I like to wander around the shops to get a feel for what people are buying and want to wear, so that I can plan my workshops to be something that my students will actually want to wear and during one of these window shopping trips I came across this lovely little embriodered top that I thought would be fab for me for the summer.
The top was in Gap and was £34.95 and I thought I could draft myself a pattern for something relatively similar without much trouble.
However, what I did not anticipate was how much trouble I would have with finding suitable fabric. I wanted a cotton (not poly-cotton) scalloped border Broderie Anglaise in white with coloured embroidery and I searched the internet hight and low without success.
At this point I noticed that Gap were running a promotion and I could buy the top for £9.99, and as my fabric search appeared futile I trotted back to the store to buy the top; even though on principle I do not buy clothes on the high street; this top had got into my head and I had to have it!
Imagine my dismay when I tried it on and I did not look like the model in the picture (and they didn’t have the blue/white version in my size). I loved the sleeves but the top sat a bit wide on my shoulders and a bit snug around my hips and belly, so I decided to stick to my principles and not buy it after all.
The idea struck me like lightning: what about some vintage bed linen?! I know I had seen pillowcases woth a similar type of embroidery, so I started trawling eBay and discovered this fabulous vintage tableclot, that I knew would be perfect for my version of this top.
I knew I could use the corners and borders where all the detailing is to create an amazing top inspired by the one I had originally seen.
So I purchased the table cloth for around £15 from eBay, it duly arrived and I loved it and then other more pressing projects arrived and the poor tablecloth got pushed farther and farther down in my current projects box.
Until this week that is; I was browsing on Instagram, as you do, and came across Chalk & Notch Patterns and I spied some flutter sleeve tops (the Farrah Blouse) that reminded me that I had this beautiful tablecloth waiting to be turning into something even more fabulous with sleeves just like that.
- on Sunday I purchased the PDF of the pattern
- on Monday I printed the pattern, stuck it together and cut the paper pattern in my size &
- on Tuesday I finally finished by top, months after my initial inspiration!
And guess what? I love it! It’s going to be a perect summer top to wear on my holiday!
Because I wanted to create a feature of the corner embroidery and the borders on the tables I cut the main front and back panels on the bias, which skims the body in a way that the Chalk and Notch pattern doesn’t as it is cut on the straight grain. The corners also give a brilliant hankerchief hem, that I think works so well.
I was a little short on fabric to get it all out of the tablecloth, so I had to cut the front yoke on the bias too, but it is stablised by the front yoke facing. I raided my Mum’s old pillowcase stash and found a white cotton pillowcase, which I cut up to make the back yoke, back yoke facing and the front yoke facing.
The border on the tablecloth meant that I did not have to hem the top as the lower edges are already finished.
These photos were taken just as I completed the top and was so excited to try it on, I hadn’t even pressed it!
A sucessful upcycle inspired by a Gap top that I love so much more that the original insiration!
***EDIT*** After the response to this, I’ve added a workshop to make your version of the Chalk & Notch Farrah Blouse or Dress on Saturday 21st July. Click here for more info.