Thursday, 5 August 2010

Nighttime sewing


The summer holidays: it's so lovely to have the littlest Teacakes at home all day, but I'm beginning to suffer sewing withdrawal symptoms now I must confine my habit to the evenings. So when my lovely Mama came over and it poured down with rain all day, I asked her if I might steal an hour or two in the late afternoon for some sewing.


I spent those couple of hours drafting a pattern for this top. I wanted a shirt that was loose-fitting, but which used the material slightly meanly, as voluminous shirts tend to swamp me and just make me look plump (yes, it's the 5ft 1" issue again). It has tiny puffed sleeves, with gathers at the top and some shirring around the armbands.


I hadn't realised until I started placing the pattern pieces how difficult working with such broadly placed stripes and checks would be. I managed to get the side and shoulder seam stripes to match up...but was defeated in the area where I set the arm in - I realised too late that a gathered sleeve would mean it was near impossible to align them.


I did think of using another print when I realised this, but I happened to be wearing my mustard cardigan when I was picking out a fabric and my mother noticed how well they went together, and once this had been noted, no other colour would do. For those who haven't yet committed the entire range to memory (I'm afraid I have), it is one of Anna Maria Horner's voiles called Four Square in Sea. It was, yet again, dreamy to sew with and for a summer top is definitely fine left unlined. I think I bought this fabric from Ray-Stitch a while ago to use in Zebra-girl's quilt...but the colour didn't go with the others I was using...I'm not too disappointed!


The shirt has an opening with a facing at the top and a little fixed strip beneath, from which some tiny gathers splay out.


I was just testing this idea out and found that I liked the way it looked...as it was in its testing phase I didn't make up a perfect strip...and somehow forgot to make another one where the green dots are more central...speed sewing comes with sacrifices. However, despite little irksome bits like this, I'm actually really pleased with the way that it turned out and it fits in exactly the way that I way hoping for.


I finally finished it at 1.30am. When I woke this morning, I saw it sitting next to the sewing machines and happily felt as though the stitching elves might have been in.


But no, I have the baggy black eyes to show that it was me. This may be my look for the summer holidays if I want to get anything else sewn. I know that my children could happily amuse themselves for an hour if I wanted to sew during the day, but I don't allow myself to do that...because we all know that an hour in sewing time is actually several hours in real time...there could be issues of neglect if I were to turn the machine on.

Florence x

PS. If Mr Teacakes' imaginary competition had been real, then Nina was a very clear winner with the comment : "The memoirs of a baking, sewing musician (such as myself): 'Dough Re Mi Fa Sew'. Now let's see that diagram!"

(Nina - do you have a blog? Blogger didn't give me a link, but let me know if you write one and I shall put a link in above, as well as enjoying reading the blog of one so multi-talented).

23 comments:

  1. Wow, what a lovely top! Adore the colour.

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  2. Gorgeous top, you're very talented!

    www.mrsshilts.co.uk

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  3. I stumbled across your lovely blog a few weeks ago. I am amazed by your talent -- it boggles my mind that you invented this lovely pattern in one afternoon. Very lovely. I'm enjoying your blog.

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  4. Imaginary giveaway winner?! Thanks! No blog (as yet)... And I have to confess that during the day my silly, silly brain refined my book title - it's actually diaries, rather than a memoir, so a reference to Pepys could be included: 'Dough Re Mi Fa and Sew To Bed'. Or is that too much?!

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  5. I think the top looks lovely, and perfect combined with that cardigan indeed. I never felt the AM voiles yet, but after so many enhusiastic reviews I am starting to think I should go looking for them quickly!

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  6. You are clever. Thats a lovely top. I am 5ft 4 but get exactly what you mean about voluminous tops. Make me look like my Mum. No she is not a slender 5ft 10, lol.
    Thanks for such an inspiring and entertaining blog. Its become a real fave. x

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  7. I remember burning the candles at both ends when I used to sew a lot - it's the only way with young children. I was extremely active for about 5 years but for some reason it came to a shuddering halt when my daughter was about 8, never really to be re-started! My daughter still reminds me about the unfinished (perhaps not even started? sun dress that was the last thing on the agenda) and I am still not forgiven for leaving it unfinished many years later. I can't believe how clever your pattern cutting has got. Not easy stuff and such detailing! Every thing you make fits you perfectly. As ever very impressed with your skills.
    Siobhan

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  8. Thank you so much for the lovely comments.

    Siobhan - thank you so much, but you forget the dress that made me look like a blancmange!

    x

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  9. I love this top... especially the tiny pleat

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  10. love the fabric and your pattern. The sleeves are perfect. I don't think it matters so much matching on the sleeves.

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  11. Lovely top, Florence. I have a metre of this fabric - such a pretty colour combination, but haven't decided what to use it for yet. I could easily bankrupt us buying this voile!

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  12. What a gorgeous top! I'm in awe!

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  13. Mary said.....fantastic top - i love it. Any chance you could do a pattern for it pretty please xx

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  14. Thank you so much for the lovely comments.

    Mary - I've had five other messages or emails asking the same thing about this top - so I'm incredibly flattered.

    However, I don't think my dressmaking skills are quite up to grading the pattern for other sizes yet...but I'm increasingly wishing that I could write dress patterns for others, as I can't think of anything I'd like more than making clothes all day, so in September I'm hoping to either look into a course that would teach me how...or to immerse myself in it with some books and teach myself how.

    Sorry, that doesn't help for this summer...but it might for next!

    Florence x

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  15. oh I just can't keep up, you're too quick! this top is so beautiful on you, I am so in awe. I hope you do find time to learn how to make this into a pattern, that would be amazing. And your husband's things the other day are hilarious, sounds like something my husband would joke about!

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  16. I really like this top, especially as you've not used a pattern.inspires me to have a go myself - using some AMH voile too.
    Have a great weekend.
    P x

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  17. hi!
    just happened to find out about your blog. i really like it and feels very familiar. Would you happen to be a french seamstress in exil?

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  18. I love this top, any plans to release a pattern?

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  19. What a gorgeous top! I remain unconvinced that any voluminous shirt could make you look plump, mind...

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  20. May many months later I'm finding this post on a hunt to look at garment projects in AMH's voile. Your blouse came out so great! If you don't mind me asking, what did you use for facing, the same fabric or something else?

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  21. Hello Tasha

    Yes, I used the same fabric for the facing, although some of Anna Maria's plain blue voile would have worked just as well.

    Florence x

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x

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