Sunday, January 20, 2013

FO: I'm Only a Poor Little Sparrow Top

Oh come on - you must remember that song?  Go on - have a nostalgia trip!


So what have we here, Roo?

I needed a palette-cleansing project.  Something to make and wear.  A fuss-free, everyday sort of a thing.
So I dug out my Renfrew pattern and grabbed the yard of Girl Charlee jersey that only arrived on Friday, thinking "quick tee".  Ha!  When did I ever take the simple path?

This particular jersey has a little bit of something non-cotton going on, making it drapier than plain t-shirt material.  (Rayon, says the web-site.)  It seemed like an awful shame not to work with that quality, so I rummaged around for ideas to add more volume without turning it into a maternity smock.

Simplicity 3692, out of print
Simplicity 2798
I really liked what I saw of a Built by Wendy tee pattern (Simplicity 3692, now out of print) which features a yoke with a lightly gathered bodice.

There is a similar style in Cal Patch's book, the Marguerite tee.

And Boden are selling something similar this season, the fabric-mix top.
 



I brewed these ideas for a while over a mug of tea and decided to use the yoke shaping from Simplicity 2798 (because I had it in my stash already) as the basis for a reworked Renfrew.  I redrafted the neckline of the yoke section to fall mid-way between a Renfrew and a 2798, and added 2 inches down the centre front of the Renfrew piece.

I hit on the idea of stitching a few rows of shirring at the centre front (using elastic in the bobbin) and gently gathering the top edge to absorb the rest of the excess fabric around the yoke.  My shirring is a bit squiggly, and so is my top-stitching, but hopefully nobody will be staring at my chest long enough to notice.
This has given the top a bit more ease at the bust than my standard Size 2 Renfrew, while the woven fabric of the yoke adds structure and stability.  I really like how it has turned out :)
I didn't bother with cuffs or hem-bands, but added 2 inches to the length of the Renfrew sleeves and body, then turned up a narrow double hem, which I stitched with a small zig zag.  I sewed the long seams with the vari-overlock stitch (number 6) and attached the yoke with an ordinary straight stitch.  All the sewing was done with my normal Bernina.  I still don't feel the need for a serger!


Stats:
Patterns:  Renfrew top by Sewaholic in size 2 for back, sleeves and lower front.  Simplicity 2798 in size 4 for the yoke, with neckline lowered and the shoulder narrowed to line up with the Renfrew template.

Fabric:  One yard of "Sparrows in the Woods" jersey from Girl Charlee, $5.50 (plus postage - see below).  A scrap of cream broderie anglaise from a seemingly never-ending piece I bought from Ditto Fabrics a while back.

Other:  Half a yard or so of shirring elastic, used in the lower bobbin of the sewing machine.  An oddment of white cotton bias binding, cut in half lengthwise, to bind the neck edge.



Verdict?
I am really happy with it!
The fabric is quite thin but feels lovely and drapes well.  My new cardigan is a great colour match so I will even be able to wear it in the snow!
I like the contrast between the narrow sleeves and the slightly fuller front. 
It works well worn loose or tucked in.
Yup - it's a keeper! :D

A note about Girl Charlee:
A couple of people have asked me about the cost of buying fabric from the States.
This is the second time I have bought fabric from Girl Charlee and I have been very pleased with the quality of the fabric, speed of delivery (less than a week) and overall value.
On both occasions, I bought 3 yards of fabric for a total of 16 US dollars and paid 16.95 US dollars on top of that for postage.  Yes - I paid more for the postage than the fabric!  But when I worked it out, this came to a total cost of £21 for 3 yards of fabric, so £7 a yard.  That is cheaper than the last "cheap" jersey I bought from ebay within the UK, and I don't have a local source of knit fabrics.
I wasn't charged a customs fee for either parcel. 
So as long as I can make a lovely top for £7, I'll be going back to Girl Charlee :)

31 comments:

Kestrel said...

Really lovely top and looks great with your skirt too.

Andrea B said...

So cute! Love what you did by adding a lace yoke. Definitely takes a basic tee-shirt pattern up a notch. I live in the States but I agree that Girl Charlee is exceptionally fast with their deliveries, and they have one of the best selections of knit prints, so it's worth it.

Stephen Greene said...

Casually Elegant... Well done.

Lynne said...

This is gorgeous, and you certainly didn't waste any time with the fabric! I love the white yoke, and it looks great with your skirt. :)

Gail said...

Oh my goodness: it's PERFECT! I absolutely love it! And it looks so great with your mustard skirt. WIN!

Scruffybadger said...

Really like your Renfrew mod! The lace yoke shows off the birdie fabric I think, adding contrast works perfectly. Great make with great fabric, LOVE it, and how it looks super cute with your mustard cord :)

Sabs said...

Bloody hell that was quick work! You only talked about making it yesterday! Lovely bit of sewing, looks very nice.

rosyragpatch said...

Lovely top! Clever idea to add the broderie anglaise yoke.

Donna said...

I LOVE this one! This is a brilliant mix of patterns.

Lucy said...

Oooh, this is pretty! Love it!

Sandra said...

I love the birds. It looks great with your mustard skirt. I am inspired by the yoke and may have to dig through my patterns.



Franca said...

really nice, love the print!

bloglessanna said...

The sparrows have definitely found a perfect home. Nice work! Great styling too.

Mary in TN said...

Really beautiful top!

acharmofmagpies said...

I love the sparrow print and gosh but it goes so well with your skirt! Like they were made for you!

daisydonut said...

I much prefer your version to the Boden one, it fits you beautifully and I love the sparrow print. Your hair looks great too, although I didn't like the sound of the evil hairdresser from hell, lol.

daisydonut said...

Sorry about my last comment, the way you told the story about the evil hairdresser made me chuckle, not the fact that she put you through haircut hell. I've been to one or two evil ones myself, and I never go back, however good the cut.

sylkotwist said...

Blimey that was quick! What a brilliant top and a great price too. Looks lovely on you.

clb said...

Ooh, fantastic! Love that yoke, it was a stroke of genius!

jessica said...

Heavens, Roo! That top must be copied, pronto!!! Lovely. The combination of lace and sparrows is divine. Pattern mixing? Somebody's turned into quite the hand!

Anonymous said...

Admirable job!
-- stashdragon

Cate said...

Fabulous! You make me want to learn to sew clothes. The top and skirt are gorgeous!

Tamsin said...

wow! I I wasn't sure about the sparrows in your last post but this top has changed my mind, so much so, that I went straight to girl charlee and nearly bought some! I don't have anything that goes with it though so held off! Great make and looks fab with your skirt.

Tamsin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tamsin said...

Thanks for the info re girl charlee too. Very useful...

velosewer said...

That's such an elegant and sweet top. Glad to see you're enjoying making tops for your wardrobe.

.x.Helen.x. said...

Thanks for the info about GirlCharlee I nearly left a comment on your previous post asking the very same thing as I have my eye on the purple and black lace one that you bought!

Mela R. said...

I'm late to the party but...I love your top. The lace yoke is perfect. It brings makes the top look delicate and sweet.

Totally going to add Girl Charlee to my online retailer list.

Cazz said...

very pretty top. Goes really well with the mustard skirt.

Helen said...

This looks great! I love a bird print and I like what you did with the yoke!

I've just bought my second thing from the US (vintage patterns on Etst) and am now sworn off after having to pay £11.44 customs charges - of which £8 was a Royal Mail handling charge! Outrageous! Any idea how the system works, or have you just been lucky, do you reckon?

Roobeedoo said...

Helen - I have been stung a few times when I bought yarn from the US but both my GirlCharlee orders came through without being stopped. I assumed this was because they fell below $30 value, but maybe it was just good luck.