topping it all

11 Mar

Did I mention I’d made another top using Portia’s simple self-drafted pattern? I have. This time it’s from a remnant of fabric I bought when I was pregnant with Boy. Given its relative neutrality, I’d thought at the time that I could probably use it to make a little garment for either a boy or a girl. That turned out not to be the case, so it has sat in my stash doing not much but call to me occasionally. Its turn finally came. There wasn’t quite enough to make a top for me, but by judiciously adding some contrasts in another fabric, I was able to make something useful and wearable. I call that a win.

The fabric has small, dark-blue hearts on a white background. I teamed it with leftovers of the dark blue with white spots that I used to make a top for work. And yes, I have worn that to work, three or four times. That fabric is good quality knit, just heavy enough to provide some extra warmth if you need it but not so heavy that it can’t be worn on a warm day. In other words, it’s actually a good choice for work because the office is generally cold but if I then go out at lunchtime into the warmth and sunshine, I don’t roast. (Okay, I admit that it takes a fair bit to make me roast anyway, but I think you understand what I mean.)

So getting back to the most recent Portia top, I admit to having had a bit of a bad run with it. First, the fabrics are different weights. The white one is lighter than the blue one. That isn’t a major problem, but I think similar weight fabrics would marry up better and make handling easier. Second, I miscalculated how wide a strip I’d need in order to make a Chanel trim for the neck, so I had some headaches getting it to sit flat. To be utterly truthful, it doesn’t quite sit flat, but the bump is at the back so it’s not the end of the world by any means.

Third, although I cut the pieces evenly, I must have sewn one sleeve with slightly narrower seams, because the sleeve bands I cut to the same size didn’t fit both sleeves properly. I ended up doing an on-the-fly bias-binding join to fix the second one. It’s under the arm. Who will see it? I can barely see it and I know it’s there! Fourth, I nicked the piece of contrast fabric for the bottom of the back piece and, because it was late at night and I was tired, didn’t notice till I’d just about sewn the piece to its lighter partner. I zig-zagged a mend and carried on. Luckily, it’s in the seam allowance. It’s also not the end of the world.

Fifth, and this is a frequent problem for me as you’ll understand in a moment, my navy thread kept breaking. It’s the end of a large spool of cheap thread and that’s all there is to it. It’s cheap. Having said that, the black, cream, white and two shades of brown I bought at the same time are fine. For some reason I can’t fathom, the navy is a constant drama. It looks okay on the spool, but the minute I start using it, all the flaws seem to appear. I needed to use it to do the neckline and the hem but it takes me twice as long with the constant stopping and rethreading, then having to do something about all those extra ends. All in all, because I was doing other things as well, it took me the best part of a week to make that little top and it’s really not complicated enough to require that amount of time.

Overall, however, and despite all the things I know to be considerably less than perfect about it, I’m happy with it. I’ve worn it at home, and that was probably its original destination, but it could easily be worn to the shops or perhaps even to work under a cardigan or jacket. White isn’t a good colour on me but the blue provides contrast. I’d have to call it a win: something decent for around-the-house wear, perfectly fine for going to the shops and possibly all right for work, as well as a reduction in stash.

And the couple of Moebius cowls I crocheted look pretty good too, plus the growing pile of lavender bags I’m knocking up to send off to worthy homes with Nonno and Nonna, whose present situations both require a little bit of extra comfort and sweetening.

I’m off to line up another Portia top so I have something appropriate to wear to the schools’ Head of the River regatta in a couple of weeks. This time I’ll do all the binding with the same fabric, I won’t use the cheap, navy thread and I’ll be very careful to ensure all my pieces and seams really are the same size. That should make for a quick and easy sewing project, don’t you think?

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Posted by on March 11, 2012 in Crochet, Rowing, Sewing


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