Hello and Happy Sunday to you all! Unfortunately, I won’t be enjoying the Sunshine today as I’m at work!! Boo!
Today I’m showing you guys how to make the Zoe Top from the New Contemporary Collection by Simple Sew Patterns which is available to buy here.
The Zoe Top/Dress has clean lines and the simple construction of this utilitarian inspired garment makes it a very quick to complete with its very subtle, on trend style statement.
It’s a perfect pattern for a beginner or returning seamstress as there is no fiddly Zips or Darts!
Now with me being me… I don’t ‘do’ plain i always like to have some sort of print on the go and decided I would have a sew for ‘Cats on the Roof’ by Bellaboo which was kindly sponsored to me by Lynne at And Sew Forth. After having a good chin wag with myself and Lynne as I do when ever I pop in to her shop hahaha! We came to conclusion it would be great to have mustard coloured thread top stitching so i came away with some lovely Gutermann thread too! Thank you Lynne!
Now upon reading the measurements on the back, I decided to have Size 8 for Shoulders and Bust grade to Size 10 for the Waist and Hips as the finished garment measurements are quite generous but it is meant to be ‘Loose’ but with myself only being petite sometimes too much ‘loose’ looks odd on me! So it’s always best to double check your measurements before you start cutting into the Pattern but don’t panic if your thinking what on earth do i start?! Go and click onto my previous Tutorial here, where I’ll show you how to grade in between sizes with ease and shorten the length of the pattern if needs be!
As always make sure you launder your fabric prior to you starting to cut your pattern pieces out as this allows for shrinkage as it would be a complete shame not to do this before hand and to make an awesome staple Top, to wear it and love it and then to put in the wash where it’ll shrink and the Top would be too small to wear! Noooo!
First open up the envelope and make yourself a brew and read the instructions and make a list of materials/equipment you need if you don’t have them already so no last minute dash to the local haberdashery store or waiting days for online orders lol!
A tip before starting your sewing on a fabric you haven’t used before use some scraps to make sure you have the right stitch or you could end up ruining some of your lovely fabric.
2m of ‘Cats on the Roof’ by Bellaboo Designs which is available at And Sew Forth
0.25m of Medium Weight Iron Interfacing
Grey and Mustard Guternmann Threads and Bobbins
Paper Scissors – For cutting Pattern Pieces out as these will blunt and make cutting fabric out quite uneven!
Fabric Scissors/ Rotary Cutter – whatever takes your fancy for cutting your fabric, i use both
Snips for the pesky thread that are a bit too long after finishing the seams
French Curve – handy for getting those straight lines whilst cutting out with rotary cutter or to grade in between sizes if your measurements are in between sizes.
Pencil for marking out the pattern of course
Iron and Ironing Board
And last but not least the Trusty Sewing Machine, Normal Sewing Foot and Overlocking Foot. Now I’m using this foot as i use my Overlocking Stitch to finish my Seams. But if you are using a Small Zig Zag Stitch then your normal sewing Foot will be ah-okay :).
Make sure you have plenty of thread in your bobbin as there isn’t anything worse than getting halfway through sewing a long stretch of your garment and to find you have only sewn half of it, trust me this has happened many times LOL
Now then, you can go ahead and cut straight into the paper pattern to the size you require and to make sure you add any nothces/markings onto the fabric then cut out the pieces 🙂
But if you do need to adjust the pattern to fit as you are in between sizes then double check your measurements and I’ll show you how to do it in my previous Tutorial here.
For the Top Version, you only need the following pieces, Front Panel, Back Panel, Sleeve Cuff, Front Facing and Back Facing.
Now onto the cutting the Pattern Pieces out. If your using Plain Fabric or a non obvious Patterned Fabric then Fold the fabric Right Sides Together selvedge to selvedge and places the pattern pieces on the top. Align the straight grain line on the pattern piece to grain of the fabric and pin down the pieces.
But.. If you do have a definite pattern like i have, I would try my best to match as the best as you can.
I first placed the Front Panel onto the Fabric that was fully laid out and not folded.
I then placed the Front Panel Piece face down on the otherside of the 1st cut of piece like so as once it was sewn together it would follow the pattern:
Then I did the same for the Back Panel pieces:
Then i folded the Fabric Right Sides Together selvedge to selvedge and placed the remaining pattern pieces on the top. Align the straight grain line on the pattern piece to grain of the fabric and pin down the pieces. Also to to snip any notches on the patterns pieces as you will need these for lining up and sewing later on!
Not forgetting your Interfacing too! As i nearly did!
Now you should have the following pieces all ready to start sewing!
2 x Front Panel, 2 x Back Panel, 2 x Sleeve Cuff, 1 x Front Facing – Fabric, 1 x Front Facing – Interfacing, 1 x Back Facing – Fabric and 1 x Back Facing – Interfacing.
With Right Sides Together, Pin and Sew the Back Panels at the Centre Back Seam.
Press the Seam Open and the Finish Centre Back Seams using either Overlocking Stitch or a Small Zig Stitch it’s up to you but i do prefer to use my Overlocking Stitch.
With Right Sides Together, Pin and Sew the Front Panels at the Centre Front Seam.
Then Press the Seams open and finish the Centre Front Seam.
Now onto Top Stitching! Now if you haven’t Top Stitched before its very easy to do it just requires patience and not to rush! Its basically a Straight Stitch that is a bit longer than normal so you can see it better as its for decorative use rather than keeping things sewn together.
I set my Sewing Machine to a Straight Stitch with a bit longer Stitch Length and placed my Foot at the Centre of the Seam and followed the seam all the way down as straight as i could without deviating from the seam. Remember not to Back Stitch at the beginning and the end of the Stitch as it would take away the feel of being decorative so just leave long tails at the beginning and at the end and knot them at the inside of your Top.
Topstitch the Centre Front Seams and Centre Back Seams on each Side.
With Right Sides Together sew the Front and Back Panel pieces together at the Shoulder Line.
Press the Seams open and Finish the Seams.
Now onto the Facings!
Apply the Interfacing to the Facings. When ironing Interfacing you have to be careful not to scorch your fabric but also for it to be hot enough to fuse the Interfacing to the Fabric. So what I tend to do is to use a tea towel over my fabric and Interfacing and gently steam on top.
When applying Interfacing you always apply it to the wrong side of your fabric.
With Right Sides Together Pin and Sew the Facings at the Shoulder Line.
The Press and Finish the Seams.
Pin the Facing to the Top Panels at the Neckline and sew in place uising 1cm Seam Allowance.
Trim the Seam Allowance to 0.5cm and then clip into the Seam Allowance to release the pressue on the curved areas and so that it will sit nicely too.
Flip the Facing through to the inside of the Top and Press. Topstitch the neckline at about 3cm from the edge.
Woo hoo nearly there! My word that neckline sits great!
Onto the Sleeve cuffs. Fold the Sleeve Cuff Wrong Sides Together, Pin and Sew along the the Armhole of the Top with the Raw Edges matching and also matching up the notch too.
Press the Seam Towards the Top and Topstitch and then repeat for the other Sleeve.
With Right Sides Together, join the Front and Back Panels at the Sides. Then Press and Finish the Seam and repeat for the other side.
Now just to hem your Top and your done!! I decided to use a rolled hem as i felt that the Top didn’t need anymore length taking off it and used a very tiny hem!
And here we are, One Zoe Top and a Rhys leg LOL i can’t go anway in the house without the Boy following me!
I am loving the Topstitch details on this Top its fantastic and it is a very quick make indeed! Next time i will add another 2″ to the length of the top as i felt its a little bit shorter than i like but I’ll be onto the Lapwing Trousers Tutorial next which should go perfectly with this top!
So remember peeps Sewing is meant to be enjoyable and to have that satisfaction of making your own clothes is awesome so if you do get stuck please get in touch and I can help you before you abandon it and its chucked into the bin