It is now the end of July and you might remember dear reader that my original plan was to make tops! You might also be aware that so far there has been no sign of any tops, at all, haven’t even mentioned them since that first post. Has she forgotten about them? You might ask. No I have not forgotten about them, I have been thinking about them a lot. Even bought a pattern, had a look at it and promptly hid it, as it was far too scary! Too many pieces and far too many instructions and nothing made sense to me. So I started to think I might just stick with making cushions, bags and pouches.
But the idea of making my own clothes was still calling me. And somehow or other, I don’t know how (divine intervention maybe), but I came across something on “The Daily Stitch” a blog for “The Village Haberdashery”. “Portia’s no-pattern-required summer top tutorial“. This was posted the middle of July and I stumbled upon it end of July, it was meant to be! I read the post, re-read the post, read it again just to be sure and started thinking maybe, just maybe, I could do this.
A couple of days later I went back to Rye and to Merchant & Mills and bought some lovely hand woven, hand printed, 100% indian cotton. I think that description is right anyway. A beautiful light weight fabric, perfect for summer. I had some fabulous advice from the chap serving me, helped me make the right decision and was very encouraging when I told him I’d only been sewing for about 6 weeks and this would be my first top. Between us we decided how much fabric I would need (I think I bought a meter).
I took my precious fabric home, and having been advised to wash it first, promptly stuck it in the washing machine. The next day my fabric was dry and having read Portia’s post several more times, I decided it was time to have a go…………………..
The beauty of this top is, its mostly straight lines (I’ve gotten better at straight lines), and that it involves just one piece of fabric. I measured out carefully how much I needed and then cut accordingly. I had my laptop in my sewing room with me so I could keep referring to Portia’s instructions. This I did many times. The most complicated part for me was the neck and the facing, I managed to completely overlook part of her instructions, but luckily it didn’t make too much difference for me (and I didn’t realise till I came to do my next top).
I’ve discovered that with sewing, there is an awful lot of ironing that goes with it. You iron the fabric before you start anything, then after you’ve done some sewing, you iron again, this helps set the stitches in the fabric better. Then you iron the seams in place and the hem, and then at last you iron the finished article! I have re-named sewing and call it “creative ironing”. Honestly i have never ironed so much in my life before I started sewing! I would actually say that sitting down to sew is only about 20%-30% of what making your own clothes, bags, cushions or anything, is about. Sorry I digress.
What joy, what pure and utter joy I felt at finishing my first handmade top. I made a top, its not perfect, the finishing could be better (I realise this as time goes by, and I make more clothes), but I made a top. I am on “top” of the world and feel so happy and clever. I never in a million years thought I’d be making an actual top! Its a little over 6 months since the idea popped into my head and now I’ve actually done it( its all thanks to Miss P. You can find her blog here). This is absolutely huge for me. I’m so happy that I’ve discovered the joy of sewing and dare I say it? I feel like I might have a bit of an affinity for it. I just feel so happy whenever I’m in my sewing room. And no matter what part of the process I’m undertaking I enjoy it. Even if I think I’m not, I am, I truly truly am.
There will now follow some pictures of said top! Please forgive the headless modelling pics, I do not generally photograph very well, unless properly posing. And I usually take the pics of finished articles right after finishing, so I usually look a mess anyway, and no one wants to see that!