A pattern review and a confession

I've finished not one but two sewing project, so I have something to share on the blog! I particularly pleased with the first because I had an idea of what I wanted to do with the fabric, and was able to create almost exactly what I had imagined.

I found this fantastic lightweight knit fabric in the Vintage Oxfam on Georges Street a couple of months ago, and couldn't resist. While thinking about what I wanted to do with the fabric, I remembered some vintage orange buttons I was given for Christmas and through the two would work really well together. I decided on a top, with the buttons down the back and I thought that a little Peter Pan collar could look really cute. Armed with this idea I hunted through my pattern stash to see if I had anything suitable, and came up with the bow-tied blouse from Gertie's Book for Better Sewing, just with a different collar. Gertie does actually suggest a variation in her book with instructions to draft and attach a peter pan collar, but I didn't need to make my one as I have a stash of beautiful collars thanks to my Italian Zio (uncle) who used to be a travelling haberdashery salesman

Although I don't look it in this picture (I need to work on my modelling skills) I'm really delighted with the finished top. It is possibly a little shorter than I would ideally like, but it I had read all the instructions first I would have realised this might be a problem and could have added some more length. It the first time I've used one of Gertie's pattern, and I think it was a good idea to test drive a simpler one before starting on my Sew for Victory suit jacket. (Which I really need to get a wriggle on with, or it won't be finished by the end of the month). 

How did I find the project? Well, I don't like tracing pattern pieces, but there weren't too many in this top so it wasn't too bad. The instructions were clear and guided you through all the techniques - mainly bound button holes in this instance, all six of them - they took me longer than the rest of the constuction!

What changes did I make? I lowered the neckline by an inch, as most bloggers had found the neckline very high, and I probably could have taken off a bit more. As I had a pre-made collar I didn't need to draft one, but I did draft a neck facing which I used to neaten the neck edge before hand sewing my collar in place. I also added a sixth button at the bottom, so that it would stay closed when worn over trousers.

Would I make it again? Yes - and now I've traced the pattern pieces and got to grips with bound buttons holes it will be quicker. I have some fabric in my stash which I think I'll use to make the bow tie version, but I will make the top a bit longer, and lower the neck.

So what's the confession?  Well, you see those jeans I'm wearing with my new top? I've been wearing the same jeans for 10 years. Clearly not consistently (as there would be washing issues) and clearly not exactly the same pair or they would be the hardest wearing trousers ever! About 10 years ago I bought a pair of jeans I loved, and as often seems to happen to me, as soon as I find jeans I love the shop decides to stop making them! GRRRR!

When my favourite jeans finally became totally unwearable, after many torn hems, patches and restitching, I decided to take them apart and see if I could remake them .. and I could! I must be on the fourth or fifth reincarnation of the jeans at this point, and I'm still not tired of them. I find them really comfortable and I think they suit me. 

I did make one little change with this pair, I added about an inch onto them so the waistband is a bit higher. (Yes, it seems I'm getting to the age when my trouser waistband is going to start moving up and up.)

So an entirely made by me outfit, finished in plenty of time for Me Made May 2014, which I will be signing up for. Lets just hope I get my Sew for Victory challenge done in time as well. There is not much of April left and I've not started, but its a long weekend for Easter so I have some quality time to spend with my sewing machine!

I had a dig through some old photo albums to see if I could find any photos of me in the originals of my jeans - which turned out not to be difficult as I seem to have lived in them. So before I head off here are some snaps on the original jeans - from a holiday with my best friend in Rome, and a visit with her to other friends in Lemington. Which has made me realise how long it is since we were last all together.

And one last photo of the buttons on the blouse because I love them ... thanks again C for such a perfect Christmas present, I hope you feel I've done justice to the buttons.


  1. Lovely outfit. The jeans are great. I was looking at them in first photo and wondering where you got them they are a great fit & look over rtw. It's brilliant to find a tnt pattern and even better that you have drafted it yourself. I'm doing memademay for first time. Should be fun.

  2. Nice blouse! i love the fabric! And you did a great job on the jeans! Very impressive!

  3. Have always loved the jeans and the way in which you run ip a new pair as needed. Top lovely too.

  4. What a very pretty top and so pleased to see the orange buttons being put to good use!

  5. Thanks everyone for all the kind comments, and I'm glad you are pleased with the use I made of the buttons :)


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