Simplicity 1364 Summer Top

As part of the Simplicity Bloggers challenge I decided to enter the Best Vintage Make category. This was based upon the Simplicity 1364 pattern , which was supplied free of charge to entrants. One of the rules of the challenge was that bloggers could modify the pattern in any way they liked. So, my aim was to modify option […]

Good Friday, in the clouds

A cold and misty Good Friday inspired me to make a spring jumper.

Roseberry Topping in the clouds
Roseberry Topping in the clouds

I had been working on a summer top, as part of the simplicity challenge,  but it was simply too cold for that!

The weather here in Yorkshire has been hit and miss recently. One day this week we had everything from sun to rain to wind to snow. So it’s still jumper weather here.

As we’re heading hopefully to warmer days I decided to modify the pattern,  vogue V8699, by removing the collar and making a separate neck scarf. This way I can wear it on colder days with the neck scarf, and on warmer days as a scoop neck jumper.


As the picture hints, the clouds cleared and we then had great weather for the rest of the Easter weekend. Must sew a jumper again when I want the weather to change!

The hardest part of the top was making sure that I didn’t end up with two circles in the wrong place.

The additional scarf worked well too – the close up can be seen below. These are really simple to make (especially if you have a server/overlocker). The basic steps are:

  1. cut a rectangle wide enough to sit comfortably around your neck, and twice the height you want the scarf to end up
  2. Sew into a tube, with a straight stitch
  3. Then fold tube in half, wrong sides together
  4. Using the overlocker set to a rolled seam stitch sew the two open edges together stretching the fabric as it stitches to create a lettuce effect on the edge.


I’ve made lots of these scarves this winter. A great stash buster. I’ve made some as presents, and also sold some as part of supporting my son’s fundraising. The only thing to remember is that they work best with stretch fabric (so jersey or wool). They will work with non-stretch fabric but you’ll need to ensure you can slide the scarf over your head.


Patterns arrived

I’m planning to enter the Simplicity competition that is currently open, where they are searching for the Simplicity Star Sewist.

First stage is complete as the two patterns for the categories I plan to enter have arrived. 🙂



I’ve also been doing some thinking on exactly what I might make with them, and from what fabric.

Let the creativity begin….



Update on the travel capsule




My mixture of outfits, worked well and I managed to pack both cycling and non-cycling clothes into a hand-baggage only suitcase!

Sewn Capsule included:

  • Patterned Light weight Green loose fitting trousers
  • Patterned Light weight Green loose fitting top (matching pattern to the trousers)
  • Blue lightly  patterned jersey fabric top
  • Blue lightly patterned jersey trousers (same fabric as top)
  • Blue High wicking technical fabric top
  • Cream micro-fleece wrap (which was sewn into a sleeping bag shape for the dessert camp)
  • Three buff style neckscarves

Ready to wear items:

  • Two thermal tops
  • Pink t shift
  • Technical light weight jacket
  • Pink and blue Technical light weight skirt

With these items I managed to create a different outfit to wear to dinner each night after a day’s cycling mixing and matching the coloured thermal tops under the lighter weight tops I’d sewn.


The weather was colder than I’d expected, and in the evenings layers really were required – some people opted to wear their jackets for dinner!


Gertie’s Vintage made Casual

I got the great new book by Gertie for my birthday – fantastic range of patterns along with a selection of pattern modifications to extend the selection.

As with her first book the descriptions are detailed and well explained. I enjoyed being able to follow the steps to alter patterns enabling you to create something unique.

This week I’ve tackled trousers – something I’ve not really done much of. First off I drafted a pattern for some shorts, similar to the Sailor shorts but longer. I used some leftover old fabric as it was really a muslin (although hopefully a wearable one!)

I made a few mistakes.. Missed the darts on the front as I forgot to trace them onto my pattern. Also messed up the length for my waistband, making it too short.

Having made them I used the book’s guidance to work out what modifications were required. Removal of droopy bottom, and baggy back.

Then I realised that what I really needed was light weight trousers not shorts!

Redrafted the pattern full length, keeping most of the extra width.

Success, a comfy pair of summer trousers. Perfect to fend of mosquitos.

To round off the evening I then rattled off a knit pencil skirt. Great idea to stitch in the ditch on the seams to hide the stitching for the invisible elastic waistband.


Next up was a long sleeve version of “the pin up sweater”. I found some rib knit fabric in Leeds market – perfect to emulate the jumper in the book. My fabric is green, so a little different from the blue in the book. I decided that as we’re approaching winter in the UK that full sleeves were called for. Drafted the sleeves by extending the short ones. Next time I might make them a fraction longer. They feel quite tight, but I think that’s the look. The only other modification I’d make is to widen the front slight around the bust. As there are no darts it could do with a little more room if you normally need a fba.


Overall, great book and patterns so far. Well done Gertie.

Modified Taffy Blouse from Colette

During May I made a couple of new tops for this summer’s wardrobe.

Having made Colette’s Taffy blouse, from their book before I decided it was time for another one. This time I wanted a blouse that could be worn both to work and on a night out, so decided to make the sleeves slightly smaller.

I used the normal pattern pieces,  but reduced the length of the sleeves by about 2″ (~5cm). This reduced the fullness, and also reduced the fabric required meaning the whole top was made out of 1m of fabric.


The other modification was a fba to help it fit better.

As the top was made in chiffon I used french seams for the sides and arm wholes. The sleeves and top were heated using my rolled heam foot. I still find it quite tricky to feed the fabric into the foot evenly, but taking it slowly it went ok.

The neckline was finished with bias binding,  which I finished by stitching in the ditch. This was a new technique which I’ve used a couple of times recently. To ensure I didn’t stitch on the bias I used the centre guide of my foot to follow the edge of the bias, and set the machine needle half a notch to the side meaning the stitches were close but just off the bias tape.

Pleased with the results.

Butterick B5922 – Summer Top with Peter Pan Collar

As the warmer weather approaches I thought it was time to expand my collection of summery tops, suitable to wear to work. I decided to try out Butterick B5922, which I hadn’t used before. It’s a basic T-shirt style, with options to add an overlay, collars or sleeves.

I opted for the sleeveless version, with a peter pan collar all in the same matching light weight jersey.


Although this was a basic pattern, I did have a few challenges. The pattern is for fabric with a slight stretch, and is designed to have no darts. As I usually require a FBA I added a slight amount to each of the side seams to give the top a little more room. To be honest, I prefer my patterns which have proper shape via darts/princess seams.

The other challenge was that the instructions were for a felled seam around the collar to make sure the edges were finished nicely. My usual technique would have been to use the overlocker, then topstitch to hold the seam allowance down. However I decided to try out the felled seam, which I found quite tricky, and didn’t manage to catch in all of the seam once I’d taken out my basting stitches. Worth trying, but think I’ll stick to the overlocker technique next time.

The final change I made to the pattern was on the back opening. The instructions were for two hook and eyes, one at the top of the slit and one on the collar. Not quite sure how the collar would sit to hook together – mine is quite angled apart. I also found that the top gaped quite badly at the slit, so I decided to add two buttons instead of hooks and eyes, one near the top and one in the middle of the slit.


As I’d already sewn to slit, I created thread chains to make the button loop, which I thought was nice a delicate for such a light weight top. I followed the tutorial on Oliver & S’s website  which showed step by step pictures on how to make a delicate thread chain. The only point I’d draw attention to is that once you start the loops, you don’t actually use your needle to create the chain. The first one I did I tried to use the needle, then realised that I’d misread the instructions. I’ve found this technique really handy and have used more than once since seeing this.

For fun I used contrast buttons.

Quite pleased with the top, and suitable for work in the warmer weather.

Spring jumper

Whilst the weather is improving its definitely still spring. Warm one day, then cold the next. A few weeks ago I picked up some light weight knit fabric which I thought would make a nice light weight jumper.

Having made the fitted jersey dress, I decided to modify the pattern and make a tunic length jumper, with 3/4 length sleeves. In keeping with the warmer weather I also lowered the neckline to, so that although its a jumper it’s not too wintry. Again I used my overlocker to sew all the main seams. This time as I was using the sleeves, I fitted the sleeves into the main body before doing either the main seams on the edge of the tunic, or on the sleeves. The side seams are then sewed in one long seam along the arms and then down the sides. I find this a great way to fit sleeves.

Another trick that I use alot when sewing with any stretch fabric is not to gather the sleeve head before fitting. As the fabric is stretchy I simply pin the cap of the sleeve to the shoulder seam, then pin both the start and end point of the sleeve head to the edge of the fabric. I then stretch the fabric and perhaps add one more pin in the middle (between the edge and the cap). Then it’s straight onto sewing the seam, making sure you stretch the fabric so that it fits between the pinned points. This same technique can be used when adding elastic onto garments too.

To finish the neckline, I used the overlocker to edge the neckline, then simply turned under and top stitched. For the sleeves and lower edge I did the same thing, however I tried to manually do a double seam. This didn’t work great – it’s almost parallel, but not quite. I have tried to use a double needle in the past, but had problems getting the tension right – maybe its time to try again?



As with the dress version it’s nice to have a slightly fitted shape.

Oversized cowl neck top

This weekend’s project was a sleeveless jumper – ideal to throw on over dresses or tops for a little extra warmth as the spring days start to arrive.

Another knit project using some fantastic loose hair wool fabric I used my overlocker on most of the seams.

The pattern came from a Threads magazine article. Threads is a fantastic American sewing magazine that focuses on more advanced techniques. they offer an online only subscription which gives access to a wealth of articles, hints, videos etc.

First challenge was drafting a sheet of inch square paper to help draft the pattern. I filled a whole flip chart page with nice bold black lines. Then I drafted the three pattern pieces from the online picture. Front, back and cowl neck.

The top had a wide shape to the back, with a straighter front.

I application some velvet ribbon close to the bottom edges, sewing on using my Bernina overlock foot to help guide me close to the edge of the ribbon.

Then I used the overlocker, first doing the shoulder seams where I added the same ribbon on the inside to help stabilise the shoulders. I do this on most jersey or knit fabric by pinning ribbon along the seam then serging the two layers of fabric, plus ribbon in one. It looks good if you use fancy ribbon as well as stopping the seams sagging.

The arm holes were overlocked, then side seams joined using the overlocker.
The fabric made it easy to hand sew the heads for the bottom edge and arms without seams showing.

Final step was the join the cowl into a loop, then pin it (doubled over) onto the neck. A quick serge and it’s done.

Big, loose comfy jumper without arms.


Winter smart top – Vogue V8886

This pattern is quite similar to others that I’ve made, however does come with the advantage that the Very East Vogue, custom fit patterns do. The princess line top (or dress) comes with a variety of cup sizes, making it easier to select the best option for your own size.

I have a similar vintage pattern, with a collar which is quite similar – however the vintage style I can only make in jersey as its not really the correct size for me.

I made this in a think grey jersey, so didn’t add the zip, or lining. Mixing and matching, I made the shorter top length but used the sleeves from the longer dress. Not sure that I really followed the pattern instructions very much as the basics of the top I was happy to simply sew together from the pattern pieces. The collar however was done in a slightly different manner to my usual technique. To give the collar the rolled look, the upper collar is stitched to the body first, and the the lower  collar attached separately. This means that the collar flows more than it would if both sections were attached as one.


Think this will be a good pattern to make again – probably as a dress next time.