Thursday, 7 May 2015

TGBSB3 - A Silk Tee in Cotton

So to back up my review of TGBSB - Fashion with Fabric I decided to make up one of the patterns included with the book. This was sort of a muslin so it is shown here unfinished at the bottom. This is also because I forgot to buy a longer zip than recommended (needed due to my changes) and so I am holding it closed on the zip side in these photos.

I have had this fabric in my stash since last year when I bought it from Fenwick's in Newcastle. It is a light cotton with batik-style flowers in a slightly raised pattern. They are a bit odd as the fabric looks almost stamped, there are indentations around each flower. Anyway, it is light and cool and will be ideal for the Summer it keeps promising to have. If I decide to finish this top that is, Jury's still out for me plus the fabric gets easily crumpled.

Anyway, I neatened all the insides with my overlocker. Don't judge me 'cos my thread doesn't match, lazy I know, but it isn't anywhere near the seams as these were done with my sewing machine and besides I like the colour contrast. I am still a bit phased by changing the threads in this machine and am just grateful it is working to be honest. I spotted that the stitch is not perfect but am not really sure how to fix it and it is still quite secure ad does the job of tidying up quite well.

As I mentioned in my last post, I chose the Silk Tee pattern as I have been looking for something simple that I could hack with various sleeve styles and neckline variations. Based on my measurements I traced a size 20. I did my usual broad back adjustment, adding in 1-inch which I closed off at the shoulder with a small, very slightly curvy dart which I angled towards the back neckline as my shoulders are quite round, lowered the bust dart 5.5cm and did a 2-inch FBA.

Looking at these photos I really need to make that FBA a bit bigger, or go for breast reduction surgery - my preferred option but unfortunately not a viable one at the moment. Honestly, I look like someone has stuffed two balloons up my top.

Just to liven things up a bit I decided to lengthen the sleeves, adding 10cm to the bottom edge as drafted. Plus, I added 3 inches to the bottom of the bodice hem as I was worried that it would run short as I have a long torso and always have to lengthen my patterns here. Sorry if it is a bit confusing mixing metric and imperial but I always use which ever measurement is easiest for me to remember.

In addition to lengthening the body/sleeves I also scooped out the neckline. Being blessed with more than my fair share of chins, jewel necks are not my friend. I completely ignored the facings and just used bias tape as this was going to be a warm weather top.  In case you are wondering, the bias is the same stuff as I used for my polka dot skirt. I bought loads of it and I had enough spare that needed using up.

So here is the full length (unhemmed) version.

In review this came together easily. From adjusting the pattern to needing to hem and add in the zip took me about 5 hours. A world record in speed sewing for me. Pity I forgot to buy a long enough zip though.

In other news we had a road trip to Alnwick Castle on Saturday. Alnwick is a lovely little market town in Northumberland in the North East of England. The small town centre is filled with cute boutiques and lots of cafes. Sadly, quite a few empty shops as well. Even the affluent rural areas are feeling the push these days.

We visited the castle which is situated in the town centre. It is still home to the Percy family and is quite OTT in an Italiante style inside. I quite surprised myself by feeling a bit off travelling through the state rooms inside. Why do some people live in (rather tasteless) opulence whilst others struggle to scrape enough to eat? After all we are only assigned our place in life by an accident of birth, and of course their ancestors having a bigger gang than yours. It must have been a hard existence being a tenant farmer in the wilds of Northumberland.

There are a lot of charity shops in Alnwick and I scored some vintage metal zips and a length of fabric. I love the bright colours of this (guessing here) cotton/rayon mix lawn. All the zips and fabric cost less than £10, considerably less than a castle ticket but much more useful to me and more fun.


On the way out of Alnwick we stopped at the amazing Barter Books. If Angela Carter designed bookshops then she would have come up with this one. Truly worth a visit if you love reading. Plus you can blame them for all that "Keep Calm and Carry On" nonsense as the original poster that started the craze was discovered here.

Anyway, I really enjoyed getting out of the house for the day and am delighted with my fabric.

So how did you spent your long weekend? Did you spend it sewing or doing other things? Have you bought any new patterns or fabric?

Take care and have a great week!


P.S. I have found an online photo editor, Pixlr. It is great. I can do those funky collages that I love.


  1. Yeah...I've never understood why women pay good money to have large b**bs! I always have a tough time getting FBA's just right, even when I've done the math. It's not an exact science, for sure!
    This top is so nearly there...I'd add a smidge more to the FBA to give the girls a bit more breathing room. Maybe 1/2" on the pattern to give you a full inch across the bust? On this one have you thought of re-stitching the side seams right on the edge of the overlocking? That might just relieve that tiny bit of tension at the dart point.
    Or I could just mind my own beeswax. I do love this fabric, though. It's worth doing the finish!

    1. Do you know I never though of that. Thanks, and please DON'T mind your own beeswax. When it comes to fitting my bust I need all the help I can get. I don't know why people would get implants either. I am sure that they don't realise what a world of annoyance they are letting themselves in for and that's just getting clothes to fit properly, never mind all the aching shoulders and backs. :) xx

  2. Discomfort aside, you have a lovely figure and such slim legs, I think you look fantastic! The top itself is looking good too, I quite like the wrinkles in natural fabrics like linen and tell myself it's shabby chic!

    1. Thanks Josie. You are too kind. :) I do like this top and no matter how much you iron this top it never goes smooth. The fabric has been pre-washed too so I am sure it will always be like that. So shabby chic it is! xx

  3. I agree with Josie, you have a fab figure! I like the top, and the fabric - you know I am far too much of a novice sewist to be able to offer you any advice, but it looks good to me!
    I've just bought some really amazing vintage brocade fabric, I'm dying to make a cocktail dress out of it but I'm scared of mucking it up and wasting the fabric... I always get twitchy about that. But since it only cost £3, I should just go for it, shouldn't I?
    Haven't been to Alnwick for donkey's years, I'd love to go again. xxx

    1. Thanks Curtise. I would make a muslin as your fabric sounds really special, 3 quid or not. Just make up the top half or it all depending on where you find hardest to fit in some (old) fabric that is of a similar weight. Don't bother with facings or hems and just tack in the zip. Use big seam allowances, like an inch or even bigger, then you can let out or take in to your hearts content and if it is really crap fabric mark it with a pen to know what and where to alter. It is a pain in the rear but I worth it. You can even take it apart and use all the altered bits as a pattern. A cocktail dress sounds very swish. I think that you will look amazing in it. Xx

  4. I hopped over here from Lesley King's sewing blog, and what a treasure! Not only do we share a love of sewing but that bookshop is sublime!

    You have a beautiful figure and gorgeous red hair! Judging by the pics you look a beautifully proportioned triangle.

    FBA is difficult, but have you ever considered that it is the pattern makers who are responsible for making us disheartened about our busts just because we can't get clothing to fit and it make pattern adjustment a tricky process?

    One of the things I love about sewing, is that you get to love your body, making clothes to fit is the best way to raise self esteem. Sorry if I sound preachy, but it is one thing I am passionate about having spent years piecing together my own self esteem.

    I love the red fabric and the flower patten is a lovely design. Overlocking stitching is often used as a feature on T-shirts and such, the contrast thread looks very pretty!

    I also agree with you about the lack of fairness that allows some people to live in luxury while others struggle to eat. I know our world isn't perfect, but it is fairer than some. I love the details from the castle, that wooden door could tell a tale or two!

    1. Hi Susanna, Thanks for your great comment and for popping over :) Yes, I do get disheartened about never being able to find things to fit my bust. Things are getting a bit better sewing-wise though with the Vogue Custom Fit and Simplicity Amazing Fit Pattern ranges. However this problem was one of the main reasons I started sewing as I used to be an RTW 14 bust and a RTW 6 hip. That was a long time, and a lot of chocolate, ago though. Fit is really important and can be a real confidence booster. As is wearing something that you absolutely love, another great reason for sewing. I gave up on Fashion a long time ago.:)
      The red fabric is lovely. It is so light and almost sheer. It is also 36-inches wide but I have over 2 metres so I should be able to squeeze a top out of it.
      I like your blog, your sewing studio looks very neat and organised. Fred looks lovely. They are a very misunderstood breed. My next door neighbour has a Staffie and she is really sweet.

  5. Looking good! Love the fabric. Have you tried putting new needles in your overlocked? That may help with the skipping stitches.

    1. Thanks you, and for the tip. I will go and change it this afternoon. The L-hand needle is new in but the R-hand has been in for a while *ahem* and is definitely due for a change. Even though I have had it for years I am still not very sure about my overlocker. I think that it is like Chemistry for me. I tell myself i can't do it and it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. xx

  6. The grey is a lovely colour for you and your gorgeous red hair. And I agree with 'status wrinkles'. I use that phrase frequently
    I also use both metric and Imperial, depending on what I am doing.
    Thank you for the pictures of the book shop. I love book stores (we haven't that many here) and that one looks an absolute gem. It's interesting to know the origin of the 'Keep Calm..." phrase. I can now use it to impress people with my brilliance. :P

    1. Hi Sox, Thanks for your comment. I used to wear all black but now I am older I have faded to grey. :)
      Sorry to hear that you don't have many bookshops near you. I do love a good bookshop and buy almost, or maybe even more, books than I do fabric. xx