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A leopard print Wink Top

A month or two ago my mom sent me a surprise gift in the form of the dP Studio book “Fashion Couture”, which had been on my Amazon Wish List since it was released, while I secretly hoped it might get translated into English at some point.

For some reason the dP Studio standalone patterns never really grabbed me, but I LOVE so many of the tops in this book (and they’re all tops, yay!!). The book is only available in French but the instructions are fully illustrated and should be totally fine for any intermediate sewist with google translate to hand.

I’ve gotten loads of Pattern Magic vibes off several of the designs, and there are about five I really want to make! So I started with Le 516 “Wink Top”, but the Slash Top is also very high on my list (and that sweatshirt, yessss!). You can swoon over a bunch of the designs from the book here.

Monochrome silk blouse

You saw a peek of this in Monday’s post about my mustard wool shorts, but today I can tell you all about this sleeveless blouse.

The pattern is No115 from the May 2020 Burda magazine and is available to purchase as a pdf here. This was a real standout for me from this issue and I knew right away that I’d be sewing it up – it has a distinctive gathered front neckline with no shoulder seams and it only requires 1m of fabric as a bonus, yay! And frankly I love anything with a cutaway shoulder…

Orange striped ATACAC tee

I only rarely sew an exact replica of a pattern, but sometimes I’m just drawn to the same pattern and similar fabric to recreate a look that I know really works for me. ATACAC are Swedish designers who sell short-runs of their very interesting wraparound and zero-waste designs to the public but also offer up sharewear patterns on a “pay what you want” basis, which is SUPER cool. These patterns are pretty bare bones though, so you’ve really got to know what you’re doing. They’re only offered in one size only (size 3), for starters, and with no instructions! I personally love nothing more than seeing a “wtf pattern piece” and trying to make my 3D brain contort it into shape, so I absolutely love figuring out their designs, but you might prefer something more user-friendly!

A citron yellow Rest Vest

Thank you all for your comments and sympathy regarding the death of my father and my tribute vest. I’ve been sewing a LOT over the past few weeks while he’d been dying, but for obvious reasons I hadn’t felt like writing blog posts or taking photos, so I’ve got a bunch of garments to show you, completely out of order and with some photos taken recently and some from weeks ago (just don’t look at the length of my hair too closely!).

The first I wanted to show you is the Rest Vest from MadeIt patterns – a new-to-me pattern company that is also based in London! This is the pattern I used for my tribute vest, but this version today is the one I made first.

I saw the back view of this vest (British English for “tank top”, Americans!) in my Instagram feed and basically clicked buy then and there. It was still under its launch discount, too, which was just a bonus, but I love that the top wraps around at the back to create that upper back interest and the back wraps around at the body to shift the side seams forward. It feels like a design I’d draft myself, which is high praise indeed!

A German activewear mesh top

This top is doubly German! First of all, the pattern is from the German-language book, “Alles Active”, which I bought to see what the “competition” were up to in Germany vs my own book’s German edition (“Näh dir deine Sportswear”). It’s a decent enough book with a handful of nice activewear designs, but there is a LOT of athleisure filler in it and some very ropey-looking samples on the model, too.

But I liked this top (creatively titled, err, “Top”), and traced it out last summer when I bought the book. I even bought two gorgeous and lightweight activewear fabrics from extremtextil’s Berlin shop when I was over last July to teach the workshop, but then the weather turned cold and I missed my chance to sew it up.

Pietra Shorts and a belated Kabuki Tee

I am not a great lover of shorts for non-exercise purposes. I feel that they’re not terribly flattering on me and tend to ride up or bunch up when I move, so I only wear them on the hottest days of the year, and only ever around the boat (never to work!). In fact, I really only ever wear one pair, which I bought at The Gap in 1997 when I was 18. Seriously. But even those are wearing out now with the fabric beginning to disintegrate in places, so I figured now was the time to make a few pairs of shorts for summer to wear around the boat.

First up I thought I’d try the shorts version of the Closet Case Patterns Pietra Pants since I’ve already made the trouser-length twice already and loved them, so it was a fair bet that the shorts would work for me, too.

A green gratitude teeshirt

These are weird times. Apart from my birthday dress, I’ve really only been sewing face masks for myself, J, family and neighbours and even though I’ve got loads of lovely fabrics paired with specific patterns that are ready to go, I haven’t actually felt like sewing them. For me, most of the joy of sewing is in the making itself, but I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t enjoyment in the wearing it for others to admire, too. Without that component, on top of my usual routine being upended for the past 3.5 weeks, it’s just not been easy to get into the right mindset to create.

By go-to for times when I’m in a funk is to sew a “quick knit top”, which, for the past few years has meant a teeshirt using the “Loose Fitting Top Block” from my Sew Your Own Activewear book (my go-to teeshirt pattern). So I grabbed some cotton-lycra jersey from Ditto Fabrics in the most perfectly “me” shade of olive green from my stash, and did some cathartic sewing early on in March.

A linen tie-sleeve teeshirt

Last year the June issue of Burda magazine contained a pattern for a simple teeshirt with sleeves that tied, and it’s not left my mental To Sew List over the intervening 6 months!

A boxy Burda fleece

When I was compiling my 2019 year in review post I was surprised and a bit saddened that I didn’t actually sew any Burda magazine patterns last year despite buying it every month and liking quite a few patterns in every issue. So I resolved to try and sew more from my magazines, and when January’s contained this wonderful, boxy sweatshirt I just knew I had to sew it up!

A sequin party top

About three or four years ago when I was in Ditto’s shop in Brighton, I bought a remnant of matte silver sequin fabric. And for the intervening years, it sat in my stash, as every year I somehow missed sewing it up for “sequin season” so it stayed there for another year…

But not this year! This year I was determined to make something with it and started looking for a basic tank with minimal lines that could let the sequins shine. It turns out I’ve had the perfect pattern for even longer than the fabric and hadn’t realised it – Colette’s free Sorbetto top pattern (which was revamped a few years after its original release, if you weren’t aware). I’ve made the older version a few times, always without that central pleat (ugh), and it turned out to fit nicely into the scant metre of fabric in the remnant.