Hot! The “Geometry of Hummingbirds” top

The Facts:

Fabric: Yellow hummingbird print cotton (£6.99/metre); cotton from two thrifted men’s shirts – plain blue (£3) and a blue-and-white geometric print (£1)

Pattern: Vogue 8667, tweaked   Year: Contemporary

Notions: invisible zip from stash, about £3

Time to complete: ~6 hours, including pattern drafting

First worn: May 2012

Wear again? Yes, but there may be some adjustments

Total Cost: ~£9 or £10


Now I have a bit of a thing for print mix-ups (exhibit A) but they’re always serendipitous – one fabric ends up next to another on the sewing desk or in the cupboard or on the washing line… they catch my eye, and away we go.  But to actually seek out two prints to work together was much harder than I thought, especially because I’m trying to curb my consumerist habits this month, which means No New Fabric.  So I started off with the birds and the plain blue cotton, and hoped the third ingredient would jump out of my stash and join in along the way.

You say ‘print mix-up’, I say ‘princess seams’: I think it’s the perfect construction for mixing fabrics (exhibit B).  I’ve made the V8867 before, and wanted to try something a little different this time round.  I traced the bodice pieces, shortened and curved the centre bodice panel, cut off the excess, and added that to the side panels to get the bib-shaped bodice.  Then the rest of the pattern went together as normal.

The only problem is that my adjustment has pulled up the centre of the waistline seam slightly, as you can see in the picture below – I’m guessing that’s what’s causing those diagonal wrinkles in the skirt.  Next time, I’ll add a little length to my re-drafted side panels to balance that out.

The second print, on the sleeves and hem band, is a subtle design in blue-and-white, which reminds me of clouds but is geometric and square at the same time.  The original shirt was a pound (probably due to some stains around the collar) but giving plenty of fabric to play with!

The sleeves are a bit of a let-down though – tight when I raise or stick out my arms.  I’m half-tempted to replace them with some little Simplicity cap sleeves so that I’m not so restricted when I do this:

Hooray! the pattern experiment paid off, the fabrics work together, I’ve learned something, and I have a cute top to show for it.  But I think I’ll continue to leave my print-mixing up to chance in future.




Amy has been sewing since she was a teenager, but 'got serious' about making her own clothes at the end of 2010. She is starting to learn about balancing sewing and blogging with the rest of her life.


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  1. Love the prints, especially the birds – they work really well together. I also admire your pledge to curb consumerist tendencies. I’ve been trying this myself – most stuff is easy, except when it comes to fabric…

  2. Fabulous prints! I wish I could see detailed shots of all the fabric though – I curb my fabric buying tendencies by drooling over other people’s stash ;-)

    It is hard to make yourself do something that normally happens naturally for the challenges isn’t it? I struggle with that so much (and frequently end up late because it took so long to work through the ideas).

    • There’s a close-up of the hummingbirds at the end of this post:

      I know exactly what you mean about missing the deadline while working through ideas – most of my Sew Weekly posts are coincidental, when my current project matches a theme!

  3. I admire your stash-busting and curbing your buying of new fabrics. You were able to creatively put together a cute mix it up blouse. Way to go!

  4. Hi Amy, your photos are great the luscious greens it’s background really make the hummingbirds pop.

  5. Love your hummingbird fabric! It looks great as the bib with that blue.
    Good luck with your curbing the consuming, too.

  6. I am enjoying seeing what people are doing this week. Yours works really well.

  7. Cool! I have that same Vogue pattern…your variation of it is very interesting: a yoke for a princess seamed bodice kind of thing…I dig it!

  8. Very cute! I’ve seen so many sewists do things with men’s shirts. I’ll have to give it a try one of these days. Awesome job!

  9. Lovely sunny print – sets of the blue beautifully

  10. Thanks for lovely comments, all :)

  11. I totally get what you mean about when you have to find a print mix up it’s much harder than a happy accident. And love the idea of using princess seams to aid mixing. Love this and your exhibit B with it’s lovely roses.