I decided to use up a remnant that I spotted in a charity shop in Bath years ago. I loved the Autumnal terracotta and ochre hues in the paisley design. I did a burn test on the fabric and discovered that it is most likely made from polyester, which I tend to avoid. For this reason it has sat in my stash for years. I’ve been trying to reduce my stash lately and as the oldest piece in there, it was time to sew it up.
The pattern I used for this top is vintage Vogue pattern 8860 from 1983. I think that you can see that this pattern would have easily passed as being from the seventies or possibly some other decades too. It is such a classic design. My fabric remnant wasn’t big, so I opted for View D, the sleeveless option.
When I looked at the instructions, I saw there were thirteen steps and I thought that I was headed for a relatively quick project. Sadly though, when I read the steps properly the instructions for View D, referred me back to steps from View A twice, so there were probably twice as many steps in total. Furthermore, being an older pattern, there were a myriad of steps that involved hand-sewing, although I decided to pass on most of these. I admit that a hand-rolled hem would have created a lovely finish, but I just couldn’t bring myself to be so attentive to a piece of charity shop polyester. Even so, it was a far more fiddly project that I had first thought and I felt that I have been deceived!
The details that made this top such an intricate make included the facings around the neck and armscyes, the casings for the ties and the five button-holes. The facing took absolutely ages to sew, press and under-stitch. The polyester was also quite slippery. I was really worried about making the button-holes, so I used some wash-away stabiliser to provide an extra layer of stiffness. The stabiliser was very effective and washed away so easily afterwards. This is the first time I’ve used wash-away stabilizer and I was stunned at the difference it made. I know those button-holes would have been a huge mess without using it.
I have done no pattern matching on this top as there was so little fabric to play with. But with a such a busy design I don’t think it matters as much. Close up you’d notice, but in the full-length photos this isn’t something that stands out.
I like the buttons that I chose best of all. They came from my recent visit to Ray Stitch in London and I spent a long time deliberating over my choice. I couldn’t find a match for the terracotta colour in the top, but these pearly lime-yellow (if such a colour exists) buttons perfectly harmonised with the other colours in the top.
I’ve worn the top to work so far and I must admit it does feel like I’m wearing polyester. I had that sweaty, stuck-in-plastic-bag feeling when I was walking to work. But on another level I can’t help feeling pleased with my sewing ability on this top, the top’s relaxed design and the unusual colour combinations in the fabric just make me smile.