Lesson one in pattern drafting – measure then measure again and just to make sure – yes you’ve guess it measure again!
I made this top for Honey’s birthday. I was a bit of a leap of faith drafting my own pattern to make her a top without any fittings – but hey you can only learn from mistakes can’t you?
I drafted it using Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting for Children’s Wear and Babywear. I’ve used it a few times now and have always been really pleased with the results. I use a mixture of actual and provided measurements as some of them are really difficult to take accurately.
I drafted the ‘flat’ sleeveless body block. It’s really simple as it’s the same front and back. That said, it’s clearly so simple that I messed up first time around. I got the width calculation wrong (don’t ask me how, I clearly wasn’t concentrating – hmmmm I’m seeing a pattern here?). The armscye’s looked odd (no other way of putting it!) when I’d finished so I measured the width and realized that there was no way Honey was going to fit into it. I looked at my calculations and started over! On the plus side, it’s always much faster second time around.
I decided to add a small keyhole opening at the back neckline and create a frill on the bottom. I refashioned a top that I had lurking in the bottom of my wardrobe. I love the fabric but there was never going to be enough to create something for me from it as whilst it was oversized it was already a size 8, so Honey reaps the benefits instead. I didn’t have enough to pull off my own bias binding so I used some shop bought tape in pale blue – the closest colour match I could find.
It was simple to make. Here’s the construction order I used:
- Attach bias binding to keyhole opening (I basted first as it was fiddly and pins weren’t really up to the job)
- Sew the shoulder seams – I used french seams
- Attach the bias binding to the neck edge basting first
- Top stitch the binding in place
- Sew the side seams (again I used french seams)
- Attach bias binding to the armhole edges, basting first
- Top stitch the armhole binding in place
- Make frill – to do this I machine basted two rows of stitching about ¼ inch apart and then drew the threads up to gather until the frill was the same size as the bottom of the top.
- Pin frill in place and stitch to the bottom of the top
- Remove machine basting threads
- Finish the gathered seam (I overlocked it)
- Slip stitch the bias binding at the keyhole opening
- Attach button
- Sew button loop (there is a good tutorial here – next time I’ll try it. I’m afraid it’s just one of those things that I learnt to do years ago!). I finds it’s a good idea to add the button first and then you get a better idea as to how big the loop needs to be.
It was a quick and easy make and I’m really pleased with the result.
I did have a few fitting issues – please don’t laugh too much! Honey really struggled to get over her head and well, there were tears when I took it off!! I’ve since removed the bias binding, dropped the neckline and made it wider by about 1cm and made the keyhole back about 1 cm longer. It now goes on much easier. Phew!
It is a little snug width wise so the pattern needs a little more ease for a woven fabric. Honey would like it a little longer too.
It’s certainly a pattern I’ll be revising and revisiting again. I may well draft a sleeved version too.
Why not have a go at drafting your own pattern too and create a unique garment for either your own or someone else’s child?