When is a sewing success not a success?

When you manage to piece together nearly all the scraps from your last two projects to make the lovely garment you envisaged, all your pattern hacking came out ok, nothing went wrong, no seam needed unpicking, it fits fine, a little growing room but doesn’t look too big just as you hoped and then your daughter declares it to be unwearable.

Apparently it is too long to be a top and too short to be a dress.


I think trying to get her to try it on with her denim shorts didn’t help. They were ok last summer, but that was a life time ago when you’re seven and the “I don’t wear trousers” has spread to “I don’t wear shorts”. Sigh.

Needless to say, there are no modelled photo’s.


inspiration (please excuse the bad photo’s, I’ve waited all winter to be able to take them outside and now it’s too bright, gah!)

This tunic top was my inspiration. She loves wearing it, with it’s big flarey gathers into a pretty yoke. But in navy blue with long sleeves she isn’t going to be wearing it for much longer in all the sunshine we’ve been having. And she’s about to grow out of about half her short sleeved tops, there are only 3 that stand a chance of fitting her next summer. So the obvious thing to do seemed to be a short sleeved gathery fluttery top, a bit pretty, long enough to last at least next summer as well as this.


front – the pockets are level in real life, honest

I think it came out well. The heart fabric is good quality and quite thick, but the navy denim effect jersey is lightweight and quite flimsy and would be quite cool to wear I think. I hacked my good old trusty Simplicity 1573 pajama pattern, making the yoke finish just below the armholes, just to make life easier so I didn’t have to worry about attaching my sleeves over the fabric change. Also there was no more length of the navy than what I used so I couldn’t really have gone much smaller on the yoke as I wanted a slightly long top that would last a year or two (the top, being big 4, is plenty wide enough in the size 7 (her age), without being overwhelming). I think a smaller yoke looks better, in the unlikely event I ever make this again. The navy fabric is 1 1/2 times the width of the yoke, gathered, hemmed, seam allowance pressed down. The pockets just about used the last of my heart scraps up, I like that they balance it out. (They were also slated as being too small to fit her entire hand in at once.) Do you like the contrast pink topstitching at the bottom because I ran out of navy?



The back yoke had to be cut in two pieces but I got it matched ok (I wasn’t trying for perfection on this one, just getting all the pieces out of my scraps was hard enough). I had to piece the navy too, but I couldn’t make the seam go down the middle. I considered cutting it again and having two symmetrical seams but I really couldn’t be bothered. Then, after all that, it was a little wide, so I put a pleat in the centre (I couldn’t even be bothered with gathers at this point).

neckline elastic

neckline elastic, which is very hard to see as it’s clear, it’s hiding under the zig zags, honest!

I didn’t really have enough left of anything for a band, so rather than just fold the edge over and stitch it down, I tried the technique from the back of the Day to Night top. I sewed clear elastic (which I prestretched then let relax as per the instructions) in the seam allowance with a zig zag. Then I turned it over and topstitched it down with a twin needle. I’d like to see how that wears, but I’m not going to find out am I!

The t shirt has been left at a friends house to see if her daughter will wear it (she’s the same size as my girl). I wasn’t upset that my daughter didn’t like it (after all, she hadn’t been requested it or been involved in the design process) but she was quite rude to me about it which just made me want shot of it rather than keep it hanging around in case she changes her mind.

So, next time, I reckon I’m due a garment that fits and is appreciated by the person I make it for, right?

3 thoughts on “When is a sewing success not a success?

  1. Oh bummer. That’s so disappointing. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that your friend’s daughter relishes it for the wonderful garment it is!

    • They were out so I shoved it through their door and texted her mum, who replied that she’d wear it if daughter didn’t! There are enough small girls, sorry, big girls around these parts (I get told of for calling my 7 year old small), one of them is bound to like it.

  2. Oh dear. Now my children are teenagers I don’t dare make/buy any item of clothing without extensive collaboration so I feel your pain!!

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