Continuing my quest to build summer wardrobes for the girls (and still not really making progress on my own summer wardrobe), the past week or so I’ve been steadily hammering away at a Ruffled Halter top for Ani. The pattern is free from Oliver + S and I must say, it’s the most complicated pattern I’ve completed to date. Not that any part is particularly difficult but there are quite a few pieces and techniques used to build this top. The long instructions are well-written and clear, however, and though a bit more time consuming than the other items I’ve sewn recently, it went together smoothly and the result is a very pretty little top with professional looking finishing touches.
I do think the successful completion of this piece is a significant step toward achieving Sewing Goddess status. Not that I’m even close to being there yet, but progress is being made. I can see definite improvement in the quality of my stitching and I’ve gotten pretty comfortable with more than a few techniques (this time, gathering, among others, which for some reason seemed intimidating but was actually quite easy).
The halter is upcyled from thrifted 100% combed cotton Laura Ashley sheets, purchased for $4.99; the elastic and thread were already on hand.
I love the print of this fabric and hope to use some of it on my first quilt, which I desperately need to get started on if I’m to finish it this summer (SBL).
Other completed items include Ani’s Mother/Daughter Blossom Blouse from sew liberated, a smaller version of the one I did for Aria. I wrote a bit about the sizing issues with this pattern previously and I have to say, I was much happier with the finished version of Ani’s top. Aria’s top, if you recall, came out quite short even when lengthened to the biggest size. The (non-lengthened) sleeves were quite long, though, giving the top of a bit of an out-of-proportion look. Don’t get me wrong, Aria still rocks it, but I was hoping Ani’s would look even better.
I’d already cut the pattern out for hers when I finished Aria’s so Ani’s is also one size longer; I also made the seams a bit narrower. The final product seems much better proportioned and the length – though still on the short side – is such that her tummy doesn’t show every time she raises her arms. I’m not sure if it’s Ani’s body shape or the pattern itself that accounts for the difference in fit, but I’m thinking it’s a bit of both. The pattern seems better suited to the smaller sizes but Ani is also naturally smaller than Aria – so the shorter length works better for her body. The narrower seams are a personal preference for this piece as I think they look better with the contrast stitching I used. All-in-all I do really like this pattern and would make it again, I’d just lengthen it far past what is called for, especially for the bigger sizes.
In addition to clothing, I whipped up a pair of drawstring bags for the girls’ blocks. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, but it felt silly to trash the perfectly good zippered (but plastic) bags that the blocks came in. Finally, though, the plastic started falling apart and I had my chance to not only get rid of two more plastic things in the house (don’t worry, I recycled), but to create something pretty but useful for the playroom.
I used Weekend Sewing‘s Drawstring Travel Bags pattern as a general guide for the casing and drawstring technique, but largely did my own thing with sizing and piecing together. Upcycled from thrifted fabric and using thread and ribbon I happened to have on hand, the total cost of these two bags was around $1, maybe less. They were super fast: I did one in the morning and one in the afternoon, both while the girls were playing nearby. I’ll be making more of these for sure as existing toy containers wear out or for storage around the house; I may try appliqued labels next time.
- Don’t be afraid to try something new; it’s probably not as hard as you’re anticipating it to be.
- Each new project and technique attempted is another tool gained for a more complicated future project.