a tale of two tops

With summer approaching fast at least in theory, I want to update my wardrobe a little. I am not a fashionista, I mostly wear t-shirts, cardigans and jumpers over a pair of jeans but I do like to have a couple of nice tops that do not look too frumpy when I am meeting someone, or when I am running online tutorials that are video recorded. With that in mind, I was looking for a blouse of sorts but preferably one without buttons and collar.

After a few weeks of "looking around" I found the Ngaio Blouse by Scroop Patterns. It appealed to me because it is a bit different. I reminds me of a jumper I knitted a couple of years ago that I have only just started wearing because it was too small until a few weeks ago. I am loving it.

I have plenty of fabric and one in particular I thought would be lovely for the blouse. It is a lightweight viscose cotton mix in a pale pink with what appears to be berries on twiglets. I can't remember where I bought it. I wanted to make a circle skirt with it but I don't really wear skirts and gave up on the idea.

The measuring instructions are detailed and there is good guidance to choose the right cup size (three to choose from). I measured, and measured again. Then I printed the pattern out, taped it together and cut the right size. The pieces looked a bit mysterious and I was confused but in such cases, I just follow the instructions word by word until it all comes together. I think it is a good strategy, not worrying about the construction as a whole. Small steps are less daunting. It came together quite quickly and I was already wearing it in my mind.... but... and you knew there was a but coming because there is no photo of me wearing the finished blouse.... it was way too snug around my chest. I checked my measurements, I checked the pattern pieces and I concluded with confidence that I had not made a mistake. I looked up some reviews. Low and behold, one mentioned the snug fit... At least I tried it on before inserting the sleeves. To add insult to injury, when I trimmed and finished the should seams, I cut a 3 cm whole into the fabric. I did what I always do in such situations: I folded everything up neatly and placed it in a bag for a time in the future where I would be super slim. I'll worry about the cut then.

Not completely defeated and with plenty of fabric left, I needed a quick fix. I made a Sailor top. I make one of those every year anyway. It is quick and easy and the result is always pretty. I sewed until nearly 1 am in the morning on a Saturday night. That was a mistake because in my state of exhaustion, I under-stitched the neckband on the outside. I noticed the next morning when I sat down to put the finishing touches on. It was a not much effort to fix but a it was a bit annoying. I often use my overlocker for seams but for this top, I made neat and tidy French seams. I am telling you, it looks so neat on the inside, I could wear it inside out without embarrassment.

Lessons learned?
  1. Check the finished measurement of a new pattern. 
  2. Check if there is a review somewhere online and read it
  3. Make a toile
  4. Don't sew through the night. 
I am going to make the Ngaio Blouse soon, once I find a fabric that I like. Or maybe I'll just stick to making t-shirts, more forgiving. 

It is a funny old summer, isn't it? I am wearing a wooly jumper and knitted socks just now. Last year, it was scorching. I am a bit fed-up with the chill and gloom. I am not entirely sure why I was wearing my sunglasses when I took some photos. Maybe there was a rare ray of sunshine, or maybe I am just optimistic.

How are you all anyway? Thanks for stopping by and saying hello. x


  1. You look fabulous! I really like the top.

    I used to make patterns and sew clothes back when I was an undergrad. I’ve never bought a pattern, because I don’t know how it would fit ( at least that’s my excuse for not making clothes anymore 😊).

  2. I feel you need to be very optimistic in your corner! Good luck with the pattern second time round, although I do like your sailor blouse. I have a pattern for a dress and material waiting to be made; not quite sure what I’m waiting for. Maybe for summer to arrive! Happy weekend. B x

  3. How annoying to go to all that trouble and have it not fit. I have 2 patterns and fabric bought at the Ally Pally that I'm trying to pluck up the courage to make. I'm not a natural sewist (Is that the right word? Sewer looks like something to do with drains!), but you've inspired me, so maybe next week I'll pull up my big girl pants and give it a go. Enjoy the weekend. xx

  4. It's lovely, and what gorgeous pale pink fabric. How annoying about the other pattern. It has been damp hasn't it. The dog is fed up with having wet paws. Although right now the sun is out, in between deluges. I am sad because the cricket will be off this weekend so everyone will be around GETTING UNDER MY FEET :) Hope you have a lovely weekend. CJ xx

  5. The sailor's top looks lovely on you Christina, very soft and feminine, perfect for summer. Like yours, our weather has been very wet for days now. I'm hoping it'll brighten up a bit tomorrow as I need to go buy some milk and refresh & plant up some patio pots. They've been sadly neglected over the years. Cathy x

  6. You and Jo are such brave talented seamstresses! The stitching adventures you share are interesting and instructive and somehow leave me feeling I can learn to sew, too, although I have yet to prove it :) Thanks for posting and I hope you and yours have a happy weekend. I tried out our condo pool in the sunshine this evening and my youngest son plans to come over to have dinner on Sunday after church. Saturday is a blank slate so far :) xx

  7. I did the same thing with a pair of trousers recently- they were too tight when I sat down in them! I am not very patient when it comes to sewing really. Your top is very pretty x

  8. I'm not a sewer so I'm in awe of all the pretty things the ladies make in the blogs I follow. I'm still not past granny stitch in crochet after nearly a year, but luckily I do love the stitch, so that's OK. Best, Jane x

  9. How frustrating to not have the first top work out well, even though I’m also not a sewer. That said, I did admire your second effort which looks very comfy. Maybe the sunglasses will be a harbinger of warmer weather.

  10. Your top looks lovely, I have accidently cut holes in things before when they are close to finished it sometimes results in me adding a new design feature ;) On your new blouse I wouldn't worry too much about the under stitching it will probably only be you who notices it. Have a good week. x

  11. I loved reading this and I think I prefer your finished sailor top blouse.. but I know what you mean. I made myself a loose dress a year or two ago and although the pattern was my size it was too small. I was very put out as I had very carefully stitched tape around the neck and sleeve openings. So not to be defeated I inserted a triangular shaped piece of fabric from hem to sleeve opening each side. The fabric pattern was such as it didn't show, so now it fitted me. A loose cool shift dress, I wore it once because I look like a fat old lady in a smock and its at the back of my wardrobe although my best friend thought it was just the sort of loose dress to wear on hot days and yes she's right, but I can't bring myself to wear it and am on a weight reducing food plan.

  12. What a cute blouse and perfect for summer.. sorry you had issues with the first pattern. Say, the Arabic comment above is a commercial.. I put it through the translate app as I've had a bunch of Arabic comments and they are ALL creepy commercials. I hope your weekend is good. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  13. So sorry to read about the disappointments of your first blouse but lesson learnt. Love the one you photographed, the fabric is lovely. I am still hopeful we will be needing sunglasses. At the moment all we need are thermals...

  14. Beautiful fabric. Ah ha this looks like the sailor top by Fancy tiger crafts that I have made (twice) and I had the same issues. Unless the neck band is spot on all the rest doesn't fall into place properly. I considered my first one a toile and made another one very successfully so hang in there. It is a top that I wear so often with jeans and a cardigan. Jo xxx

    1. I love the Sailor top, I made four with woven fabric and three with knit fabric :-) The pattern works particularly well with the latter but the neck gathering with slinky knit fabric is a bit of a faff. For the neckband, I always under-stitch to keep in in place neatly. This time I under-stitched the seam allowance to the outside of the neckband.... but I unpicked it and fixed the mistake xx

  15. That's so annoying but I love the top you've made and the fabric is so pretty and feminine. Well done on the weight loss too, you look fabulous xx

  16. That top looks great.. I am in awe of those who can just make their own clothes.
    We had a lot of rain and gloom last week as well.. finally got the sun shining.. hope you get some too.



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Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx


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