that I’ve been working on using up my massive stash recently – I’m just such a hoarder and I can’t justify buying any more fabric until I make a significant dent in my stash. I’ve used the other two in the picture for a lampshade and cushions, and that lovely floaty floral viscose needed to be made in to something. My fist thought was a dress, but I only have 2 metres, and that’s just not enough – it was a bargain £2 a metre fabric, and I wasn’t really thinking too far along when I bought it.
It’s really light an floaty, a viscose blend perhaps, so something had to be made. A simple t-shirt perhaps? I dithered for a bit, but decided on the pattern from the first Great British Sewing bee book.
Now, I’ve made this pattern before out of a poly cotton, didn’t like the way it fitted, turned it into a more fitted top with darts, never wore it much, repurposed it into a top for mini, she never wore. Alas, the circle of life. But I always thought I should give it another go, as it was one of my first ever sewing efforts, and the fabric didn’t suit the pattern, so now I have something more floaty, why not?
Well, I’ll tell you why not…
Firstly, I checked my measurements against the sizes listed in the book. I think the first time I made it, I chose a size 12, it turned out a little tight across the bust, but I added some darts under the bust to turn it into a more fitted top.
So this time I decided to measure myself properly and choose the correct size to make.
Yep, those are 40″ tittyballs you’re looking at. So, according to the measurements, that makes me a size 18.
Now, I know I’m a little top heavy but I also have a high, small waist, and moderate hips, so there was no way I was making this top in an 18. I also know from experience, that this top turns out with a super-wide neck and is loose fitted, so I took a risk and decided on a size 14. I’m usually a 12 (and a hopeful 10), so I have a major ego problem when patterns list me as a totally different size. I’ve come across this before when making dresses, and it really annoys me. Pattern measurements are totally different to high-street sizes, but we’re so indoctrinated into thinking “Oh I’m a 12” etc that it really doesn’t sit well when we’re told we’re a totally different size. That’s why I love Tilly and the Buttons for not labelling her sixes in the traditional way, Love at First Stitch simply has sizes as 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. and that’s so much easier (and nicer) to get your head around.
So, size 14 pattern was transferred on to greaseproof paper:
I lined up the edge of the greaseproof paper (hey, you can use tracing paper if you’re posh!) along the straight edge of the pattern, taped two sheets together and traced it using a normal ballpoint pen. I’ve found this is a pretty reliable way of making a copy of the pattern, it’s easy to mark it accurately and it’s easy to cut around. you can also transfer the pattern directly to the fabric by using a tracing wheel and some dressmaker’s carbon, which is even quicker as you don’t need to cut your pattern out.
I clipped the pattern to the fabric using a few bulldog clips down the straight edge, and pins around the side, I also folded the fabric so that I only used a 1/3rd of the width, because cutting it directly on the middle would have left a lot of wastage around edges, and I’m sure I can get a lot more out of this piece.
The pattern recommends using your own bias binding made out of matching fabric, and binding in the traditional way 9so that the edges are covered with single-fold bias, but I decided against this, because I’d been working all day and I really couldn’t be bothered with cutting bias out of slightly stretchy fabric. I also wanted a clean line around the edges, so I decided to bias edge as you would a facing (because that’s my fave thing at the moment).
Only where is the end of my bias tape roll?! Yes… this is child vandalism at its finest (and also mummy not bothering to roll it back up again).
Here’s another picture of the fabric – the settings on my camera are way off so it looks very yellow, but it’s a lovely pale pink with minty green and white spots. I really like it – girly but not too floral. I took the bf into Cath Kidston recently when we went to York, he was totally bemused by the whole experience, I don’t think he’ll ever get my obsession with ditsy florals, but that’s okay.
So I finished the top off with some of the cream bias – it’s a poly cotton and pretty light, but unfortunately, as you can see from the photo, it’s making the seams kick out due to (I guess), the slightly different weight of the fabrics. I don’t know if finishing it in the matching fabri would have made a massive difference, as doubling it over would probably still have made the edges a little heavy and flicking out.
What I do know if that you shouldn’t use a jeans needle to sew delicate viscose, but my needle stash it totally low right now. I could hear it punk punk punk through the fabric – a ballpoint needle would have been better but I didn’t have any. I think this also created a slight tension issue that I couldn’t correct, which is maybe adding to the flicking out of the edges. I also used up all my ast regular needles sewing a backdrop for the bf – it had to be hoisted up so I sewed it with a decorative, wide weaved stitch, which turned out super uneven and broke my needle 4 times. Lesson learned – just straight stitch it and go over it a couple of times instead of persevering with a stitch that overheats you machine and takes an age to sew! Oh well.
Still – check out that super-wide neckline! even if I’d have sewn this top in the way the instructions recommended, it wouldn’t have affected the neckline that much, it would still have sat of-the-shoulder, and that’s not really what you want from a comfy t-shirt.
The fit was pretty good though, a nice, relaxed fit and I like the way it scoops down on the front and back.
The back is looser and gathers a little around the small of my back (yes, I have a sway back, but whatever), and that looks pretty neat. But overall, kI’m a bit disappointed with the shape of the neckline, as it needs to sit off my shoulders for it to look good.
No, I’m not gonna post one with my face cos they all came out like a I’m a bulldog chewing a toffee.
It hasn’t put me off using this fabric, but maybe this style and the binding isn’t quite right for it. I was a little scared of using it as there’s a slight stretch to it, but I think I’ll have a go next at the grown-ups version of the Little Zippy top (although I might alter it to use a button instead of a zip). That pattern uses the fabric as a facing around the neckline, and it’s much more a crew neck too.
Just as an aside note – if you have kids, you need this in your life.
Vanish Oxi Action Fabric Stain Remover is a literal life-saver. In the short time it took me to unload the dishwasher, mini managed to get hold of my jet-black gel eyeliner pot and liberally applied it to her hands and feet, trailing inky-black footprints all across my cream carpet. I nearly cried. I thought it would never come out, I rubbed it with some water and it made the stain smudge into a big black mark… but this spray, and a little bit of rubbing, and it literally vanished. It’s got the blueberry stains out, the felt pen – everything. I love it.
Here she is sleeping like nothing ever happened.
So, have you had any success with this Great British Sewing Bee pattern? Where did I go wrong – feel free to let me know!