The shirt that almost wasn’t…

My first Glasgow Make to get on the blog, and entirely inappropriate weather-wise.

Pattern: The Factory Dress by Merchant and Mills
Made before? I’d made two full dresses for my Nanna last Christmas, unfortunately without the instructions so they were successful wildcards…
Will make again? Yes, I love this shape, the lack of buttons, and how easy the collar is. I might try it with a gathered skirt next time.
Fabric: Vintage drapey something I found in a Vintage/antiques/odds-and-ends store in Glasgow’s West End.

factory top front

I found this amazing large floral print and had to have it. There was probably 2.5m to start with. And I promptly butchered it.

The original idea was to use the free Peppermint Magazine Peplum Top pattern (produced by In The Folds), and hack it with a peplum to make an approximation of my favourite peplum top. That went all sorts of wrong. I misunderstood the instructions for the shoulder panels, fudged the lining several times, tried to cut away the lining, couldn’t find bias tape, etc etc etc. I ended up with a mangled top but a beautiful peplum. I shelved the project for several months…

Then, after a not-amazing trial of the Alex Shirt by Sew Over It, I decided the Factory Dress, with its center front seam, lack of buttons, and simple collar construction, was the shirt pattern for me. I knew there’d be enough of this fabric left to make a toile so I went for it.

I then discovered that the shirt was more than a little cropped. I had wanted a cropped style, but this took it a little too far…enter the afore-mentioned peplum!

factory top peplum

When I first tried this on I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. The collar, and the peplum, and the billowy fit with semi-outrageous print felt like mayyybe a tad too much. But then I wore it cycling into work, and it was beautifully cool and floaty. I also love it paired with  a cropped jumper, so that the collar looks sophisticated popping over the top, but the peplum peeks out and adds some eccentricity. A little eccentricity goes a long way in starting me-made conversations…

factory top back

A little note on the construction – most of my seams here are french seams, except for around the collar, where I couldn’t work out how to do this technique. I still haven’t managed to convince my new machine to zig zag on woven fabric. Anyone have any tips?

What’s your favourite pattern hack? Have you tried to hack the Factory Dress? I think it is an underrated pattern, what do you think?

Happy sewing! xxH

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An elaborate hack…

This has to be one of my favourite makes to date. It has enough features that people think it is RTW, but was really easy to knock out, airy for summer, but thrown on with jeans looks much more dressed-up than a tee.

Pattern: Simplicity 2365
Made before? I’d made one version in a similar 100% cotton, but without as much hacking, and definitely got a lot of wear out of that in Summer. 
Will make again? Absolutely. I left the pattern back home in Aus, but I’m considering just buying it again to make a few more.
Fabric: 100% cotton I bought from Spotlight, designed by Cloud 9

pleated top worn

The original pattern is a tunic or shirt ending at the hips, with short or long sleeves and a mandarin collar. It features princess seams and five pintucks on either side of the center front. In this version, I cropped the two front and back pieces to where the waistline was marked on the pattern. I then sloped off the neckline into a v, starting from the mark at center front where the split in the original is meant to start. I finished the armholes and neckline with bias binding. The ruffle was simply made from a long rectangle – as long as I had fabric for – gathered and sewn in. Inside seams are finished with overlocking.

pleated top details

Can we talk about this fabric?! Spotlight has such a great range of cottons, chambray, and tencel. It’s definitely something I miss in Scotland – I can’t seem to find any beautiful prints like this unless they’re Liberty and prohibitively expensive. I also can’t find any tencel – which is such a shame, because I think a floaty tencel skirt in the same khaki as those little leaves would be perfect with this shirt.

I’m a huge fan of the pintucks too. The instructions which come with the pattern, being a big 4, aren’t fabulous. I followed a tutorial in my handy sewing bible, and after that it was easy. Particularly in 100% cotton, you just need a lot of steam and heat. And a ruler.

I’ve read online that you can also create pintucks in fabric before you cut, then cut out pattern pieces with them finished and use that as a textural element – I’d love to explore this, I’m just not sure of what pattern to try it with. Ideas?

Do you have any favourite pintuck patterns for me to try? Know where I can get some quality but affordable tencel in the UK? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy sewing! H xx