Twisted Sister!

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I had a nice piece of my black, suiting fabric left over from my recent By Hand London Charlotte Skirt. I’d actually made a note for myself on the pattern to buy less than the required amount next time as I’d ended up chopping so much off the length. I didn’t quite trust myself though, so bought the recommended requirements. Anyhow, flicking through some sewing books last weekend I came across this Tunic pattern in The Great British Sewing Bee’s original book. It’s the only pattern that actually came with the book and the amount needed suited my leftovers perfectly. And because it’s using up leftovers, I figured it wasn’t deviating too far from my plans.

I wasn’t taking any risks with the sizing, as the last (and only) couple of projects I’ve made from this book came up pretty small, so I cut a 12 and the shortest (waist) version. I soon realised that this was far too big, and took an extra inch off each side seam, so a size 10 next time then. The instructions were pretty clear and helpful, but I reshuffled the order a bit. It’s labelled as a ‘two button’ make, so presumably pretty easy, and it was, right up until the facing…

Mmmm… Inserting the facing involved a kind of two-in-one insertion whereby you  attached it, firstly along the neckline (simple enough), but then kind of pulled it inside out (or in on itself!?) to attach the same piece to the armholes. Now although this read like double Dutch the first couple of times I read it, eventually I could see what I was supposed to do. But I do mean see, I couldn’t actually do it!

After much pinning and unpinning I figured if I could get half way round, and then take out half the pins, I might be able to pull the rest through, which kind of worked in that I completed the loop, but it’s ended up looking pretty twisted! Granted, on the insides mostly, so I’ve had to hand stitch the facing down in several places to stop it from twisting outwards, which mostly worked. It’s a pretty loose design, so hopefully this won’t be too uncomfy to wear. There must be a knack to doing this though. I’ve been following The Frugal Stitcher’s 30 day challenge (featuring an item a day from the latest book) and she referenced a similar technique on a different top, so fingers crossed they’ll be revisiting it on an upcoming programme, so I can figure the technique out. It does create a really neat (if I ignore the twisted bits) finish on the inside so I figure it would be a good skill to learn.

Even though it’s not perfect (boy am I itching to get back to knits and my overlocker), I think it will be a really useful piece. I’m wearing it below with my matching Charlotte Skirt, and I love the way it almost looks like a dress when worn together. Even though I seem to have lost the knack of sewing with wovens, I’m learning to love thinking creatively, to use up every last scrap of fabric. Anyone else learning to love their leftovers or have a go-to leftover pattern that takes up a minimum amount of fabric?

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Rubbish, fuzzy shots today sorry as weather and light so atrocious. Clearly, I piled on the layers for work (can you spot yet another infinity scarf? Burgundy this time), but it was great to find that it layered up really easily. Finally another shot of my twisted seams. You can just about make out where I’ve had to anchor it down to stop it rolling outwards. My innards are far from perfect, but I’m getting there slowly.

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28 thoughts on “Twisted Sister!

  1. I like it, and it looks lovely with that necklace.

    Also, have you seen this tutorial? http://www.coletterie.com/tutorials-tips-tricks/video-how-to-clean-finish-a-lined-armhole I found it when I was having mad trouble lining a waistcoat, and it really helped. It’s a really clear explanation of how to get a good finish on a lined (or faced) sleeveless bodice. I hope it’s useful 🙂

    (hello! I think I found you from comments at Crafting a Rainbow. I like your blog!)

    • Perfect! Thank you! I definitely need something more visual to nudge me in the right direction. I really could understand what I was supposed to be doing, but it was just too fiddly to get it spot on…

  2. I know exactly the process you are describing – again, it’s practice makes perfect! I so agree that sewing knits is very gratifyingly speedy in between more tailored garment making, hence my recent poncho:)

    • I’d really like to try this pattern again, so fingers crossed you’re right and it’s practice makes perfect 🙂 It was a perfect layering piece for our vastly changeable heating system at work…

  3. Hi, I’ve had that funny facing/ turn it through the shoulders thing as well – I couldn’t work it out and had to bring it in for the textiles teacher to sort out. Looks like a really good pattern for leftovers – mine used to be the Sorbetto but now it’s knickers! Have a good weekend.

  4. I think I had a similar ‘brain twist’ moment with the Deer & Doe Datura top! It does look lovely as separates though…. I’m just like you with fabric – I can get a Colette Mabel skirt from 0.5m, and am thinking about colour blocking to use up scraps, and if wovens need using then it’s going to be a Sorbetto top!

    • I love my Mabels, but I know that come Spring, I won’t have the confidence to wear them without black tights. Will have to find a replacement leftover pattern… A colour blocked Mabel sounds cool, not sure any of my leftovers match though 😦

  5. I love it when two pieces can be separates or a “dress”. Sometimes I just don’t want to wear a dress (often actually) and the top comes in so handy with pants (trousers?). I remember doing a facing like that once, I got it figured out ok but there is no way I could explain it to anyone! That’s why I like taking photos as I sew, it helps me remember next time what I did that worked! Lovely “dress”!

  6. Looks great, no twisting noticible at all. I love to use all leftovers if possible, tops of all sorts are useful for that, just like the one you’ve made.. So good that you’re now a knit convert!

    • Thanks Zoe! I’ve worn them a couple of times now, and no one’s noticed my twisted seams at all. That could of course be down to all the layers I’m cocooning myself in at the moment though 😉

  7. Pingback: Smokey Grey, part two | navybluethreads

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