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.