Old Maiden Aunt Yarns

Studio 30. Ritchie Street. West Kilbride. KA23 9AL. Scotland. info@oldmaidenaunt.com

two days, two tops, can’t stop

this sewing thing is rapidly getting out of hand – over the space of two days, i've cut & sewed two new tops!!!



this time, i used the super-simple Kimono Top pattern by Salme – my first attempt was in some plain white cotton lawn i found cheap on ebay & did a bit of shibori-esque Dylon dyeing on (doesn't it look like weird alien heads?!). i made the pattern a bit more complicated than i needed to by deciding that i wanted each half of the top to have a different dye pattern, which added a whole two more seams to this project. without cutting the front & back in half and adding centre seams like i did, though (& leaving out the neck facing pieces in favour of bias binding the neckline), this pattern only has four pieces to it, so even a beginner (ie me!) can whizz through one in no time at all.



and i did! i love the fit of the finished top (for reference, i cut a pattern size 12) but thought i would probably prefer slightly more ease along the bottom hem as well as slightly longer cuffs, so i decided to modify this on my second version, in the gorgeous Nani Iro double gauze i got from Miss Matatabi.



i'm really happy with this version as well, but did encounter a couple of issues. firstly, there was something about the instructions for adding the cuffs that i just couldn't wrap my head around (i had this on the first version as well – i'm happy to put it down to my super-n00b status, and am not suggesting there's anything wrong with the pattern!). so i kind of winged it, and did it in a way that made sense to me, and it looks fine!



i sewed the shoulder seams together first, then laid the body flat with the right side of the fabric facing up. the cuff pieces are essentially just rectangles; i pressed the long edges of the cuff pieces in towards the wrong side to make small hems, then pressed the cuff in half lengthways. i then used the hemmed edges of the cuff to enclose the raw edge of the sleeve, and stitched the cuffs in place before sewing the side & sleeve seams. as in previous projects, i used the fab Grainline tutorial to french all my seams – i think it worked especially well on the double gauze version as it was very prone to fraying along the cut edges.


alas, my attempt to add ease at the bottom edge wasn't a total success – i graded out from a pattern size 12 at the bust/waist to a 16 at the bottom edge, but i think my rookie pattern grading was a bit too abrupt, and i have a strange little “pooch” of fabric just above each hip.



i could re-cut and re-sew that small section (hahahahaNOPE) or i could just shrug, chalk it up to a learning experience, and hope it becomes less noticeable as the top is repeatedly washed/worn/washed etc.



i also seem to have created an odd Jetsons-esque effect with my neckline (bias binding, why do you hate me?) – sadface – but i actually kind of like the little peek of pink, so i'm going to pretend it's a deliberate japanese/manga/sci-fi design feature. kawaiiiiii!!!!!



3 Responses so far.

  1. Yvonne says:

    I may have to steal this whole project, fabric and all (the Japanese one!) One of my 2015 plans was to sew my first garmet for me…

    • oldmaidenaunt says:

      it’s a great pattern for a beginner – really simple with very few pattern pieces (especially if you leave off the neck facings!). go for it!!!

  2. Penny says:

    Isnt sewing your own clothes great? I am not lying when I say it totally transformed not only the way I dress but how I feel about my body. I started making most of my own clothes seriously about 2 years ago and my advice would be …..keep going. Not everything works out, but you seem to be way better than I was at accepting that you have try stuff out and this means making a few “wadders” along the way. The ratio of “not what I was aiming for” to “just what I imagined” definitely drops with practise. I found pattern reviews in sewing blogs fabulously useful for tips and pointing out tricky bits in advance – especially if I could find a sewist with a similar body shape to my own. Like the knitting community, there are some really interesting women out there designing patterns and making clothes….its just because there is no Ravelry for sewing you have to search a bit harder to find them!
    Ps. Your neck binding issue might be because you neckline stretched out as you sewed it, perhaps made worse by nano iro gauze being so lightweight compared to most bias binding. I learned the hard way to always stay stich around a neck line as a fkrst step, even if the pattern doesnt mention it. Getting a bias bound neckline to sit right is actually one of the trickiest sewing skills to master, so dont feel bad if the first few dont quite work out perfect.

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