If you’d asked me which of the weekly sewalongs Sewisfaction are running to coincide with the Great British Sewing Bee season 5, I’d have said that sustainability week held the least appeal for me.
I see the value in reusing textiles wherever possible, but a combination of not really wanting to wear patchwork clothing and being the owner of a fairly obscene fabric stash has always led me to sew from new fabrics rather than reuse.
However, this week the timing was just perfect and so I decided to join in.
Incidentally, I’ve joined in every week so far so there are some catch up blog posts coming!
Mum has more than once pressed her unwanted garments on me (usually thinking of making things for the girls not me, given she’s about 5″ shorter than me!) This week, she handed over 3 pairs of viscose linen mix cropped trousers she’d ordered with some other things in a sale. It says everything about our society right now that the value of these items was so low, it wasn’t worth the postage to return them.
I also had bought another new pattern: Workshop in Headingley have launched their own range and had a sale for International Women’s Day and so I bought the Peggy top. This is a very simple looking top with only press stud fastenings and darts to contend with but looked as though it might be perfect for our summer trip to Florida.
The pdf proved rather disappointing. Whilst only 12 sheets, one of them was completely blank and, had the two pattern pieces been shifted upwards very slightly, a further 3 would have been unnecessary. That really annoys me. However, I graded between a 10 and a 12, did a 1cm hollow chest adjustment and carried on.
The front piece should be cut on the fold; not going to happen with recycled trousers but I added a 1cm seam allowance and JUST squeezed the pieces into the available fabric width. The fabric is a pale denim blue so I actually don’t mind the centre front seam: it’s fairly well in character.
Construction was an absolute doddle; it’s literally sew darts, sew shoulder and side seams, finish edges. I decided to ignore the instruction to just fold all raw edges under and instead applied bias binding.
Even the bias was sustainable, being the remainder of the self made Liberty bias from making my Kelly anorak. I basically bought thread and press studs for this!
I much prefer a bias finish and I think it’s less bulky on this linen blend. It’s also a lot smoother having tana lawn rather than linen viscose against your skin.
I did have to spend a little extra time finishing the seams on this: the fabric frayed quite enthusiastically so I wanted to ensure it was properly under control. I sewed each seam, pressed the seam allowance open and then folded the edges under, top stitching to keep them in place. Again, I like the look of this with this particular fabric.
So I was feeling pretty pleased with my green little self. And then I tried it on.
Whilst it fits well and I still like the idea of it as a style, I think it needs some alteration to be 40-something mummy appropriate. Nobody needs to see my midriff these days and the cross over on the back isn’t low enough to cover my bra.
So sadly, my Liberty bias has gone to waste. This is definitely relegated to being a toile, and not a particularly wearable one.
But I do think that with a couple of simple adjustments, this would still be a very wearable summer top for the heat. So it’s not a total waste.
Does making a toile from repurposed fabric count as sustainable? Thoughts on a postcard please……