Saturday, May 6, 2017

A New Top for Sew Merry May, Simplicity 8216.

I've been having a strange life over the last few months and it has affected my sewing time quite a bit.  But on Thursday, I decided to just have a day to myself to sew.  And I worked on my May garment for the Make a Garment a Month project.  Our theme this month is Sew Merry May, and I thought this lovely cheerful fabric was Merry enough. The fabric also reminded me of the sort of fabrics I liked years ago as a teenager.  And the flowing style was also reminiscent of teenage memories.

The sewing of this top, though, was anything but Merry.  The fabric is a slippery rayon twill like fabric, and it misbehaved the whole way through.  Plus my attention was not good - if I have had things in real life that are draining, I find that it takes me a while to fire up my sewing brain again.

But, with lots of sighing and unpicking and what not, I got there!

The pattern I used was Simplicity 8216:

I had previously done a quick toile of this top.  I usually use size 8 around the arm, neck and shoulder area, and then go out to a 12.  I haven't made many Simplicity garments, and found this approach to size was wrong as the 8 was far too small. So I cut out a size 12 in all areas.  I think Simplicity paterns are going to fit me well with little alteration.

I measure the top ( I made version C) and found it very long - more tunic length, although the picture shows it to finish at hip/crotch height.  I am 5'4", or about 162 cms, so not over short.  I shortened the top by about 3 inches /10 cm.

As I knew the fabric I was working with was going to be a little difficult, I decided to omit the cuff and use an elastic casing instead at the bottom of the sleeve.  Sleeves are usually far to long on me, so I thought that by doing this I would have the sleeve finishing at about the right point.  I made the casing too deep, so edged it, which I think looks good. Then my elastic wouldn't fit, so I found another which happened to be softer which is just perfect for this sleeve finish:

I also added an inside yoke - the pattern just uses a single piece so seams are exposed. The pattern had a facing for the back neck but I thought that I would get annoyed at seeing the exposed seams with a facing above it.  I wanted a nice, neat, finish, plus I thought the double yoke would help to brace this drapey blouse- more body at the shoulder for it to hang from.  I interfaced the lining yoke at the neck edge.

I don't use the Burrito method as I find that a bit tedious - all the rolling, when with a yoke this deep you can just get right in there and sew by going through an armhole.   Much simpler.

I used the front facing and sewed that into the yoke - and realised later, that I had made a mistake - the pattern had the tie coming right down the front.  But when I thought about it, I prefered my version as it comes straight from the neck /facing join and that is already low enough for me.  So if I make this again, I am going to repeat my mistake.

The hem was just a standard 5/8 inch /1.5 cm turn twice and stitch sort of hem:

Disaster nearly struck as I was finishing this garment - I was very careful overlocking the armhole seam, flipping the sleeve neatly out of the way, or so I thought.  I was just threading my ends through, when I notice - I had just caught the sleeve into the overlocking.  It didn't look as though I had cut the sleeve, so I carefully unpicked the overlocking - and this fabric is dreadful to unpick, if you catch a thread it pulls dreadfully.  I got back to the caught bit, and released that.  I had pulled and torn/cut a thread, but as it was right under the armhole, I knew it would not be noticed. I blobbed some clear nail polish on the thread and area under it - just a small blob.  That will stop any further damage.

Of course, then I was upset, so I had to give myself a good talking too, and the top and I had to make friends with each other again.  Today, all is forgiven, and I am very Merry about this top.

And it even works nicely with my serious looking glasses, which I wear on serious sorts of occasions:

Oh, and I do plan to wear this over a black t-shirt.  I have some with a lower neckline, which I will wear under this - I am wearing a high neck one today and notice that it doesn't quite work.  I do need a layer under this, because the key hole is just a bit low for my liking.  I also get very cold, so need the extra layers.  

That's it for now, and if any of you want to join our group, do email me, stylishsarah251@gmail to join the Facebook group (you need a Facebook account) or if you are on Instagram and want to take part on Instagram, you will find me here .

Bye for now, and wishing you the best of sewing luck this week.

Sarah Liz


  1. Oh dear. I'm glad you managed to avert total disaster! I cut through my trouser front so didn't manage to avoid. Pretty top and the fabric looks merry indeed.

  2. What a fun top. I need to think what would make me Merry in May.

  3. What a pretty look for you. The color and print are so becoming and the fit is perfect! I sympathize with you on the fabric - sometimes I just bin a rayon project, then retrieve it's so shifty!

  4. A very merry top indeed. This turned out lovely Sarah Liz.

  5. Such a merry top and fits you so well, too! Definitely worth all the effort.

  6. I dont know why, but i often find that patterns to get you to do an inside yoke anymore. I can never sew a yoke on a garment without one. well done for persevering with this as its really lovely. The fabric is most certainly merry, it fits like a dream and whats more, it looks fabulous on you. Hope you get a lot of mileage out of this one.

  7. I like the little details that you ahve made to this top. It's very vintage looking with that fabric and style. Lovely top!

  8. I always think a shirt back yoke should be lined - in fact it has only been recently that I have come across patterns which don't do this. Your fabric is so Merry, and pretty too, and makes a wonderful top. That was a great save with the overlocker - I have had the odd similar experience, but not always so neatly mended!

  9. Very Merry. Lovely, Nail polish to the rescue!

  10. Ah, the hungry serger, I know that moment too well. Nice save and lovely shirt. I make sure to line my yokes too, especially when they are longer and need that extra support.

  11. I like Jane's description of "the hungry serger." Those of us with sergers have no doubt experienced the same greedy machine behavior! I'm glad you were able to save your top. I also agree that adding a second yoke gives some structure to slippery rayon. =) Very nice SL.

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  13. Nice fitting shirt, Sarah! It looks great on you. I love the way you styled it.

  14. I really love this on you, beautifully done inside and outside. Very merry top ❤

  15. I love how it turned out, Sarah. The fit is great too. Very beautiful.

  16. You certainly worked this fabric into a pretty blouse.