Last week I created what is now my favourite smart-casual outfit! (Until my next make, no doubt. Fickle?! Me?!) It consists of an Itch to Stitch Beausoleil Cold Shoulder Top and Sew Over It Mia Jeans from Lisa’s My Capsule Wardrobe eBook.
I started making the Mias a couple of weeks ago, but broke off to help my gorgeous niece, Emily (aka Titch), a Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Dungaree Dress. When I say ‘help’… I pretty much showed her what to do and then just supervised her through the stages. She’s only 13 and had never really sewn before, let alone done any top stitching, so I’m really proud of her… hasn’t she done well?!
Anyway, back to the Mia jeans… I’d actually planned to make them earlier in the year, and bought the denim from MyFabrics.co.uk, but with my Achilles injury I couldn’t wear trousers/jeans for ages, so they had to be put on hold. I’d already designed the top stitching for my back pockets; my thinking was that, as the SOI eBook’s called ‘My Capsule Wardrobe – City Break’ I’d stitch a city skyline outline. It also kinda reminds me of the towers in San Gimignano in Tuscany.
After checking the size chart I decided to go for a 10 with no grading, as the measurements matched mine perfectly and, with the 2.5cm seam allowance on the outer legs, it would allow for my ‘athletic’ thighs!
So, once I’d got the pockets on and the crotch seam sewed, as per the instructions, it was then on to the zip. Now, the instructions say to “trim the zip down to exactly 12.5cm from the top of the tape.” This had me rather confused because, if I had done so, my zip would’ve ended up far too short. See what I mean…?
Then I remembered that Lisa had done a video tutorial for the fly, so I popped over and had a watch. She trims her zip down to “exactly the length of the opening”… so I did that too, which turned out to be 15cm. I then continued to follow the video and it all turned out rather well.
After that it was all very plain sailing, with the instructions being spot on. It tells you to trim the waistband seam allowance down to 5mm before top stitching. However, I found that my top stitching didn’t quite catch the edge, so I hand stitched it down.
When it came to the outer seams, I basted them and ended up varying the seam allowance down the legs to get a perfect fit. In some places it’s 2.5cm (waist), others it’s 1.5cm (hips) and over the fullest part of my calf it’s down to about 8mm. The perks of making your own clothes! I also added about 15cm of top-stitching to the outer thigh, as I know there’s going to be extra pressure on that particular seam.
I thoroughly enjoyed making my first pair of jeans – I’m super-chuffed with the fit – and I found my first venture into topstitching really therapeutic and satisfying. There are more photos further down, but here’s a cheeky preview of my back pockets!
Next up is my Itch to Stitch BEAUSOLEIL Cold Shoulder Top…
The fabric for this *accidentally* fell into my shopping basket when I was buying some bits from Sew Over It, and I’m so glad it did as it’s gorgeous! I love the slightly retro look to it and the colours are right up my street.
The Beausoleil top comes with options for different cup sizes, which is brilliant, as it saves having to do a full bust adjustment.
The instructions state ‘You can use the cup size you typically wear’… Now, what you might not know about me is that I’m a bit of a bra-fitting fiend and tend to get rather cross when I see people wearing bands that are way too big, riding up their backs, and cups that are too small with boobage spilling out all over the place, or boobs sitting down near the waist instead of upfront where they should be. I also can’t stand the apparent mindset that ‘DD is massive’, or that there are no other sizes beyond DD. Further, so many places measure your underbust and then add 4 or 5 inches to that to get your band size, but all this results in is a band that’s too big, rides up your back, and offers no support. Basically, what you measure in inches around your underbust should be [roughly] your band size and it should be nice and snug and sit horizontally around your ribcage, then you fit the cups accordingly so that all of the breast tissue is enclosed, the wires lie flat against your ribcage, and there’s no spillage anywhere… Check out Curvy Kate for some excellent fitting videos, which explain it all far better than I can. For reference I measure 36” overbust and 29” underbust and I wear a correctly-fitting, super-comfortable and supportive 28G bra.
SO… the Beausoleil comes in “cup” sizes of A, B, C, D, and DD, which is actually a nonsense, because a true DD is fairly small, especially on smaller band sizes, so I recommend you absolutely don’t go by your ‘typical cup size’, but instead only go by the measurements on the chart, as they are very accurate.
I made the top in a size 2D and the fit is pretty much spot-on. The instructions are very clear and easy to follow, the facings work perfectly, and the construction of the ‘cold shoulder’ is really interesting and something a bit different. I actually rustled this up in a day, so it’s a quick and satisfying make.
I only made a couple of changes, which were to move the tip of the bust dart out by 2cm, as it sat right on my apex and looked very pointy, and I took the zip seam at the back in a bit to stop any gaping.
This is my first Itch to Stitch make, but it certainly won’t be my last. I’ve got the Anza Jumpsuit next on my list, and also the new Chai Shirt Dress that I want to make with some gorgeous Liberty Lawn from my stash, AND the La Paz Jacket as an autumn make! Watch this space!
Finally, here are some pics of my finished outfit…