Simplicity 1363 top

I have been wanting to add a few new tops to my me-made wardrobe and this is one of the patterns that I ordered recently as I was looking for a loose-fitting drapey top.


I made this up in an afternoon in this viscose print that I bought a couple of weeks beforehand. This was my first attempt at sewing with viscose – it’s was a little tricky as it had a tendency to move around a bit but I really do like the drape of the fabric so a little trouble is worth it in my mind.


Although described as ‘easy-to-sew’ on the pattern envelope it wasn’t all plain sailing for me. I found attaching the neck band to the front and back pieces a bit difficult as well as making the button loops, which I gave up on and used bias binding instead. The instructions say to make a narrow tube of fabric and then turn it inside out but I found that it’s just too narrow to turn in on itself, so out came the binding. I also got a bit over zealous when clipping the seams and cut right through the stitching! I managed to save it though by covering the snip with interfacing on the wrong sides of the fabric.


I found this little buttons in Rolls and Rems (Lewisham) which I think are quite nice…


I cut a straight size 4 and the fit is good. The thing I like most about this pattern is the dipped hem and that the seaming allows for mixing colours and patterns. As I’ve used only 1 fabric here you can’t really see the seam detail but the next time I make this I’ll definitely mix maybe a patterned back and front with plain side panels. I think it could even be hacked into a nice summer dress!


It looks a bit straight up and down on the hanger so I had to go outside…




Posted in Top

What a wonder, it’s Coco no.3!

I’ve got a feeling I’m going to make a lot of these. And to be fair, why not? It seems like everybody in the sewing blogo/twittersphere is in love with the Coco pattern and I’m no exception. I’m on to my third and I’m pretty sure it won’t be my last, primarily because I still have some pink ponte knit earmarked for a Coco which I bought back in May at the NYLon2014 meet-up! (The weather had just turned really warm when I bought the fabric so I thought I would save it until it gets a bit cooler).

Before I start, let’s talk needles. So there I was, wondering around a well-known, department store haberdashery, looking at all the lovely, overpriced stuff, when I had the bright idea of buying a stretch needle specifically for this project. £4.50 and a journey home later, I’m sitting down at my machine comparing my brand-spanking new needle with the Universal needle that I just unscrewed. Erm, I swear they look the same… And I looked pretty closely. Here, have a look yourself…


Granted, the needle did a good job but so did the needle I used last time which was a Universal. So the moral of the story is… If it ain’t broke don’t fix it (and save yourself some cash along the way)!!!

I’m not sure there much to say about the make itself. It’s all pretty much the same as before, fairly quick to sew, used a zigzag stitch, walking foot etc etc etc, you know the drill. The only exception is that this time I remembered to not sew right down to the bottom hem, leaving space for the side splits.

The real JOY of making this though was down to a little packet of something called wonder tape, who knew how special this was! I used it (for the first time ever) to secure the turned under neck hem instead of pins. OMG why didn’t someone tell me about this stuff! It held the fabric much more secure than pins and it was SOOOOO much easier to get it all to lie flat. Ive got one little pucker in the neckline which I can live with but it was still much easier than pinning and hopefully next time with a bit more patience I’ll get it perfect. So please go out and buy some, if you haven’t used it already it will change your life!


This top has a slightly looser fit than my last coco despite using the same pattern pieces, that’s due to the fabric being a little lighter-weight and stretchier than the fabric I used before. By the way, this time I was working with a lovely, soft, cotton jersey that I bought from a little shop in Bath when I was there for my wedding anniversary with hubby in August. I think this top is perfect for the next couple of months though while we’re in between the really hot days and freezing cold ones.


(Not the best pic, I know, but it was so hard to get the right light against the whiteness of the top 😕)

I’m definitely looking forward to my next Coco especially now that I’ve discovered wonder tape – have you got any fab tools in your sewing box? Please share!


I call it my ‘Chambrettto’ top…

Colette’s Sorbetto pattern is such a quick and easy top to make that I’m surprised I haven’t made loads of these really. I know that’s in part to me having difficulty in working with lighter weight fabrics – finishing the edges with a zigzag stitch always made the edges scrunch up in the stitch. Very annoying. That was until I discovered my overedge/overcast foot and problem solved! It has a little bar on it which holds the outside of the stitch while the inside stitch is made, and this is what stops the fabric from scrunching up, geddit? I hope so, because I can’t think of a better way to describe how it works!


Anyway, back to the sorbetto. The last time I made one was ages ago and to be honest I don’t even know where the top is. What I do remember is that the pattern was a little short so I lengthened the pattern pieces by about 2 inches. I wanted to add a zip to the back so instead of cutting the back piece on the fold I just cut around it entirely, leaving me with 2 back pieces (as I’m a bit narrow in the back I didn’t need to adjust the pattern). I used some lightweight chambray for this and it sewed up really easily as most cottons do. And really quickly as it really is a simple pattern.


The only change i would make next time is to draft some pattern pieces for a facing. This time I bound the neck and arm holes with bias binding but I think using a facing would be quicker really.

So what can I say?, I like it! A lot. So much so that I already have another sorbetto planned which I already have the fabric for. It’s a really dark navy/black lawn with red stars on it. The picture’s not great but here’s a sneak peek anyway…


So what’s on your sewing table today?


Great British Swing Bee 2: Simple T-Shirt

I hadn’t got round to making any of the patterns in this book despite buying it a while ago so I thought I’d give this t-shirt a go (I did attempt to make the shift dress but I’m too traumatised by that experience to talk about it!). This t-shirt pattern has only 2 pieces so was set to be really easy, no set in sleeves or fiddly zips, buttons etc.


The fabric I used was a really light, drapey viscose from my favourite stall in Walthamstow market. I cut a straight size 8 as it’s a loose fitting top and got stitching the shoulder and side seams together. I was so happy that it was coming together super quickly, until I tried it on. The neckline was SO wide. No wide in a fashionably wide slouchy top way, but wide in an it’s actually falling off my shoulders and cannot stay on kinda way. Not impressed. Some quick research (a.k.a. Google) and I find I’m not the only one having a problem with this pattern.

I love this fabric and didn’t want to resign this project to the trash so I decided to change it up a bit to make it fit. I added a pleat to the front (Colette Sorbetto style) and an inverted pleat to the back. I also added a pleat to each sleeve as I though they were all a bit too wide. I think you can just about see the pleats in these pics, the busy print is a bit like a camouflage…

20140522-113059-41459918.jpgEven with the pleats it’s still a wide neckline, but it fit now and I like it. I forgot to mention that this top has a dipped ham at the back which I also quite like. I think I could wear this casually with jeans or, as I did yesterday, tucked into an a-line skirt for work, it is me-made-May after all!

To be honest even though I do like this top I probably won’t make this pattern again because I feel like the pattern pieces just aren’t right. It has given me a bit of inspiration though, I could easily hack a dipped hem into another pattern for a similar effect. So here’s my finished top, not exactly as the book intended but I like it anyway!

Front view…


And from the back…


Have you made anything from the sewing bee book?


Sewing Indie Month with Coco

I just entered my Coco into the Sewing Indie Month ‘Everyday Casual’ contest – the prizes look fab so fingers crossed!






Latecomer to the coco party!

Well it took me some time but I finally got ’round to buying the Tilly Buttons coco pattern! I opted for the .pdf download as it was half the price of the hard copy + delivery and was pleased at the ease of the download. No messin’, just click on the link as ‘Save as’. Joy.

There were 31 pages to piece together which I can’t say was the most fun experience ever but hey, I was on my way to making a coco. I have seen SO many cocos via twitter and I’m in love with the funnel neck version. I was thinking funnel neck, 3/4 sleeves and a little (mini-haribo sized) pocket on the right hand side? The possibilities really were endless…


The fabric was already purchased thanks to the legend that is 'the man outside Sainsbury's' in Walthamstow market. If you have never been there before, go now. Literally, stop whatever you are doing, down tools and go. The stall is epic. He has all types of fabrics – jerseys, linens, dress fabrics, denims, velvets, silks, the list goes on, and what makes it even better is that it's all reasonably priced. So there's my big-up to 'the man outside Sainsbury's'! FYI I went with some plain black pointe roma fabric which has a tiny bit of stretch to it and I picked up these lovely buttons from one of the shops further up the market.


The coco really was a quick make, a couple of hours and it was all done. Faithfully following the brilliant instructions on the blog I was pleasantly surprised at how quick and easy it was to get to the finish line. I cut a size 1 at the bust and graded to a 3 at the waist because I wanted a snug fit and that’s certainly what I have. I love it! I think the 3 buttons I added really stand out on the black fabric – I added them because I thought that the plain fabric would be, well just too plain, if you know what I mean. And I added a little dinky pocket too – it was the ‘small’ pocket pattern piece and it really is tiny! Now I’ll have to find some miniature things to put in it!


I’m already thinking about my next coco. I have lots of the black fabric left as I bought 2 metres so I’ll definitely use that for my next coco but I do want to go up a size at the bust next time. I might also add cuffs to the next version and add a bigger pocket, apart from that that who knows! There really is so much that can be done with this pattern. One thing I do know is that this is definitely another wardrobe staple for me. Here’s to many more!


My freestyled New Look 6895…

Like the majority of patterns in my stash, I’ve had the New Look 6895 for a while now so I decided that it was time to make good use of it. This blog post actually comes to you a little late as I made the top on Saturday but hubby and I went to watch the London Marathon on Sunday so I haven’t had the time until now to post. My intention was to make view C (the top right-hand-side one) and I had some lovely cream fabric (again from the stall in Watney market) that I bought a few weeks ago.


The pattern calls for a button at the back but I decided to freestyle and insert a zip instead. Only thing is that while sewing the back seam I sewed it all the way to the top! I could have unpicked it to insert the zip but I had already pinked the seam allowance to combat fraying and felt that if I put the zip in I would have had to sew so close to the fabric edge that the zip would be quite revealed, which I didn’t want.

I think I managed to overcome this error though by inserting a zip into the side seam although the knock-on effect was that I couldn’t then add sleeves, Doh! So now I have a vest instead of a t-shirt but at least I can get it on and off! I also have some spare sleeves now waiting to be used as a contrast on another top :o)


I also decided to add pleats to the front instead of the gathers written in the pattern instructions. I bound the neck and shoulder edges with some plain bias-binding but for the bottom edge I used a cream binding that has little pink flowers on. I spotted it in my Quality Street tin full of ribbons and bindings and since it’s been sitting there for ages I thought I should use it up.


I wasn’t sure at first if I liked the flowery edge on this top but it’s growing on me, the more I look at it the more I like it. So overall the lesson of the day is if you make a mistake, freestyle and make it work! Have you made any sewing mistakes that have turned out okay in the end? Let me know! Char x



And just in case you are interested, here are some pics of some of the amazing fancy dress costumes that I saw on Sunday, Enjoy x







Posted in Top
I saw, I sewed and it’s way too big.

I saw, I sewed and it’s way too big.

I fancied making a top last weekend and I’ve had this pattern in my stash for a while now (See & Sew B5770) as I bought it in Florida last year. I also thought this was a good match for … Continue reading

Paris top – Simplicity 0275

I was looking for a pattern for a top that I could wear with my peplum skirt and came across this one, it’s the Simplicity 0275 and is part of a pattern pack that includes a draped front dress and skirt. I bought this pattern last year when I was in America and haven’t used it yet, the plan was to make a dress for wedding I was going to but I never got round to making it!

I thought this top would look nice with the peplum skirt because it’s a simple shape and I could wear it tucked it like the picture on the front of the pattern envelope. So I got going and I had to adjust the pattern as I am a size 8 at the bust but a size 14 that the waist. It was a really easy to sew to so as there were only two pattern pieces (well there were three really but I decided to use ready made binding instead of making my own). Instead of following instructions to the letter I sewed with French seams and also bound the armholes instead of creating a narrow hem. I think I’m getting really fussy with my sewing these days, I can’t stand the exposed zig-zag edges that you get inside of a garment they make me go crazy! I think I need to invest in an overlocker and that won’t happen until I move house and have more space! Until then I will have to make do with sewing French seams as I think it looks a lot tidier on the inside.

I just tried this top on with the peplum skirt and I’m not even sure if I like this top/skirt combo, I think I may need something more fitted with that particular skirt. Either way I love this top, I fell in love with the fabric as soon as I saw it and I know I will wear it loads (even if not with the peplum skirt)! Furthermore, at £7 a metre and enough fabric left over to make another top I’d say that this was an absolute bargain ☺️