The Gold Top for Christmas!


Today’s blog post is about the gold top I mentioned in the previous post. I am slightly disappointed as it does not look exactly like the image I had in my head, but as a result, it is more suitable for a work top, so that’s perfect since I spend the majority of my time there! I have sewed it in the last two weeks around other commitments – it really did not take too long and feels all Christmassy.

The pattern is from a book called The Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion with Fabric. I am not a fan of this book, as everything I have made has been a bit strange…I think the model they are made for must be very short or something, as I have tried to make a couple of tops and they always end up being crop tops on me (I’m tall, but not a giant)! Therefore, I have extended this pattern by 2.5 inches to make it more suitable for my fit. The fabric is a crepe backed silk. It is slightly more robust and less translucent than just plain silk, and I was concerned about making mistakes or too many holes in silk. This is far more durable.

For once, I remembered to take a few photos of the preparation process. I began, as usual, by cutting out the pieces from the paper pattern using my favourite greaseproof paper trick. As mentioned, I extended the pattern by 2.5 inches at the extension point marked on the pattern. Remember to do this on both the front and back pieces. I then cut out the pieces onto the fabric using my coasters as weights, and transferred all the markings.

Tracing onto greaseproof paper
Coasters to trace the pattern onto fabric

This is a fairly simple top to sew; the most complicated parts are the bust darts, the zip and inserting the sleeves. For the darts, my recommendation is to cut the triangles out of the greaseproof paper and then trace the edges onto the fabric. Then use your ruler to draw a straight line down the middle. This will be your fold line. Place a pin on each side of the dart edge pieces, fold in half and then press the fold and pin straight along one of the dart lines with the excess of fabric poking up to the wrong side. Check your pinning matches the other dart line by looking on the other side for the sliver of the pins. Then sew from the outside of the top (remember to back tack) to the inside (DO NOT back tack at the end or it causes a little bump) and just tie off the ends. Press the dart downwards.

The next stages consist of sewing the shoulder seams and the facing, with an additional stitching line (facing onto the seam allowance) to encourage the facing to sit flat within the wrong side of the top.

I decided to zigzag stitch the edge of the fabric where the zip will be. You could overlock this, but I do not own an overlocker.

I was naughty and inserted the zip again with no zipper foot and just carefully stitched along the side. It looks fine and fully functions (I did sew over the teeth once and had to cut that thread). Sew the other side together and then tackle the sleeves!

Be sure to put the pins vertically on the zip in order to take them out easily and so that they encourage the zip to sit neatly.

In order to make these very neat, they are hemmed using a hand slip stitch. With the sleeve sewn together and with the wrong side out, turn over the bottom by 1cm, press, then turn over by another 1cm and press. Slip stitch is very neat. From the right side you really cannot see it and from the wrong side, it is a tiny stitch every 1cm or so. The rest of the thread is hidden within the fold. This is also the technique used for hemming the tshirt bottom.

Slip stitching the sleeves (same applies for the hemline)

Inserting the sleeves is always rather stressful. Use the notches and seam lines to line up the sleeve (pin these first) then ease the additional fabric nicely around. There will be too much sleeve for top, but it looks fine when sewn. When you are sewing this, do it incredibly slowly and check that you are not accidentally sewing over other pieces of the top as that would be a shame!

Then hem, press and it is ready!

Excuse the slightly tired look and the background…this was on my way to work!

Have a lovely Christmas all. This is my last post till mid Jan as I am off on holiday!

Laura xx


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