Hot! The ‘mixed up mashed up’ top that nearly wasn’t.

The Facts

Fabric Anna Maria Horner fat quarter, spotty red knit stuff leftover from this dress, red and white gingham for bias binding
Pattern I drew around a vest top that fits and winged it from there
Year 2012
Notions Thread
Time to complete Should have been a couple of hours, max. But it took quite a bit longer. . .
First worn  Today, for photos
Wear again?  I hope so.
Total price  All fabric was left overs or gifts, so free.

I am still not convinced about this top. I was going to write it off and concentrate on next weeks challenge but the kids were quiet for once when I got in from work tonight so I got stuck in and finished it.  I was originally going to skip this challenge. I totally lack confidence when it comes to matching fabrics.  I did have a hunt through my stash, which opened my eyes to a few things.  Firstly if I am seriously going to try and use all the fabric in my stash for clothing then I do not have a hope in hell of ever having a coordinated wardrobe.  Secondly, I obviously have a magpie- like tendency to acquire weird shiny stuff that I can only ever see myself wearing if I join a Seventies tribute band. And thirdly, I do actually have a couple of prints that sort of go together.

After all that effort sorting through my stash I decided to wing it without a pattern.   I started off trying to copy a dress I used to have that fell apart because I wore it so much.  For the top bit I drew around a vest top I already wear.  For the rest I gathered a couple of rectangles of the knit fabric and stitched them to the fat quarter bits then stitched up the shoulders and sides. I bias bound the neck and arm holes then tried it on.  And realized that I looked about eighteen months pregnant.  When I wore the original dress I was fifteen years younger and four dress sizes smaller, but now my body has changed  to the point where I just cannot wear that kid of loose fitting style.
No worries.  It really didn’t work as a dress but it would be easy to chop it a little and wear it as a top.
At least you would have thought so.

 Unfortunately I underestimated how much stretch the knit had and my dress became a crop top.  Again, fine fifteen years ago, not such a good look after two children and no time for the gym.   Another fail.  However this evening I decided to attack it one last time.  I had the bits of spotty stuff I cut off, but reattaching them would just look like I cut it to short then tried to fix it, which is exactly did happen of course, but I’d rather nobody knew. I did have some scraps of gingham and some of the fat quarter left, so I joined them into a strip and sewed them to the bottom of the top, then doubled the bit I cut off and stitched that to the bottom.  It sort of did the trick, and as a bonus it didn’t even need hemming!

Overall I think it is good enough to wear around the house, or for running around town under a jacket.  It is still not the most flattering garment (and check out those weird bits under the arms) but it is comfy and I won’t worry about destroying it when I’m messing about with the kids.



Taracat is a beginning seamstress, scientist, teacher, mother, gin drinker, almost author, drama queen and a bit of a stroppy 'mare. She discovered The Sew Weekly in February 2011 while using the internet to teach herself to sew. She's getting there.


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  1. I think it’s adorable! I’m sorry that you don’t love it. The three prints go together beautifully, and your hem fix is brilliant.

    • Thanks, it is actually growing on me. I think it’s just one of those where the idea is not quite as good as the reality.

  2. Maybe it’s not an out-of-the-park smash hit, but they all can’t be, can they? some things have to become everyday kinds of clothes. I think it’s brilliant for a casual summer top for running about with the kiddos. Probably mighty comfy as well. Well done on your fix, it looks like a design element, the way all good fixes should.

    • Cheers Jen! You’re right, and I do actually need more everyday clothes. Much as I would love to spend my days swanning about in perfect vintagey dresses my lifestyle just doesn’t allow for it.

      • Oh how I know that! Sometimes I dream of the day I might take to swishing about like Donna Reed in my cupcake dress and apron, armed with a feather duster and my best pearl necklace doing the dusting and washing up. Not gonna happen!

  3. I really like the top actually. The colours especially.

    I loved the line ‘I looked about 18m pregnant’. It just resonates so much with me. After 2 kids I need clothes to hold me together (and push things up, but that is another story) :-)

  4. Too bad that you don’t like it :( I still think it’s such a carefree, laid-back, lounging-around-the-house kind of shirt that everyone needs in their wardrobe! :)

    • Thanks Cheryl. Despite the fact that it’s not quite as i imagine I probably will get a lot more wear out of it than some of the dresses I have made. And it is great for lounging about the house.

  5. Hi Taracat, I think this would make a smashing bathing suit coverup, perfect for a beach outing. The fabrics are super together and feel bright and cheery.

    • Hi Krista! Excellent idea – and I do actually live five minutes from the beach! Now if only the sun would come out…

  6. I really love the mix of the three prints is just lovely! I wear things like that on really hot days. Or you might try it with a belt? I do that quite a bit on baggy tops. It’s fun!

    • Thanks Trish! I think I will try it with a belt. I’ve never quite got the hang of accessorizing but it’s worth a try.

  7. Like! A lot!! Especially the gingham bias. I’ve seen some of that in my local sewing shop but haven’t given it a try yet…

  8. Hi! And thanks! I think the bias is my favorite bit, I may have to get some more.

  9. Yes, That gingham bias is just adorable! I really like your choice of color and prints. I hope it grows on you, because it does look comfy and pretty.

    • Cheers Barbara – you’ll be pleased to know it is totally growing on me – wore it today and even got asked where i bought it!

  10. lol – I love your persistence. Persist in wearing it too because it is bright and cheerful and you look great in red.

  11. I love the fabric combo.. would be so cute with shorts or cropped jeans and sandals.

    • Thanks Casey, i think that’s exactly how I’ll be wearing it, as soon as the weather brightens up round here.

  12. Looks very comfy and hassle free, I particularly like the gingham accents. Nice work Taracat.

    • Cheers Kazz. Yep, it is really comfy and I am actually wearing it quite a bit, so I think I will put it down as a win after all.

  13. The mix of prints in this is adorable Taracat! I especially love that gingham binding. I sympathise with making something that looks lovely but you don’t feel shows off your assets in a positive light….I had the same experience this week, also with the underarm thing, but stunningly I’ve found myself wearing it around the house and to the shops because it’s a pretty muckabout. I hope you can possibly alter your so you feel happier wearing it out as it is incredibly pretty. Have you tried it with a belt?

    • Thanks Tempest. Believe it or not I have actually worn this top several times out now and got compliments each time! It is definitely growing on me, and it really is comfortable and practical. I think the underarm thing may be a sign that I need to try an FBA, so I’m going to try it with the next thing I make.