I was so excited to hear that the Sew Mama Sew blog was going to host another Super Online Sewing Match (SOSM) this year! I just love the Great British Sewing Bee (so inspiring), and I dream of being able to participate in the SOSM as a contestant. I realized how little sewing (and making things in general) I’ve been doing purely for myself, especially garment-making. So I’m dubbing this the “Summer of Selfish Sewing” and I’m going to make myself some garments. And a bag.
I did apply for this year’s SOSM, but I didn’t get picked as a contestant. However, I decided that I am going to follow along with the SOSM, as if I were one of the contestants in the “real thing” anyway! Even though the official rules for the community match don’t require the same timing as the main competition, I’m going to see how well I can follow along.
The first challenge is to sew a top. I know that I prefer jersey knit for my casual tops (let’s face it, for all my tops :-P), and so while I have some blouse patterns in my stash, I decided to work on a casual top design. I’ve been wanting to duplicate some cross-front, empire-waist tank tops I have–they are actually nursing tops that I got when my oldest was born! Amazingly, they are cute enough to wear even when not nursing. They were very inexpensive, and they are starting to fall apart a bit. So this first garment is my attempt to recreate these tops. I drew my own own pattern by measuring and tracing one of the original tops (I couldn’t quite bring myself to take it apart, though!)
The bodice top is double-layered. For each layer, I serged the front panels to each side of the back panel, then I attached the layers together (again with my serger), inserting the narrow portion of the strap into the back panel. After understitching as far as I could, I attached the bodice top, crossing the front panels, to the single-layer bodice bottom, on which I’d sewn the side seams with my serger. I tried on the top to determine where to attach the wide front part of the straps to the narrow back part of the straps. It is hemmed with a cover stitch (also courtesy of my serger).
click photos to enlarge
I used a stretchier knit that has more fluid drape (95% rayon, 5% spandex), because I liked the way it feels. I purchased 3/4 yd, which was cutting it pretty close (haha, pun intended)- but it is wonderful to not have huge amounts of excess fabric to stuff into my scrap bin!
The finished garment looks pretty good, and it is very comfortable. But it has flaws. Here is my self-critique:
The armholes gape. In future editions of this top, if I make them, I will need to adjust the curve of the top bodice pieces to correct and cover.
There is a puckered section in the back. I added clear elastic in an attempt to stabilize the seam between the bodice top and bottom, and I inadvertently stretched it as I fed it through my serger.
The original shirt used little metal adjusters (similar to those you’d find on a bra) to allow for strap lengthening and shortening. I couldn’t find them at the store, so in the end, I decided to just stitch the straps at the correct length for myself. I don’t care for the differential between the two strap pieces. If I make this style of shirt again, I’ll do it differently.
I think that I will most likely use this as a pajama top–it certainly is comfortable!– and hopefully I will have a chance to revise my pattern in the future to make something that is more wearable out and about!