Head to Head- dipped hem t-shirts

Introducing the Patterns:

Molly Top & Dress by Sew Over Ita staple  kimono sleeved top with an option to add full length sleeves.  It has just 4 pattern pieces (3 if you choose not to add the longer sleeves) and is billed as “The perfect pattern to try sewing jersey for the first time, a hit with anyone who likes a quick, satisfying sew.” It also has an option for a jersey dress.

Briar Sweater and T-shirt by Megan Nielsona simple and stylish t-shirt or sweater.  Comes with a scooped front hem and dipped back to create a hi-lo profile.  Both cropped and full lengths, and a range of pocket, sleeve and neckline options.

Sizing and Fit:

Both are loose fitting drapey tops and I cut the smallest size in each.

 

 

Ease of Construction and Instructions:

Both patterns have clear instructions and illustrations.  I think the Molly top is probably slightly simpler to construct and understand, but that is partially due to having fewer pattern pieces and options.  I did learn how to do a neckline binding in the Briar instructions, but I did also have to check the Megan Nielson tutorial for some extra photographs just to be sure what was going on.

 

Value for Money:

This is a little tricky to compare because the Molly Top only comes as part of the Sew Over It eBook- My Capsule Wardrobe.  The Briar top is £13.49 on the Megan Nielson website, but has two lengths and a variety of styling options.  I think if you would be interested in some of the other items in the eBook such as the Alex shirtdress or Mia jeans then at £20 it is pretty good value for 5 patterns, most of which also have pattern variations included.

 

Features:

Hem:

Both have dipped hems at the back.  Molly has a dipped hem at the front, while Briar has a slightly cropped front for full hi-lo effect.  My personal preference is that I prefer the Molly front hem for tucking into skirts and I think the length at the back is also more flattering.  The Briar does look great though with jeans or a pair of shorts.

Neckline:

Briar does give options for a regular neckline band and for a clean finished neckline binding.  Molly just includes a simple jersey neckband.  Both necklines are scooped, with Briar being a little deeper.  Both seem to lie flat and even.

Sleeves:

I chose to keep both sleeves short, so the cut on sleeves of the Molly top to save a step.  That said, the Briar tee sleeve did ease in neatly without an gathering or puckering, so as sleeves go, this was easy to insert.

Overall Impressions:

I think my overall preference is for the Molly top.  The length of the dipped hem seems particularly flattering, and not having to insert sleeves for the short sleeved t-shirt does make this a very quick summer make.  If I make the Briar again, I will be shortening the dipped back hem a little.

However, I will add that it is very simple to alter the hemline of a jersey t-shirt, so if you already have one of these (or something similar) this is a very easy way to change up a pattern.  Katie from the Creative Counselor has just been doing a series on modifying a basic t-shirt pattern, so check it out if you want some ideas or techniques.

Simple skirt in the sunshine! Meet Clemence.

I love wearing skirts in the summer, so this simple gathered cotton skirt seemed perfect for visiting the bluebells for an evening picnic.  The skirt is another from Tilly and the Buttons’ first book, Love at first Stitch and is a very beginner friendly gathered rectangle skirt called Clemence.  The book guides you though drafting this basic pattern for yourself, which is a good place to start with pattern drafting and alterations, because Tilly’s instructions are as always excellent.

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This is actually the second of these skirts that I made, and is actually another early make.  For this second skirt I got a little more ambitious and drafted an un-gathered lining, made from an old sheet because the main fabric is a little transparent!

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As always, I also needed pockets.  The book talks you through making changes to the all the patterns, like including pockets in the or restyling the patterns to get a couple of different looks.

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I also decided to experiment with some of the decorative stitches on my machine to create an attractive pattern at the hem.

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It even has an concealed zip.  I keep returning to Tilly’s instructions for reassurance when I need to insert one still!  This one is actually pretty invisible and well matched.

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While this skirt has been in my wardrobe for over two years now, and my skills have undoubtedly improved, I still enjoy wearing these earlier makes.  I enjoy seeing how much I have learned and developed, but also it is satisfying to know that I am contributing to a clothing ethic that doesn’t view an item of clothing as something to wear once and discard.  For every year that I keep wearing these simple early makes I can sit happy knowing that I am reducing my impact on the planet and the disposable fast fashion culture.

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As a little bonus, I did also manage to find a picture of my first Clemence skirt from Me Made May Last year!  It is made in a mint green chambray from Calico Laine I think.  This one did have a couple of issues including being a bit big at the waist.  Fortunately/unfortunately the zip broke pretty quickly, so when I replaced it, I also sorted out the waist sizing, so this one is also in spring/summer wardrobe rotation.

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Wise up Wednesdays- Pinning and clipping

I keep two types of pins in my sewing kit.  Firstly, ordinary sharp pins, but I prefer mine to have glass heads so that I can’t melt them if I touch them with an iron.

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Secondly, I have some fine ballpoint pins which I keep to use on particularly delicate fabrics and on jersey.  They do have a habit of slipping out so I definitely have to handle things carefully once they are pinned with these.

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Finally, I have some quilting clips.  These are great for anytime that pins are not your friend.  Fabrics which might ladder or mark, waterproof fabrics or leather, net and fabrics that pins just fall back out of.  Even anything which is a bit thick and bulky for pins can be clipped easily.

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I keep my pins in little clippy boxes.  They need to be big enough to get your hands in and out easily.  Especially as I don’t like to stop sewing to remove my pins, I need to be able to find the pot while still watching the needle!

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My clips stay safe in a little drawstring bag.  These are so simple to make, and I always have plenty around to be used to wrap small presents or store odds and ends.  I use a tutorial by Pam at Threading my Way which is super simple to follow, and creates a neat finished pouch.  They are great for using up scraps or co-ordinating fat quarters!

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Kelly Skirt

This skirt has been a staple in my wardrobe, year round, whatever the weather!  It is amazing to find patterns that are really versatile and practical and this is one of them.  It is the Kelly Skirt pattern my Megan Nielson, but I received it free with Love Sewing magazine in 2015 when dressmaking was new to me and it is still going strong.

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I wanted a skirt that could be worn with anything and so chose a classic denim to keep it fairly neutral.  It didn’t want it to be totally plain though, so I decided on contrast topstitching.  It did take a while to choose a colour that I was happy with.  I chose this red because it does add a bit of character, but without making it difficult to wear with lots of other colours.  To make it stand out a little more, I did double rows of topstitching, using the edge of my presser foot as a guide to keep the spacing even.

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This skirt is super simple to construct as was for me a great introduction to pleats.  There are 4 box pleats, 2 front and two at the back to give the nipped in waist and then flaring to make space for the hips.

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Like the topstitching, choosing buttons was another dilemma.  I wanted something neutral but not boring!  These hexagonal shell buttons are just lovely.  They have a subtle shine and pick up the colours around them.

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And obviously, I couldn’t make a pattern without showing you the pockets!  These pockets are in a star print cotton and are the scraps from another project.  I think exciting pockets are my favourite use of scraps of fabric.

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I have since made another in aubergine needlecord and it is also a popular wardrobe pick of mine, though is getting less wear in the spring as it is a little dark.  It does have good pockets though too!

Agnes Top

I wear so many long-sleeved or 3/4 sleeved tops under jumpers and dresses in the winter, so this Agnes Top by  Tilly and the Buttons has become a staple for me.  I have 2 different versions, using all the pattern variations, which include elastic and gathering options for the sleeve and neckline.

I love that this pattern is well fitted to my shape.  I have cut a size 3 in two different fabrics, but both have worked well.  One is in the same teal stripe from Girl Charlee as my Molly Top from a couple of weeks ago, another is in a cheap polyester jersey from Trago.  The trago fabric was lovely and simple to work with because there was no need for stripe matching, but I did find that if overstretched the white backing shows through which is a shame.

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With basics there is not really a huge amount to say.  This pattern has fantastically simple instructions and illustrations.  Tilly really does have a way with creating beginner friendly patterns.  If working with jersey fabrics is intimidating to you, she offers an online workshop for this pattern too. I haven’t used it myself, but if it is like her written explanations, I’m sure that it is a great way of learning to use these sometimes scary fabrics!

As I said the fit is great, and if you have already seen my guest post for Minerva Crafts you will know that I used this pattern to modify the fit of the Colette Moneta dress too.  I’m sure I will be using this and other Tilly and the Buttons patterns again in the future.

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Making basics with the Molly Top

In the last year I have been working hard to make the things I wear every day, and that means basics.  perhaps not the most exciting sewing, but these Sew Over It Molly Tops  from the My Capsule Wardrobe E-book get so much wear.

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This magenta and grey is my first attempt and it did go together very smoothly.  I decided to use the neckband on the cross-grain, but this was a mistake because there wasn’t enough stretch in that direction.  It ended up hanging away from the body quite a bit at the neckline so I have fudged a fix by turning the neckband down again and stitching it in place.

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This pattern is one of 5 PDF patterns in the e-book. It is a loose-fitting, kimono sleeved top with a dipped hem. The sizing is spot on. It is loose and flowing without ending up oversized.

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I now have two short-sleeved versions, and a long-sleeved top (all striped which did create some extra work matching).  It does help that you don’t need to stripe match at the sleeve seam, because the stripe direction changes.

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All three of my tops are made with jersey from Girl Charlee who really should be your go-to place for jersey.  These are all quite lightweight, so don’t have loads of stretch and do need to be handled a little carefully to stop them from stretching out.  The two short-sleeved tops are 1/2 inch stripe, cotton jersey blends available here in teal and magenta.  There are lots of other colour options too.  The long-sleeve is similar, but unfortunately now out of stock.

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On my long-sleeved version I have found the sleeves a little short and they got stretched out hemming so I have since added a cuff.  Not really sure that it helped, so I may remove the sleeves and keep it as another short-sleeved version.

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I would definitely make more of these.  If you didn’t have stripe matching to deal with they would be such a fast make. The short-sleeved version only has 3 pieces- front, back and neckband.  Not so sure about the sleeved version, perhaps I should try again in a more stable jersey, but at the moment I think I prefer the Tilly and the Buttons Agnes Top which I will be reviewing here shortly!

Saunio Cardigan, spring jacket

The Saunio Cardigan from Named Clothing  is pattern two from project sew my style, and is one of the patterns that I was less sure about, so didn’t want to invest too much time or money into something I wasn’t sure I would wear. It has turned out ok though, and while it isn’t quite my usual style I an see myself wearing this during spring as a lightweight jacket.

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The size range of each size is quite big. I made up the smallest size and found it a bit bulky so I pinched out 1.5 inches at each side seam and re-sewed them.  I do tend to prefer close fitting to oversized clothing though. An alternative would be to add a belt and belt loops like Jess at Little Miss Lorraine.

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The fabric that I used was from eBay. It does feel pretty synthetic and polyester, but it seemed like a good option for something I wasn’t sure how much I would wear. It is a slightly quilted jersey and it is both warm and stretchy.

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The sewing of this pattern was generally pretty simple. Like the Toaster Sweater it is very quick to put together.  The only point I got a little confused was attaching the facing to the jacket, but the illustrations were good and it is a very clever, neat finish.

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I did have a couple of problems with my fabric. Because it was quilted it was made up of several layers and they did shift and stretch a little when topstitching.  When added to not grading my seams enough at the bottom of the facing I have ended up with quite a bit of bulk here.

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I did a second row of topstitching to try to flatten it down a little which has partially worked, but I think I should have just used my walking foot to avoid the problem completely! I have made the executive decision to have the jacket cross over the wrong way too conceal the bulk!

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The instructions for the Saunio Cardigan don’t include fastenings. My quilted fabric is a little bulky to drape properly at the front, and I like to be able to do up my cardigans, so I have added a couple of snaps and a hook and eye to give me some options for wearing it closed.

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All in all, it is not a pattern that I would have chosen for myself, but I did enjoy using a pattern from a new designer. The instructions from Named Clothing were really good and well thought through, and I think I will enjoy wearing this as the weather begins to warm up instead of a proper coat.

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Back to the beginning- Delphine Skirt

Today I thought I would go back to the beginning of my journey sewing clothes to the first item of clothing I made- a Tilly and the Buttons Delphine Skirt.  I made this skirt about 2 years ago and it is amazing to think of all the things I have learned since then!

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This skirt is so many firsts for me- a first concealed zip, first use of a paper pattern, first following of pattern instructions, and I’m so glad that this is the project I chose to try these things out on!  Tilly gives such clear instructions, and Love at First Stitch is an amazing book for a new dressmaker- it explains why you should do something, not just how.

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So then, back to the pattern.  Delphine is a simple A-line skirt, with a waistband and centre back zip.  I added belt loops though I never use them, and the fabric is a corduroy from Trago.

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This is such a beginner friendly pattern.  There are not too many pattern pieces, and the fit is very forgiving.  Provided your waist fits, the rest should be fine. As you can tell from these pictures, it is a lovely skirt for being active in- not too restrictive!

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I have made another Delphine since and that one I lined, but even that did not really add too much complexity because Tilly has a lovely tutorial on how to do it on her blog too.

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It was just so lovely to be out in the springlike sunshine to take these pictures!

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So, if you have been reading, please let me know what sorts of posts you would like to see in the future.  I have some more recent makes that I am planning to finish up and photograph soon, and also have a few thoughts on non-finished garment posts that I might share.  There are also lots of things in my wardrobe already that could be written up.  What would you like to see?  Pretty spring dresses? Some of my early makes (some more successful than others). Comment below, and I will look forward to seeing what you think.

Toasty Toaster Sweater

Well here it is- my first contribution to the Sew My Style Project- the toaster sweater no.1.  Now I know that officially I was supposed to make version 2 (and I’m sure I will at some point), but work and college have been a little crazy this month, and I wanted yo be able to whip this up on the overlocker as fast as possible!

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Fabric-wise, both of these come from Fabric Godmother.  The patterned sleeve fabric was a remnant that I thought should be big enough for some colour-blocking.  They do have cut lengths back in stock now too.  The body, neck band and cuffs are this Ponte also from Fabric Godmother.

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In terms of the pattern, I wanted to keep things a simple as possible.  I wasn’t really sure about the high neck band and also didn’t plan my cutting out all that well so it ended up a little shorter.  I really like it though!  When up, the neck is super cosy, and I can also roll it down and wear it with a shirt.

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The fabrics were both lovely to work with.  The trickiest part was working out how to best use my 40cm remnant of the patterned jersey.  To make the most use of it I had to have the stretch running the wrong way on the sleeve, but it doesn’t seem to have affected the pattern much.  The sleeves are loose enough to be comfy and the stretch is the right way around on the cuffs anyway!

This was such a quick make.  Maybe 2 hours including cutting out.  I would love to make an even snugglier version with something a bit thicker.  I think next time I will lengthen the body about 2 inches too.  It’s not too short, just a little shorter than I usually would choose and I keep trying to pull it down.  Had lots of compliments when I wore it out today though.  I might also try switching the high neck for a neck band and having it more like a crew neck sweater.