Saturday, 13 April 2013

Twinkle Sews: Cool Contrasts Top



For Easter, I bought myself a new book! It's 'Twinkle Sews' by Wenlan Chia. The author is a fashion designer who has decided to make some of her designs available to the home sewer, which is fantastic. The ideas in this book are definitely a bit different to the usual patterns available and, to me, are more reminiscent of clothes you might find in a lovely, little boutique somewhere.


The patterns are available on a CD included with the book. You can open them either as PDFs to print at home (which I did) or using Adobe Illustrator to print at a copy shop. The patterns are sorted into sizes and can be printed only one size at a time, which is a bit of a disadvantage if you want to blend sizes within a garment. However, many of the designs are loose-fitting so this shouldn't be too much of a problem with those ones at least. Upon googling sizing info for this book, I noticed that many bloggers felt confused (justifiably) about the information provided with the size chart, which suggests adding several centimetres for ease before reading off your size. I have come to the conclusion that this is an error in the book and that the size chart should be read as any other size chart, using your actual measurements. That's what I did and it was fine. I used a size 8 for this top (I am usually a size AU/UK10-12 in tops).

For my first Twinkle project, I chose this 'cool contrasts' top, which was described as 'easy'. 


The top is made from three colours of chiffon with a lining. The neckline and hem are bound with bias binding covered with a tulle layer for added interest.

 I didn't want a cropped top, so decided to extend the pattern pieces to finish on the hip. This was very simple to do, I just extended each vertical line, keeping the angles the same as they were for each piece. So, the front and back pieces became taller triangles with a wider base.


I spent some time communing with my stash to find three fabrics which worked well together. I chose this lovely, ruched, white cotton ($1 from the op shop), some plain grey cotton ($3 from the op shop) and some white muslin with grey flowers (Textile Traders).


The top went together very quickly and easily. I decided not to line it as my fabrics were substantial enough on their own. The only issue I had was with my ruched fabric because it's actually stretchy where the gathers are and was stretching out of shape, especially on the shoulders before I added the binding. I ended up inserting a gathering stitch and drew each white section up to the appropriate length before stitching on the binding. The sleeves re easy to insert, but I got a bit mixed up as to which edge matched up with which. It would help to label these when cutting. I had to trim some excess fabric from the neckline after inserting the sleeves - not sure why!  


The book provides instructions for making bias binding, but I already had this grey binding so took a short cut and used that. I covered it with a strip of tulle as instructed before sewing the neckline and hem. The neckline binding needs to be stretched slightly while sewing so it sits without gaping. The binding is attached on the inside by stitching in the ditch from the front. I should say here that after wearing this for 5 minutes, I took it off and cut out the tulle from the inside of the neckline as it was very scratchy, even though I'd used soft tulle. I cut it along the fold of the neckline binding and left it loose on the outside, which looks fine. As my tulle was so fine, I opted not to add the tulle strip below the hem as it wouldn't have really been visible.


I finished the sleeve edges with a rolled hem. The two rolled hem edges meet the side seam at the underarm quite neatly. I winged this bit as the instructions weren't clear. Overall though the instructions were great.


I love the design and look of this top. It was made totally on the cheap with scraps of fabric, but looks expensive(I think) because of the cut, fabrics, seam detail and binding. I can't wait to make more from this book. I have my eye on this top for winter.


30 comments:

  1. Very up-market looking indeed! Love your use of colours and textures to make a very individual top ... J

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    1. Thank you, yes I think the mix of colour and texture keep things interesting :)

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  2. That is a very pretty top and the fabric choices are perfect.


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    1. Thank you :) I think you can always find something to go with white and grey, at least I hope so!

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  3. Ta da! Perfect stash buster! I love that grey floral batiste fabric. Groovy sleeves. This is darling on you!

    Coco

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  4. I have been admiring this book for some time now. It didn't get very good reviews so I didn't buy it. Perhaps I should! Your top is lovely.

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    1. I spent a lot of time researching this book before I splurged my $21 on Fishpond.com.au! I also came across some criticism but I liked the designs so much I thought it was worth a try. I'm not sure that many of the negative reviewers had actually made anything from the book. All the pictures I've seen of finished items look really good. Once you get past the sizing issue, it's fab :)

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  5. Love the top and I'm starting to think I need this book ..

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    1. I agree that this is a necessity! Thank you :)

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  6. Lovely top! The book look quite interesting.. Thanks for sharing it!

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    1. Yes, the book is definitely worth a look, it has many unique and wearable designs, some easy and some quite challenging. Thank you for the comment!

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  7. I like to see something a bit different! You've chosen great coordinating fabrics - looks very smart.

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    1. Thanks so much! I like something different too :)

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  8. The details in this top are lovely...looks like it came from a very expensive boutique!

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    1. You were my main inspiration for buying this book. Your creations from it are all gorgeous and I hope to emulate some of them!

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  9. Gorgeous the top looks fantastic and I love the colours! You picked some great scrap fabric they match perfectly! That book sounds excellent might have to check it out!

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    1. Absolutely, it's really worth a look. I was so excited as I turned the pages for the first time and saw the lovely designs in there.

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  10. I really like this shirt. Your fabric choices were great and how lucky that they all came from your stash. I REALLY like the shirt you are thinking about for the fall. Very hip. ~ Major Moma

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  11. Love your fabric choices... they work SO well together!

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    1. Thank you. I think it's actually a clue to the size of my stash, which is a little bit embarrassing!

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  12. Interesting book (and a great, helpful review). I'll look out for it.

    The top looks great and the colours suit you very well. Look forward to further projects.

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    1. Yes, this is definitely worth a look. I can see you in some of the designs. Thank you for the comment :)

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  13. Beautiful top Megan! That sounds like a great book.

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  14. Oh your top is so nice. I've looked at this book on amazon a few times but I've always hesitated because one of the reader's comments was that the only nice garment is on the cover. You're top is a great advertisement for this book...I'll definitely pick it up next time I am trolling amazon.ca in search of good sewing books.

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    1. Oh wow, I'm pleased to have changed your mind. I do think this is worth a look :)

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  15. Your top is so pretty! I'll have to pull out this book again. I love your version. I wondered what a non-chiffon fabric would look like in this pattern.

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    1. Thank you. I always feel good in this top. I hope you give it a try.

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