Sewing Conundrums

Does anyone else :

  • Sew faster when the thread is running low in the hope that this will make it last until the end of the seam?
  • Hold their breath when sewing something tricky?

I’ve definitely been doing the latter when trying to sew the curved finish to the hem band on this top!  I have already the shorter version from this pattern in a stretch shirting.

It is a favourite top which I have worn a lot and the Cost Per Wear (something W is very keen on and for many of his garments can be calculated down to an infinitesimal figure) must be pretty low. I then attempted to make the longer version in white linen but abandoned the hem band because I just couldn’t work out how to attach it at the sides. It was unfortunate that the white version never got worn because it made me look like a dentist or something similarly medical!

I had seen a Marni denim top on Net-a-Porter which I really liked but not at £250. I see it is now reduced to £175 in the sale. A bargain!   I thought it bore a resemblance to the above Simplicity top so ordered this Robert Kaufman fabric from M is for Make (very efficient service) on the recommendation of Flossie Teacakes for attempt number three.  She is right – it is a lovely fabric and a perfect colour.

I had got to the point of sewing the shoulder seams when I began to think the top was going to end up too small to actually get into because of the non-stretchy nature of the fabric (there are no fastenings) but in fact that is not a problem and the end result is actually quite roomy.

Back to those curves ….. I still couldn’t get my head round the instructions in the pattern and there was much talking to myself followed by unpicking – as well as the breath holding – until I realised that I had missed one vital point which involved clipping the seam allowance on the main part of the garment to free up the curve for stitching. It still took a couple of goes and some freehand curve drawing with a disappearing ink pen before I was reasonably satisfied, although I think it could be improved. I wasn’t sure about the way the hem facing is fixed to the inside and then turned to the outside and topstitched but I think it makes quite a nice feature.

The final outcome is so much better than I anticipated. At about the time I was worrying about the finished size I was writing a blog post in my head saying how disappointed I was with the make but I’ve completely changed my mind. The fabric irons beautifully and I’m definitely with Lauren from Guthrie & Ghani whose latest blog post extolls the importance of ironing to ensure that handmade garments looks as good as they possibly can.  Lauren has reviewed three ironing accessories including these Silicone Finger Guards which look slightly weird but could be very useful, especially when pressing anything very small or detailed. I hate day-to-day ironing but there is something very satisfying about the final ironing of a me-made garment.

This morning I decided to mount a search for my sleeve board, which I think originally belonged to my grandmother, to make sure I got a good finish on the sleeve seams and hems.  It really does make life easier – although it could do with a new cover.  There’s a project for the weekend, much easier than making a cover for a proper ironing board!


What do you think? The designer version is on the far left (obviously!).  I’m going to road test it this evening with this striped linen skirt.

Happy weekend.