So it seems that, yet again,I am starting a blog post by commenting on how long it is since I last blogged. Yep, it has been some time. I’ve been struggling to cope with homeschooling, working from home, elderly parents with deteriorating health… The list goes on, but I’m hardly the only one, so let’s just shelve all that.
I’ve worked from home for part of the week for years now but, now that it’s rather more permanent, I’ve been sent more hardware. The multiple monitors are beautiful, and make work much easier, but they’re too bulky for me to pack up every evening. So my sewing time is very limited, with only the weekends offering any hope of sewing time. Add to that a distinct lack of sew-jo and very little has been made of late.
I did make my first pair of Dawn jeans recently: still considering what I want to say about those. But then, as often happens, a new pattern launch caught my eye and got me motivated again. There are some pattern companies which I nearly always buy new patterns from, knowing they will be well drafted, be enjoyable to dew and will fit into my wardrobe well. Helen’s Closet are one of those companies, and they’ve just released a new dress/ top, the March.
At first glance, this one is rather outside my comfort zone. I’m not usually one for frills or gathers, and certainly the dress is probably not going to hit my to do list any time soon. But there is just something about the top that appealed to me. Especially paired with some gold-spotted double gauze which has been in my stash for far too long.
It seems my recent running spate has slightly changed my waist measurement (no impact on the hips, sadly!) so I was between sizes. I dithered a little, bur ended up grading between sizes (By the way, this was entirely unnecessary – why I thought I needed to add extra width to a gathered peplum, I do not know! However, the decision to add 1” to the peplum length was a good one.
Double gauze used to make make me very nervous. All those crinkles! But now I know to just cut and sew as usual, it’s fine ( although if you have the same gold dotted fabric, do not iron those without a press cloth)
The pattern has an interfaced back and front yoke, which act almost like an external facing. This wasn’t a technique I’d used before, but it gives a beautifully neat finish, inside and out. And there’s lots of topstitching, which always makes me happy!
As always, Helen’s instructions are really clear with great illustrations and lots of beginner friendly tips. I love her suggestion to press hems before sewing when gathering, a technique which have used before but generally forget. I never did find the instruction to actually new the hem, but that was hardly tricky!
I really don’t enjoy gathering, so that was the worst part of the whole thing, but the end result is definitely worth it.
I find that I thoroughly love the finished top. It feels so comfy but somehow a bit special (is this because I’ve spent too long in sweatshirts recently?) incredibly, I finished this just in time for the 2 day March heatwave and it was absolutely perfect. The cropped length meant the sleeves didn’t feel overwhelming. And the interfacing held the neckline in place really well.
That length, though. I’m 5’7″and don’t usually lengthen tops, but without that added inch, I wouldn’t feel comfortable in it at all. Could be an age thing, but worth thinking about before you cut out!
So, on balance, I love this top. I don’t know how many of them I need in my wardrobe, but I’m very glad this one is now in there!And it felt good to make something new again: maybe this is the start of my sew-jo returning? Who knows – only time will tell.
Pattern Helen’s Closet “March” top and dress
Fabric cotton double gauze printed with gold dots
Bust : 36″
Waist : 31″
Hips : 42″
Size cut 10-12
Adjustments made the grading mentioned above, plus added 1” to the peplum length
Future adjustments? No, it works well like this
Make again? Maybe – lovely pattern but I probably don’t need lots of these
The top is beautiful and has certainly inspired me to get back to my neglected sewing machine! I hope this is the start of a lovely summer of creative joy for you.