This jersey has been sitting in my fabric stash for a long, long time. My first instinct with any jersey is to make a turtleneck or mock neck top, because during winter thats what I wear 5/7 days of the week when it’s cold. However, I’ve really been trying to diversify my wardrobe and wanted to make some sort of ‘elevated basic’ with this top, something that will work with lots of pants/skirts but with a little more design than my usual turtleneck.

I really loved the twist of the Joni dress (Tilly and the Buttons – Stretch!) below so used this as a base to make my top.

As this is a dress pattern I did make a few modifications. I chose to cut a 3/4 sleeve which I hemmed with a zigzag. I also chose to modify the neckline. The initial pattern has a higher neck but I changed it to a  deeper V neck by modifying the knot pattern pieces. I also lengthen them on the bottom so that the horizontal seam sits further down. When I tuck it and wear high waisted pants this then can’t be seen. It does have a little bit of a tendency to ride up so am considering altering this into a body suit at some stage in the future. This also keeps the knot from bagging around the chest area and keeps it tight. I added the neck binding and hand stitched it to the underside of the garment, instead of following Tilly’s recommended method. This resulted in a little bit of pulling so some careful ironing had to be done, however I do like this now as there is no visible stitch line at the neck. As I’ve been sewing for a while now I do tend to not read instructions as carefully as I once did, often to my own detriment. This happened when I was making the knot and caused a few problems. The instructions are really clear and it was fine once I read them properly but it did take me three tries to get it looking as I wanted.

For most of this shirt I used my overlocker. I did attempt to use my overlocker to do the seams near the knot but found it difficult to get the precision I need. Using a sewing machine and then overlocking the seams where needed is a much better way to do this. Basically, if I read the instructions better, it would have been easy!

Overall I really love how this top worked out. The fabric has such a lovely texture so it’s so soft and comfortable to wear.

Pattern- Joni by Tilly and the Buttons from the book Stretch

Fabric- jersey from The Fabric Store

 

Often when I sew I make a style that isn’t in my current wardrobe so it’s a bit of a guess as to what the final garment will look like on me. However, as I basically live in mock neck tops in winter, I knew exactly how this would sit on me. Hence, I  have gotten a lot of wear out of this Freya top.

This isn’t a difficult pattern to sew, although when the fabric & my serger weren’t getting along, it was a bit challenging.

To make this top I used the Freya Pattern from the book Stretch. The first Tilly and the Buttons book, Love At First Stitch, taught me how to sew; how to finish a seam, insert and zip and make wearable garments. It’s a reference point for me whatever I’m making, so it’s nice to know, that  now have a guide as I adventure into knits.

This fabric is a dead stock sparkle knit from Alannah Hill. It’s a loose-ish knit so was prone to stretching and fraying when sewing which made the neck piece insertion a little tricky. However I did manage to successfully insert my first neckband so this wasn’t a huge problem. Also, as this was such a loose knit the shoulder seam stabilising elastic was crucial to the longevity of the top. I spent a while trying to get this perfect by fiddling with tensions and stitch widths on my machine, but now feel confident with elastic and have used it for a few projects since, again referring back to Tilly’s instructions.

I found this pattern to be true to size. I didn’t make any modifications and chose to cut a 3/4 sleeve.

Fabric- Dead stock Alannah Hill from ClearIt 

Pattern- Freya Top– Tilly and the Buttons

I spent a few days in the summer holidays organising the many boxes of fabrics that I own. I genuinely didn’t believe that I had a stash of fabrics but now know otherwise. I found so many pieces of fabric I didn’t even know that I had, either that I’d bought and forgotten about or that was left over from other projects.  I found fabric that was left over from this bag I made a few years ago. I think it’s a light weight cotton that’s maybe been blended with something else as it holds a little bit of body. This was the perfect project to use up this left over fabric as it uses less than a metre of fabric.

This top is so versatile. You can tie it at the front or the back, or wear it as a wrap around, again at the front or back.

I made this top using the free morning glory top pattern by Sarah Kirsten. This is the second one of Sarah’s Patterns I’ve sewn (I made this modified Walnut Wrap skirt last year).  Both patterns have been more like a guided self drafting project than a more traditional pattern. This makes them very simple but satisfying sews and produces garments that are super easy to modify.

I made a few small changed to this pattern. As directed I hemmed around the neckline and arm holes but instead of hemming the ties I folded them in half and sewed them together. This was as the wrong side of the fabric was clearly noticible and I wanted to hide it. I also put a hook and eye about half way down the neckline just so that I can keep it more together at the front if I chose.

When using this pattern in future I’d  widen the armholes. I think I made them a little tight which occasionally causes some pulling near the sleeves.  The top moves a lot with activity and although the hook and eye helped with  this I’d make sure to add a little extra room next time. I initially had a plan to scoop the neckline and add a few buttons here however the fabric was a little too stiff for this to sit nicely. I’d love to make another version of this pattern using a softer fabric and adding the buttons.

Although the weather is cooling down here hopefully I’ll get a few more wears out of this before winter arrives, or else I’m sure this top will be something I’ll were lots next summer.

Fabric- Darn Cheap Fabrics

Pattern- Sarah Kirsten Morning Glory Top – Free Pattern

With the arrival of summer this top has very quickly become a favourite in my wardrobe. The linen and loose fit means that it holds almost no heat, making this perfect for hot summer days. 

 

 

I made this top by modifying the Wattlebird Jumpsuit by Common Stitch. It’s made in a linen blend (similar to this I think)  my mum bought me from the fabric store earlier in the year. 

To make the top I used the top half of the jumpsuit (the top front and back pieces and the straps). I lengthened the body, both front and back pieces, by about three inches as the jumpsuit body/pant seam sits quite high. I also raised the back by an inch at the top, following the drafted curve, as I wanted mine to sit a little higher than was drafted. 

This fabric has a really lovely decorative selvedge that I figured I could use as both a design element and a way to avoid hemming. Consequently I did have to remove the curve along the lower edge of the patten pieces and level it off to accomodate this. 

Using the given measurements I was between two sizes and picked the larger. Yet due to the loose fit this ended up being too large and I took 4 cm from the side seams on either side. This was a little difficult as I had already sewed down the straps which bind the top edge of the top and added lots of bulk.

Consequently, the top also gaped at the top. In order to make this sit flat I’ve added pleats at the top by folding part of the top back towards the strap on both sides. It’t a little difficult to explain but can be seen in the photo above.

Next time I should be more careful and try it on beforehand!  I would recommend sizing down/grading if you are between sizes. 

The resulting top is similar to the Wattlebird Cami, also by Common Stitch and it likely would have been a lot easier to make with just that pattern. Yet as I only owned the jumpsuit pattern I figured hacking could be possible from the base. As this top was simple to sew up once made it was fun to spend a bit more time working on modifying the pattern so that it was exactly what I wanted. 

This isn’t a fabric I’d buy for myself as it’s not a colour I’d usually wear, yet as always mum was able to find something that is a little outside my style but I’ve so easily made it feel like me. As it was a linen blend it was a little stretchy so I did have to be careful when sewing that I didn’t stretch out and disfigure the seams. Some extra practice using my overlocker should also help with this.

I’ve worn this top so much since I made it a few weeks ago. It’s so light and breezy. I’ve taken photos here with a denim skirt but I’ve also worn this with denim shorts for a more casual (and perfect for the beach) look.

Pattern – Modified Wattlebird Jumpsuit by Common Stitch

Fabric- Linen Blend from The Fabric Store

 

I pattern tested the Adrienne Blouse for the Friday Pattern Company about a month ago.  The top was very different to anything I’ve got in my wardrobe hence I was a little worried about sewing this as I wasn’t sure how this would sit on me (+ I couldn’t do my usual instagram stalk of everyone else who has made it to see what it would look like out in the real world). The sample is styled with structured pants but in order to make this top feel more like me I wore mine with my Ninni Culottes. I really enjoy this style as there is so much drama in the big sleeves and wide legs.

I only made a few minor alterations to this pattern. I shortened both the neckline and sleeve elastic for a closer and tighter fit, I also shortened the body by two inches.   In hindsight I shouldn’t have made the shoulder elastic shorter as I think I like the lower neckline of the sample version but I still enjoy this version. If I made it again I’d follow the recommended length.

The testing pattern didn’t have a spot to change the fullness of the sleeves however the released pattern does. I think this would be so lovely with a lighter, more drapey fabric and a slightly less full sleeve. I really love how the bodice sits and it would be fun to see how the mood of the top could be changed with some alterations.

Now the pattern is released, I’ve loved seeing how all the testers styled their own versions, with skirts, jeans and overalls. I’m looking forward to seeing more and working out all the other ways I can incorporate this top into my wardrobe.

Pattern- Adrienne Blouse – Friday Pattern Company

Fabric- unknown stretch material from The Fabric Store

This is probably one of the easiest tops I have ever made.  This simple cami took less than an hour to make which is perfect for when I’ve only got a small amount of time to sew.

I modelled my own cami off this version by Ashley from buttermlked. I modified my self drafted pattern I used to make this blue and white stripy top.  For this version I made the straps skinnier and shortened the body pieces so that it sat better over jeans. I also serged the edges and used french seams as the fabric frayed quite a bit after it was cut and I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t have fabric fluff all over me when I wore this!

Fabric- Spotlight Nylon Twinkle Satin

Pattern- Self Drafted

As soon as the Monroe Turtleneck was released by Tessuti I knew I had to make one. Luckily for me my grandmother bought me a serger for my birthday this year which made the whole process so much easier. This was the perfect project for me to learn how to use it as the pattern is so simple and also free!  I made two of these in a week and have plans to be making a few more for next winter.

I had worn my  RTW black turtleneck so often in winter under jumpsuits, with skirts and jeans that  I knew I’d get so much wear out of the Monroe Turtleneck. I bought the black  fabric from the Life with bird Fabric sale for $4 and was eager to use it on my new serger.  I figured that even if this sew went horribly wrong, and my serger cut it all up, I wouldn’t be too upset as the fabric cost me so little.  Luckily it did work as this is such a warm fabric and the top is super comfy to wear.

The Tessuti instructions are comprehensive but aimed at someone with a knowledge of knits and a serger. As  I was completely new to knits and my serger I had my copy of Stretch, by Tilly and the Buttons, open the entire time for some extra help. I had no idea where to start when I opened the machine as I had limited knowledge of how a serger works. I didn’t know what a differential feed was or how I was even meant to start threading the machine, not to mention I was also very intimidated by the blade and was sure I’d cut into the fabric accidentally at some point. Tilly’s serger set up advice was a life saver.  It helped me to thread the machine and work out how to adjust tension and stitch width. I didn’t get it perfect in my first attempt, my black version of the monroe top, but I’m ok with that. Now with a little more practice I am so much more confident using the machine. I would definitely recommend the book to anyone new to stretch fabrics and an overlocker because even if they don’t intend to use the patterns the technical advice is so useful.

The only alteration I made to the pattern in my black version was to add a centre back seam. This was more out of necessity than style design as I didn’t plan my fabric layout well and needed to cut the back into two pieces. I also cuffed the sleeves as I don’t have a twin needle and thought the zig zag hem I did on the bottom didn’t look as nice for the sleeves.

This pattern was such a joy to sew that I started cutting up the next one in a green merino from The Fabric Store the day after I finished my first one.  By my second attempt I’d sorted out all my tension issues and had some cutting practice so finished the entire garment in one afternoon.  I hadn’t even finished the hemming, but was too excited to wait so wore it the next day under overalls.  It is so warm, just perfect for a Melbourne winter,  and such a different colour to what I normally wear. I ended up hand stitching the hem using a catch stitch which made for a clean but subtle finish, even though it took a little longer to complete. Since the rest of the process was so quick it was kind of nice to slow down and finish it with a bit of hand stitching.

Pattern – Monroe Turtleneck – Tessuti  – FREE

Fabric – Life With Bird fabric sale (black) and merino from The Fabric Store (green)

As it is Mother’s Day, I thought I’d blog about this top I made for my Mum. As she has been asking for me to make her a shell top for a while, I thought this would be a really good way to show my appreciation for everything she does for me, my sister and every one around her. She’s is always there to help when I need, is really encouraging in anything I want to do and has done such an amazing job as a mother who has now successfully raised an adult (!!). I know she doesn’t get nearly enough credit for everything she does. Happy Mother’s Day Mum!

I was quite nervous about doing this as I hadn’t sewed anything for another person before and wanted the top to be perfectly finished.  As you can see I am modelling the top as Mum is much happier being behind the camera and didn’t pose for photos, but she did lend me her clothes to show how she wears the top. The fit on me is sightly different to on Mum. I’m taller and bigger than Mum so it’s boxier and longer on her but the overall effect is similar. 

This top is a heavily modified Moana Top by Papercut patterns. I used this pattern last year but I didn’t really love the end product due to my fabric choice and it was too small when I’d finished making it. I also did a super dodgy job of the zip and used the wrong weight facing so the top was all round no good.  However, it did fit my mum really well so when she requested I make her a boxy top I figured this pattern would be a good place to start. I extended the width of the top by about 3cm each side to make it less fitted and removed the back darts. I also removed the bottom frill and extended the length of the top, slightly curving the bottom. Normally the insides of what I make aren’t sewn with the most care, however when sewing for mum I felt like I needed to make them much nicer. I even made a toile first to double check the fit after my pattern adjustments because I really wanted to get the fit right so that I made something that mum would love to wear. I didn’t realise how useful this was until I finished the top and didn’t have to make any fit adjustments at the end like I usually have to!

This fabric was an adventure to buy. We stumbled across a super cute quilting store in a tiny country town whilst on a road trip and bought the last metre of it. I was a little worried it wouldn’t be enough but am so happy it worked out!

Overall I’m really happy with this top. The fabric is gorgeous and I love it with this top style. Although it took a little longer to make than it would  if I was sewing for me, I did enjoy the extra steps that made it look cleaner in the end. Now I’ve got to learn to use my new overlocker so I can get the insides really looking nice when I make things for other people!

Fabric- From Inheritance Patchwork

Pattern- Moana Top by Papercut Patterns

 

 

I made this top using the free Purl Soho Boxy Tee Pattern a while ago. It is the first top I ever made that I wore out in the real world. It is not  perfectly made, but I am happy enough with it and love the strawberry fabric. The first time wearing this top on holiday I felt like such an accomplished seamstress, which makes me laugh now. However, I still do feel a nice sense of accomplishment whenever I wear something I made.

I usually wear this top back to front as I prefer the more boat neck style at the front and lower back. Luckily for me there are no darts in the body so wearing it like this is fine.

I learnt a few new skills when making this top. The T-shirt was my first time using bias binding to finish a neckline, which scared me so much but worked out mostly ok. I liked the finish of the bias binding, however I do tend to stick to using facing where I can as I much prefer sewing facing than bias bindings.

This pattern is such a good way to get into t-shirt making for a few reasons.

  1. It’s boxy, so super easy to fit and alter if needed.
  2. It uses woven fabric.
  3. It’s free, so even if it doesn’t work out it’s still ok.
  4. It’s overall a really easy pattern to make with no set in sleeves , darts or super tricky elements.

Pattern- Purl Soho Boxy Tee (Free)

Fabric- Cotton from Spotlight

This top was initially a basic child’s dress with straps and a gathered elastic waist. Mum bought it online and, as it didn’t quite fit my sister or I, it has sat idly in the wardrobe. I decided it was time to give it a new life as the fabric is really lovely.  This is so far the only thing I’ve made from an existing garment but I loved the fact that I could recycle the dress so that it wasn’t a waste. It made the environmentally conscious part of me very happy.

This was easier than making a top from scratch as I was able to avoid inserting elastic, hemming and making straps because these were already in the dress and I could repurpose them. My least favourite part of sewing is hemming and I often procrastinate about doing this, so I really enjoyed this not being a part of this project. 

Here is how I made it- 

  1. First I cut the skirt off above the waistband and finished the raw edges on the top of the top. 
  2. I then removed the straps from the dress and re-attached them to the top of the skirt to make the new top.
  3. The final step was to cut the skirt in half widthways so I could remove some of the length but keep the lace trim on bottom.

That’s it! After finishing all the seams I’m very happy with a new top and glad I was able to reuse an item of clothing and it cost me nothing!