Party Tops

I realised that I needed something for the works Christmas Party. It was a lunchtime party so pretty informal. I also wanted to have something that I will wear again so it needed to be a bit fancy but not too OTT. In the end I decided to have another go at making a raglan from Newlook 6230. I made a top from this pattern before but it was pretty disappointing. I had only just returned to sewing then so thought it was down to me why the top turned out the way it did. Now I have made it again my conclusion is that the neckline is just wide and lower than the on the pattern sleeve. This time I went down two sizes and remembered to take out the seam allowance from the back piece. The pattern wants you to have a seam up the back but I cannot see the point assuming you have enough fabric not to so I removed this. Last time though I assumed the reason the top was wide around the neck was because of this. I was wrong. Its still wide. As it turns out that worked out well for what I was after. It is also very fashionable. I have seen lots of tops in stores recently with this neckline so I may use this particular patttern again for something else.

I had quite a bit of this silky black fabric of unknown fibre. I decided to add some white stretch lace to the neckline. Mainly because it is very quick to finsh and would give my top a bit of something extra when this was a last minute top with no time to spare. I am not really a white lace person but bought this on impulse and have until now not found a use for it. I thought with the black fabric being synthetic it should hopefully not run when its washed which a black cotton probably will so I can have a good contrasting lace look. I sewed everything using my overlocker. It all went well until sewing up the lace. It sewed fine to the edge but I decided to try and cut out all the steps I could so, first I sewed the sleeves to the back. Then the front to one sleeve but left the other for now. Then I sewed lace to all the edges except where the seam for the front to the sleeve that I had left. Hopefully this makes sense. Then when I came to sew up the front to the second sleeve it should sew the edging as well and encase it. Well great in theory, but the overlocker cut the lace but didn’t sew it! I tried three times which meant I have a weird angle on the join.

In the end I had to sew it by hand. The angle does not really show when worn but I am rubbish at hand sewing. It was the same with all the bits of lace at the edges. Then one sleeve I managed to not quite line up to make matters even worse. So I thought at first I was not going to wear this to the party becaue it was not even worthy of wearing as a me made in May when I am running out of clothes to wear. The finish was awful. So what else can I do. I need something to wear. Preferably something a bit fancy. Then I decided to add black satin ribbon bows to the hand sewn bits.

 My reasoning is designer clothing often has quirky things like bows so why not? Also I am getting a bit desperate now so anything goes. The ribbon the bows are made from is double sided satin so very nice ribbon and I actully felt really good at the party wearing this so my near disaster turned out just great.

This is not a top I would normally make because I tend to avoid fussy things like embelishments and bows but I did used to wear things like this when I was younger, so maybe it is time to have a few things in my wardrobe like this. After all one of the lovely things about making your own clothes is you can have it all. You do not have to chose one style and stick with it.  The addition of bows was a stroke of genious and if I had not rushed my sewing to make this for a last minute party outfit I would never have done this, I am so happy I did!

I have now washed and worn this several times and its looking like a great slightly dressy top. Next, I decided to have a go with sequins. I quite fancied making the sequin front sweatshirt in the Burda 01/2017 but I have yet to buy that magazine and really I own a similar pattern already. I used this pattern for this top:


[Please excuse our mess we are still finishing painting and decorating this room!] Unlike the new Burda mag this has inset sleeves. The Burda version has raglan sleeves. The front is black sequin fabric on a mesh and is very drapey. Bought at a bargain price off ebay over a year ago for about £3 for 5.3m. The back and sleeves are black cotton T-shirt jersey and the neckband and bottom band is some stretch ribbing of unknown fibre. I made the bottom band longer to wear with leggings. The back piece is also the side panel so there are only 3 pattern pieces plus the neck edges and bands. I also decided to add sleeve wrist bands which the pattern does not include.

 My front is lined with the same lining I seem to be using for everything right now. Still its pretty. Though only I will ever see it.

I stitched the lining down inside so to make the sequins nicer against my skin. It works really well. It also gives a nice inside to my top.

Unfortunately, because of my near miss a year ago when attempting to overlock sequins where I nearly took out my eyes I decided to sew all this top with my normal sewing machine. Everything is  twin needle stitched or single needle zigzag stitched because it is stretchy but less likely to cause eye damage due to flying parts like broken needles. Means my finished top does not have nicely finished off overlocked edges which is a shame but it was much safer to make this way. I also wore safety glasses when I made this. Well I do not care how silly this sounds. After having had  one near miss there is no way I am losing an eye for a top.

As it turns out the inside is not too bad really due to the T shirt and the sequin fabric does not fray. The sleeve inside hems have frayed a bit since I have yet to perfect my lining tactics. I am getting there tho:)

Again this has already been through the washing machine once and survived so is looking like a good addition to my wardrobe.

Next I tried again with a second sequin top. This is the free version of the Blank Slate Hi-Lo top which I needed to adjust the shoulders as was directed in the original release of this pattern. I think it is a bought pattern now though. This is the third time I have attempted this pattern. I prefer it in stretch woven fabric to this version in sequins but its still OK.

 I feel like I need to keep flattening the sequins all the time. Especially with these three quarter sleeves. They are almost like snake skin. I just love things like this sequin fabric, but simply have not had the sewing confidence to use them till now. Having had a very scary disaster where  nearly took my eyes out when altering a thrift shop top I shyed away from using this fabric. TMS challenge for December though and a little more sewing experience one year on led to this top being made. Its a surprisingly wearable top as it happens though next time I will make a larger size!

I fully lined the top with the same fabric as the first sequin top. Mainly because it meant I did not need to spend ages looking in my stash for some lining. The neck edge is smply turned over and hemmed over the lining to keep it all in place. It is my first lined top ever so I am very happy with that alone because its a step towards making “upmarket” clothing rather than just cheap high street copies. All in all a success I think.

So in the end I made three party tops and New Years Eve has yet to happen. Still some time yet then before January arrives!

If you have time to pop oer you can read more about my sewing here:


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