Saturday, January 30, 2010

I am having an affair.....

...with Simplicity 2593!

How do I love thee, let me count the have varied seam allowances. Yes that’s right, ¼ inch for the neck and armholes and 3/8 inch for the seams, so no clipping or trimming! You have no fusing to iron on, zips to insert or buttonholes to sew, Hallelujah! And you take only an afternoon to whip up **sigh**.

But you have one failing my love.... you insist on me handsewing that lovely twist detail to your neckline gasp! So, in order to maintain an everlasting relationship that handsewing has to go!

I originally made up this pattern in a stripe for the Wardrobe Contest last year and pretty much went by the book.
But this week, I really craved some cool tops ( I was thinking of dresses but I really am a separates kind of gal) and had a few rolls of some printed voile so thought I might have a fiddle around with the pattern.

Straight off the bat, binding edges is not my favourite way to finish an edge, they can be fiddly and have to be perfect to look good. I had some trouble with the neck sizing in the first top so thought I would try a new technique for the binds.
Here is my version of How to Sew Simplicity 2593 and Make Your Life Easier (word of warning: some people may not like this as it is a production technique rather than a hand constructed couture type of finish!).

1. Sew ONE shoulder seam. I did french seams as the voile is quite lightweight and to be truthful I think this technique works best with french seams.
2. Pin other shoulder seam.
3. Sew gathering stitch to front neck.
4. Fit garment (on a dummy or yourself if you have a willing assistant) and gather neck edge to fit.

5. Sew right side of neck binding to wrong side of neck edge, stretching binding slightly as you go (this helps the bind sit flat when finished). I did not use pins, or match symbols of dots or do any other fiddling around. You may find you have a bit of extra binding left over the edge, but if you gathered the neck to fit this is not an issue.

6. Press seam toward binding, fold over edge, pin and machine stitch bind on right side of neckline.
7. Sew other shoulder seam.
8. Attach armhole binding as per neckline.
9. Sew side seams.
10. Sew hem.

This technique is so quick that I literally whipped up two finished tops in three days, and this included having a play around with the neckline detail.

This version I sewed the neckline pieces into a long tube and then handpleated them onto the neck, topstitched from the front, folded the pleats down and pressed.

This version I did the same, but halved the width of the tube (basically cut 2 neck pieces instead of four) and handpleated them onto the front only.

I liked them both so much I am in the process of making another!


  1. Love the neckline on the last shirt! Can you please tell me where you purchased your mannequin? A girlfriend & I are looking to buy one each, but can only find the groovy maroon Birch ones. Yours looks like a nice Classic one. Thanks

  2. Thank you, thank you for the short cut! I made this shirt last summer and loved it, but with your quick tips I really, really love it!
    Your ruffles are adorable.

  3. Hi Princess Martha, thanks for stopping by. I was lucky enough to pick up my mannequin at a place called Reverse Garbage in Marrickville in Sydney. They collect industry discards and surplus stuff and sell them cheaply to the public. Their stock changes all the time so worth a look if you are ever in Sydney. I have picked up an elna press, an industrial sewing machine and various bolts of fabric from them over the years. I think that this one was probably a display mannequin as the sizing is a bit odd.
    Hi Cindy, glad to help!

  4. Excellent! I am actually heading there tomorrow, so have googled its address & have a date with Reverse Garbage. They even twittered that mannequins have 20% off this week. Bonus! Thanks Sandra
    Princess Martha

  5. I love the different versions of the neckline you've made - especially the floral one with the black background.

    Must check out Reverse Garbage for a mannequin too!

  6. super! Thanks I used this today on Simplicity 2586 (another cynthia rowley and it worked really well and was FAST!


  7. I wish I could make something as pretty as this for my mom. She would love the fabric. I really like the one with flowers better although they are both nice.