Monday, February 7, 2011

Love Birds Top Sew ALong Part 1

Ready for our first sew along? We are really excited about it! (and nervous the pattern was giving me some trouble... but I think I fixed it) A little history first. The lovely top in the picture above is what we are going to be making for this sew-along. It is a simple top with some pin tucks to add some details. It's one of my favorite tops because you can embellish it however you want or leave it be and it is cute comfortable and stylish for the little one, while invoking some "vintage" sewing techniques. This top came together for me when I was thinking about the designing with meaning challenge. Since I just got back from a trip to visit my mom I was able to go through all the boxes of sewing stuff she inherited from my Grandma. My Grandma was an amazing seamstress and an embellishing queen. The appliques she did were so amazing and detailed and beautiful. She sewed with a lot of heart and a lot of creativity. She passed away almost two years ago from ALS (Lou Gehrigs disease) Before she passed she gave me her Berninna Sewing machine, (my best friend) She also gave my mother her serger which in turn my mother gave me her serger, This set up and unlocked my sewing passion. You see when I got married I got a sewing machine, a cheap singer from target that was the bane of my existence. I would have been better off hand stitching everything and it made me want to never sew again. Needless to say I feel like my Grandma gave me a life saving gift. Since then I have wanted to make something as a tribute of sorts to my Grandma. Long story short the love birds top was born. The pink version was my first try at the pattern and technique and the one I made as an ode to my Grandma I will reveal at the end of the sew along. I love them both!

So I had some trouble with creating the pattern in the computer, but I think I have finally gotten it all figured out, if you would like to download and use the pattern you may it is roughly a size 24 months, as in I made it based on 24 month size top and my daughter typically wears 24 month stuff.

just click the link and then click where it says start download here.
(I know media fire is a pain and sometimes has pop up videos but it is free for me and free for you so bear with it. or email me if you have trouble downloading it)

24 months not your size? Have no fear you can easily make your own pattern...
Or you can make a custom fit by making your own as well

Here is how:
Start by making the skirt part by taking a shirt that fits well, and fold it in half. Then Use a roll of paper, ( use freezer paper since it is what I have for crafting but any paper will work) Move the top in from the edge about 1.5 inches, (more if you want the skirt part to be more full) Then you will be making basically a rectangle the top will start about 1 inch under the armpit of the top you are tracing and it can go as long as you want. You could make this a dress if you wanted. 

Next for the bodice piece. Move this 1.5 inches in from the outside, then since you will be putting pin tucks in at an angle you need to extend the top up at an angle. This sounds harder than it is. Simply start by drawing from the tip of the shoulder and following the same line extend past the neck then angle down from that pint to create the v-neck. 

Then trace the arm opening on the shirt and you have your front bodice piece. One thing I changed on the downloaded pattern and on this pattern when I cut it out was I added more length under the arm about a half an inch. (it was just an oversight when making the pattern) For the back piece I just drew a higher neckline and used the same bodice piece. (you will be able to see that in the last picture)

For the sleeve I wanted them to stop at the elbow so I folded up the long sleeve a bit, you can make the sleeve any length you want. Then to add to the fullness in the shoulder of the sleeve, you have to extend the sleeve curve a bit. In the picture you can see how I curved away from the sleeve and that lowered the arm pit point. (I hope this makes sense) 

Then I followed just outside the sleeve curve to make it larger or more full.

There you have your pattern pieces. A few notes. I made the back bodice piece about half an inch narrower than the front bodice piece. Also to make your front and back lining pieces you will just cut off the top few inches of the bodice pattern pieces and use that as your pattern piece.

For the cutting out of the pieces, you will want
one front bodice piece cut on the fold
 two back bodice pieces not on a fold.
One front lining piece cut on the fold
two back lining pieces not cut on the fold.
Two sleeves cut on the fold
one skirt piece cut on the fold
two skirt pieces not on the fold.

I cut everything I needed for both the tops I made out of men's dress shirts, so get creative, we will see you back here tomorrow to start sewing!
Let me know if you have any questions or problems...


  1. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [07 Feb 12:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  2. Hi!

    OMG! You really got me excited when I saw the tutorial for the sweet top! I absolutely LOVE it! I hope to be able to make one for my girl.

    On another note, I lost my Aunt almost 3 three years ago to ALS. I despise those little letters that ring out so loud in my heart. I miss her so much and watching what she went through was heartbreaking. My Aunt didn't sew, but she gave me many life lessons. I am sure each and every time you look, think or touch your Bernina you think of your Granny. That is very special and I know it allows you to still connect to her. I was lucky to find out that I was pregnant with my daughter 5 months after her passing. It was almost like she planned for it to happen. We gave our daughter my aunts first name as her middle name.

    When the sun shines, I can feel my Aunt smiling down on us. I know your Granny is doing the same.

    Have a wonderful day!


  3. aww very cute top! I'm deff joining in on this sew a long :) Thanks!

  4. I stumbled across your blog a few nights ago, and have been non-stop sewing! My husband is worried i'll cut into his not-for-donating pile of clothes ;) can't wait to join my first sew a long!

  5. I am so excited! This is my first sew-a-long! I have my pattern made and my fabric all cut out and am filling my bobbins.

  6. I am looking forward to joining in, I'll be a little late but I do plan to participate.

  7. Whoa. That top is painfully adorable.

    And I just happen to have a baby who's outgrown all of her clothes-- I'll be whipping a bunch of these up just as soon as my sewing machine comes back from the repair shop.


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