round would actually be noticeable…..

The curved raglan seams are a nice detail too, and make this a pretty flattering shape on me, I think.

P1010515I do seem to have sewn a bit of a tuck into the neckband here – I suppose I could take the band off and reattach, but I can’t see it so I’m pretty sure I won’t bother…….

The fabric is a gorgeous vibrant green viscose jersey from Edinburgh Fabrics – green is probably my favourite colour to wear, and this shade makes me smile every time I look down at my top – something that has been very welcome over the last few months.  Definitely a successful project, and it’s one of those that I tend to wear immediately they come out of the wash – always a good sign.

My second knit top was actually one that I rescued from a semi-disaster, but it’s ended up being an incredibly useful layering top.

P1010508The first, failed top was a rub-off of a favourite RTW long-line t-shirt which came down to about mid-thigh, with wide bands on the bottom and sleeves and which has been worn to death.  I seem to have sharp elbows. judging by the number of my favourite longer-sleeved t-shirts which end up holey, and once this particular top got holes in the elbow patches I’d added to cover the original holes, I thought it was time to try and make a replica.

P1010505I used some soft and buttery bamboo jersey, also from Edinburgh Fabrics, in this lovely smokey blue-grey colour.  Unfortunately, it’s much heavier and more stretchy than the fabric of the original RTW top, and looked ridiculous at the longer length – it nearly came to my knees.  The sleeve bands were much bulkier than the sleeves as well, and looked rubbish, frankly.  It was very disappointing, I really miss the original top in my wardrobe, it was a great layering piece, and this fabric is so lovely it seemed a shame to have wasted it.  Obviously as a mature adult I scrunched it up and wedged it in a box with various other unfinished projects.  For some reason I decided to pull it out of the box six months later, and about half an hour before we left on holiday in September.  I just chopped off the bottom and sleeve bands, leaving the edges raw, and bunged it in the suitcase.  The intention was to go back and hem, but that hasn’t happened yet and I’m not sure I’ll ever bother, it works well just as it is.

P1010503This has ended up being quite snug, and all the lumps and bumps, back pockets and bra straps are pretty obvious, so at the moment I’m not tending to wear it on its own, but as an under-layer for cropped or sheer tops and jumpers it’s fab.  I will try again with the longer length and bands, once I find a suitable fabric that matches the original better.  I think a less drapey, cotton jersey might do the trick.

That’s the end of my unblogged finished projects, and I’ve hit a bit of a snag in that my sewing machine is in for repair at the moment.  I did, however, have enough energy over the last couple of weekends to cut out 3 or 4 projects, so I’ll be all ready once my machine is back.  None of those projects are what you’d call frosting either, but I do have plans involving some silk velvet and a frock for Christmas, I just need to get up the courage to cut into such a precious fabric….

Flutter dress

Well, I didn’t mean to take such a long break from blogging….long story short, my mental health has not been great, and I’ve barely had energy for the essentials – showering, turning up at work, feeding the humans and animals in the household – blogging hasn’t been that high up the list to be honest.  My ‘something creative everyday’ has been limited to some very slow knitting – which can be done sitting on the sofa – and sewing has taken a back seat.  The fog is starting to lift, I think (touch wood), and I do have some unblogged finished items, so I thought I’d start there.  I’ve done my usual hermit impression over the last few months – I’m definitely a natural introvert, and engaging socially with people whether IRL or online is one of the things that I make an effort to do when I’m well, but becomes very difficult when I’m not.  So hopefully a quick and dirty blog post – careful drafting and proofing are a bit much just now – will help me ease myself back into the big wide world.

Back in the spring I discovered the delights of the Etsy shop Miss Matatabi, and ordered myself some gorgeous Nano Iro double gauze.  I didn’t really have a pattern in mind, but I knew it would need to be something with fairly simple lines which would make the fabric the focus.  Not long after that Papercut Patterns released the Flutter Blouse / Tunic pattern which fit the bill perfectly.  And not long after that I realised that accepting the responsible position of godmother to a Little Lion meant an excellent occasion to wear a frock.  Serendipity maybe?  Or maybe I should just make more frocks anyway, there is a distinct lack of ‘nice’ clothes in my wardrobe currently.  It doesn’t help that there really is no dress code at all at my office, we have people wearing slippers and all sorts, so I’ve reverted to where I feel comfortable, clothes-wise – ie dressing ‘like a student’ (thanks Dad…!)

Anyway, frock-excuse found, I started by making a muslin of sorts.  I thought the beautiful fabric deserved it, so I decided to make the blouse version out of some very pink, deconstructed-paisley-esque viscose that was a bargain from Remnant Kings.  I went with the size S to start with, based on my bust measurement, and it turned out quite well.  Definitely wearable, anyway.


In better light my top, my skin and my wall aren’t all the same colour…..

The fit is pretty good, and I really like the neckline and back.  One lovely girl that I work with told me that this top looked like I’d bought it ‘in a really expensive shop’ – I wouldn’t go that far but I do like the finish with the bias bound neckline.

P1010535There is some slight pulling around the armholes, difficult to see in these photos I know, and I wasn’t sure if that was down to the unusual sleevehead, so I decided to test a couple of different sizes / adjustments before I cut into my precious Nano Iro.  I’ve always avoided the idea of an FBA – mainly because said full bust is a result of my weight gain over the last few years, and I’m in denial – but I finally succumbed to the inevitable.  Based on my high but measurement I went for a size XS, with a 4cm (8cm in total) FBA – I think, it’s a while ago and I can’t be bothered to check the pattern piece.  I didn’t bother with cutting the sleeves, it was the shoulder and bust area I wanted to check.

P1010536   P1010538Whilst technically I think this might be a better fit, it’s not a fit I feel comfortable with.  I have a real thing about fitted clothes, they’re just not me, and I always feel restricted in some way.  My next version was a size S, with a smaller FBA – again I wrote it on the pattern piece but can’t remember exactly how big – possibly 1.5cm or 3cm in total.  I don’t seem to have any pictures of this version but it felt much more comfortable so I went with that.

The dress I ended up with is gorgeous, and is one of my favourite things to wear.

Front 2

Front - side

Unfortunately the beautiful mint-y green (eau de nil even, maybe) background colour of this fabric proved very difficult to photograph – these were the best photos we managed to get.  I love the texture of the printing on the fabric as well – some of the white bits are quite raised, and there are some subtle sparkly bits as well. The fit around the shoulders and neck is really comfortable, and I love the full, longer sleeves.

Front 1It does wrinkle a bit with wearing, but I quite like that – a bit like wearing linen.  I’m really pleased with the choice of this pattern as a match for the fabric as well.  The incredibly simple lines really let the fabric be the star – both in design and texture.  My husband says that this is his favourite make of mine and I’m not going to disagree with him.

The back also looks pretty fabulous – I didn’t make any attempt at pattern matching, because a) I had limited fabric to work with, b) I like the print for its abstract qualities – although there are repeats I didn’t want to emphasise them, and c) well, as discussed before, I’m too lazy.

Back 2

Back 1

Another view of the back, just because I love the shape so much

I think the back is one of the reasons this design works so well.  I’m partial to a sack dress anyway, but this one is just sexy enough with the very open back and the length to mean it’s not frumpy.  Well, I hope it’s not anyway!  This dress also works really well with leggings for a more casual look, and it’s been a hit at work worn like that.

It’s a dress I will definitely make again – it’s a great option for a special fabric that needs simple lines – and it’s got that slightly quirky feel I love with those extravagant sleeves and the deep V in the back.

I’ll round off this post with a picture from the event this was made for – my god-daughter’s blessing ceremony.  Not the best picture of the dress but a lovely picture of the girl in question.  Please ignore the glaring continuity error of my haircut – it’s only taken me three months to blog this project….

Glencora blessing side shot