Pride Comes Before Unstitching

I’ve been getting on with quite a bit of sewing recently, and I started to get a bit cocky with my little self today. I finished off a clergy top that I began earlier this week, and then I cut out and sewed together another one from the same pattern.

This is the one that took about a week to do, and you can perhaps tell that there are some things that are not quite right with it. The zip doesn’t go right to the top of the collar and I was mistaken in my belief that the advice on the pattern to interface the collar was actually a proper instruction and I should have paid heed. It is way too short and will be ok under some sort of pinafore top, or tucked into my trousers or something but as a first go at this pattern, I’m really happy with it.

I learned a few new techniques with this one, so it’s not completely a wasted exercise. I have never inserted a zip before, and this pattern calls for an invisible one – which, I’m proud to say, I managed to get in reasonably well (even though it doesn’t go to the top and I managed to stitch over the top of the teeth in a couple of places). And not least of all, I managed to insert the collar and the sleeves without leaving any holes this time, which I’ve always struggled with in the past.

I also learned how to use a double needle in order to hem it, and I’m so chuffed with this little rig that my husband designed for me to hold two bobbins on top of the machine so I could thread the double header properly.

And so, fired up with the lessons I’ve learned on this light blue top made of jersey, I decided to replicate it out of dark blue cotton but with a few alterations along the way.

I redrafted the pattern pieces, making them a bit longer in the body, and I added an inch or so to the sides of the bodice to account for the lack of ease in the cotton. In case you didn’t know, something made out of jersey, or stretch fabric is drawn differently to something that is made out of cotton. This is because of something that the technical bods call “ease”, but I call “room to move and breathe without it feeling like you’re being choked”.

I had to put the cutting mat on the landing because bending over the bed to cut out the fabric was hurting my back today, and armed with my new rotary cutter, I made light work of the cutting, and I was ready to start sewing within about half an hour. What a godsend rotary cutters are! This is only the second time I’ve used one on fabric, and honestly, it has got to be the best tool I’ve ever used for any craft project. I am useless at cutting out fabric, but with the rotary cutter, I managed to accurately cut out two tops with minimal mistakes (so long as you don’t count the laceration to my finger the other day when I first used it…).

I even managed to remember to mark the inside and the outside of the pieces, something that I’d got mixed up with on the light blue one, and somehow I managed to get one of the sleeves inside out. Fortunately, because it is jersey fabric, it doesn’t really matter. But because this new one is in proper cotton, I thought it might show if I got one of the pieces the wrong way round, so I made special effort to make sure everything was the right way round. And to be honest, I got a bit gungho about it, managing to construct the collar in about 10 minutes – properly interfaced this time – and attached really quickly. It was a fairly simple job to get the zip and the sleeves in, and before I knew it (about 3 hours later) I was ready to hem it all and try it on.

I was really proud of myself with the finished article up til that point, but then….

I’d made the cardinal mistake of not measuring myself properly before I redrafted the pattern, and it ended up way too small in the sleeves and just about wide enough to cover my belly and hips.


I decided to remake the sleeves with the remaining fabric (a bedsheet that my son had bought in the wrong size by mistake), but first had to cut out the old ones. Because of the way the garment is constructed I had to cut them rather than simply unpick them, and I ended up with a ring of tat that needed to be unpicked anyway.

I spent more time unpicking the armhole of one sleeve than I did in putting in the zip, the collar and the double stitching the shoulder seams. Bah! That will teach me to be too proud of my little self!

I’ll be picking it up again tomorrow to unpick the other sleeve/armhole thingy and I’ll redraft the sleeves to be twice as wide if needs be to make sure I can move in them when it’s on. I’m gutted that I have been so gungho, because that collar and that zip look almost shop-bought they are that good. I don’t think I’ll be able to replicate that again. Ah well, tomorrow’s another day, and it’s only fabric. If all else fails, I can reuse it all to make masks or something, and I will reuse the zip in the next top. Which I plan to make sloooooowlllllly and carefully, after properly measuring myself and making sure it will fit me.

Love and light,

Pamster x

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