Lately I’ve had quite a tough time harnessing inspiration and energy to sew. On the other hand I know perfectly well, that keeping self busy and engaging in pleasant mental and physical activities is so important in order to keep going in this totally terrifying time. So I sewed up something again.
While choosing what project to take on each time I’ve found it to be a good idea to alternate between complex and easier projects. After completing my recent coat project, I was in a mood for an intermission. This time around I was glad to again turn my eyes to fabric leftovers – somehow leftover projects are usually so comforting and satisfying! Perhaps I am a bit frugal at heart, and being able to not waste resources provides me with feelings of success and accomplishment.
Both of the fabrics I used this time were left after last year projects. So here we are – I’ve made two very nice and very period appropriate (check out those colors!) tops that will work great for office outfits this spring.
I had a small piece of beautiful blue silk-cotton voile that was left after one of my most favorite top projects ever – Belle top that I made last summer. And then I wanted to deal with this vibrant yellow silk remainder that was left after bias skirt project last spring.
I had both top patterns made from before. The pattern for the blue fabric was the same spaghetti straps camisole top, that I’ve used few times before. And the pattern for the yellow fabric was traced a month or so ago, when I was having my recent messy leftovers project, and in fact was planning this pattern for the blue fabric. It was just that I did not have enough of blue fabric for short sleeved top, therefore the blue one ended up being a camisole top.
Blue camisole top
I’ve used this pattern before, and I knew that it made for an uncomfortable top the first time I’ve made it. Next time I used it for a pajama top, made the cleavage more shallow and finally managed to measure an appropriate length of straps. So this time around it was easier. Since this fabric is very delicate, I used French seam finish for side seams. Also it was so much easier to make spaghetti straps out of this thin fabric. I managed to stitch the straps as narrow as 3-4 mm and still was able to turn them right side out. The one change that I made if compared to the instructions was that I cut straps on bias instead of straight grain as prompted. I find narrow straps cut this way being thinner when complete.
One more improvement that I made was attaching interfacing tape to the facing stitching lines. It is a proven method of making deep necklines more stable. I do it on every camisole top, even if it is a pajama top.
This top came together really quickly, partly because I’ve done it before. Love it so much! Am sure that it will be a great addition to my spring wardrobe and will work perfectly with multiple styles.
This beautiful silk-cotton voile was bought from The Fabric Store online, I had some 1 meter leftover piece of narrow 110 cm width, and that was about enough for a camisole top. The pattern used here was pattern #595 by Grasser patterns. Other notions used were: a bit of interfacing, a bit of interfacing tape and coordinating thread. This top cost me nothing as I had attributed all fabric cost to the previous top, and did not consider the leftover as a substantial piece. The top was made in March, 2022.
This one was not so simple. Partly because this design is tricky, and also because my yellow silk was notoriously difficult to work with. It has some stretch to it which adds problems as though there were too few already while dealing with silk being so slippery. I knew what was coming as I’ve worked with this fabric before, and at that time it was also cut on bias, which made things ever more difficult. However, I also wanted to put an end to this leftover piece, and promised myself to never buy silk with elastane ever again! 🙂
Ok, so difficulty here was mostly impacted by this glamorous ruffled neckline. The original design also has a pleat at the back, however, after trying almost finished garment on and determining that I did not need additional width that the pleat would have provided, I decided not to install it. I plan to mostly wear this top tucked in. And so the pleat at the back would probably look awkward wearing the garment this way.
Another angle of difficulty was created by the fact that I’d decided to make all seams as French seams – it is of course very appropriate for a delicate silk garment. All in all, stitching this top up was quite an undertaking. I used walking foot all along, without it seams were getting gathered and ugly. Also I had to play with presser foot pressure quite a bit. Most of the time I used relatively low pressure – 2 out of 6. However, for thicker places the presser foot would not manage to successfully go through and would start to slide, and I found that increasing presser foot pressure to 4 helped quite a bit.
So now few words about this peculiar neckline. First of all I attached some interfacing tape to the edges of the neckline. In my view, doing that works so much better than a stay stitch on delicate and thin fabrics. Then I gathered the narrow double folded ruffle piece and stitched it on. The edge of this seam is the only one that ended up being overlocked – there was no way of using French seam method on it. When I carefully pressed the seam flat and tried the top on, it became clear that the neckline had a tendency to fall and gape open, and that’s because there was nothing holding it in place due to the back being so open. I did not want to top stitch the neckline as it was supposed to look clean and neat. So instead of top stitching, I ironed on narrow double adhesive tape in between neckline seam allowance and the wrong side of the neckline. This helped immensely and the neckline looks fine now.
The raw ends of the ruffle at the back were supposed to be hidden by an additional piece that would have made for a pleat. But since I had decided to skip the pleat altogether, I had to figure out the way to finish the center back seam and that small and not nice raw ends of the neckline ruffle. I ended up folding in and top stitching the raw edges of center back seam. While for the raw ruffle ends I simply stitched a small piece of bias tape thus encasing them and making for a nice inside finish.
The last bit of work was to hem the top and finish sleeve hems. I opted for rather wide 3 cm hems. It was very tricky to neatly press the hem and then fold the raw edge in so that the hem inside finish would look neat and tidy. Walking foot was essential for a nice and straight seam at hems as I was sewing cross grain where the stretch was the worst. When hems were done, I breathed a sigh of relief and promised to work with more stable fabrics in the nearest future!
For this project I needed approximately 1 m of silk that I bought at my local fabric store. The pattern used here came from Burda magazine, it was pattern #114 from 2021/02 issue, I cut it in size 36. Other notions used here were: a bit of interfacing tape, a bit of double adhesive tape and coordinating thread. This top cost me 30 Eur. It was made in March, 2022.
Ready for spring
This time around I had quite a hard time taking the pictures of these two makes. The sun was shining so brightly through our large windows, that it was impossible to deal with that warm tone in all the photos. I managed to remove some of it using Lightroom software, but when the outfit is yellow and everything else around is also yellow, it is tricky to do anything clever about it. 🙂 Anyway, I absolutely love both of these tops! They will go very well with many of my blazers and other styles. I checked them out as part of quite a few outfits and liked very much all of these styles!
Below on the left the blue top is styled with my Neon green statement blazer and in my view makes for quite a fancy look. Below on the right the yellow top is styled with the Sunny silk skirt made of the same fabric. Wide belt hides the fact that these are actually two separate garments. It was never my plan to make and wear them together – I purchased this fabric only for the skirt. And yet, here we are! I am not certain though, if all this yellowness isn’t too much. 🙂 What do you think? Share in the comments section below!
Now, with these two projects finished, the time is coming to turn to more complex project again. I have this dream of making myself a trench coat for spring. Have everything purchased for the project, even the pattern is printed out. So the only thing needed now is determination to start! Let’s see if I’m going to be able to concentrate and dive straight into this extensive project.
Let it be peace in the world! 💙💛