This is the autumnal top of dreams right? I am so in love with this fabric! I received this small piece of reddish leaves Tencel in a scrap bag I was given for Christmas last year and it has taken me all year to get this ready just in time for it to be a lovely autumn make! The first challenge was to find a fabric that co-ordinated well with it. I only had a small piece and knew if I wanted to turn it into a garment then I needed to find some coordinating fabric.
In March I blogged about a fabric shopping trip to Birmingham with my mum. I took a small swatch of this fabric with me and trailed round all the fabric shops holding it up to various reds and rusts and even creams to try and get, not necessarily a match, but a nice compliment to the leaves fabric. Of course I cannot make life easy for myself and after looking all round Barrys, every market stall and all three floors of the Fancy Silk Store I decided the best match was this reddish jersey – a fabric which is stretchy while my leaves fabric is not!
I didn’t let this put me off, I have seen several styles on the high street which combine stretch and non-stretch fabrics so whilst I knew it was a bit of a sewing no-no I also knew it could be done. In fact, I have a knitted RTW top that has a lovely silk front panel so I was confident I could pull off something similar!
I was originally planning to turn it into just the front of a Lou Box Top but I made a toile (there was no way I was cutting into this fabric unless I was happy with the fit!) and I absolutely hated the fit on me. The boxy shape was huge on me and I felt like I was drowning in fabric whilst the sleeve holes were too tight – I don’t know if I made a mistake as I have seen several lovely versions but that pattern certainly wasn’t right on me! I decided to give the Tilly and the Buttons Stevie Top a try as I really love the interesting back detail. Ladies and gentlemen – we have a winner! I love the fit, it is boxy without drowning me in fabric, I like the length and I really love the sleeve cuffs and the interesting yoke/tie detail on the back.
I also thought this pattern would give me opportunity to use every last scrap of my leaves fabric and I was right. I managed to get the front piece, both sleeve cuffs, the tie pieces and the back yoke pieces out of the leaves fabric. On the inside, the front and back facing pieces are both cut out of the reddish jersey which I eliminated the stretch by using regular (non-stretchy) iron-on interfacing on them. This worked really well and I had no issues using the interfaced jersey pieces as my facing pieces.
I used my overlocker to attach the back bodice pieces to the back yoke and made sure I had the non-stretch fabric at the bottom so that the feed dogs were pulling on the woven fabric – not the stretch fabric – as I was worried maybe the feed dogs would pull on the stretchy fabric and stretch that piece out. The only place where I encountered any problems were when it came to topstitch the jersey fabric, both along the top of the bodice and at the hem. I had a regular needle and usual foot on my sewing machine as I had been sewing the tencel, but as soon as I started trying to topstitch the jersey it was skipping stitches. I changed my needle to a jersey needle and put my walking foot on my machine and all my problems went away. Hemming it felt a bit odd to go from stretchy to woven and back again but my machine handled it fine and I am really happy with my top!
Altogether, I think the colour blocking on the back of the Stevie looks pretty deliberate. I love working with scraps and feel like they are a great way to make our home sewing a bit more sustainable. I definitely think this pattern will be useful in my scrap sewing pursuits, and I am so happy with this one I know I will make more!