It is not very often I do this but I have made an item of clothing from scratch in one morning and couldn’t wait to put it up on here. A top in a morning.
So a little background story. Last weekend in Sydney we experienced some unseasonally warm weather for September and it made me start thinking back to how hot the nights were last summer. If we are getting high temperatures at night in spring then we are in for another hot summer. I sleep in cotton knit t-shirts and in summer can go through several a night as I have don’t have air conditioning and don’t like to sleep in damp shirts so I am changing them all the time as I wake up sweaty (I’m being brutally honest here)
I was going to draft a pattern from an existing shirt I had but instead in my stash found a pattern that I am in the process of making another item from (the dressing gown) Kwik Sew K4088 is a men’s pattern but who says females can’t wear the items. Again being honest I don’t sleep in a bra and I am not tiny I need big comfortable baggy shirts to sleep in. From this pattern I view B but used the neckline of C, I wanted short sleeves with a round neck. This pattern was super easy to make this style with as the pattern pieces are the same for both views you can just choose the neckline or sleeve length you want from each pattern piece. I made size XXL, I thought it may be a little bit big but it is perfect for me.
I was worried about the neckline being too big but I am really happy with the fit. With the exception of joining the 2 ends of the neckband to form a circle I constructed it all on the overlocker (serger) I have a couple of tiny puckers in my neckline but I am not bothered by it. I found it fairly easy to attach the neckband whilst using the overlocker.
To reinforce the shoulders the pattern said to use fusible tape, I had a looked at one of my current shirts and it only uses a scrap of fabric so that is what I used too. For me as I am really fussy I would start scratching if I had fusible tape on my shoulders so the fabric is perfect. I pinned the fabric scrap to the back of each shoulder and then stitched the shoulders together as per the pattern.
Once the top was all stitched together I wasn’t sure if I would bother hemming it or not. I decided to just overlock the edges but instantly hated it. On one sleeve I have started removed the stitches the other I will do in the next day or so.
The bottom hemline is the same I am not happy with it and will remove the stitching. The stitching seemed to distort it and stretch it all out. On the arms I think the stitching would annoy me and you don’t really need it. This isn’t a fashion item this is a I want to sleep comfortably item.
I am over the moon with how this turned out. The fabric I used was a cotton knit I found in my stash and I have already pulled out extra fabric from my stash to make more this weekend. This is a great fitting top for me. I think in a nice print I think I could even use this pattern as a regular summer t-shirt pattern for me. It doesn’t necessarily look like a PJ top it is essentially a t-shirt pattern. This was a really easy and quick top to make and I literally did everything in one morning (traced out the pattern, cut the fabric, stitched it up) Don’t you just love it when you find a great pattern like that.
The Lou Box Top by Sew DIY was the free pattern I chose as my Frocktails prize. It isn’t a style that I would normally choose as it is very floaty and not fitted so that is why I picked it, to get out of my comfort zone and try new styles. I had some cotton knit fabric in my stash that I brought at our Sydney Spoolette Spotlight outing earlier this year so last month I tried it out.
I adjusted the length by 6″ to make it a little longer. The pattern has a number of hem options but I went with a straight hem. I used the front hem pattern piece for both the front and the back as it was straight across and added to my extra inches to that instead of adding in the area marked to adjust the pattern. It was just easier for me to trace out, I don’t know much about pattern construction so I am not sure why the back hem piece had a slight curve to it but the front didn’t. The pattern comes with 2 options for the neck line I did the crew version. I am very pleased that it didn’t stretch out. I hand tacked it in place and then stitched it on with the overlocker. By going slow I discovered you can remove your hand tacking stitches before they get to the overlocker blade, it is the same as doing it with pins but you are removing basting stitches not metal pins. After the neckline was stitched on I didn’t do the stay stitching. If it starts to annoy me I can always go back and add that.
I’m happy with the finished top, however next time I will add further length to what I have already added. I prefer a longer tunic style top as I like coverage over my lower back almost to my hips. I don’t like drafts so I tuck my tops in to my skirts/pants if I am wearing a jacket or jumper which is most times. The reason this top looks crushed is that I had it tucked in all day as I wore it.
I guess you would describe the sleeves as dolman, they are baggy but don’t look too baggy. Upon wearing this I discovered that if worn under my fitted jacket the sleeves can be a little uncomfortable. There is very little room between the side seam and underarm so it pulled, I had to ruched them up to the shoulders almost like a tank top. I’ll try it under other jackets to see if it was just that particular jacket as I know that one is a snug fit. For the hems I used my hot hemmer to iron them in place. To secure all the hems I did a stepped zig zag stitch. I am pleased how they turned out.
I am glad I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and gave this top a try. I normally don’t do floaty tops. I have one style of tops I wear all the time and it is a fitted knitted t-shirt style which I brought in a heap of colours many years ago and I can no longer get so I need to start looking at tops. This pattern was a great way to get used to top making. Years ago I did make a pj top which I never wear as it is too big and I have avoided making tops since but making this pattern was fun so I’m going to make a few more tops like this and other styles. This was also a very quick pattern to whip up.
Over the Easter long weekend I made my first skirt from A Beginner’s Guide To Making Skirts. The Roewood Jersey Pencil Skirt is the first skirt in the book and I think it is a good one to start with. The fabric I used was the fishscale remnant piece I picked up on my fabric crawl last month from the Remnant Warehouse. I made the plain version of the skirt.
Fit wise I used the 47″ version however I’ll admit I added an extra ½” around each pattern piece using my seam allowance guide. I didn’t want the fit to be too snug and I wasn’t sure how much stretch my fabric would give once sewn up as I had never worked with that fabric before so really it was more like the 49″ that I made. Assembly wise I kept my seam allowance fairly narrow and did the all the seams on the overlocker.
I am happy with the size that I did. Yes I have a tummy (love my hot chips) Side on you can see it a little I normally wear longer tops anyway but ever if I didn’t it doesn’t look bad. I like the length of it. I have worn this to work and it did pass the windy day test. I didn’t have to walk down the street holding my skirt which I have had to do with store brought pencil skirts.
For the waistband I used the largest pattern size. Even though I am hourglass shape (waist is smaller than hips and bust) I didn’t fall within the waist measurements from the pattern size. Once the waistband was attached to the skirt I realised I could have gotten away without even inserting elastic into the casing as the fabric was very compressing and fitted almost like a narrow yoga waistband but as I would be wearing this to work and not wanting to risk wardrobe malfunctions over time I added the elastic.
Originally I used a narrow elastic but it just felt wrong once I tried it on. It didn’t sit nice within the casing and just felt awful so I removed it and put in wide elastic. The wide elastic is much more comfortable. When the skirt isn’t on it does look bumpy within the casing but when stretched out around the waist feels nice and secure. For the hem I just did the most basic fold over and stitch method. It isn’t the neatest hem and I’m sill considering maybe at some point of doing a rolled hem on it. I have enough length that I can change the hem if needed.
Sewing this skirt was a lot of fun. The fabric only cost me like $9 so if I messed it up or didn’t like it there was no fear of wasting a heap of money. The fabric is nylon spandex which is not normally a fabric I would go near but I loved the colour and the texture so I tried it out. When I brought the fabric I didn’t know if I would keep what I made from it or not but now that I have made it I’m keeping it. It isn’t a summer skirt even though I am in an air conned office, it is a winter skirt. I have lots of summer skirts and now I have a good winter skirt.
Out of all the fabrics I brought on my fabric crawl I would not have guessed this would have been the first fabric I used but I love it. Oh and I have one question what do you do with your hands when you are taking photos. I am no model I don’t know how to pose 🙂
Last year at the Spoolette swap day I picked up a piece of fabric that had blue roses on it. It was a polyester which I don’t normally like but because it combines my favourite colour with my favourite flower I was drawn to this piece.
I decided to make a skirt with it to wear at an event in March. Because of the polyester fibre content I decided I wanted a lined skirt. I found the perfect simple pattern in my stash Butterick 5431 (again it came from the swap day) I wanted a simple pattern as I had never made a lined skirt before. I read all the instructions, laid out the pattern pieces to trace them out and couldn’t find my size. I then took a closer look on the outside of the pattern envelope and realised it wasn’t my size.
I went through my pattern stash again and found a similar skirt pattern Simplicity 2184 view B but it wasn’t lined (which is probably why I didn’t choose it in the first place) I used this pattern and instructions to make my skirt but added the lining in via the instructions from the Butterick pattern.
Confession I get confused with seam allowances and how much you need to add if you are going to overlock (serge) all your edges before doing your seams. The skirt is made up of 4 pieces cut on the bias. I have never cut a pattern on the bias before. I needed to added a little extra as my hip measurements were a bit bigger than the pattern. I added extra to both sides of each pattern piece but thinking about it afterwards perhaps I only needed to added extra to the centre seam sides, or do you add more to the sides and not the middle? The end result is that skirt is a little puffier than I wanted but it isn’t the end of the world.
The lining is attached only at the waist band so it moves freely from the outer skirt underneath. I used a black cotton voile. I made it a couple of inches shorter so it wouldn’t be seen.
Looking at my check list of things to consider when making clothing
- Comfort √ Yes it isn’t tight and I have room to move
- Classic √ Yes it is a bias cut A line skirt
- Creative / Quirky √ Yes the rose print is very 3 dimensional
- Natural Fibres √ Yes to some extent as I have used cotton voile as the lining
Originally I had made this skirt just to wear to Australian Sewing Guild’s 20th birthday lunch in March but have decided in the last couple of weeks I can also afford to go the Sydney Spoolette’s Frocktails event in February so this skirt is going to get 2 uses soon. I know it will be in my wardrobe for years and will get use whenever I need an item that is just that little bit special.
I had leftover colouring in fabric from when I made the Colour Me Happy skirt back in January so I have made a second one.
This skirt is pretty much identical to the previous one except for some reason even though I was wanting to make the same size I cut my fabric out wrong, when I stitched it up instead of fitting a 7 year old it fitted maybe a 3 or 4 year old. I sliced off my seams and started again. I actually went to a department store and measure a skirt to see how big I should make it this time, keeping a tape measure in your bag when out shopping comes in handy. I was running out of fabric so this skirt has 2 side seams instead of just the one seam like original. I did all my seams for this one on the overlocker.
This skirt is to go with the bucket hat I made a couple of months back. I again will also add marking pens in with the skirt for the child to use.
I have completed my skirts for the Pattern Review One Pattern Many Looks contest. The pattern I used was Simplicity 1071, after doing my test skirt to check the size I have made the skirts in XL.
For my first skirt I used a cotton lycra called Pigeon Lace by Tyglycka. It was love at first sight when I saw Zebra Fabrics post a photo of this fabric on Facebook. I am not a white person but this print is amazing. The piece is 180cm wide too so you are really getting your money’s worth from it. It feels so soft and light.
For the hem I used my coverstitch machine. I wanted to keep it very simple. Sadly my tension may have been out a bit or I hadn’t feed the fabric through smoothly so my hem isn’t sitting flat. It isn’t a total disaster as it looks like a pin tuck finish. As the print is so busy really it isn’t that noticeable as you don’t really see the stitching on the hem line. I brought this fabric with the intention of making this skirt. I purchased a little extra than the pattern required so hopefully I will have enough to make a matching top.
For my second skirt I used some black cotton lycra I found in my stash, most likely I brought it from Spotlight last year. It has a slightly heavier feel to it. I wanted to make a classic black skirt. To add a little interest to the skirt as classic doesn’t need to equate to boring I added a trim to the hem line.
To attach the trim piece I first did a double folded hem and secured it with a row of stitching – confession I just eyeballed it and didn’t get out my hem gauge to check it was even. I pinned the trim onto the folded area and did a row of stitching either side of the ribbon detail. I wasn’t sure how stitching a firmer piece of trim onto a stretch fabric would go but the hem line doesn’t stretch and this is a heavier fabric so it works well.
I love the trim piece and can proudly say I made it up myself. At the ASG Simplicity Industry Day this year I picked up a roll of black cotton lace. I weaved some 9mm satin ribbon through the eyelet holes in the lace. I love the combination of them both. They both add interest to the skirt. The ribbon was the only thing I needed to buy in making these skirts as I had everything else already in my stash.
The skirt pattern itself is so simple to make up – a front, a back and 2 pieces for the waist casing. It is a great pattern to have in your stash as it is so basic you can change it around by changing the fabrics or trims or length of the hem.
Looking at my check list of things to consider when making clothing
- Comfort √ Yes it is super comfortable
- Classic √ Yes it is timeless look
- Creative / Quirky √ Yes the blue fabric is a little different and the black trim is one off (unless I make it up again)
- Natural Fibres √ Yes I have used cotton lycra
I’m happy to say my new skirts are perfect for me. They are a simple skirt that is comfortable, they will fit in with other pieces of my slowly growing “Me Made Collection”
I have decided to enter a competition on Pattern Review where contestants take one pattern and make 2 or more versions of it by changing the fabric print or embellishing it with trims or changing hem lines. I have decided to enter it as a personal challenge to see if I can do one pattern many ways. In the past I have made the same Aline skirt pattern in multiple fabric prints but never changed anything on it.
The pattern I have chosen is Simplicity 1071. It is really basic pull on skirt pattern. When I took my measurements I discovered I was between sizes of L and XL I decided to do a test skirt first before cutting into my good fabrics to see if the XL would be too big.
The fabric I have used in this test skirt is a cotton knit. It similar to the fabric I’m using in my skirts. I purchased this fabric earlier this year as part of a bundle from Melly and Me. I hadn’t gotten around to using it yet. I had few pieces to choose from but holding up my pattern pieces that I had traced out discovered this green piece was just the amount of fabric I needed.
If you look up close it has tiny polka dots and little green petal things. The fabric is actually dark enough that you can’t see through it too much. In this photo it looks very crushed and that is because I have been wearing at home around the house a lot the last couple of weeks.
I still haven’t hemmed it and to be honest it may never get hemmed. Unhemmed it falls on my knee line. It is so soft and comfortable. I normally wear pj pants and shorts at home but this is nice to have on. As I mentioned it isn’t too transparent so I can wear it when I have delivery people over or if I go down into a communal area of my unit block. My neighbours have seen my in pj’s anyway but I never wear anything too revealing or inappropriate. This test skirt is the perfect house skirt. Using more of the knit fabric bundle I got I may make more house skirts. I am happy with this size and have cut my competition skirts out using this size.