Tag Archive | tops

A post from the Past

If I’d been more active on here, I would have noticed before today, that this draft post from August (AUGUST!!!!) had not actually gone live.

In the interests of keeping everyone up to date with what I made, and remembering happy summer holiday days, here it is:

 

Well I got some of my prep done for all the holiday crafting, before I left for France. It wasn’t exactly what I had planned but I had enough to be getting on with, so it was all good!

First up, before leaving, I created a skirt and top set in the dark violet jersey I had used for the flower decoration on the chartreuse dress. I used my trusty Simple Sew Shannon pattern for a t-shirt style top. As I’ve done in the past, I skipped the neck and arm bands for a cleaner line, and to make it look less t-shirty.

For the skirt I used my self drafted straight pull-on skirt pattern, and it’s pretty much a direct copy of my royal blue one. The only difference is that this purple one was going to be hemmed by hand, rather than adding an overlocked band.

All I needed to do was get on with the hand hemming… There were a few distractions at the start of the holiday (all 3 of my sisters being there, along with nieces and nephews, and a mahoosive cousins party) but it got done eventually.

Yes, it’s another Shannon!

I also got some work done on my 100 Day Dress so now I’m on Day 75.

&

The progress report is that I’ve got about a third of the front still to embellish, and then I need to sew it all together. I’m still debating with myself what my options are for sewing together, but I reckon it’s all feasible within the 25 days I’ve got remaining. If it looks like it may need more time, then I’ll just have to be picky about using days where I’ve got nothing else to do!
For the full gen on this dress, it has its own Instagram account.

Sadly the knitting remains unknitted. But the Granny Squares blanket that I started last summer continues apace, with over 2/3 of the squares done. I even started putting them together. I learned a new technique for that, so yay for youtube:

I also visited the fabric shop in Les Sables again, and came away with a couple of jerseys, and some super-cute sunflower buttons.

I’m very happy with that little haul.

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Another Simple Sew Stylish Shell Top, plus a skirt

My post has gone live on the Simple Sew Blog now, so I can share these two makes:

Way too hot for these!

The top is another iteration of the Simple Sew Stylish Shell Top, made with a beautiful minty green chambray from Doughty’s Online (supplied by them specifically for the blog – Thank you so much!). I hacked a stand-up collar onto it. Go to the blog to see how.

The skirt is another of my self drafted straight skirts, which I narrowed to pencil proportions! I used a scuba fabric from Fabricland UK, which doesn’t seem to be available on their website now. I’ve still got a load of it left, which I don’t really know what to do with, to be honest. I love the print, and I wondered if I could make a matchy matchy  jacket with what’s left. But the fabric is really hot to wear, so I’m not convinced it would be a good idea!

Both these makes were conceived before the heatwave, and I have to say, I don’t have a lot of use for either of them right now – I think they’ll be much more welcome in the autumn.

Return of the Sewjo!

There’s nothing like a blogging deadline to motivate a person! After promising to get this sewn up for AGES, I got given a deadline, so I just had to get on with it. And what do you know, after the doldrums of the Winter, I’m feeling all enthused again…

The Simple Sew Blog has been featuring the delights of the Stylish Shell Top, and different bloggers have been showing how versatile it is. This is my contribution.

A Shell Top, with Sleeves!

It’s been great to be sewing again!

A misty autumnal shell top

I went to the Great British Sewing Bee Live event on Saturday,  and of course I felt the need to wear something that I had made. Something new. That thought didn’t hit me until Thursday, so I reached for one of the Works In Progress, to save myself some time. I’d already cut out a Shell top from the rather pretty cotton I’d bought in France, a month or more back, and now was the perfect time to get down to sewing it.

The colours are perfect for autumn

I was using my trusty Shell Top pattern from Claire-Louise Hardie (the Thrifty Stitcher). I’ve used it before, and I’m always going to love it. I cut the neckline about 5cm lower than usual, to see how it looks, and I’m happy with it.

Unfortunately I am the world’s most rubbish blogger, and I largely failed to take any photos at GBSB Live. It was a brilliant exhibition, and I bumped into loads of lovely people and made some new sewing friends, but I had no pictures that show the new top in action.

So when the Gentleman Friend suggested a walk at Wisley Gardens, I shamelessly pulled the top back on, and asked him to photograph me!

There was a sculpture exhibition on

 

But it was the light in the glasshouse that inspired him the most.

 

The dappled sunlight is quite flattering

And a full length view, with hibiscus, suits my love of a massive floral!

It was the ideal top for the weekend, which was gorgeously sunny and warm, but today everything’s feeling very autumnal, and I suspect that was its last wear of the year. It’ll be time for tights and jumpers now.

Holiday projects round-up

I’m back from my holidays, and I thought I’d lump together all my remaining holiday projects in one post – both the finishing-off jobs and the long-running ones.

The watercolour floral top – finished

I went to the summer Sewmance festival in June and one of my purchases there was this gorgeous floral lawn from the Fabric Godmother.

I knew I wanted to make it into a shell top using my now tried and tested pattern from the Thrifty Stitcher, and that’s what I did. This cotton was a dream to sew.  I completed the top quickly (I really know what I’m doing with this pattern now!) apart from the hemming which I left as a holiday job. It took next to no time.

I really love this outfit!

And it works tucked in too

***

The Banksy Hoody – finished

I had a black t-shirt with Banksy’s  Fallen Angel printed on it.  This t-shirt has been adapted to death, and I don’t wear it anymore, but i really didn’t want to lose the stencil.

So I put it on a hoody.

I cut out the printed bit and attached it with a load of cross stitches, because the diagonal stitching keeps a certain amount of stretch in the fabric, so it wouldn’t pull the sweatshirt fabric out of whack. You can’t really see the cross stitching here because it’s all in black, you’ll have to trust me!

I put it low down on the back, to be sure the hood wouldn’t obscure it.

My sister said I look like a Pink Lady! 

***

Granny Squares Crocheted Blanket – started, very much not finished

I took a load of yarn with me, thinking I might  try knitting a jumper but i really don’t enjoy knitting –  it’s too slow for me! I felt the urge to start crocheting again though. Being in Bretignolles reminded me of my mum and my mamie (my French grandmother), and my aunts and great-aunts, because this is where we have all been holidaying since I was a baby, well since mum was a baby, and earlier! I’ve got family all around me here. Sitting in front of the house with my sister, crocheting, I realised I was doing exactly what my mum did 50 years ago, sitting with her sister, crocheting (and probably Mamie and her sisters 80 years ago). Mum made a massive red white and navy granny squares bedspread for here, and although I’m trying to avoid creating long-term projects that take up storage space in my little flat, I wanted to try and make one for myself.

I’ve done the maths and I need 285 squares. I’ve got 20 so far! I said this was a long-term project, didn’t I?! I’m also making sure I sew in all the ends as I’m going along, because I don’t want to get to the “end” of the crocheting, only to have to sew a million ends in. I want to be able to finish the last treble stitch and think “Done!”

***

Beading a t-shirt – started 

Actually I started this project a few weeks ago, as a bit of train sewing, on the trip to Walthamstow, it must have been. I started with some biggish beads ganked from a Primark bracelet. I couldn’t find the rest of the bracelet beads to bring with me so I brought my pot of black seed beads.

As soon as I got started I knew it was going to take forever! I’m treating this as a long-term project too. I can do an inch or two here and there and it might be done by Christmas!

caviar beading

***

And finally…

Fabric Shopping

I found Tissus du Renard in le Chateau d’Olonne, which is a big out of town store.

On the route de Talmont, just past Lidl, if I remember correctly

I was a bit amazed at the size of it – I’m used to tiny little fabric shops where everything is piled up to the rafters! This was spacious, airy, well-lit and well laid out. It also has a big furnishing fabric section and wools, embroidery and general craft supplies. Once I’d found my way around and sussed out how they’d organised it, I was able to have a good hunt for my sort of fabrics. I hit peak floral!

On the left, it’s a beautiful lightweight cotton lawn, destined to be another shell top. In the middle it’s a jersey floral panel (I think it’s my favourite out of these three, and I’m going to make it into a dress as soon as I get home). On the right, a soft viscose poppy print.

I admit this is a total fail on my No Buying More Fabric goal, but I’m trying to think of these as souvenirs rather than Stash. I’m pretty much determined to get two of them sewn up this week, at least.

 

My Holiday Shannon Collection

I went a bit bonkers on the Simple Sew Shannon collection for my summer holiday wardrobe. It was just perfect for what I wanted, namely some quick and easy lightweight throw-on tops and dresses. It really was a no-brainer.

I was shopping my stash and since I seem to have developed a craving for more blue in my wardrobe this year, I wanted to use the remainder of the royal blue jersey I’d got from FC Fabric Studio (and used for this skirt). However before proceeding with the dress, I wanted to try it out with the t-shirt version first and hopefully have a wearable toile for the hols. The blue grey jersey I had bought at the same time as the royal blue had the same amount of stretch and it tied in perfectly with my holiday wardrobe plans so I went ahead with the that first.

I made the t-shirt using the largest size and trusted that the elastane in the Jersey would be sufficiently forgiving. And yippee – it was! I also lengthened it by about 5 inches or so.

I did change the order of construction so that I could insert the bands at the neckline and sleeves in the flat. My post on the Simple Sew Blog sets this out more fully. I really wanted to make sure the bands were sufficiently stretched so that they wouldn’t gape, and I feel I have more control over this when I’m inserting them flat. I left the hemming to be done on holiday and moved swiftly on to the dress.

Here’s the t-shirt in its holiday environment, once I’d herringboned the hem to keep it good and stretchy.

shannon tee 1

Goes brilliantly with the Paisley Leftovers skirt

And also the Grey Birds skirt

Having worked on the T-shirt as a toile, I knew exactly what I was doing and I was able to make the dress up quickly. I lowered the front neckline so that it would be more sun-dress-y, and used the same construction as I’d done for the top.

The main feature was the Lace border at the bottom. I’d had this lace in my stash for a while, having bought it at Tiger (because it was so cheap it was rude not to). I hadn’t had any ideas about how to use it until now. Once I put these two stash items together it really was a match made in Heaven. The colours popped like popcorn! I really love it! I’ll be wearing this dress for the rest of the summer (whether or not there’s any more actual summer in England!).

Here’s the dress, though you’ve seen it before…

This is my sister’s house

shannon lace 1

Whoops! This is the messy view!

 

I’m a firm believer in making the patterns that work for you, *really* work for you, so I made one more Shannon dress using this denim/lace patchwork print jersey from my costume-making stash. I originally bought this at Fabricland, a few years ago and I wasn’t sure about the elastane content but it seemed close enough to what I’d been working with, though its a bit thinner.

I altered the armscye to make it sleeveless and the neckline to be slightly more boaty, sewed it up and again left the hemming as a holiday sewing project.

Here’s the denim and lace Shannon dress, or as I’m now thinking of it, the Hillbilly Dress in its first incarnation.

hb1

Not quite right

 

 

However, I wasn’t 100% happy with how I’d shaped the shoulder and the armscye, there was too much fabric in front of my armpit. I thought it needed re-cutting and re-banding, to bring the curve in more. I figured I’d do something about it when I got back home. But I wanted to be able to wear it in France – after all that was the whole point of this dress, its raison d’etre, if you will. So I needed a quick hand-sewable fix. I gathered the shoulder seams to narrow them, making sure I didn’t catch the neck or sleeve bands, and hey presto! Fixed!

hb2

 

I’ll be honest, I should perhaps have considered pattern placement more thoroughly. While it was laid out flat it seemed OK, but this jersey is very stretchy, so this dress is not quite as flattering as I could wish for, but I’m happy enough to to wear it for holidays. I won’t be wearing this one to work like the lace dress, though. 

I’ve got one more Shannon dress planned for when I get home*. Although technically not a holiday dress, it will be from fabric bought on holiday so it will still be part of the collection!

* Because I’m posting this on rather dodgy data roaming direct from my holidays. The time it’s taken to upload these photos, you wouldn’t believe!

Not quite a UFO

I’ve been trying to de-clutter my flat. It’s too small for All The Stuff. This has meant re-discovering things. I genuinely thought I’d thrown out this leopard print chiffon and the bits of top that I’d started to make from it in 2014, but as it turns out, I’d just put it all in a bag and forgotten about it.

When I did come across it, I realised I didn’t want to make that top any more, so this is not really a UFO, because the original make from this chiffon is now gone. I was happily throwing it into the fabric scraps bag, when I realised that there was quite a big chunk of fabric left over, and I could make my now go-to shell top from it, if I cut it on the cross grain. Actually that worked a lot better with the print, which would thereby run vertically rather than across me.

Presenting the Mournful Leopard Top*

The fabric is really slippery, and I mostly resolved the cutting and sewing problems that generates by a heavy use of pins. I sewed everything on my overlocker, because I love how it sews and neatens at the same time, and because I was aiming for speed and wasn’t going to faff about with French seams.

I’ve added a purely decorative button and loop closure at the back. I don’t need it for access, because I can get the top on fine without it, I just wanted something a little different, and as I mostly wear my hair up, I thought it would add a nice bit of detail. The button is actually one of the table sprinkles from the Dressmakers’ Ball – I’d picked a few of these up as a souvenir (because the goody bag wasn’t enough!) and although they aren’t really good enough to be used as buttons normally, because they are quite lightweight they worked well with this fabric. I’m not going to be using the button much (at all), so the lack of quality isn’t going to have any significant impact.

The other change I made was to lengthen the top by 10cms, and I’m really happy with how that came out. It’s long enough to tuck in, if I want to, but also it’s a good length to have loose.

Cool for the Summer

The fabric is very lightweight – I can scrunch this top down and hold it all in my fist – and it’s going to be great for hot summer days, both in the office and on my holidays. I’m off to France and I’m currently planning my packing, as well as my sewing/crafting projects while I’m there.

* This top’s name comes from the fact that back in 2014, the original top was all cut out and sat on top of my sewing machine, for a considerable time, waiting for me to get on and just sew it. I mentioned to someone that it kept looking at me mournfully, and from then on in my head it was the Mournful Leopard. I know it’s not the same top, but the name has stuck.