Well, this was a great experiment!
I loved the fabric I used to make Suki robes for my mum and sister last Christmas so much that I saved every scrap. When I tried on my Pietra Shorts with my first version of New Look 6459 reminded me about how much I liked that top, even though the arm syces weren’t right – they are just too tight and make it rather unpleasant to wear.
I made some adjustments to the pattern, pieced the remaining 218g of fabric (love my electronic scales), and then got sewing. The changes I made were simple: I just dropped the armsyce down by an inch, and lowered the neckline by a quarter inch. By the time I started I still hadn’t really decided what finish to do: whether to use facings (and if that’s the case, with what fabric?) or to do bias binding as I did on the first one. Or, of course, bias binding that was sewn into the inside.
The fabric is double-layered, light and floaty, tricky to work with due to its bounciness, and completely gorgeous. Just working with the fabric again reminded me how much I loved it: I could hardly wait to wear the top.
After experimenting a little, I chose to do narrow (0.5cm) flat felled seams to piece the fabric together. It made the fabric flow and bounce beautifully, and ensures the inside of the fabric remains as lovely as that on the outside.
Creating enough fabric for the front took just over an hour. I stopped to cook my evening meal, and started the other side after I’d eaten. I took my time and swapped between pink and blue thread, depending on which one I was overlapping over the other. I made sure to backstitch a few times over each overlapping seam too – it will be interesting to see how this pieced fabric holds up over time, but it will be a gentle hand wash and low spin on the machine.
Some seams I could just not get to lay flat, but I am accepting them as handmade imperfections. The ones that did work, are a delight, and I couldn’t stop cuddling the fabric I was making, which is always a good sign! I made one bit of fabric for the front, and two smaller sections for the back. The latter seams are much improved on the first ones I did, but I don’t think anyone will be judging..
Taking care to have the main seams matching across pattern pieces, I was so delighted with the look that I rushed ahead and completely forgot that I’d decided upon doing a facing. Never mind, after the first try on I realised that actually the arm holes were now far too big! A facing wouldn’t have worked, and instead I made binding, that I then sewed on inside the armsyce. I don’t even know if this ‘technique’ has a name, but it worked, and I love the effect… well, I do now, but after my first attempt ended up super large I didn’t love unpicking the triple stitched seams! (attached once, zigzagged together to finish the seam and then top stitched). My second attempt was much better though and I am glad that I took the time to fix it.
Traditional binding at the neck, but when I came to pin it on, it wasn’t long enough! Horror! So I cut it down, added a pink section and now love that feature almost best! I added a tiny rouleux loop for the button, which took several tries but eventually I managed to get a loop that was satisfyingly small, and the button too needed unpicked as I first sewed it on with white thread, but the blue adds to the bird rather than distorting it. This is a gorgeous button that I picked up from Textile Garden at Edinburgh Yarn Fest a few years ago.
I also added a wee bit of interfacing at either side of the opening, to stabilise for the button and the rouleux loop.
It was hemmed so that the bottom layer of the fabric is doubled over. There’s a triple layer of stitching to make a wee feature. The side, back and shoulder seams are sewn together, zigzagged separately and then topstitched to either side. For these, I used a cream thread that is subtler than the blue or pink. The fabric is very fray-y, so the zig-zag was essential, and will hopefully be sufficient to prevent the fabric disintegrating over time.
It felt like I made so many mistakes during this sewing experience, but as I was making it up half of the time and I was working to a tight deadline in between house guests I think I did all right. I wanted to complete this in time for our trip to Slovenia, and I am so glad I did, even though I only wore it once. It was too hot to wear it often during the day (my Ogden cami’s got put to good use here!) but I did love wearing it while travelling through the alps on our way to Germany. The main thing was completing it well, as I did not want to end up unhappy with the finished result.
I will wear it more: it needs high-waisted shorts/ skirts and trousers, but I think that’s the way my ‘style’ is going anyway. The finished article weighs in at 102g, so I used about half but there’s no useable fragments of the fabric left over. The remainder will probably become cushion stuffing or something (we have a new sofa bed that is calling out for some pretty soft furnishings to be added) and thus ends the tale of this delicious fabric – or is this only the beginning of the new relationship?
It’s nice to use something wholly from my scrap pile, and to get a wearable top out of that is very exciting.
How’s your scrap pile looking? What are you working on just now?