Tops
Comments 28

Stripes, Stabilisers And Sagginess

I think we all have made at least 1 Coco.

  But have you made a stripy one?

STRIPES

Stripes – Dilema! Do I choose the right or the wrong side?!

STABILISERS

My husband has bought himself a new toy. Stabilisers which turn his bike into a go no where bike.  Thought I might use it as a prop in my photo shoot! Trouble is, he's 6' 3" so I had a bit of trouble getting my leg over!

My husband has bought himself a new toy. Stabilisers which turn his bike into a go no where bike. Thought I might use it as a prop in my photo shoot! Trouble is, he’s 6′ 3″ so I had a bit of trouble getting my leg over!

SAGGINESS

I've made a few Cocos, but all with the funnel neck.  Looking back they all have this excess fabric above my bust but the funnel neck detracts from it and it's not so obvious.

I’ve made a few Cocos, but all with the funnel neck. Looking back they all have this excess fabric above my bust but the funnel neck detracts from it and it’s not so obvious.

I bought this gorgeously soft ponte roma knit from Fabworks down Dewsbury. (if you’re local to me you’ll know we don’t say in Dewsbury, we go down Dewsbury…)  I think it was £5 per metre and I splashed out and bought 2m.  Initially I thought I might make another Coco dress, or another Victoria Blazer, but yesterday I needed a top to go with my new jeans (first clothing bought since 2013!!! I joined the RTW Fast in 2014). This is a slight sidetrack from the intended post, but I NEEDED some jeans.  I didn’t dash out on the 1st January for a crazy shopping spree, I do still to try and make everything I wear.  But I don’t have a pair of jeans that fit me, and there’s only so many Espresso Leggings a girl can wear.

Back to the stripes and Fabworks.  Don’t be put off by their website.  You can’t buy anything on it. But if you are in the area do call in.  And take a flask and sandwiches – you could spend all day there.  Oh, and wear a warm coat.  It’s in a mill, and can be a bit chilly!  I’m not on commission. Just sharing the Sewing Shop love!

My last Coco had inside out arms, which has led me to look at the wrong side of other fabrics.  I was undecided at first with these stripes as I like both sides.

tilly coco top 1

I opted for the wrong side.  The Solid stripes were making my eyes go funny and I didn’t want to give anyone a headache if they spent more than 1/2 hour in my company!

After cutting out the front piece I realised I’d dropped a clanger.

I folded the front piece in half.  Can you see that the stripes must be wonky as each side isn't symmetrical. Luckily I had enough fabric to start again.

I folded the front piece in half. Can you see that the stripes must be wonky as each side isn’t symmetrical. Luckily I had enough fabric to start again.

tilly coco top 3

I opened up the fabric to one layer and made marks on the pattern:

At the shoulder.

At the side notch.

At the side notch and under the arm.

I then flipped the pattern and matched up my markings.  Easy!  But very time consuming!

I then flipped the pattern and matched up my markings. Easy! But very time consuming!

I then used this piece to help me cut the front piece and match up the stripes.

tilly coco top 7

I spent ages matching the stripes of the arms with the front and back pieces.  If you’re still reading (thankyou!) and are going to be making anything stripy don’t bother trying to match the stripes there if they are small stripes.  You’ll only end up with one or two will match anyway so it’s not worth the effort!!  (Is important for wide stripes and plaid.)

tilly coco top 10I did make each sleeve identica.  I cut one, flipped it over and used this as a pattern to cut my second sleeve.

So…..Stabilisers….not the ones on the bike this time!

 I use assorts to stabilise my shoulder seams. Usually a bit of ribbon or lace or ric-rac.  I just see what takes my fancy when I rummage in my trimmings box.

tilly coco top 11

For this I used some navy ribbon. I stitched it with a zigzag just inside the seam allowance.

tilly coco top 12

Then stitched the should seams with a long stitch on the sewing machine.

tilly coco top 13

Then whizzed it through the overlocker. The little black mark if for my 1.5cm seam allowance as there’s no gauge.

tilly coco top 14

Voila!

tilly coco top 15

Can I just say, I’ve never had sewing lessons and might be doing this all wrong, but it works for me.   If you’re an accomplished sewer, thanks for hanging in there and still reading, and if you’re still learning like me and love picking up little tips thankyou to you too! Oh, and if you’re not a sewer but follow me anyway (Hello Mum!), thanks to you as well!

Where was I?

I don’t use pins much.  Not if I can help it.  To sew my side seams and under arms I shifted the top layer of fabric so I could see the bottom layer and used my walking foot.  I’ve you’ve yet to invest in a walking foot, you need one! Your life is not complete!

tilly coco top 16

I had a bit of problem with a saggy upper bust!  I tried to get rid of the excess fabric with a couple of little tucks.  It doesn’t look too bad in the photo but in real life it looked naff.

tilly coco top 17

I wasn’t sure how to finish my neckline.  I didn’t fancy just turning it as I thought it might look a bit unfinished. I made a band. This ended up sticking up, maybe as it was a boat neck, I’m not too sure.

tilly coco top 19

tilly coco top 20\

tilly coco top 21

All in all, I’m reasonably pleased with it.  I’ll have to tweak my pattern pieces before I make my next one to try and get rid of the excess fabric above the bust.  If anyone has any suggestions please say.  I don’t usually need to do a FBA as I have a broad back but I’m wondering if I should use my upper bust measurement and let the stretchy fabric do it’s job where it’s needed at the front!

tilly coco top 23

Having the go no-where bike in my sewing space came in useful.  I was able to do the cleavage test:

tilly coco top 26

And it passed!  My new Coco can also now be worn on bike rides without the worry of my cleavage causing an accident!!

28 Comments

  1. Hello, I’ve made a striped Coco – and for only a few pattern pieces it took an age to cut out!
    Yes, the best way is single layer to ensure you get perfect stripe matching.
    Try ordering yourself some Hemline clear elastic, this is what I use for stabilizing my knit seams. One thing is that it works better with a ‘Teflon foot’ which can be picked up for a few pounds on Amazon.
    When I made my coco I used a strip of stretch iron on interfacing to stabilize the neck seam and stop it stretching out. I like the way you added the band to the neck edge, and the pocket.

    • Thanks Helen, I’ve checked out the interfacing from the link on your blog post and will order some! Your neckline looks fab, looking forward to giving it a try.
      I think I have some of that clear elastic somewhere, and I’ve a roller foot which should work well with it.
      Thanks for the advice and stopping by! 😀

      • I did think twice about buying the interfacing as it sounds expensive but you use hardly any for a neck line. For my neckline I finished it as the instructions with a zig zag which worked ok. Before I make the top again I need to make adjustments to the pattern. I found the hem to A line and sleeves too wide, but other than that a useful pattern to have!

    • Thanks!
      Your restraint is impressive and it’s not even the end of January! It’s a good idea to have a plan, and I love reading yours and others but I’m struggling to put one together myself at the minute.

      • Thank you! I just made far too many dresses when I forts started out, that just haven’t been worn as they were far too impractical. I know I won’t be able to resist entirely, but I’m hoping a pan might help 🙂

    • So many different ways to do them, and I didn’t pick the suggested way so I s’pose I was asking for trouble! Good luck with yours….I’ve just had a peek!

      • My mistake was doing the pattern from memory …. A 20 plus year memory so you can imagine how fuddled that has become over the years of child rearing etc 🙂 as I was sewing my instincts were screaming but I didn’t listen so I too can only blame myself. Oh us creatives aye …… Wing it then pay for it LOL! Xx

  2. You need to reduce the width of the top at the neckline – maybe by tapering the pattern at the armhole edge so it pulls more taut across the top?

    • Thanks, I’ll have a go with some cheap ponte knit i have in my stash. I really need to sort it out as i love the simple style of this pattern.

  3. Very funny post! Looks like you have all the tricks there. The only other one I heard was sew on a neck facing with interfacing on it so it is a bit stiff. When you sew the neckline and the stiff facing together (the neck facing will be the size you want) put the facing on top and the loose neckline on the bottom next to the feed dogs, as the feed dogs will help gather the neckline into the shape of the stiff neck facing as you sew. Now I am rambling and I don’t know if I am making any sense and you might have even thought of this yourself or maybe you don’t like to do this! 😃 I love your stripes and very cool of you to pick the wrong side! (The right side made my eyes buggie!)

  4. Looks good! You are soooo on trend with your Breton stripes! I need to go to Fab works! Will look it up! X

    • Thanks!
      If you fancy meeting up and going let me know, and I could get your autograph! (I’m counting the sleeps to the start of the series!). Not sure where you are or what days are best for you, every week for me is different due to shiftwork. Wednesdays and Saturdays are best though as Lucky Fabrics is only open on them 2 days and has some lovely fabric and is really reasonable. x

  5. Great tips on stripe matching, thanks! I have two nice pieces of stripes ponte from Lucky Fabrics in Dewsbury, I might have a bash at something similar shortly – although still haven’t bought that Coco pattern, but I think it could work nicely on a shortened version of the Style Arc Kristin.

    • It’s a wonder we’ve not bumped into each other at lucky fabrics, though I’ve not been since December. I planned on going the last 2 Wednesdays but gave it a miss because of the snow.
      Good luck with the stripy Kristin . I’ve been having a catchup in your blog and I like the animal print one.
      Happy Sewing ✂️😀✂️

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