Saturday, 9 May 2015

Summer Top Sew Along Day 6: Bias Binding and Hemming

Today is the fiddliest bit about this top, attaching the bias binding.

The pattern instructions for this are very clear so I would go to page 7 of the instructions and follow them as printed.

Here are a few pictures of the process, this was my neck, you will need to do the arm holes as well:

Pin bias tape to the wrong side of top leaving a 'tail':

Sew along fold in tape - should be 1/4 inch:

Leave a tail at the end as well:

Pinch tails together to see where to sew:

Sew ends of tape together:

Fold tape over to right side of top:

Press then sew along the edge of the tape:


Now on to the final stage, hemming.

First turn up 1cm along then bottom of the top and press in place.

Then turn another 2cm and press.

Now, sew 1.5cm from the bottom of the top and you are done!!

I would love to see photos of any finished tops so I can share them here.  I hope you have enjoyed this sew along - what shall we do next?!

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Summer Top Sew Along Day 5: Shoulder and Side Seams

The sewing today is simple, 4 straight lines.

Shoulder Seams:

You should have a front and back piece for your top, match these up with the right sides of the fabric together.

Now pin the shoulder seams in place (or just hold them if you fabric isn't slippy). Sew your seam with a 15mm / 5/8 inch seam allowance.

Side Seams:

Do exactly the same as the shoulder seams, make sure your dart is pressed towards the bottom of the top before you sew the side seam.

Try it on!

Try your top on for fit. Hopefully it will fit fine, if it is too big you can take in the side seams some more, if it is too small you can unpick and use a smaller seam allowance. If you have any fitting issues either comment here or email me and I will point you in the right direction!

Finish your raw edges:

You can do this by using pinking shears (like I did here) or do a zig zag stitch close to the edge, this should minimise the fabric fraying.

Press the seams open.

That is you done for today, come back on Saturday and we will attach the bias binding and hem you tops then you will be done!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Summer Top Sew Along Day 4: Bust Darts and Front Pleat

Today we get to do some actual sewing, in fact, one of the hardest bits of this whole top.

Bust Darts:

The bust darts are marked on the pattern

 choose your size and mark on the fabric (with tailors chalk/fabric marker/frixion pen).

To mark the bust point on the underside, stick a pin through the bust point and mark the other side.

Now, fold the bust darts, right sides together, so the lines you have marked are lined up, pin in place.

***When sewing remember to do a couple of stitches forward, a few back, then start the seam, this anchors the thread. Do this at the end as well (except for bust darts, only the start for them).***

Sew the darts, start from the outer edge and sew along the line.

 Instead of the forward back stitches at the end you leave a long tail of thread and tie them in a small knot then trim. This avoids any pointy boob issues!

Once you have sewn the darts press them (lots of steam) towards the bottom of the top.

Stay Stitching:

Stay stitching is a stitch that prevents the neck from stretching out of shape. Sew a line along the edge of the front and back pieces just under 1/4 inch from the edge.

Sewing the pleat:

Mark the pleat line on the fabric (both sides of the fold). You will need to put a few markings on the right side of the fabric or mark where the pleat line is with pins

Now, line up your pleat, wrong sides together, and sew down the pleat line.

Press the pleat flat, centre it on the seam you just sewed, you should have an equal amount of pleat either side.

The last thing you need to do now is to sew the pleat in place at the top and bottom.

This is just to anchor the pleat down while you apply the binding.

Time for a cup of tea, see you again on Thursday to sew your top together and try it on for the first time to check fit!

Monday, 4 May 2015

Making your own Bias Binding

I thought I would do a tutorial on making your own bias binding but I found a blog post that does it for me so click here and follow the instructions! Now, you don't need the fancy bias tape maker you can do this.

Come back tomorrow and we will rev up the sewing machines!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Summer Top Sew Along: Day 2

I hope everyone has managed to get their patterns printed and pieced together without too much trauma - that is the worst bit over!

Let's get started,

Altering the Pattern:

Now, you will have cut a specific size and if you are like me and like your tops a little longer then you will need to lengthen your pattern piece.

First, measure the back of a top you like the length of, from shoulder seam to hem, straight down (or get someone to measure you).

Now, measure the pattern piece and subtract 3cm ( you have to subtract the 3cm as there is a seam allowance on the shoulder seam and hem).

If this is close to the number you got from your top then you don't need to do anything, if like me there is a big difference then you will need to lengthen the top (if you need to shorten it mail me but that is highly unlikely as this top comes in pretty short).

First, cut each pattern piece in half...

 Now, get a bit of paper and stick it to the back of the upper bit and mark the amount you need to lengthen the pattern by, measuring from the cut edge down.

Now, line up the bottom pattern piece along your marks.

Stick the bottom piece to the paper and then trim any edges.

That is you done, now to cut out!

Cutting the fabric:

Both pattern pieces need to be cut on a fold and if you have a patterned fabric you may now want to try and match it. If you would like any more info on pattern matching then give me a yell!

I didn't bother with matching the fabric as I only had a small amount left after another project. This is how I cut mine:

Fold you fabric so the right sides are together, to save fabric you can do what I did and fold it only as far as needed to fit the pattern pieces in rather than in half and wasting fabric.

Start with the fabric folded in half , selveges together then adjust where the fold is as necessary.

Pin the pieces to the fabric and carefully cut out. Where there are triangles on the pattern try and cut a wee triangle out from the pattern, not under the paper.

Now we are almost ready to sew but first we need to talk bias binding!

Bias Binding:

Bias binding is used in this pattern to enclose the cut edges of the fabric round the neckline and arm holes. It is a strip of fabric that has been cut on the bias (diagonal) therefore has some stretch. This makes it perfect for going round corners and giving a really neat finish.

You can buy 1/2 inch bias binding for this project or make your own. There is a link in the pattern instructions to a tutorial on making it but I will do a post tomorrow about making your own in a less slick but less brain taxing way.

See you all tomorrow!

Friday, 1 May 2015

Summer Top Sew Along: Day 1

Well the day is here, let the Sew Along commence!!


If you are new here we are having a sew along. We will be sewing the Colette Sorbetto Top then hopefully sharing photos of our finished tops at the end!

Here are a few I made last year:

First things first though, head over to Colette Patterns and download your Sorbetto Top Pattern. Don't worry, it's free! You will get instructions and the pattern pieces. You don't need to print the instructions, I will talk you through it here but you will need to print out the pattern pieces.

Once you have your pile of paper trim and stick it together:

You will end up with a massive sheet of paper so do it somewhere with lots of room!

Now is the bit I will have to take your measurements to work out which size to cut. Measure your bust, waist and hips.

Now, if they were larger than expected don't worry, they are just numbers from now on. Have a look at the pattern instructions and see which size you match best with.

You will know yourself what your body shape is. I have wide shoulders, huge ribcage, largeish bust, no waist and small ish hips so am a nightmare to fit. With this top I cut a size 10 as that matches my bust and hips. It just isn't as loose over my waist but that is fine with me as I don't want the top to look like a tent!

Now you can go ahead and cut out your size. If you have any questions so far give me a yell in the comments or by email: .

 Ok, Now you will have your pattern pieces sorted you need to choose fabric. This pattern will hang from the bust so it is sensible to choose a fabric that has good drape. All that means it that is is not stiff, think tissue paper rather than printer paper.

This is the fabric I am using. It is has much more drape that the other two I have made so I am hopeful of a more flattering fit (and my arms better look less flabby after torturing myself with Jillian Michaels for the last 18 days...!)

I would recommend a dress making weight cotton or similar. You get some gorgeous quilting cottons but they are quite stiff, synthetic fabrics can be slippy and hard to work with for beginners and heavier weight cottons won't lie right. I used a kids bed sheet for the robots top above and some stiffer cotton for the blue one. If you can't get to a shop then just search ebay for cotton dressmaking fabric. The pattern instructions have fabric quantities required.

**** Edited to add - prewash, dry and iron your fabric just in case it shrinks!

I think that is enough for one day, next time we will cut out the fabric. We won't start sewing until Tuesday, that will hopefully give everyone a chance to get some fabric and catch up!

See you on Sunday,