Tried and tested?

Hello!  How are things going for you? Hope you’ve enjoyed the Bank Holiday week end (preferably with slightly better weather than we’ve had here)

I seem to have built up rather the backlog of sewing projects to blog about at the moment.  This is largely because I’m feeling a lot of pressure to sew as fast as possible at the moment, after realising quite how unwearable most of last summer’s clothes are.  Clearly I’ve spent my personal budget already on fabric so sewing rather than shopping is the way forward!

Also, I’ve been taking part in Me Made May (second round up post to follow) and whilst it’s definitely identified some gaping holes in my wardrobe, it’s also reminded me (as it did last year) that regardless of the perceived faults, I feel better wearing my own makes than buying clothes most of the time.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to get totally evangelical about it and start making my own knickers and bras and refusing to shop (not that there’s anything wrong with that but I don’t think it’s realistic for me). BUT I find myself browsing more for ideas these days rather than trying things on to buy them.  It’s more about, does this shape/style/colour do anything for me than it is about which item shall I buy.

So, having purchased a couple of pairs of shorts on the one warm day a week or two ago, I decided that I needed to juggle fitting a new dress pattern with sewing up some quick tops to pad out the wardrobe.

Let’s roll out the Tried ‘n’ Tested I thought.


First up was my personal old favourite, New Look 6217.  This seems to have had rather a resurgence of popularity in the blogosphere of late, and I already have two versions which were very early makes for me, in black and white faux silk which are incredibly useful for work.  Then Josie at Fabric Godmother started posting tempting photos of pretty rayon and my will power evaporated.  I gave in and bought a metre of the scalloped print black rayon.

I should note that the envelope would like you to buy more than a metre; however you can cut from a metre with relative ease (or at least, you can for the 14 I cut)

I’ve worn these tops recently, I thought.  They fit beautifully, I thought.  They were clearly too small originally.  I can just use the pattern pieces I cut out originally (like I said, very early makes, since I cut into the paper pattern).

It’d be nice if it were a little looser, maybe.  I know, I’ll just pivot the front piece slightly against the fold when I’m cutting out.  Add in a few centimeters at the front.



It’s fair to say that, despite the finish being lovely, my new top is rather on the large side.


As you can see here, it goes on easily over another vest top, which is an absolute necessity if you don’t want to show your bra straps to the world.  And I don’t like sharing my underwear with the world (although I do like nice underwear!)

So, clearly, I need to redraw the neckline (or take the lazy route I obviously took last time and forgot of shifting the pattern piece slightly over the fold of material to make it narrower!)

And it’s VERY loose.


It actually feels OK as worn here, casually with skinny jeans.  But it won’t be going to the office in a hurry, which is a shame as I absolutely love the print.

And the button on the neckline.


(Note also that, as shown here, if pattern matching is of importance to you, a metre might not be quite enough fabric.  But with a print like this, I couldn’t care less!)

So I ended up with a wearable top, but not the versatile, multi-functional piece I was hoping for.

But wait! What’s this wadded up in the still-being-sorted-out fabric cupboard?  Could it be a top that I cut out and zigzagged the edges of maybe 2 years ago and then got fed up with? Why yes, it could! This could be my saviour!

This time around it was another supposedly TNT pattern, and actually the first thing I made myself when the second series of the Sewing Bee got me hooked back into dressmaking.  The simple sleeveless top in the first show of that series was so close to what I was buying from Oasis regularly at the time (at around £40 a pop) and after watching the contestants tackle it I thought, I can do that.  The rest is ….. addiction?

Anyway, the pattern is Burda Young 7051 and I basically wanted the blue version on the pattern envelope.  I believe I had cut the size 12 (and I’m amazed I ever managed to make it so it fastened up, I was NOT that size but refused to believe the dress sizes on the envelope and made what I usually bought on the high street. Noddy error).  I made a few versions of this when first learning and was very pleased with them, not least because they looked OK in quilting cotton (pretty patterns!) and the pattern easily fits on 1m of fabric.

The version I’d chucked in the cupboard without finishing (did I run out of summer?) was cut in a Michael Miller fabric, Flock, which I believe I bought from the Hebden Bridge WI Rag Market.  I didn’t throw the facings in the same place as the rest of it, but I genuinely prefer a bias neckline so that wasn’t a problem.

Previous me was very virtuous and zigzagged every pattern piece, as my mum taught me to.  This is not what I do now, I should add.  But it did make actually sewing it up quite a nice experience, very speedy!

The top has a high neckline (perfect sun top for pasty gingers who are so fed up of sun burnt cleavage that they prefer dressing like a nun in the sun!) and an invisible zip running all the way down the back.  It’s very straightforward with 6 darts (bust and then waist front and back); the arm and neckholes were bias bound and then the hem is just turned under twice.

I’d made no attempt at all at pattern matching as I didn’t have enough fabric (I didn’t realise then that quilting cotton can be quite narrow); I’ve even had to sew the zip in with wider seam allowances than I normally would to hide the print down the selvedge!


I absolutely adore this fabric!  It’s really a bit too heavy for a sleeveless top (bet it’d make an awesome skirt though!) but I don’t care because the print makes me happy.

It is, however, one of those that fits where it touches.  It’s OK, but there’s spare fabric flapping around the middle and then my hips fit. And only just fit.  Again, I have failed to account for my changing size and SHAPE over the last year.

But it’ll do.  And I felt pretty good wearing it with jeans and my Grainline Morris Blazer for a very rare child-free pub lunch on Sunday!


Could have been the child free element though 😉

So, my mission to bulk up my wardrobe so I don’t have to wash and iron on quite such a regular basis continues. And I have GOT to slow down and adjust patterns more carefully before I dive in blithely.


Becca x


6 thoughts on “Tried and tested?

Add yours

  1. This was a lovely read and as I said on instagram I really like the fabric of the birds. I also am in love with the black fabric, that top is lovely. You could totally wear it to the office 🙂


    1. Thank you! I think I might get away with it with another top underneath it’s just a shame it turned out that way : one day I will learn to test ad hoc adjustments on less nice fabric first!!


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