Summer suddenly reverted to winter a week or so ago and I had no decent tops I could wear to a family function. The skirt fabric that wasn’t quite large enough for the pattern I wanted to use started to look like a good option for the unexpected sartorial lacuna, so I nutted out how to make something appropriate using Portia’s simple top in a long-sleeved, layered-looking version, augmenting the patterned fabric with some plain black knit fabric that had been in my stash for a very long time (it featured in one of Boy’s pyjama tops, 10-or-so years ago).
I said life had been a bit nuts and that was all part of the drama. I was trying to talk to people while trying to sew (not a good thing to do). I was hurrying (also not a good thing to do). I was away from the house for hours at a stretch at times I’d planned to be at home sewing (at least I was able to take my knitting with me; the White Caps Cowl is coming along very nicely, thank you). Everything that could have gone wrong probably did. I broke my new twin needle, luckily after doing a very good job of topstitching around the neck (I was extremely pleased with how well that turned out but didn’t seem able to take a good photo of it).
Of course I only had one twin needle suitable for stretch fabrics, so that little mishap necessitated reverting to first principles for all the rest of the topstitching – that is, sew one line, align presser foot with previous stitching and off you go on the second line of topstitching – but hardly surprisingly that took at least twice as long as one effort with the twin needle. I couldn’t get the sleeves to work, so ended up simply hemming them and calling them done. They looked like this:
Nothing wrong with straight edges but they do so get in the way (in my case, in the curry)
Eventually I had an opportunity to sit and sew without interruption and tried to improve the sleeves. After many more nightmares, I ended up with a simple elastic cuff (I was going out to an evening event and needed to have a closed cuff to prevent chill air going up my sleeves), which looked a bit like this:
Functional but deserving of the, “Oh, dear,” reaction one family member bestowed on them
Today, after having battled quite a bit more, I ended up with something that is far from perfect. But it looks acceptable and probably even presentable and there comes a point where you have to say, “Enough,” and mean it. The top now looks something like this:
It’s warn and at least as well made as anything I could have bought.
The fabric on the left is a second bandanna I’m making for Dr B. His needing a new one quite desperately also played a part in delaying my finishing the sleeves for my top; but, as I say, it had elastic to keep the chill out (and worn under a jacket, who was any the wiser?) so the bandanna was a clear priority. It looks very nice – sorry, no photo; it’s in use! – and the size has been voted as precisely what was needed. As I say, I’m pinning another and will get onto the orange number within a week or so, I hope. This fabric was decreed to be something all right to use for a test but probably not “for real”: it’s a mustardy yellow with leopard spots and roses on it. Doesn’t it sound ghastly? It’s actually not and, you know, once it’s under the cycle helmet and tied so that there’s a tail hanging down to cover Dr B’s neck, you can hardly see the design on the fabric anyway.
I’ve had to give up on the Apronalong, though. I couldn’t quite fit that with all the other things going on. I’ll make an apron, probably even two, but much closer to Christmas. They, at least, shouldn’t give me any grief in terms of sleeves, should they?