At last spring is here for good it seems! Last week was the first week of the Easter holidays for my children and I’m pleased to say the weather has been gorgeous. We have spent the week mostly on family days out, which has been so lovely as it seems such a long time since we’ve done that. I think Christmas was the last time. Now that the weather is more favourable and the early evenings lighter, we will do more together as it helps us to connect and feel more grounded in our busy lives.
In a bid to gain more vitamin D, we are tackling our overgrown garden this weekend as it’s going to be very warm indeed. Hoping to get it ship shape for the coming spring/summer months so we can enjoy our outdoor space together too. However, before I don my garden gloves and attire, I thought it was about time I did a blog post – sorry for the delay!
Although last week was fairly busy with family outings, I did manage to squeeze in a couple of sewing afternoons and finished three of my stash busting essential Rumi Tanks!
This pattern is by Christine Haynes patterns and I was drawn to this from seeing various Instagram feeds showing a variety of fabrics and styles making it a very universal top. I was looking for more essential top patterns after making my very first Renfew Top. I realised that I wanted to make more everyday items to build up my slowly growing me-made wardrobe. I didn’t want to just make clothes that were for special night’s out, but wanted to bring my love of making my own clothes in to my everyday life. The Rumi Tank was perfect for this.
Not content with just making one on my first go, I decided to make three! I had lots of jersey fabric in my stash and reached for the trusted grey fleece jersey fabric used in making the Renfew. For the other two I pulled out two jersey fabrics also bought from Guthrie and Ghani last summer. One was a lovely nautical navy and white stripe fabric and the other a lovely cerise fabric. Both were lightweight jerseys, with a viscose-spandex mix and had a lovely slubbed look.
I had more than enough of each to make the tops as they were all over 60″ wide. This meant I needed less than a metre of each – great if you want to stash bust. The colours I chose also meant I would have enough to layer up with other items in my wardrobe as I like to match – doesn’t everyone?
I went for the size 12 as wanted to make sure it was fitted enough on my chest but flare out a little to avoid clinging to my hips. Cutting out was very simple and quick that I got them all cut up at once in an assembly line – very satisfying!
Now to the making up. This I was a little nervous about as the versions I’d seen on Instagram we beautifully finished on the inside and out, using overlockers and some even using coverstitch machines (which I don’t have). Now I’ve sewn with jersey before on my overlocker – the Refrew and Moneta to name a few – and found it fairly easy and quick. I’m pleased to say, that once I got going with these, they came together fairly quickly, with great results.
You do have to watch how much you stretch the neck and arm hole bands as they don’t need to be stretched very much at all. If you do, it will stretch the the whole garment out of shape and make if far bigger than intended. This happened to me with the cerise fabric as I did stretch it a little more than the other’s as it’s stretch was over 40% compared to 25-30% on the other fabrics. This was a school girl error as I ignored the instructions on the pattern and pulled away happily assuming that all the bands would fit nicely. A lesson learned and thankfully I had more of the same fabric to make another one – phew! If you are new to sewing with jersey, I would practise with the bands first to get an idea of how much you need to stretch the fabric before you go full belt in to sewing the real thing.
When I focused on the instructions after my initial mess up, I found them straightforward and understandable. The pattern works well for beginners as well as those with more experience as it gives plenty of instruction on how to fit the neck and arm bands. It also makes reference to the method you use for sewing the tops together, whether it be all with a sewing machine using zig-zag stitch or using an over locker like I did. In additon to the finishing of the neck/arm bands and the hem, if using a twin needle (like me), single needle or a coverstitch machine (if you are a very lucky person!).
For me, after my initial mistake, I was really pleased with the effect the overlocker and twin needle gave to the look of my tops. I felt it looked very professional and better in some cases than those cheap RTW ones that shrink and distort after one wash. I can confirm these wash up brilliantly and hold their shape beautifully.
Oh and I had to show off my pattern matching skills on my stripes – not bad if I do say so myself!
I can highly recommend this pattern as it’s a universal top that can be dressed up with a casual jacket for a meal and a few drinks out……………………………….
Or, worn casually for an active day out (this was me on a 10 mile bike ride through Thetford Forest yesterday).
The grey one I will probably wear for my Friday yoga sessions and maybe for the gardening today.
The only thing now for me to make is racer back bras so I can wear these tops without a cover up!!