Saturday, 30 May 2015

Simplicity Blogger Challenge: Vintage Pattern

Blog post written by the other half of Lesley's Girls- Susannah; who recently put her ninja sewing skills to the test and took part in the Simplicty Blogger Challenge this month.

I decided a month ago to take part in the Simplicity Blogger Challenge. A free pattern was involved here so I couldn’t look away… I already have four boxes full of patterns (and that’s after culling) and this one looked tempting. There were three categories and I decided to choose the vintage pattern, it being very close to Lesley’s Girl’s heart. 

What with one thing and another I was left with just two days to achieve this and I was determined to finish it! I was unable to use my sister Janine as a dressmakers dummy (shame, I was so looking forward to sticking pins in her) so I have decided to use myself as a model (plus I get to wear this at the end..). Oh dear, I had to try to fit this to me by me, impossible at the back!

The Pattern
Simplicity 1364, a vintage pattern. I am opting for sleeveless as summer is beginning to indicate it’s here to stay. I did a toile first to determine a decent fit. I was slightly dubious as the top looks very wide with minimal shaping except for two awesome huge darts in the middle and a little shaping at the side seams so with my sway back I was a little worried how the fit would look. I am between sizes, a classic pear! I had to increase the hips by one size and I tapered the side seams out from the bottom of the dart. Toile done, hubby took a photo. Happy.

The fabric
This I have thought long and hard on and had I had enough time, some funky orange and pink vintage or nautical vintage fabric would have been my first choice had I sourced this. However, having gone through my stash, I found the perfect fabric, hopefully not too controversial as it’s a fox hunt print bought two months ago. I would always wear the top with my safe skinny jeans and the fabric works perfectly with this.

I am opting to adapt the fastening to an exposed zip I found at the V&A museum a couple of years ago and have been waiting for the perfect moment to showcase it….

Sewing it up!
Sewing is my favourite part once you know the fit is ok. 

I overlocked all my insides (my grandmother has always told me the insides MUST be as good as the outside to ensure the top never looks homemade and I quite agree, I prefer the question “where did you buy that., it’s great” as opposed to “oh that’s nice, did you make it yourself”). This required careful reading ahead of the pattern as I like to overlock before making up as far as possible as it can be a lot neater.

I pressed (not ironed, there is a difference) the seam stitching and the seam open as I went along for lovely crisp accurate sewing (hopefully).

When I got to the exposed zip, I tacked this in place and then sewed to make sure it didn’t move as the pins held it. I’ve never used this type of zip before and it actually quite easy to do in the end. I sewed up the bottom of the middle seam before inserting the zip and folded the bottom over. It looks ok, I think it’ll pass the beautiful decorative edging makes up for an inside out zip!

I also didn’t use purchased bias binding I made my own using these online instructions I have used once before

In conclusion..
The pattern makes for a lovely fit and is great against a jeans backdrop. I don’t think I would personally ever wear this top to tuck into a skirt as, shown on one of the views, as I know I would like it to feel more fitted against my back and sides and would introduce lots of news darts and make this a huge project! 
It isn’t snug anywhere, perfect ease. The neckline is very flattering. 

I am pleased with the fabric choice. 

My only bug bear is the zip pull might be too heavy for the top and I think I should have reduced the width of the top by half an inch as it looks slightly gappy at the back. Oh and I also think I should have trimmed my seams better on the facing at the tops of the shoulders, it took a lot of steaming and pressing to get these to sit as flat as I liked. 

All in all I am very pleased and shall be making a few more once Janine has sourced me with some fabric! Next time I think I shall try a button up back (I’m thinking red and white buttons on an indigo blue chambray fabric?) I am inspired. Thank you Simplicity for the free pattern and giving me a deadline to make me get on and finish a project! 

I’m off for a cuppa and to sweep up hundreds of little bits of cream thread…….


  1. It looks great! I have one of those lacy exposed zips, yours has made me want to use it on my next top. I had the same thought as you and decided on funky orange fabric for my entry, luckily I had some in my stash!

  2. Thank you. The zip pull made the back a little heavy though. I love your top - the bias binding around the cut outs looks like patient work and it has paid off, what a gorgeous top, great colours. Your cat reminds me of ours by the way! Does your cat decided the best seat in the house is a pile of fabric on the table you're about to work with.....!?


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