This is the Sophia Top, which I finished making today. It is from the Love Sewing magazine (issue 19). I have used some lovely tartan fabric, which I brought in the sales for a mere £3.49 per metre. I loved the fabric so much that it did take me awhile to figure out what to make with it. The pattern I chose, was a simple yet cute top. I adapted the pattern from the sheet by extending the length by 5” to make it more of a t-shirt length to go with leggings and jeans rather than the cropped length to go with the skirt in the pattern.
The top is made from five different pieces: front bodice, back bodice, front neck facing, back neck facing and arm hole facings. You simply sew the pieces together at the shoulders, attach the facings, sew up the sides and hem. It is a wonderfully simple top, which I thought would be a break after the Megan Dress I made. The facings give the edges a sharp finish in a way hemming couldn’t. It doesn’t say to do so on the instructions, but I topstitched the arm hole facings onto the shoulders 1/4” from the edge. Before this they were quite loose and didn’t give the right shape to the arms. The topstitching secured them and I would definitely recommend doing this.
The top is a great fit for me. I used the size 8 from the pattern, which gives you room to feel comfortable. The pattern comes in sizes 8-20. There is also a 3/4 length pleated skirt in the same pattern.
You can buy the magazine and pattern here.
You can buy the same fabric I used from here.
This dress was made from Tilly Walnes’ book ‘Love At First Stitch’. All the projects in this book are lovely, but this dress was my favourite. I used some red and white dotty fabric I got for my birthday to make the dress. The fabric was a cotton, so it was very easy to work with.
The pattern of the dress consists of seven pieces, which is the most I’ve worked with at this stage. Most of my makes are tops or skirts. Most of the pieces where easy to join, like the bodice and skirt pieces, but it was the sleeves I was most concerned about. They had to be gathered around the top and fitted into the arm hole. I have done gathering before on a halter neck top, but never on a sleeve. It was quite fiddly to gather the sleeve in such a small place and a little nerve-wracking to sewing. I manage to sew both sleeves right the first time, which was a huge relief. I love the way the sleeves look on the dress, as they give it a bit of a retro feel.
My Little Bag
In the summer, I brought a marvellous little bag. It was orange with an Aztec print on it. However, as we are now in the middle of the winter, it looks a little silly when I take it out.
I managed to find a pattern similar to the bag I already had. I then got some scraps of fabric I had lying around from previous projects. It took me about two hours to complete the bag and add the strap.
It is perfect for going out, as it is light and spacious enough to carry everything you need. It is the first bag I have made and would definitely make this one again.
I made these bottoms in August. They are the most comfortable bottoms I have ever worn. I made the bottoms using a nautical themed polycotton. I had to wash the fabric to make sure it wouldn’t shrink after I had made it. This made the fabric really soft, just like you would want your pyjamas to be.
The bottoms are also from The Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion With Fabric. They are the casual trousers, but I thought that they would look good as pyjamas. They were the first pair of trousers I had tried to make and they turned out very well. The book was very clear again, which made them even easier to make. They have an elasticated waistband, but you can put a drswstring in for show. I found a lovely burgundy woven ribbon for these recently, which has replaced the black one you can see in the photo below.
I made a size 8, which I took in down the outside leg to make skinnier. This is quite easy to do. Try the trousers on, before you sew the waistband on. Pinch the fabric away that you want to remove. Pin all the way down the leg. You can always get a friend to help, so that it is even and it will be a little easier. When you sew, try to stay parallel to the original seam. This way you will end up with the same shape and style, just smaller. As mine were made to be pyjama bottoms, I only took them in a bit, as I didn’t want them to be uncomfortable to sleep in.
P.S. If you make these, do your button holes a decent size so you can get your ribbon/cord through without any trouble. The interfacing really helps to support the button holes, so do put that on the back of the waistband. If you try to sew a button hole onto a single layer of fabric, the fabric can get sucked down into your sewing machine. This can result in frustration and having to cut yourself a new piece of fabric.
This is the kimono I made during the summer holidays. I really love the fabric I made this with. It’s is a printed polyester. It has a silky feel and it good for a garment which needs to drape, like this does. The fabric is very light, so it is perfect for a summer cover-up.
I made this from The Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion With Fabric. This is my favourite of the sewing bee books. It contains more youthful designs. The instructions for the kimono were great. There are step by step illustrations as well as detailed descriptions of what exactly you need to do.
The only problem I had with this was that the black trim, which is a black satin, was not the right size for the kimono. This was easily fixed with an insert on each side at the bottom to get it to fit around.
This kimono was a size 8-10. I am a size 6 in average shop-brought clothes, but i was pleased with the size of it in the end, as it flowed nicely. This is something you have to beware when buying books. A lot of books wouldn’t have smaller sizes in, so it is always best to check first, as sewing books can be quite expensive.