A few weeks ago - after I bought my new sewing machine, and in and amongst all the mask-making - I downloaded the Wiksten shift dress and top sewing pattern, ordered some fabric from e-Bay, and rustled myself up this comfortable top. I found it to be a well-designed, simple pattern - the only adjustment I made was to the length, as I don't really like cropped-length tops. I added a couple of inches at the hem so that it falls a little below my waistline (or the place where my waistline ought to be), and lowered the pockets an inch or so too, but other than that stuck to the instructions and was really pleased with the finished result. My only regret is that I ignored the good advice to wash the fabric before cutting it, so the top did shrink a little after washing. It still fits perfectly well, but the sleeves now skim the elbows, rather than falling just below.
It was so much fun to be making something other than masks, and all my old 'O' level needlework skills came flooding back. I really took my time with it, even going to the trouble of matching the fabric pattern on the pockets.
As we had a week off work booked for the beginning of August I decided to treat myself and ordered some more fabric to make a couple more tops - a lovely mid-blue cotton chambray and some Indonesian Batik cotton. Both went straight in the wash when they arrived (life-lesson re.fabric shrinkage learned).
First I made the chambray version. This time I added several inches to the sleeves and the body when cutting the top out, so that I could play around with placement of the hems. I had a fat quarter of pretty blue floral fabric that I'd held back from the mask-making stash, and I used this to make the pockets and line the bottom of the sleeves to make them three-quarter length with a turned up cuff. This longer version is more like a tunic/smock, and it is an absolute dream to wear. Cool and airy in the heat, with room for a long-sleeved T-shirt underneath in colder weather. I love it!
Next came the Indonesian cotton. Finely woven, beautifully cool and smooth to the touch, in a vibrant shade of turquoise which the photo doesn't really capture. With this one I added side slits and a deep hem, but made it a similar length to the first. I lined the bottom of the sleeves again, to have the option of turned up cuffs. This time I waited until I'd completed the top before adding the pockets, as I wasn't sure if the fabric design was too 'busy', but after a lot of deliberation decided to keep them - carefully matching the fabric pattern again.
Yesterday was spent tidying the airing cupboard, sorting through bedding and towels and various other bits and pieces that get
shoved in stored there until it starts bulging at the seams and has to be dealt with properly. Three sleeping bags went to my friend, whose grandchildren will be going camping for the first time this summer. Several duvet cover and pillow case sets were put in the "for the charity shop" bag, and I salvaged the fabric from a couple more to use for - you guessed it - some more Wiksten tops! It might seem odd to be making so many versions of the same top, but it makes sense to me. They suit me, fit nicely, and are comfortable and practical to wear. On that basis, what's not to like? Besides, if re-purposed curtains were good enough for the Von Trapp children's clothes then a re-purposed duvet cover will be good enough for me!
The one on the left is possibly a little curtain-like in design, but it's a lovely crisp cotton and I'm becoming eccentric enough to really not care. The one on the right is a poly-cotton blend, but I think it will still be quite wearable - if not, it was only destined for the dump anyway (one side had ink-stains on it, so it wasn't really good enough for the charity shop bag).
Watch this space...