My previous post about Loungewear pants tells how the end of August for the second year in a row for me turns into fabric leftovers decluttering exercise. I am quite thrifty in sewing, which means that usually there are pieces of fabric left after every other project. It would of course be unthinkable to throw perfectly good fabric pieces away, so they end up sitting on the shelf, and I need to find time and ideas to use them up once in a while. Tops are perfect to use up odd leftover fabrics. This time around I’ve made three tops that are mostly meant to be worn as part of layered styles, for example, under blazers.
The first top which was made back in July is this tartan check sleeveless top. It is made of cotton fabric leftover that was left after completing my Shirt dress project last year.
For this top I chose free pattern by Peppermint magazine called Peplum top. It is a good pattern, although, next time it would probably be worthwhile amending it a little bit. Darts at the front would help, so that the top would fit better, and also the back should be a little bit more narrow. This time around elastic at the back helped to somewhat mitigate the unwanted fullness. It is not a quick make, though – even if it looks quite straightforward. On the one hand, it is a simple design, but then the neckline and armholes need to get finished using bias tape, and that takes quite a bit of time.
I like this top very much, wore it multiple times – on vacation, under a denim jacket or without. It fits me well, is light and really comfortable garment.
White boxy top
After my Festive summer dress project there was this very uneven but still decent piece of fabric left. To make any use of it I had to find a design that would be constructed from smaller pieces, and Grasser top #442 was exactly the type of pattern that was needed.
It is a free pattern, which is nice. What was not so nice was that by mistake I managed to download the smallest available size and did not notice my mistake until trying the finished garment on. The top appeared clearly tight and I started wondering what had happened. It was only then that I checked the size printed on the pattern and was very unpleasantly surprised. Well, quite a whammy on my part – never before had I managed to sew something not having a clue that it was a wrong size. And it’s not that I was not inspecting the top along the way. It was checked on the dress form multiple times! The top seemed wide enough, so there was no reason for alarm. In the process I failed to notice that the upper part was very tight. For my defense I have to say that my shoulders are very narrow. So it is almost never a concern that something would be too narrow around the shoulders for me – usually the opposite is true. But not this time!
Well, it is not like this top is absolutely too small for me. But had the correct size been chosen, my top would have been 3 sizes up from the one I’ve made it in And now there is this very tight upper part of the garment, armholes small and somewhat restricting arms movement. Not great, but also not too bad. Truly want to believe that I will be wearing this top anyway, it is really nice!
Unfortunately this one was also not a quick or easy make. That’s mostly because of bias tape finish for the neckline and armholes, and also rather peculiar hem with slits. It is quite an elaborate design actually. To add to this, many embroidered dots had to be ripped to make sure that none of them sit on the stitching lines. All in all a fair amount of time was spent on this project. And therefore I must remember to go back to this story in the future, if I decide to make this top again. Just to make sure to choose the correct size next time! 🙂
The last garment in this project was this camisole top that was made out of leftover Eglantine&Zoe viscose that was left after my Puff sleeve caramel dress project. For this top I used Grasser pattern #595, which is an amazing pattern, am sure I’ll use it again.
OK, this is really gorgeous fabric. It is difficult to cut viscose, but it is so nice to wear it! Now, this top was not so simple a make either. Even though it looks like two seams and that’s it. The largest challenge was to decide on the length of straps. Initial length as designated in the pattern was far too long for me, so I had to decide by how much they should be shortened. This top is meant to be worn under a jacket or blazer. So neckline should not be hanging too low. With this in mind I was making straps shorter and shorter.
Eventually when the final length was determined, I proceeded with applying interfacing to facing pattern pieces and installing the facing. And when all of that was done and I tried the top on, it became clear that straps ended up being a tiny bit too short. Arguably, the mistake here was to decide on the length of straps while trying an unstructured garment on. Instead, I should have applied interfacing first, should have installed facing while leaving small gaps to insert the straps, and only then the important decision should gave been made on the optimal length of straps. Well, now a lesson was learnt for the future! But back then of course there was nothing else to do at that point – unless I would have decided to take all the top apart, make longer straps from scratch and install them again, which I decided against.
All in all it is a really nice top, it is close to being a bit uncomfortable due to relatively short straps, but well, I’ll have to live with that. Am pretty sure, I’ll be wearing and enjoying it. And next time, when I decide to use this pattern once again, straps will need to be a touch longer.
After making this last top it became clear to me that for now I’m done with leftovers! It’s not that no leftovers are left in my stash – oh, there’s still plenty! But time has come to return to new fabrics, new patterns and something really exciting. I’ll start working on my autumn wardrobe projects and am absolutely excited about that!
Here, let me leave few pictures of how I deal with odd pieces of fabric. This sort of jigsaw puzzle exercise entertains me each time. It is about trying to fit pattern pieces on very limited pieces of fabric. This activity probably satisfies the part of my brain that controls frugal and thrifty habits 🙂
Fabric types of this special project were: blue tartan check cotton, white silk and linen blend, embroidered in silk thread, and caramel viscose. These three tops cost me literally nothing as they were made of odd fabric pieces meant to be basically discarded. So I feel as having contributed to considerate fashion with my upcycling efforts here! Blue top was made at the end of July, white and caramel tops were made in the beginning of September, 2021.
Few mistakes happened during this project, though, and I am not too proud of that. Perhaps I was too immersed in the idea of making the next top, and then the next still. All this rush must have overshadowed the need of staying alert and cold headed. Instead of checking things before cutting and sewing, I was like – oh cool, this is progressing very well! Arrogance usually teaches us one or another lesson. And with this project there’s definitely a lesson to remember for my future sewing projects. Regardless, these three garments are truly nice and will be worn and enjoyed for sure! 🙂
Thanks for checking out this post! Let’s catch up next time!