The wait is over, time to show you some of the successful knit tops I sewed for my uber casual holiday. I thought as you’d seen them already in action I would bundle them all into one post. Considering I sewed them all within two days of each other it makes sense.
In chronological order I’ll start with the nautical striped tops, made using two lengths of stripey fabric just waiting for this opportunity to be mobilised, one capped sleeve t-shirt & another 3/4 sleeve Breton shirt. For both of these I used patterns from Sew U Home Stretch, the Built by Wendy book, which if you remember I am particular fond of, it’s my bible for sewing knits & I have made a number of tops & also a dress so far.
It’s a great book to explain sewing with knit fabric, using both overlockers & regular machines. The patterns, as with all BBW books, are provided as basic blocks that you then get shown how to alter to create the various styles. This feels like real pattern drafting & is a great way to develop confidence at making alterations from existing patterns.
So, with the two lengths of stripey fabric & my desire for some low key sailor style, I followed the instructions for this top here, but drew a round scoop neck. I tried SO hard to match the stripes on the side seams & succeeded. However, cap sleeves & matching stripes of sleeve heads – is this really possible? After some head scratching & mental gymnastics I decided it was not for me anyway.
At least each sleeve was identical with its stripe placement. That’s all I felt I could do. Originally I used a strip of self fabric to hem the sleeves a la Renfrew, however, it wasn’t the look I was after, so had to unpick (twin needled-hemming) & re-hem more simply – I overlocked the raw edge then narrow hemmed with my twin needle. I should really have stitched a but further away from the edge as the hem want to poke out on the outside after washing.. I wished I’d bound the neck with a single stripe also, but wasn’t going to fuss with that anymore than I had already.
The second from the BBW stable was a Breton top.
Now, I like a Breton top having worn to death two genuine articles over my adult life. The prospect of making one out of this dark stripe which was rather yummy quality was pretty exciting. The diagram in the book fit the bill & away I cut, following the directions for alterations & making sure stripes matched. Maybe I should have done a bit of in-progress trying on, or measuring before cutting, but I didn’t. It was therefore a surprise to me that the sleeves were wider & shorter than the picture suggested.
I know I can replace them if it matters that much to me, but I am not going to. It’s just not perhaps the Breton top that I’d imagined. It is however practical & has been worn lots, so I’m not really complaining. As well as being prepared for the sleeves, next time however I wouldn’t cut quite such a wide neck …
Finally I’ll join the ranks of the many happy downloaders of Zoe’s free (yes, free!) strappy vest pattern. To say that this is a quick & easy make would be too obvious. I need to say that I succeeded in making three of these in 2.5 hours: cutting out all three took 30 minutes before we went out for a curry; sewing them up & adding the elastic took me no more than two hours (you may recall that my eyes popped open on the morning of my holiday at 5.30am & I sprung into action, completing these late additions to my handmade holiday wardrobe by 7.30 am. I reckon I could have shaved a good 10 minutes off this time if I had used my machines at their usual full pelt & not been mindful of Gary still sleeping!). I used an old t-shirt (which has become nightwear) to test out my elastic sewing skills – this first time was not perfect in terms of tension of the elastic & I’m glad I had a trial vest to gain experience on.
Zoe’s instructions are really clear & I liked the way that flat elastic was stitched onto the tops – a zig zag stitch was used, however you don’t see it if your thread is the same colour as the elastic. It’s a really nice finish, seen below – the zig zag is only visible on the inside.
The second & third vests were made using jersey I got from Manchester recently: red & turquoise.
The different qualities of these jerseys though was interesting – the turquoise appeared to be super stretchy & I had to be careful in not stretching it out of shape as I attached the elastic. The end result though was worth it. I used black undie elastic for the red & cream with scallops for the turquoise.
Both have been worn & I feel more will be on the way. Not only is it great as a summer top, but it will be long enough for being worn as a warming layer in the winter. My inner granny has already clocked that it’ll be nice & long to tuck into even low rise trousers & keep your lower back nice & snug! I’d recommend this pattern, such a useful practical make. Thank you Zoe, I’m a fan