Happy 44th birthday to me!! It may be my fourth pandemic birthday today, but I’m still going strong!
A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that I had no idea what I wanted to sew for my birthday this year, so I took inspiration from my stash of patterns and pulled out Style Arc’s “Issy Knit Top”. It was released (and bought!) quite a few years ago but I never quite got around to making it but I still loved the style. It’s a long-sleeved (or sleeveless) knit top with gathered side seams, an asymmetric hem, and an interesting, asymmetric draped neckline, too.
At first, I made this up in a white tencel jersey, and I really liked the pattern, but the top didn’t feel special enough to be a Birthday Make (you’ll see this version in a later post). So I dug a bit further into my stash and noticed a beautiful, abstract floral jersey that I’d bought years ago from Fabrics Galore. It was 1.5m so plenty of fabric, plus it was soft and with a great drape, and I adored the print and colours, so it was perfect!
The nice thing about sewing a pattern twice in quick succession is that I had already figured out the slightly tricky bits of how to finish the shawl collar and where to tuck the neckline pieces (one at the shoulder and one at the armscye), but more importantly, when to use my sewing machine vs overlocker. So the finish inside on this top is even better than the white one!
You may notice that I said this pattern has an asymmetric hem – I don’t particularly like these and felt that it was a bit dated, so I evened out the hem on mine. This was fairly easy to do since the front and back both have notches to align the gathers. I simply measured the distance from lowest notch to hem on one side, and then drew a new hem the same distance down on the other for both front and back).
I’ve really liked the fit of StyleArc patterns when I’ve sewn them in the past, and this one is close-fitting and pretty true to size. Unfortunately, the paper pattern I have predates their multisize patterns so mine’s only in a size 12. I’d probably go up one size if I had the option since I’m a bit bigger than I was a few years ago (thanks, pandemic!), but the side seam gathers are really forgiving so it’s not something I’m overly concerned about.
(Seen here with one of the pairs of cycling jeans I sewed in 2019 and worn extremely regularly!)
Overall I absolutely love this top and I’m proud to have it represent my 44th birthday year!
If you recall, I always make myself something nice and special for my birthday each year…
43rd – I made myself a boxy, monochrome teeshirt after an intended dress version was a flop, and it’s for the best as I wear the tee all the time!
42nd – For a year where I spent a good portion of my time running and riding on Zwift, I sewed myself a vintage-inspired merino wool cycling jersey.
41st – For my first birthday at the very start of the Covid pandemic lockdown, I made a comfy Ruska knot dress in the most gorgeous shade of muted rust orange
40th – For my big 4-0 I sewed a bias-cut silk satin evening gown with cowl neck and plunging back for a big cocktail party!
39th – I sewed myself a long sleeved cycling top though really I spent the day moving into our temporary flat while the boat was being renovated.
38th – I made a Gimlet dress out of some incredible, embroidered ombre denim with flashes of the red satin lining.
37th – This birthday sucked. I’d been continuously ill for three months, we spent six hours stuck in traffic and got turned away from the restaurant (no bookings). I couldn’t even summon the enthusiasm to post about it, let alone make anything.
36th – A pair of jeans to take along for a week’s trip to NYC, where they saw active duty in our intensive, immersive theater schedule
35th – A galaxy-print sheath dress, using a Manequim pattern and a purple exposed zipper.
34th – A satin Matthew Williamson designer dress, made with his pattern from BurdaStyle magazine and a rich, plum duchesse satin.
33rd – A leather iPad case, protecting a new gift against the rigours of a transatlantic work trip the following day.
32nd – Manequim silk blouse: still being worn and loved many years later!
31st – LMB draped birthday dress in teal silk jersey:
30th – Green silk birthday dress using a Burda magazine pattern a emerald green silk satin:
29th – A bolero and jeans, on which I put the outline of the Thames on the back pockets, and lined the bolero with some vintage apron fabric from my Granny:
28th – I was homeless and living out of a suitcase in my boyfriend’s parents’ house, watching the Shipping Forecast every single day, hoping for good weather to sail our boat across the North Sea. My sewing machine was in storage, so I couldn’t make a new outfit, and frankly, ALL I wanted was for our boat to arrive. And it did, on the evening of my birthday.
27th – New Look 6429 in a fun sparkly knit from Walthamstow Market (and then about three days later decided to lose all that excess weight for good!).
26th – (probably the first year I was really into sewing) my favourite vest pattern with a red vinyl square neckband: