Hello. On a recent shopping trip with my mum she bought herself a top. A pretty simple kimono sleeve woven tshirt. It was a lovely linen with a soft, big flowery pattern.
I took one look at it and said ‘I’m sure I could make that!’
When we got back I grabbed a couple of pieces of A4 paper (I didn’t think to ask my mum if she had wrapping paper… I’ll bet she’s got mountains of it!) and I traced out the front and back neckline to the sleeve and under arm. Then I measured from centre front to the hem and from centre back to the hem, noting down the measurements.
When I got home, I reassembled the sheets of paper and traced out both front and back pieces. I also marked in pockets and created a facing by marking a line 4cm from the neckline and tracing off front and back.
What was really nice about the original top was the way it hung, but before paying out for some expensive linen or lawn, I opted for this old duvet cover. It’s threadbare in parts and ripe for conversion. A Donna Karan duvet cover, no less!
It was pretty quick to come together… certainly quicker than a shirt! I sewed the pockets to the front first, then joined the shoulder seams. I sewed the short edges of the facings together, pressed the seams open and finished the outside edge on the overlocker.
With the facing pinned then sewn onto the neckline, I snipped into the curves and pressed the seams and the facing up away from the neckline. Then I understitched it by sewing the seam allowance to the facing close to the seam edge. (If you didn’t know, this helps to stop the facing showing from the right side)
Then, with it all pressed and pinned in place I stitched the facing down at 4cm from the neckline. This was purely decorative as the understitching should keep the facing turned to the inside by itself. I just liked the look of it.
I hemmed the sleeves by turning them 2cm then tucking the raw ends in to make a 1cm fold, which I stitched down close to the edge. Then I sewed up the side seams.
All that was left was the hem. I’d drafted it a little higher at the front than the back with a gentle curve that bisects the seam…
… and so I thought it was high time I finally got the better of the bias tape maker I bought ages ago! I only tried it once before and didn’t get on with it. Now, I’m thinking my fabric was probably too thick and not cut accurately enough. I wasn’t going to make that mistake again!
I cut out a square of fabric…
Then cut it diagonally. Lay the two triangles over each other (extend the corner by the amount of your seam allowance) and sew them together.
My bias tape maker said 18mm so I measured 4cm strips along the diagonal. Join the ends by offsetting the edge by one 4cm-strip (align the markings at the seam allowance, not the edge of the strip) then you’ve got a tube.
Cut along the line all the way to the end and, presto! A great big strip of bias tape.
So then I just had to wrangle it through the tape maker: I poked the end in, shoved it down with a pin, then dug around the other end to hook it through. This actually worked, and with the help of a light spray of starch, I ended up with a nice bit of folded bias tape!
That went much more smoothly than last time! I’d have made a short video of it in action, but I’m too ashamed of the state of my ironing board cover to let you see it!
So I opened out one edge and proudly pinned it all around the hem.
The rest was plain sailing. I stitched it on and pressed away from the top first, then fully over to the inside. Finishing up with a topstitch close to the edge of the tape.
Annoyingly, I didn’t take enough photos before I parcelled it up and posted it down to Mum – but it’s not like I’m never going to see this top again! I don’t know when (or if) I’ll get a picture of her in it (she’s camera-shy) but it fits and she likes it! So this prototype will hopefully be the first of many!
Notes to self;
- I’m really happy with the binding around the hem and will definitely try that on the hem of my shirts.
- I’ve had difficulty knowing what to sew for my Mum in the past, hopefully that’s changed now.
- Make a new ironing board cover!
I love that fabric – even if it is a duvet cover! There are so many choices with self made binding. I am still working through a box of inherited store bought binding. But I’m looking forward to when it’s all used up and I can make my own!
I think this might be the start of something…! 👍🙏👏😊😂
Wow! Great job. I’m liking the watercolor look of the fabric. Navy blue and ivory – classic looking. I’m struggling a little with the top stitching around the neck as my eye goes right to it. Such a simple design that has a maximum effect. I’m thinking your Mum is going to love your gift. My Mom was always happy to wear my offerings.
Thank you, yes, I wondered if I should unpick the top stitching and hold it down on the shoulder seams… I’ll probably bind the neck of the next one anyway!
Thank you, yes, she loves it! 👍🙏👏😊
I hope you have enough fabric left over to make yourself a matching shirt as it’s gorgeous. I can just imagine your Mum wearing this beautiful top and proudly showing all her friends!
There’s a little bit… enough to do something, I’m sure! Thank you! I’m so pleased to have made something for her at last! 👍🙏👏😊
Live the print. Bet your mum will be delighted. I have an old wooden ironing board so it’s easy to recover with a stapler and pretty fabric. Seems to last about a year before it wears through…. leaving the iron down for just a second …or 2….or 3🤣
Haha, yes… and slivers of interfacing stuck all over it! Definitely time for an overhaul! 👍🙏👏😊
this is amazing work! i’m glad your mom loves it. (and I’m totally wild for the print, too. gorgeous 😍😍😍)
Thank you 🙏 I’m so pleased I’ve finally found something for mum 👍👏🙏😊
Love this! And you’d never know it was a duvet cover!
I do the old ‘pin trick’ with the bias maker too 🤣 and I just love your little step by step drawing on how to make bias 😍
I bet your ironing board isn’t as bad as mine… I did consider making one, but in the end just washed the one I had. It still looks a right state 🤣🤣🤣
Haha 😂 two years of starch and cheap interfacing 🤣😅😂!! My ironing board is wrecked! 🤭😱😅 #sewingroomdreams! 👍🙏
Thank you 👍🙏♻️ … and making mum happy 😊👍🙏