Hello all! Today I’m going to rabbit on a bit about my entry in the Umbrella Prints Trimmings Challenge.
When I first heard about the contest I thought ‘what a great idea’! Anyone who’s followed this blog for a while will know that I do love a good scrappy project – especially on the micro scale. (There are embroidered examples here, here and here and then there’s this one on canvas here.)
I bought two of the green trimmings packs and then thought about what I could make. I’ve wanted to make Rae Hoekstra’s Ruby top since the first time I saw the pattern, and I thought it could be good fun to incorporate the fabric trimmings into a yoke decoration.
So I purchased my pattern and printed it out and got on with making a muslin from an Ikea duvet cover (I am a beginner as far as garment sewing is concerned, I can’t recommend enough making a muslin or two!) I made a size small based on my measurements (man, it’s really hard to measure yourself) and made the pattern exactly as is – unlined, with bias binding-finished arm/neck holes.
I discovered three things – 1. I’m not a size small. 2. I don’t like bias binding 3. This would look a lot better with some piping between the front yoke and body pieces.
So I checked out Rae’s bloody awesome video tutorials that show how to make a lined yoke – thus eliminating the majority of the bias binding (only a little bit needed for the underarms). I followed her instructions and made a second muslin, in size medium, and added some black piping after I had sewn the lined yoke piece.
I discovered two things – 1. I am a size medium. 2. I should have sewn the piping onto the front yoke piece before I made the lined yoke, so that the piping edges would be secured within the seam allowance (I know, I know, proper sewists are rolling their eyes, I am really a beginner!)
With two muslins under my belt I felt like I was ready to pull out the big guns. The big guns being my stash of lovely French linen, bought and hoarded since our time in France. If not for the muslins, there’s no way I would have been comfortable using this fabric in this pattern.
I cut my pattern pieces very carefully as the linen is stretchy and shifty. I added on an extra quarter inch beyond the pattern as Rae recommends for the lined version. Once cut, I took my front yoke paper pattern piece and sketched out a design on one half of the yoke. I then drew the mirror image of my layout on the other half of the pattern piece.
I traced all my patchwork pieces onto the paper side of some fusible interfacing. (Normally you need to draw your shape back-to-front, given the paper is on the back side of the fusible. However given the design is identically mirrored on the yoke, I could trace the images directly without having to worry about that.)
I played about with what colours I wanted to go where, and then fused the shapes to the fabrics I’d chosen. Once cooled, I cut them out. On the front yoke piece I used a water soluble marker to mark dots 1 inch in from the edge of the fabric. This was my ‘no patchwork beyond here’ line, so I knew the area I was working with.
I laid out my cut out trimmings pieces on the yoke and then ironed them down once I was happy with their arrangement.
Then I used a blanket stitch on my sewing machine to stitch down all the edges of the individual patchwork pieces.
The final part of the yoke treatment was to sew down the piping with my zipper foot.
Then it was on with the pattern, as per Rae’s videos. When I sewed the yoke front to the body front piece, I made sure to sew over the same sewing line I had used to fix the piping on. This made sure my first stitching didn’t show and also made sure my seam was nice and close to the piping.
As you would expect, sewing with pure linen keeps you on your toes. I have a serger-like stitch on my sewing machine that I used to sew my internal (inside the yoke) seams, to be sure they wouldn’t unravel. For the side seams of the body I used a french seam which I also top-stitched for a bit of extra strength. And I used a whole lotta pins!
I had to do a wee bit of bias binding, but it wasn’t too bad. (I used the same quilting cotton as the yoke lining for my bias binding.) And I love how finished the arm holes look with the piping neatly tucked away in the seam.
For the hem, I pressed and sewed the first turn before fusing and appliquéing down several trimmings pieces. Then I turned the hem up another quarter inch and sewed the final hem line over the top of the patchwork pieces.
So there you have it – a French linen Ruby top with patchwork accents. It was a nice challenge for me to switch from quilt mode to garment mode (seriously, you should have seen how long it took me to figure out what direction to sew that piping on) and I actually enjoyed the process of making several muslins and implementing changes along the way.
I think this is a no-fuss way to fancy-up a pattern and make it your own. Not to mention a great way to use up every last smidgeon of all your favourite fabrics.
Hope you’ve all had a great weekend,