Sunday, August 11, 2013

FO: The Girl's Own Summer Concert Tee in Black Lace

What do you do when you are 17 years old and have ten days to kill in the middle of nowhere?
Well, you could try to absorb "Crisis in the Middle East:  Israel and the Arab States 1945-2007", with a bit of light relief from "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat".  And you do. But when the local broadband is too slow for You-Tube to load properly, there comes a point of desperation.  A point when you think:  "OK, let's try this sewing thing."
I asked The Girl to draw something she would like to make.
The picture came out looking remarkably like a Summer Concert Tee.
But it would be longer, have a lace back and a plain front, and a lower neckline.

So I showed her how to trace the pattern, adding in her modifications.  The Girl's version is 12cm longer, back and front, and the front neck curve is 3cm lower than the original.
When you are this new to sewing, it doesn't occur to you to think that might be a difficult thing to do - you just get on with it.
Because I wanted her to make something she would actually wear, I didn't restrict her fabric choice to "beginner" level.  So she opted for a beautiful corded lace for the back, and the same extra-fine jersey I used for her Drafting Cardi and my Summer Funeral Hoodie.
Yes, clearly I am insane.
I showed her how to use the vari-overlock stitch on my Bernina, and she practiced with scraps of fabric, until she felt she had control of the machine.
I showed her how to stabilise the shoulder seams with satin bias tape and she practiced that for a while before launching into the real thing.
Yes, there was some frustration and slippage and restitching, but she was remarkably patient for a newbie.
We stopped for the day after that.
She approached the side and sleeve seams with a lot more confidence.
She was stitching far faster than I ever do!
And there was far less unpicking to be done.
Knowing how I had struggled with folded hems on that fine jersey, I offered to hem the sleeves and attach the neckband.  Of course, I managed to cut a hole in the main fabric while trimming the neckband, and had to fold it over a second time to cover the wound - aaargh!  Yes, mother almost ruined the whole project!
The Girl opted to finish the bottom edges with a single row of stitching, just to stop it from unravelling.  Good plan! 
Pattern:  Summer Concert Tee by Dixie DIY, size small, made 12cm longer just below the armholes, and with a 3cm-lower front neckline.
Fabric:  I ordered a metre each of extra-fine jersey and corded lace from Truro Fabrics.  She needed about half of each, so I foresee another sewing project next time she visits :)  Total cost?  About £11. 

The Girl says: "I really enjoyed creating this top of which I'd seen similar styles on various online shops but couldn't justify spending a tenner or more on what seemed relatively simple to make (ha!). But now I have my own, mainly handmade by myself, with lots of help along the way! I plan on layering up this top as it's very see through without wearing something underneath and I'm currently searching ebay for some kind of bandeau to wear underneath if I'm feeling brave. In an ideal world I'd wear this top with a pair of faux leather interesting leggings of some kind such as these  and a pair of Demonia Swing 220's. Neither of which I currently own but I'm working on it, especially the boots (which I'm nearly all saved up for) and now I have the perfect top to go with them!


sewingslowly said...

What a fab top (and very The Girl, from what I've seen of her style on here). I love that lace too!

Rachael said...

Great top, always a good idea to make something you'd wear rather than something that's easy when you're new to sewing. That's how you get hooked.

Jodie said...

It looks great! A terrific first project and I agree with Rachael - make something you'd wear, not what's easy.

Gail said...

Awesome! I really love it that you got to share your passion for sewing with your Girl! Excellent FO too!

KC said...

I love it! Great for layering and a satisfying intro to sewing.

sulkycat said...

Great job Girl, the top looks perfect. I have just ordered myself the leggings, so thanks for that!
Refusing to grow up, Yorkshire.

kbenco said...

The fabric combination is lovely, and how satisfying to make something original and different as an early sewing project. It looks great.

Tamsin said...

Great top for a first project and great that she'll wear it too. I love the combination of fabrics. My eldest cut out a skirt this time last year and hasn't shown any interest since.The skirt would be miles to small now and she is only 12, but I'm trying not to be too sad about it and hope that she'll show an interest when again when she's older

Alan Wood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scruffybadger said...

Love it, what an inspired first make.
It's funny,I do remember having a different approach ( ie less thought about challenges) when I was a younger sewster, and tackled all sorts of things without s bat of an eyelid. I'm sure they were probably a little less well executed in those days, but clearly my lack of traumatic sewing memories means that I just took it in my stride and then had all these weird and wonderful things to wear at minimal cost...( my ditsy floral dungarees drafted from an existing pair of denims ones owned by my house mate come to mind !!

sylkotwist said...

My girl isn't that interested in sewing but I really hope there will be a lightbulb moment one day! Your daughter has done a great job and every time she wears it (a lot I would imagine), she'll think of you and those days without the internet!

Lynne said...

What a great top! The Girl did a brilliant job, and it looks fab on her. Do you think you'll get a look in at your machine now each time she's home?! ;)

MaryinTN said...


acharmofmagpies said...

What a great top! Just right for wearing with leather leggings and Demonias too. There's something particularly exciting about introducing your loved ones to sewing,and hope we see more collaborations from you two!