Friday, 24 July 2015

Handmade Wardrobe Project 4 - Sailor Top

When I first learned to knit and successfully finished new projects, I'd get a huge rush of excitement. These days I'm much less excited and far more critical of any knitting projects and only get that excitement upon turning a rough sketch into a design I like. With so little time to work on designs at the moment* it seems that learning to sew might be the answer - I feel really excited about this week's Handmade Wardrobe garment, and it was quick too. 

The Project: Armed with some new supplies including 1.5m of gorgeous Tula fabric, I cut out the pattern for the Fancy Tiger Crafts Sailor Top on Wednesday afternoon and couldn't wait to sew it up. Thursday morning I wore my new top to the park! This was my second (ever) sewn garment but the first from a pattern. If you missed the other garment you can see it here.  

The Lessons: It was surprisingly easy to make the top, but not everything went to plan:
1. I ordered 1.5 m of fabric and didn't take into account that I'd be making the largest size (XXL) so it wasn't really enough - I only just managed to cut everything out of the fabric. I'd have liked to add a few inches, but this just wasn't possible. 
2. I'd forgotten to order tracing or carbon paper and had to draw around the printed pattern with chalk. The chalk didn't show up very well and so not all the lines and notches were perfectly cut. Then I failed to transfer a few of the markers which made the yoke attachment a little more fiddly than it needed to be. Not a big deal, as I compensated with lots of pins, but it would have been easier with the right tools and markings. 
3. After taking hip measurements, I knew the biggest size would be roomy on the hips... but didn't consider my (wobbly) tummy. When I tried it on for the first time, it did fit but there was no way I'd have worn it! I hatched a plan to insert panels at the sides, but with very little fabric left over it was difficult. Although it looks fine on the outside (see image left), this 'bodge' spoiled the neat inside seams. 
4. I really need to practice sewing on a curve. Enough said. 
5. I discovered that ironing while sewing is a pleasure.
While far from perfect, I absolutely love the finished top. I am really pleased with the fabric (and the way it hides a multitude of sins) which looks great with jeans. Someone who didn't know I'd just made it even complimented my top which felt fantastic! 
I plan to make more of these in different lengths and fabrics as it's really comfortable without looking scruffy. The official picture for the class makes me want a whole row of them in different colours for myself!
Sew a Sailor Top with Fancy Tiger Crafts on Creativebug
The class: Working along with the instructors made this project very straightforward and relaxing, even as a sewing novice. It taught me new skills such as how to work a 'gathering stitch' and how to 'stitch in the ditch' to get a nice finish on the yoke. Most of all it gave me the confidence to follow a pattern and sew something wearable.

You may have noticed that most of my handmade wardrobe items to date have been from Creativebug classes. I am really enjoying my membership and making the most of it which is why I'm 100% happy to recommend it, and to be an affiliate. You can get the online video classes for all these projects and many more as part of a free trial or with a $4.99 unlimited monthly subscription after the trial ends. This includes all tutorials and pattern downloads. Stream the classes or download them to your device, plus you get to keep one class per month even if you stop the subscription.

My next two sewing and knitting projects are planned already - I just need a time machine... or an au pair!
*After numerous requests, I've decided to improve the design and construction of the improvised Weekend Tunic I made a few weeks ago, and to release it as a pattern. I'm finishing the first sample at the moment and the pattern will be heading out to test knitters next week. If you were one of the people who asked for the pattern, stay tuned! 


  1. That looks fabulous! I love the fabric.

    1. Thanks Leah - it's great as long as you don't look too closely! ;)

  2. Well done! It looks fab. We are all our own worse critics anyway. Nobody else can see what we see, right? I think it's brilliant! Go you!

    1. Thank you! I have it on today - and got another compliment about my lovely top!!! x

  3. I love it. It looks like something I could do! I love the look of the multi-fabric ones.


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