Simple Sew Cross-Over Back Blouse #015

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This top is a little of a departure for me in terms of style, but it still really appealed. I’ve seen lots of similar styles in the shops and sometimes it’s just nice to try something new isn’t it? I had my reservations about its slightly boxy shape, but because of its lighter-weight fabric, I thought it might just work. I’m not sure if you can purchase Simple Sew patterns independently, but they come free with Love Sewing magazine here in the UK.

I really struggled with ‘going out’ tops during MMMade earlier this year, so this was another good reason to try this style. I was determined to salvage another make out of my beautiful, Liberty material that came up just a little bit short of the mark in my last make, but no matter how hard I tried I just didn’t quite have enough for this. However a good rummage through my fabric drawers produced this lovely crepe, left over from these makes, that seemed both a similar weight and a good colour match. I think it works really well as a contrast fabric, and (almost) looks like a purposeful choice…

The instructions, in the main, were great. It’s labelled as a ‘beginner’ level style, and I think this is pretty accurate. The construction of the facings was a little bit jigsaw-like, but in terms of size, rather than difficulty. I’ve noted here before that I’m not a fan of facings though, so I purposefully used mine as bias binding pieces instead, folding them in on themselves to form a neater finish internally.

Just before I finished the sleeve facings, I tried it on Betty. Sure enough it looked pretty huge and too boxy. I’d cut a size 10 to be on the safe side, but if I sew this up again, I’ll definitely be trimming it down to an 8 and taking a little off the length. I unpicked the hem facings at each side and took the side seams in by an good inch each (from under the sleeves which were actually fine), before reattaching them. I then attempted to ‘pull’ in the back a little, both for security and for stability. I really didn’t want this flapping open whilst wearing it! And I still might wear it with a camisole underneath for extra coverage.

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These adjustments did make a difference, as I hope you can make out in the photos. Whilst it’s probably not the most flattering style on me, I’m actually pretty pleased with it just because it’s a little different. I think it’ll probably get more wear in the day (no doubt with a chunky cardigan over the top until Spring) than at night, but I can still see myself getting a fair bit of wear out of this 🙂

The Ho-Hum Top

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I thought this easy, ‘no pattern‘ pattern (!) would be a really practical way of using up a pretty-much-drawer-full of leftover knits I’ve accumulated from recent makes. I’m trying to be good and make space before going out to purchase more. We’ll see how far I get with that one… It was a free , ‘beginner make’ featured in Sew Home and Style magazine (April 2015, ‘draped top’). A cowl neckline is not something I’d ever really considered trying (although I do have Colette’s Myrtle lined up in my sewing queue), however Lucy over at LoveLucie.wordpress has made a couple of lovely ones recently, so I thought I’d give it a go.

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But I’m not terribly convinced. Not sure if it’s the colour, which feels jarringly bright next to my face (even though it goes nicely with the blossom tree in the background) or the style. Maybe a combination of both? I didn’t have any ‘fusible hemming tape’ so just used my overlocker. The seam allowances were huge and I ended up hacking a lot of them off on said overlocker, especially around the shoulder area. The results are far from pretty, which left me feeling annoyed, as I’ve gotten much better at this recently. To be fair, they do describe it as a ‘loose fitting’ style, so maybe if I reduced the width measurements, it might prove more flattering? It would have been really nice to have been able to have used up my spare knits to sew up a host of these for work, but now I’m really not convinced I can be bothered. Has anyone else tried this ‘pattern’ with better results?

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Put a Bird on it!

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I’ve been meaning to have a go at some simple, appliqué-style sweatshirts for the children for ages, so this month’s theme over at The Monthly Stitch gave me just the nudge I needed. I bought a couple of plain, school-style sweatshirts from John Lewis for the bargain price of just £9 each. The quality of these is lovely too, with a snugly, fleeced reverse. I really must find a suitable sweatshirt pattern for all of us though, as I suspect they’re a pretty easy make and the school uniform colours these come in are pretty limited past this grey. Maybe except for the ribbing…

Anyhow, as the theme was birds, I knew just the template for my daughter’s design. It came free with an issue of Love Sewing magazine. Our printer’s not working at the moment, so I had to copy it instead. Luckily, that wasn’t too difficult. The fabric also came free with a magazine, so it was the perfect excuse to use it up. I used Bondawebbing to affix the fabric to the sweatshirts, then simply zigzag-stitched around the designs.

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A more ‘masculine’ bird for a nine year old, fussy boy child is harder to come by… Eventually he came up with the idea of an American eagle. I googled it and luckily came across a template to again trace. Phew! I didn’t fancy my chances at drawing one of these! To my shame, I’ve never sewed for my son before, so locating some red, white and blue fabric suitable for boys wasn’t too easy. Luckily I remembered an old, striped shirt of mine that had ripped across the back. I’d stashed in my fabric drawers for just such an occasion. Perfect! As it was a plainer design, I managed to repurpose the old buttons off it too, which were fabric-covered in a red gingham. I added these to the middle of each star with a final one for the middle of the eagle.

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If you have some small humans to sew for amongst your friends and family, then I really recommend this as a quick-fix project and it’s perfect for using up scraps. The design possibilities are endless and at £9 a sweatshirt these are a fraction of similar styles at Mini Boden and such like.

Can you tell how much fun they had taking these photos? They love action shots! Good job I managed to get just one where the designs actually showed up, before they started jumping around…