This month’s make is another first for me – I’ve sewn dresses, skirts, all kinds of accessories but this is my first ‘sewn-from-a-pattern’ top. I decided to tackle the Simplicity Pattern 1280 – a pattern set that comes with patterns for two styles of top (a loose tunic top with keyhole and a more blouse-like style with options for gathered cuffs and waist), and leggings! 

I decided to go for the blouse style top, using a beautiful black and white geometric Viscose Fabric – not too dissimilar from the design on the front of the packaging.

Sitting down with my coffee to cut out my pattern I built up quite a momentum and ended up sewing the whole top in just one sitting (so much for my new resolve to spread these projects out over evenings). It was a lovely make but not without some challenges and new techniques to perfect.

The pattern is straightforward with two cross-over front pieces to give the effect of a wrap top, one back piece, sleeves and a really pretty keyhole neckline. I followed the instructions to the letter but I wish I’d secured the crossover in the front last after trying the garment on as my keyhole ended up tinier than expected, and the crossover sits very slightly higher than I’d like. Because the fabric drapes however I may just unpick this and resew slightly lower.

This pattern calls for tiny tucked under hems along the front edges. I was quite nervous of how these were going to work out because my fabric seemed like a natural fray-er, however it was such a smooth dream to sew with that my concerns were completely unneccessary. It was also great for my to practice sewing with detail as I know I tend to rush, and I’m not the best finisher. Throughout this whole project I made the most of my iron and pressed every edge, hem and seam in sight, which really helped hold the structure of this slightly drapey fabric. And I have to say - I’m really pleased with those front edges!

I also had to tackle necklines again – an element I was dreading because of the feature keyhole, which leaves a delicate strip of neckline exposed at the front. With this neckline however you bind using the same fabric (not bias binding – hooray) which meant I could ease the neckline into place really easily. I also took the time when cutting the patern out to mark each dot (used later to align neckline, sleeves etc) with bring orange thread – and I was so so glad I did this as it meant I could really speed my way through pinning the neckline and sleeves into place.

As I mentioned earlier my keyhole ended up smaller than I hoped because the neckline was smaller than anticipated. I should have gathered the neckline more at the shoulders to adjust this but as I was on a roll I pushed through. Even though the keyhole is less of a feature on my finished top I’m still pretty pleased and this is definitely my best neckline to date.

Finally we come onto the elastic – to add or not to add? I decided to add elastic to the sleeves immediately because I don’t particularly love a wide, drapey sleeve, and these sleeves come out slightly cropped (particularly if you have long arms like me) so the elastic gave them a stronger shape. I then dithered about adding elastic to the bottom, but again decided I preferred the closer fit.

Here’s my finished look – a smart(ish) day top I can get loads of wear from!