I recently had the opportunity to pattern test for Experimental Space. I have tested for Andrea a few times now and love how she always comes up with a special feature for her sewing patterns. This time it was ruffles😍
I made a total of 3 tops whilst testing, the first 2 were sewn up as toiles to test the pattern so that any adjustments could be made before the final draft of the pattern was sent out for the final make.
Depending on your size requirements the pattern only uses between 1 and 1.5 metres of fabric, I was able to sew all of my makes up out of 1 metre each so it is ideal for using up that left over fabric that you don’t know what to do with or alternatively it doesn’t break the bank to buy that expensive piece of fabric that you have wanted for ages.
My first toile was made from a remnant of viscose fabric that I had left over from a previous make, I had just under 1 metre left but was able to squeeze out the pattern pieces. I Cut a size Cara on my bust and graded it to a Dee on the waist and hips, this was actually an error on my part and from the size guide I should of graded to an Eve so I had to sew a narrower seam and thus couldn’t use the French seam method for finishing the sides.
The pattern was altered slightly after this to improve the fit and I sewed my 2nd toile up using the correct sizing of Cara and then grading to Eve for the waist and hips, I sewed the 2nd make up in some cotton fabric I have had in my stash for ages, it doesn’t have the drape of the viscose so gives a more structured look but I still like it.
Once I was happy with the fit and Andrea had made any adjustments to the pattern that had been brought to her attention then I was ready to sew up my final make.
I was lucky enough to win a voucher recently from Sister Mintaka and I have had my eye on some lovely Atelier Brunette viscose fabric.
At £18 per metre is isn’t cheap but I only needed 1 metre so the voucher was able to pay for that along with some matching bias binding.
It was quite scary cutting into such lovely fabric and knowing that there was no room for error so this was an occasion were I checked and re-checked before proceeding.
The first stage of sewing is the bust darts and the front neckline which is finished with bias binding, the ready made binding that I had was about double the width of what I needed so I cut it in half along the fold line.
I received these clips for Christmas and have used them so much since, I find them easier than working with pins and less likely to mark the fabric.
Once the front neckline is finished it can be put to one side and work starts on the back. The back is where you are going to be adding the ruffle so that piece needs to be folded in half (wrong sides together) and then the raw edge can be finished off with an overlocker or a zigzag stitch. The ruffle needs to be gathers so 2 lines of gathering stitch are sewn and then it is time for the ‘ruffle shuffle’. There is a handy guide with the instructions which tells you the length that the ruffle needs to be pulled in to.
Once happy with the ruffle with everything evenly spaced then the ruffle is attached to the back along the top curved edge.
Next up is joining the back and front at the shoulders (right sides together). One of the things I like about Andrea’s instructions are that they have good illustration to explain as well as words. The pictures below show what it will look like from both sides.
The whole of the top edge is then sewn together with the back piece on the top for ease of sewing. It’s important to press the seams and top stitch to make sure that the ruffles lay nicely along the sleeve front and the back of the neck.
There are 2 options on the back neck seam, it can be finished off with a zigzag or overlock stitch or you can add bias binding. I went for the bias binding because I want this top to be pretty on the inside as well.
Once the neckline is finished it’s pretty straight forward with some French seams for the side seams, I love the finish that this gives especially with a fine fabric like viscose.
Cuffs then need to be added to finish off the sleeves and then it’s just a case of hemming. I had just enough bias binding let for the hem so I took my time and finished it off with that. I am really happy with all 3 new tops but this last one is definitely my favourite, the fabric is such nice quality and I love the colours. I have just sent for some Ramie Linen to make some trousers in and the colour match is really good.