Thursday, 25 February 2016

Finished: Vintage Topper

This week I finished making my vintage Topper (Simplicity 3451) and it's already proved to be a useful little cover up.

Hmmm those cuffs look a bit big...
Because Toppers aren't supposed to be fitted, I made a quick muslin to check the fit. My pattern has a lovely 1950's swing shape, but it's a difficult one to pull off if you're short and curvy. Making a muslin was a wise move as it highlighted the fact that the original pattern was too wide for my build. I took quite a bit of width out of the side seams up to the underarm to make it less swingy - about 2.5" on each side. I also narrowed the sleeve width by 1" and re-drew the back neck curve about ⅝" lower as it was weirdly high. I'm talking evil queen from Snow White here ….


The shape is a very simple one with a high, fold back collar (see above!), shoulder darts and wide kimono sleeves. I made View 2, the reversible version, so construction was relatively straight forward - I made up two complete Toppers then attached them right sides together around the neck and front edges. There was a fair bit of hand stitching involved but for once I actually quite enjoyed it. The sleeves and hem were turned under and catch stitched down and the bottom edges and sleeve edges of both coats were then joined with an invisible ladder stitch. The hand stitching took two episodes of Desert Island Discs (Kathy Burke and Charlie Watts) to complete, which was a nice interlude.


The only part that could have caused difficulty was attaching the neck and collar areas. Luckily, it's the same principle as attaching a collar and facings - the key thing to remember is to clip up to the stitches when instructed, which allows the fabric to turn a corner and not get caught in a big lump! Here's a close up of how the back collar looks when it's joined together.


When it came to choosing fabrics, I tried to recreate the chic navy and white combo of View 2 on the pattern envelope. I used Seriously Soft Navy Twill and Navy and White Birdseye Wool Mix, both from Fabworks. This was my first time ordering from them and I was impressed: good quality fabrics, very reasonable prices and excellent customer service and delivery. I'll be back!


I only had two pattern pieces to contend with, but crikey they were big - I always forget how massive kimono sleeved pattern pieces are, especially with extra wide sleeves! I managed to squeeze the pattern pieces onto two metres of each fabric by cutting the navy twill on the crosswise grain and the Birdseye fabric in a single layer.


Because the soft navy twill was described as drapey, I assumed it would be lightweight and therefore a good contrast with the thicker Birdseye fabric. In actual fact it's pretty heavy, and as a result, my Topper is a bit bulky! I don't mind though, it's only meant to be worn as a cover up and it's super cosy and warm.

I'm not sure if it's the bulk or the colour, but the navy and white Birdseye side just doesn't look as good as the navy side. I haven't taken a photo of me wearing it as I don't like how I look in it (like a Michelin man actually) but here's what it looks like on my dummy.


It does, however, make a damn fine lining fabric.


Looking at the photo above, I definitely need to work on my nonchalant bitch face, it's not a patch on the original.


Jon telling me to give him my best 'evil bitch' look didn't help...


One second later….


I've already worn it a few times - it worked perfectly in a draughty cafe yesterday and will be ideal for wearing in the car when my son plays football.

And on a final note, making this Topper counts as the 'suitable for winter' part of my cunningly worded Vintage Pledge 2016. Yah!  x




27 comments:

  1. One for the winter wardrobe! Great fabric. Jo x

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    1. It works perfectly with all my winter clothes, hoorah! x

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  2. these colours are lovely on you! Love this jacket!!! x

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  3. Replies
    1. It wouldn't have happened without you love, thanks again for the fab pattern! x

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  4. I love this so much! The patterned lining, navy and white colour combo, the collar. It is so elegant for casual wear!

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    1. Thanks Christina, that's what I'm hoping! x

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  5. Much chicer than what passes for casual wear these days (and I'm fully aware that makes me sound like a grumpy old woman!).

    Love it!

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    1. Thanks Evie! I agree totally (I'm a grumpy old woman too!) X

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  6. Beautiful work and you look lovely in it! Fantastic!

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  7. I'm always amazed at how modern some vintage patterns look when made up. This looks great on you!

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    1. Oh good, I was hoping it would look modern so that's good to hear, thanks! x

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  8. You did such an amazing job of finding the right fabrics for this topper. It looks great! Cheers, Michele

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    1. Thanks Michele, yes I did strike lucky with the fabrics! x

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  9. Nice vintage jacket! I like your fabric combination.

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  10. Absolutely LOVE it!! I can't imagine that the reverse side makes you look like the Michelin man, maybe it just needs the right outfit under it (like a brightly-colored blouse?). Regardless it makes a great lining. Kudos to you on that back of neck/shoulder seam... I bitched about that endlessly on a blouse I sewed in the fall that also had a dart thrown in there. Love the wing collar, hate sewing it!! ;)

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    1. Yes they're a pain to sew aren't they? Although after sewing a muslin and two separate coats, I felt like an old hand by the time I got to the last one! x

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  11. This is really great looking and seems so well done. It had me immediately searching EBay for the pattern. No luck.

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    1. Thanks Nancy, I was very lucky to have been given the pattern by a friend! x

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  12. I just bought this pattern and was going to make the yellow jacket on the pattern cover ! Thanks so much for posting your beautiful finished project ! love the fabric lining you used !

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  13. So gor-ge-ous! Where do you get your vintage patterns from?

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  14. So gor-ge-ous! Where do you get your vintage patterns from?

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