Sunday, 25 May 2014

Sleeveless top pattern review

OK, so I thought I would review a couple of free printable sleeveless top patterns. A recent cull of my wardrobe revealed that I was sadly lacking in this area. In the past I have bought several from Boden, mostly because of the lovely colours and prints, but in truth unless they are in the sale I really cannot justify the price they charge for such a simple item, so I thought I had better start to make some myself.

So before I spent money on buying a new pattern I thought I would have a go at the Angela Kane sleeveless top and the Collette Sorbetto top. Both free downloads.

Firstly I wear a size 14 UK top and size 12 skirts and trousers, so I am not Mrs average. I also am full busted which really means that this type of top, loose and boxy are not the best for me style wise. However come the warmer weather I would sooner wear a looser cotton top than say a fitted vest and as long as I pair these with a slimmer bottom, either straight skirt or straight jeans I can just about get away with it without looking like a weeble (do you remember those!!)

So first the Colette top. I love the look of the pattern on the site and having googled some more images it did look quite appealing. I read that these patterns come out a bit small so I erred on the side of caution and cut out a size 12 (USA)  size 16 UK. As I was using a light weight cotton which I thought once washed would have a little drape I thought it would still look OK.
First thing I found however was the dart placement!! I found this really out. Then there seemed to be too far too much fullness in the front armscye. This isn't helped I know by my own shape, but I have seen that others have also found this.
Finally I found the top far too short, so added a band to the bottom of mine.
What I did like was the bias bound neck and armholes and the front pleat which I think is a lovely touch.
Once I managed to make the necessary alterations, dropped the darts and shortened them, eased out the fullness in the armscye and added the band, I was quite pleased with the result. I did have to take it in as well which means next time I can make the smaller size.

I think if you were very slim with a tiny bust you may get away with the pattern in your normal size without too much alteration, but as this is meant to be a really simple top I think it might prove a bit challenging to get a good fit if you are anything other than a true average size.

Next the Angela Kane pattern. This is the little top as shown on the Great British Sewing Bee.
First I must confess I actually printed out the wrong size.  If I had looked at the sizing properly I would have seen the the medium would have been amply big enough even for my fuller top, but having printed out the large size I decided that since these patterns have no seam allowance I could just use it as printed without adding any!

I had to take make 1.25 inch seams on both sides and of course should have adjusted the armscye  to lose some of the width in the high chest area as well. Having said this and not wanting to waste the fabric I decided to make it up anyway. The darts were perfect, the instructions and video are so clear that you couldn't fail to produce a really professional looking garment and I will make it again in the right size!
Again for me though only 5' 3" it was too short and I lengthened it by 2". I also made little vents in the hem so that it sat better.

It isn't a complete disaster and I will wear it, but I will show you a much better version in due course.
Overall then I do like the top and certainly think that with the video tutorial it would be well within a beginners ability.

In conclusion, would I have been happy to have purchased either pattern.
 The, not really. Had I not had some experience and been able to correct the fit it would have gone in the bin!
The Angela Kane, as I would have purchased the correct size.....yes I would.

I hope that some of this might have helped if you were thinking of trying either of these patterns and it would be great to hear how you got on if you  try them yourself.

Back shortly with loads of piccies of our brilliant holiday in Cornwall, that's once I've sifted through the 300 odd I seem to have taken...!

Happy Sewing until next time.....
Jenny xx

Monday, 12 May 2014

Are you gown or PJs?.......

Well my sewing mojo is truly back and I have to say my friend Joan's oft said comment about over lockers (sergers), has proved very true. I always said I couldn't see much point to them when my machine did a pretty good imitation of an over lock stitch, but how wrong I was!
It's the time thing really. All that stitching, then trimming then stitching again. Now done in one swift operation. I feel like I've been on the Sewing Bee! Garments being completed in a couple of hours! I can see I will soon make headroom in this stash of mine
So this brings me nicely to the title of this post.
I am a PJ girl. I love to change out of my day wear and into a comfy pair of jammys in the evenings.  Of course I do like them stylish and that's the thing. I don't do satin, my poor rough old hands catch on anything too delicate and much as I think cartoons are lovely for children on the TV I don't want them emblazoned across my chest when I sleep. But you try and find anything else that doesn't cost a fortune.
So this weekend as well as making the toile for a dress for a little girl (long promised but rather delayed) and preparing the fabric for some roman blinds, I have whipped up some PJ bottoms from a free pattern printed off the Internet.

 Down to one and a half hours now! And they are in cotton and colours of my choosing,
Not quite ready to do the Tesco shop in them, but they are soooooo comfy!

How I love the neat finishing....

Are you a PJ girl or is it the full glamorous boudoir look for you? Do tell, I won't let on..........

And talking of neat finishing I think I have mentioned Angela Kane before, but if you haven't heard of her and you are just starting sewing go take a look at her site. 
She has a full subscription system, but by just registering you can download a couple of free printable patterns.
One of these is the sleeveless top from the Great British Sewing Bee. I have just downloaded this as well as the free sleeveless top  from Colette patterns. I have made up one and almost finished the other so I will do a pattern review next time.
Coming back to Angela Kane though, even as a fairly experienced sewer I have found her free video tutorials brilliant. I have learned so many little tips already and I am definitely going to enrol fully. She has patterns for a coat, dress, and some great looking jeans that I want to try. For the time being though I am off to finish that second top.....

Hope the weather where you are is a bit better than here, its chilly with some heavy rain showers. can't believe that only a week or so ago we were enjoying a few days basking in sunshine in the garden. Please keep your fingers crossed for me that it will pick up again soon as its not too long now before we have a little break in Cornwall and I would prefer to where something other than wellies and a mac!

Jenny xx