End of summer special – bonus extra top!

dove backSo its the end of summer and my thoughts are firmly turning to autumn and winter sewing. Suddenly I want different colours and fabrics and a coat! I have already made a couple of things but I am clinging onto summer for a little while longer and I have two summery tops to share today.

First I made a Sinbad and Sailor Dove tee. I actually made a version a couple of months ago but I was optimistic on the sizing and went down when I should have gone up (when I looked again at the pattern I think I may have mistakenly cut out a size even smaller than I intended). So although I loved the finished top it was too narrow across the back and it had to be re-homed. I reprinted the pattern and finally got round to cutting it out a few weeks ago. This time I went a bit bigger than my actual measurements and cut a 14 all round for a fairly loose fit.

Dove teeThe fabric is a mystery poly of some kind – it is very very lightweight which is lovely for this pattern but not so great for sewing. It shifted around when I cut it and when I sewed it and seemed to get out of shape really easily. It was a bit of a challenge to get my machine tension right and very ready to fray. I usually try not to sew with polyester after a few horrible experiences but I thought the results would be worth it and the lack of breathability of the fabric wouldn’t be an issue with such a loose top.

I was intending to use french seams throughout until I sewed both side seams with right sides together instead of wrong sides, so it is mostly french-seamed which helps to control the fraying. I also skipped the neck facing. By the time I got to add the facing the neckline had either stretched a bit or it moved when I cut it and the facing didn’t fit properly. I used bias binding instead which I prefer (though I still need to master getting it to lie flat…) – I find facings always flop about even when I have understitched.

As I had made the top before I wasn’t worrying too much about fit but when I tried it on almost at the end of the sewing process I realised that the bust darts were too low and due to the slippery fabric they had ended up pointing downwards in a rather odd way!

dart droopIt was too late to move the darts completely without major unpicking but I did manage to unpick the darts and angle them upwards from the same starting point. One of them is still a little crooked but at least they are more or less pointing to the right place now!

So I was rather out of love with the fabric by the end of the process and at the same time summer seemed to have come to an abrupt end so I wasn’t sure I would even wear it. But now the pain of making it has passed, I really like this top and have already worn it a few times – it is great for days when the weather is changeable and the open back is cute without being revealing. I love the button band hack that Tilly did on this pattern and I would love to try that next! Dove teeFinally I decided at pretty much the last minute to join in SewAmySew’s Repurpose, Reuse, Refashion Challenge – taking an unloved item from a charity shop or a friend and turning it into something wearable! I am in awe of people who can completely transform challenging finds into amazing outfits – seriously – I would never have looked at this dressing gown and seen a bomber jacket! I went out yesterday to check out our local charity shops and found this very loose cotton tunic, which was too baggy and shapeless to work for me as a dress or tunic but was made of a great lightweight cotton with a cute floral print.

refashion-beforeI thought of just trying to take it in a bit but the top was unfitted and very loose so I decided to cut it into panels and cut out a Sorbetto from the pieces. The original sleeves were raglan so there was enough fabric to cut sleeve pieces out. I made the sleeves slightly longer than the pattern piece and saved the cuffs from the original top to finish them. I gathered the centre neckline instead of making the pleat to give a more relaxed fit and to keep the style of the original.

refashion-sleeveThis only took a few hours – made longer by sewing the bias binding onto the wrong side at first! I would have tried to reuse the orginal collar but I cut a hole in the top of it when I was unpicking the label. Overall I am really pleased by how this turned out and hopefully it has made me think a bit more laterally about what you can do with clothes that don’t quite work for you! refashion-afterSo – have you tried to refashion anything and did you join the Refashion Challenge?

7 Comments Add yours

  1. I love the print – your Sorbetto turned out so well! Thanks for mentioning my jacket 🙂


    1. notsewsimple says:

      Thankyou for commenting – I am totally amazed that you thought of making that jacket out of a dressing gown – I love how it turned out!



  2. Okay…it’s as though you were sitting in the room with me the last time I sewed slippery fabric. I face the same challenges and frustrations. I like to use Bemberg lining in my dresses, and it slips around and my sewing machine wants to chew up the ends as well. I have a serger, and it does handle the rayons and polys much better, but each row of stitching is pretty permanent since the trimming has been done! BRAVO to you for persevering and redoing the dart. It’s a cute pattern, and I love the flirty back! I’ve never sewn a Sinbad and Sailor…something new to add to my ever growing list! I’ve done a bit of refashioning, but nothing as grand as that bomber jacket! I love to thrift shop, and I’ll be looking at everything with a new eye!


    1. notsewsimple says:

      Thank you! I really struggle with slippery fabric and linings but I’m glad I persevered! I think it was worth it – I may just go for something easier for the next project though.



  3. Helena says:

    I really like the back of your first top. I struggle with the opposite problem – the darts are always too high!

    I like you refashioned top as well. I’m not very good on refashioning, mostly it’s simple like dress to skirt or I completely recut it, I just cut up a t-shirt to make toddler leggings keeping nothing of the original except for the fabric. I am amazed by those who can see potential.


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