Tops and tails

I love crafting anything with a purpose… fun things to make that then just sit around taking up space do not inspire you to do more…. i always make a thing i want, need or will use…. or to give to someone else! For those just starting out that are baffled by patterns and not sure where to start I can really recommend ‘Sew’ magazine, it comes with a pattern each month… for the price a pattern would cost you anyway… but also has loads more downloadable patterns and instructions to help you in the magazine.

I am not going to keep apologizing for my crazy life- 3 kids, a dog and an extension are enough for anyone to excuse my slowness in keeping these blogs up to date!!! But i have finally finished my top -promised in month 1- with its fab sparkly fairy design from my beloved Cricut from month 2!!!! I’m just going to allow my months to be creative rather extended time frames while the builders are here… but i will be including lots of exciting design ideas in my blog from this process if you just bear with me!

IMG_2016-03-26_22-45-35So…. I have downloaded the sleeveless shell top by designer Claire-Louise Hardie. It prints over 17 pieces of paper but only has a small amount of print on each sheet so not too expensive ink wise and i put the paper in the kids drawing stack after. Place the sheets together on a table and cover with some pattern paper…. top tip is to use ‘frost guard’ from the garden center at around 20p per m, it has most of the benefits of ‘Swedish tracing paper’ at a fraction of the cost….. trace around all pieces in your size. Once cut out you will now be able to keep this pattern for years so make sure you label it well! Place pieces onto your chosen fabric, according to the directions- always check whether your pattern includes seam allowance and which pieces need to be place on the fold.

Once all your pieces are cut out stitch the darts in the front piece first, then the center back and then the side seams. Make sure you always have right sides of your fabric facing each other and that you finish all seams with a zig zag stitch to prevent fraying.

The facing can be quite tricky so if you prefer you can use a bias binding around all edges. Sew it on right sides facing, press the seam, then fold the bias binding back on itself to create a neat edge with all the seam allowances tucked inside. Take your time with the pinning to make sure that the bias binding stits just below the line of stitching on the wrong side so when you stitch along that line on the front (stitch in the ditch) it will have caught the fabric all the way round. This technique gives a very nice finish and can be done in a contrasting coulour if you prefer. I have done bias binding on the bottom edge of my top instead of a hem as i found it was a little shorter than i wanted and hemming would reduce the length further. I will make a note on my pattern so i will remember to extend it next time i use it!IMG_2016-04-05_11-02-49

If you choose to complete the top with the facing start by sewing the center back and side seams of the facings. Pin the facing onto the top at the neckline and arm holes (right sides together) but leave the top 5cm of the shoulder straps open. Once these are sewn in place you can run a stay stitch parallel to the stitch you have just done, but attaching the facing to the seam allowance. This will hold your facing in place.

Now for the tricky bit! You need to turn your top the right way round, but then stitch the shoulder seams to it’s correct counterpart with right sides facing which takes a bit of fiddling and pulling! Now  you need to sew the rest of the side seams that you left open so pull the shoulder through the channel to turn it inside out, until you can see the section of seam that needs to be sewn. Stitch it both sides being careful not to catch the rest of the top which will be squished inside the channel of the shoulder. Pull back out to reveal beautiful shoulder straps!IMG_2016-04-05_11-01-12

Finally ready to decorate!!!

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