If anyone does still follow or browse this blog, after weeks of inactivity then I would firstly like to say welcome back and thanks for bearing with me. Autumn term is always busy and this year is no exception.

Today however, for the first time in weeks, I was inspired to settle down to a project or two. The first was to make something simple that I had promised to do a while ago. The second was something that has been eating away at me for some time: today I embarked upon a first attempt at sewing a garment that I would want to wear outside of the house.

Back in the hazy days of summer I bought this pattern. I chose it because it was supposed to be simple, and I’m sure I remember reading somewhere that you can make the top using just a yard (metre) of fabric. During September I did indulge in more fabric, and in October I discovered a new stall on the local Saturday market that is filled with beautiful prints and designers like Michael Miller and Riley Blake. I bought a metre of this for £10.99 which I think is as cheap as it possible to find.

I now realise maybe the make-it-in-a-metre thing applies to the crop version of the pattern, which I didn’t want. Whichever way I laid out the templates on my beloved bird print, I couldn’t make it fit. Perhaps a metre and a half would cut it?

I trawled through my stash for something I like enough to want to spend time on, as well as eventually wear, but something that did not have a print that would be too tricky to match up or orientate. I had about 4 metres of the fabric I settled on, I’d bought one and then another three so I would have enough for pyjama bottoms. This fabric was £3 or £4 a metre, and has a brushed appearance. I like it because it’s William Morris-esque, it’s autumnal and has colours that I like to wear. Knowing it was inexpensive also meant that if it went completely wrong, it wasn’t the end of the world.

Despite it’s simplicity, this pattern included many firsts for me. As a rule, I’ll sew a cushion cover closed rather than adding a fastening. I like the finished product and the achievement but I do not delight over spending excessive time unnecessarily. To make this top I had to A) use a pattern, cutting out the correct size. B) make & attach facings. C) attach interfacing to the facings – I quickly learnt there there IS a right way to iron this on. D) I had to cut a slit down the back of the dress in preparation for E) inserting a zip. Eek.

I taped together and followed the pattern. I used baking paper to make templates. I wished I had one of those air drying, disappearing pens but made do with taylor’s chalk. When I started putting the fabric together, in places it didn’t match up but I tried not to panic and persevered. I stitched the shoulders, sides then facings. It came together quickly and took me a total of four hours, including sorting out the pattern, so I’d be hoping for under three next time. The method of attaching the facings went against my instinct but again I stuck with it and just kept checking the pattern. I made a mistake by sewing right across the back of the neck instead of leaving a gap for the zip column but this was resolved without any unpicking. I’m hoping the top sewing was enough to keep the facings in place. Next came the zip, deep breath. I had only roughly marked the centre of the back and the length of the zip, and I do admit to having butterflies as I cut through something that felt almost finished. I was suspicious at how simple attaching the zip seemed, although it’s only decorative. Because I attached it by sewing on the right side, when I examined inside I spotted there are patches where I haven’t quite picked up the zip. Because it has caught at the top and the bottom I think it will be ok. Next time I might try one or more buttons. Lastly I had to trim a couple of inches off the bottom of the back, as it was longer than the front. I’m not quite sure why but it’s something I’ll watch out for next time. After a quick hem along the bottom it was finished! It’s not a fitted top but definitely wearable, and suitable for making and marking, or home and work. I will certainly make another, I’m just not certain when.