Time for a Maritime

I sew lots of skirts and dresses but as the cold weather set in  I realised how short of tops I am. During the winter I tend to wear jersey tops, cardigans and the occasional warm jumper (sadly not hand knitted!).

Some while ago I bought the Liesel + Co Maritime top from The Eternal Maker and two pieces of jersey.  They joined the ever increasing pile in the sewing room, possibly to await the unlikely day when I decide that using my overlocker would be a positive experience!  More recently I spotted a remnant of striped cotton jersey in C & H Fabrics which I think was £4.  It’s a lovely quality and really soft and smooth.  It also washed beautifully and there was no battle to get it back into shape afterwards.

The perfect fabric for a Maritime top.

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Based on the measurements on the pack I went for the size 2 which turned out to be the right choice.  The top has three-quarter length sleeves, which is always my preference, and side vents.  It also has a faced neckline which I’ve never done on a jersey top before.  I was slightly dubious but it gives a really neat finish.  The neckline is finished with topstitching but for a smarter top I might try just securing it at the shoulder seams.

I had some iron-on jersey interfacing I bought ages ago to use for the Grainline Morris Blazer (still waiting to be made – I’m using the excuse that I’ve never found exactly the right fabric).  I thought it would be tricky to use because it is very floppy but it ironed on beautifully.  I’m reserving judgement until the first time the top goes through the wash but at the moment I’m very happy with its performance!

This is a very quick top to make (all sewn on my regular machine) and the pattern goes together really well.  I did make a slight muck up sewing the side seams/sleeves at the underarm point but how many people inspect your underarms during the course of the day?  Hopefully not too many.

I particularly liked the sleeves because they are cut exactly the same so there’s no wondering which one is which (something I often get in a muddle with regardless of notches) and I liked the way the vents are finished.  You machine baste the vent closed while you sew round it and then remove the basting stitches.  It gives a really neat and even finish.

Although my fabric was pretty stable I also used a strip of the jersey interfacing on the sleeve and shirt hems – for another really neat finish.  I was rushing to finish the top to wear it to work and couldn’t be bothered to break out the twin needle so just hemmed everything with a straight stitch.  The vents mean that the shirt hem doesn’t really need to stretch and the sleeve hems are quite loose on me so again don’t need to stretch.

I LOVE this top!  I wore it to work two days running which is not something I do very often.  When I’ve got my #stitchingsanta sewing finished, I’ll be making another one (or two).

On the jersey front, I’ve also made the Toaster Sweater by Sew House Seven.  I’d spotted several versions on IG and then linked up with @sewing_in_spain and @doobis71 for a Toaster sewing challenge!  Stupidly I hadn’t realised there were two versions so only bought #1.  I really like #2 so may buy that one as well, although I would have saved myself some money if I’d paid more attention to what I was doing.  @doobis71 and I both made #1 and @sewing_in_spain #2.  Check out their versions on IG.

This is another great pattern which is really quick to sew.  I used some jersey from Ditto which is a lovely blue.  I decided to cut the medium which was a mistake as it is a bit too spacious so I’ll size down next time.  I will also reduce the length of the sleeves.  It has a nice cuff feature but I have to fold them back on mine.  It’s essential with #1 to use a jersey that can hold its shape otherwise the funnel neck won’t stand up.  Mine is just about OK but having had success with the jersey interfacing I may well try using some in the neck of the next Toaster.  It’s certainly a cosy sweater and would be lovely in a fleece type fabric.  The pattern recommends fabric with a 20% stretch but I know there are people out there throwing caution to the wind and ignoring this!

It was a perfect top for a recent weekend in Lyme Regis.

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You can see how long the sleeves are in this photo.  I need Twizzle’s arms!

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Self-drafted top and today’s lunchbox

I love this top!  So much so that I have worn it two days running.  After a previous post when I reported that it wasn’t quite right I decided to bite the bullet and take the shoulder seams in by just over an inch.  This definitely did the trick.   I wouldn’t want to show the interior workings as I had to be a bit creative when finishing it off after the alterations but no-one will see that.

The pattern was self-drafted and based on an existing top that I’ve had for years and a couple of patterns I already had but with necklines I didn’t like or shoulder that were too narrow.  I had absolutely no idea what I was doing (hence the very basic brown paper pattern pieces) and I really think I should enrol on this Craftsy course to learn how to make a bodice sloper so that I can perfect my technique.  I have to confess that reading Hila’s Saturday Night Stitch post about the skirt sloper course was the first time I’d ever heard the term ‘sloper’.

My main criteria for clothing is that is comfortable and I hardly know I am wearing this top.  It goes perfectly with a cardigan (I am a big cardigan fan) and the only thing wrong with it is that it make my eyes go a bit funny if I look down at the stripes  So the answer is – don’t look down!  This striped jersey fabric from Clothkits is really lovely.  Comfortable, really easy to work with and with enough body to give the top structure.  It is not the cheapest but as I could probably make this top from 70cms I think I can live with that.  I’m tempted by the red and grey stripe but in the meantime I’ve nearly finished a plain version in the black cotton interlock from Tissu Fabrics.  It doesn’t hang as well but it is very reasonably priced.  I wished I’d noticed that they do a jet black version which I think I would have preferred.  I nearly forgot to mention that I used a twin needle for the first time to finish the hem.  It was brilliant and the space between the needles was exactly the width of a stripe so I was just about able to conceal the navy stitching on a navy stripe.

On to today’s packed lunch.  Anyone who knows us will be aware that W is pretty keen on his food and his daily lunch box is very important!  Last night I realised the fridge was looking a bit bare so I decided I would have to rustle up something with what was left.  I’ve noticed a few crustless quiches in the supermarket recently so I created these Crustless Mediterranean Mini Quiches.  The recipe is fairly basic but could be adapted to use up all sorts of ingredients and one of the advantages is that the lack of pastry makes them  gluten free.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 large mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small red pepper, chopped
  • 75g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 12 black olives, chopped
  • 6 free-range eggs
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Heat olive oil in a frying pan and saute the mushrooms and red pepper until soft.  Stir in the feta cheese and olives being careful not to break up the cheese too much.

Whisk the eggs with seasoning.

Divide the vegetable mixed between 12 muffin tins.  I lined mine with some individual silicone muffin cases which are brilliant.  They are so non-stick the contents are practically climbing out of the cases by themselves once they are cooked.

Pour over the egg mixture so each case is about two-thirds full.

Cook in the pre-heated over for 20 – 25 minutes.  Mine took 22 minutes.  Don’t overcook them or they will become rubbery.

These would make a lovely starter eaten warm with salad but they did make an excellent lunch box item.

I packed a couple for my own lunch which I decided to serve on a plate rather than eat straight from the plastic box.  The salad dressing is a combination of red pesto and olive oil.  An definite improvement on shop-bought sandwiches.