I finally have a top (sort of!)

Well, several days ago I started cutting the pieces to make this top

I’ve worked on it a bit at a time. I spent about 7 hours on it on Thursday and finally felt like I was making progress as I ended up with this.

Today I finished facing the waistband and attached the zip. As I’m currently at my mum’s and using her sewing machine I sewed the zip on by hand due to her not having a zipper foot for her machine. I’ve finished the rest off with her machine and can wear it!

I’m a bit frustrated by how baggy the left side is by the zip (though you can’t see that particularly in these photos), so, seeing as how i need to top stitch the invisible zip when I get home tomorrow anyway, I may just unpick my hand sewing and take it all in a bit. It might be risky and could ruin it completely… But hopefully not.

In the meantime, although this was a horrid material to cut, and a not terribly easy pattern to follow, I actually have a wearable top. I’ve not been put off following patterns and actually bought some gorgeous materials today to make a pattern by simplicity which looks a lot easier to do.

Although this pattern was tricky I have learnt loads :

  • How to follow a pattern
  • How to make my own bias binding
  • How to sew on bias binding properly
  • How to gather a section
  • The importance of shortening your stitch again after gathering and before joining seams (I felt better when I saw that Lauren made the same mistake during the final of the first series of British sewing bee!!)
  • What basting means and why it’s important (tacking the material in place with stitches you’ll later remove)
  • Patterns might not be too tricky if you take them one instruction at a time
  • Mistakes can usually be remedied (I sewed the facing on the waistband in the wrong place and then thought how good it would be to have something covering up all the raw edges that were in there… Yep… That’s the job of the facing! Once it was reattached in the right place it looked tons better… And covered those raw edges
  • Sometimes more pins are better
  • I can actually make my own clothes!

I don’t think this will ever be my favourite piece of clothing, but for now I’m pleased with it. I’ll let you see it when I finally finish the zip section.

Also today I got to try out free machine stitching with Mary, a friend of my mum’s. She invited us to have a look at her work room and it was fab to meet her and to see some of her work. She showed me how to free stitch and this is what I did.

It reminds me of those drawings where you’re not allowed to take your pen off the paper, and funnily enough I often really like the effect you get when you go back over a line. It was definitely easiest to control the movement of the fabric when it was in an embroidery hoop, and I was really pleased with what I ended up with. Now I just need to work out how to set my machine up for it and I’ll be good to go with a whole new area of craft!


26 thoughts on “I finally have a top (sort of!)”

  1. I love the free stitching Julia. It’s very similar to the project I’m working on right now.
    Congrats on the top! I think you did very well for your first try. I hope the taking in goes well when you redo the zipper on your machine. I think it will be a very flattering piece with a little fitting. It’s almost perfect as it is.
    I’m very encouraged by this post. I started teaching myself to sew several years ago in the hopes of making my own clothes, but completely fell off when we moved 5 years ago. I’m back at it now, with paper at least, and hope to make some tapestries for this show if I have time. I definitely have the sewing bug!
    Don’t you just love the sound of the machine whirring away?


    1. Oh thank you. I was thinking of your flowers you made a little while back when I was playing with the machine… There’s so much scope with free stitching. It’s great when things encourage and inspire us. I’ve been inspired by watching the first series of great british sewing bee. I can recommend the wraparound skirt pattern I made before… It was a quite simple way to make something wearable (and I always like clothes that you can expand as necessary!). There’s nothing quite like the sound of the machine whirring, though with this top it was starting and stopping every 2 seconds as i had to remove the next pin! Good luck with your sewing… Looking forward to seeing more of your work.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely.. I am starting to do some embroidery with the machine. Must have a chat about it. Love the top.


  3. oh well done Julia! it is such a wonderful feeling, isn’t it, to finish up with something you can really wear! Let’s hope there’s enough good weather left this season for you to wear this very lovely, & colourful top and be the envy of your friends who will all want to learn to sew now!


    1. Thank you for your enthusiasm… You made me smile šŸ˜Š. I’m not sure my top is overly flattering at the moment, but hopefully it will be a bit more so when I take in the side by the zip. Annoyingly, it’s the kind of top that if I tried it on in a shop I wouldn’t buy it… But I guess that’s the hazard of making your own clothes! Now I’ve made it i’ll wear it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I reckon it’ll look very “chic” with a pair of leggings – it’s the jeans which spoil the overall effect.


  4. I think I would have chosen that pattern too – it’s such a lovely shape. That fabric is gorgeous, hopefully worth all the faff with cutting it out to get such a good result.


  5. I love that top, the fabric is really pretty! I need to learn freemotion sewing so that I can finish my quilt. I have been putting it off for a year now.


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