Wednesday 17 July 2013

KCW: Round the globe with one little gift

Kid's Clothes Week was never going to be a full on sewing assault for me this time around.  The summer sewing season in the northern hemisphere wasn't fitting with our mid winter weather, and of course, there is the grand distraction of Le Tour. Throw in a few dinner dates and a weekend away and I was down to three evenings, and nothing I was overly keen to sew....

Then this little bias cut swing tank top arrived in the post. Here it is hanging at my house, and if you're thinking it's beautiful you're right. It looks just as lovely from behind.

And even lovelier when it was photographed in better light on the other side of the world. Flickr link (caution: contains blatant begging from me)

The story of it's arrival is told here and my new found enthusiasm for KCW was born of the idea that I would make one in return with the modifications required (or perhaps not).

Bias cut, stripey linen sewn into chevrons at the front seam: Check.

Same chevrons at the back and a self covered button to match the linen pocket: Check

My pattern pieces were created from Lucinda's original top. I deepened the armhole and added some width. She'd said about an inch more at the chest and so originally I widened my pattern pieces by an inch on each side. Thankfully my maths brain kicked in and I realised that an inch at each side seam would give no less than four inches all around. Probably going to be a bit big then. Trimmed that back a fair bit and started on my linen with the scissors.

I matched my front seams for the fabric then thought it might look nice to keep the stripes aligned at the shoulder seams. So I cut the back panels such that the centre seams would have the required chevrons and the shoulder seams would be, more or less, aligned.

So, I'd love to be able to say that the pattern pieces were drafted, and the fabric cut in order to achieve these side seams, but this is, yet another, of my freakishly lucky sewing accidents.

I would love to know how it would be possible to do this deliberately. But that "maths brain" completely deserts me when it comes to the angles and measurements that would be required. I guess it really is dumb luck.

I was happy that the bias strips used for facings at the neck line and armhole behaved better than I'd expected and as I sewed I became more and more delighted and proud of what I was making. I guess my fifth obstruction, which I'd not wanted to speak aloud, was that I didn't want to create something too good. Lucinda had never intended for her top to be scrutinised by another sewist and so I was uneasy about the possibility of "bettering" her creation. However, she gets full credit for the idea, design and fabric thrifting, so I relaxed into enjoying my nicely behaved bias strips and creating something that I really did want to share and show off. Sewing "sins" and pride is a whole other blog post for another day!

So here are our tops, from opposite sides of the world, sharing a coat rack.

I was curious to see how it might look on a kid, and I happened to have an obliging one of the right size to hand. Some may say the wrong gender, so if a bit of kiddy cross dressing offends then look no further. I think he looks absolutely beautiful!

I'm definitely keeping this pattern. I love the fit on P. It has a gorgeous "swing" and the high front / lower back hem is a great touch (and a little reminiscent of a cycling jersey!). I think I got the armholes right and while I didn't measure him to fit, it looks like it was custom made for him. Hopefully A will be the same size and shape one day.

So from all the way down here.....

To somewhere roundabout up there....

Off you go little linen tank, with best wishes for a safe voyage and a happy reception. Thanks for the distraction, the challenge and the social connections you've brought us.

Embroidered linen from The Fabric Store.
Brown linen leftovers from mum's shirt that was sacrificed for Hat Week

P really, really liked wearing this top. He did not want to take it off and has asked that I make one just like it for him. A got very cross with him not taking it off as it was for "my friend on side of world, him* need top go post office, NOW)
* There's no confusion that the top is intended for Lucinda's daughter, rather that A has no concept of gender pronouns yet.


  1. i love it. i cut a bodice this way, too. accept i did mine the mathy way and it took f o r e v e r. then tarikua broke her arm. :(

    nice work. this is very impressive!

  2. i LOVE this. the colors, the bias cut, everything. fyi, the link to your blog from the kcw project page didn't work for me!

    1. thanks, I'll have a look again at the project page and work out what I did wrong.

  3. This is really cute and great work on the matching! These colors suit your son. Maybe you could make him a muscle shirt like this for the summer?!

    1. D'ya reckon I can find linen truck fabric? Man it up a bit....

  4. Oh Shelley! I'm so glad you mentioned your blog in your recent Flickr comment, as I had no idea this post existed!! What fun this was to read, as I got a peek into your sewing process and got to see how such a beautiful garment was created. Your stripe matching - in multiple places! - is amazing. Lucky or not, I'm sure there's plenty of talent there too:) And it was so fun to see both tanks side by side. They look the same size from that photo, but yours fit Lilah much better than the blue one did. I'm sorry I forgot to take a picture of the side seam so you could see how well it fit her underarms. And you have every right to be proud of your bias tape binding - I was in awe of how smooth it is. I cringe a bit when I see the bunching in mine (sewed twice, as I tried to increase arm hole size the second time. I think I was OVER it by that point:).
    Again, thank you, THANK YOU for taking on this cross-world challenge. How you managed to sew not only a beautiful garment but one that fit so well is beyond me . . . but so glad you shared it with us:)

    1. Really this was what I needed to get a bit of sewing mojo back. I seem to have more fun when I'm sewing something as a gift or as an unnecessary "me project" rather than sewing things that are needed at home.

      There's some proof coming up (current project) that I'm certainly no superpower when it comes to stripe matching... I'm very glad this top worked so well though and the photos of your daughter wearing it are absolutely delightful!

  5. Thank you so much. I had a really ordinary day at work today and your lovely comment really brightened the day for me!


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