Tag Archives: Simplicity

Simplicity 1693

My sewing plans at the moment have a focus on summery tops as with the good weather we’ve been having of late, I’ve realised I don’t have many tops that I like to wear when it is warm and sunny.

Recently I was kindly offered a Simplicity pattern of my choice in exchange for a review and after drooling over a few dresses that in reality were beyond my current capabilities (and that I’d be unlikely to wear much), I homed in on Simplicity 1693 as it fits right in with my more summer tops plan and includes an impressive number of variations.

For my first version I made view C but without the waist elastic.  I was so pleased with the finished top that I wore it out just a few hours after finishing it!

Simplicity 1693

You may recognise the fabric from my first Belcarra.  It felt a little weird making another top from the same fabric so soon, but I knew that it would drape the way I wanted so went ahead.

The only issue I had with the pattern was the sizing.  Going by the size chart, I should have been a 14 grading to 16, but luckily I made a quick toile and found that the top swamped me.  I then compared the pattern pieces to those of the Belcarra and Sorbetto tops I’ve made and decided that a 12 grading to 14 should fit better.  I also lengthened the pattern by 3 cm at the hem since I’m tall.

Simplicity 1693 side view

The top is pretty straight forward to sew together and I used French seams throughout (the pattern instructions include details on how to do them).  My darts ended up rather wonky, which I think was due to a combination of my trying a new method of making the pattern marks (dressmakers carbon and tracing wheel instead of pins and marking pencils) and the fabric being more mobile than the cottons I’d generally used so far.  Luckily the dark fabric and print do a good job of hiding the wonky-ness!

The neckline and armholes are finished with bias binding facings, so I made bias strips with the same fabric.  For the armholes I tried out the technique described by Lauren of lladybird as part of her outfit along, except I folded the bias tape in half before applying (a la the Belcarra instructions) instead of folding and pressing twice once sewn on.  Even though I’m not taking part in the outfit along, I’ve really been enjoying Lauren’s detailed posts and feel like I’ve learnt loads – the time and thought she has put in is quite something.

Simplicity 1693 front view

I like the button closure detail at the back of this top (the neck is large enough for me that the button opening isn’t necessary, but I like how it looks) and this provided my first go at making a thread loop.  I found a few different ways of doing this online, but ended up just following the diagram in the pattern, think it has worked out ok for a first attempt, you can’t really see it anyway.

Simplicity 1693 button detail

The button closure means there is a centre back seam to this top.  I did think about pattern matching this seam, but didn’t have much fabric left so decided instead to place the pieces such that there wouldn’t be a bright or big flower along the seam so that it is somewhat disguised, I think this worked out ok.

Simplicity 1693 back

Trying the top on pre-hemming it looked a bit longer at the front than the back (I think this must be due to my shape or posture because I noticed the same with the Belcarra).  This was really noticeable if I wore a belt (to try to test out how it would look with the waist elastic), so I decided to trim a bit off the front.  I got a bit carried away and took about 4.5 cm off the centre front, tapering to the original length at the side seams.  I didn’t think the top looked very good with the belt any more so left out the elasticated waist, but I quite like the gentle high/low hem that this has created (like a subtler version of view F).

Overall I’m pretty happy with this top and now will be on the lookout for suitable fabric to make a contrast collar version…

New for me with this make:

  • Making a thread loop
  • New method of applying a bias facing

Another good beginner project: Pyjama bottoms

Pyjama bottoms definitely make a good beginner project – straight forward stitching and they are not closely fitted. I quite fancied a new fun print pair of pyjamas and was excited to be able to make them the right length!

Pyjama bottoms

I found this fun London print fabric on Goldhawk Road that was just what I was looking for.  I am not sure if this would be described as a lightweight quilting cotton or a cotton poplin, but it worked well for the pyjamas.

Pyjama bottoms

I used Simplicity’s Easy PJ Pants pattern – a free PDF download that I found via Did You Make That?.  Unfortunately I think something went wrong with the sizing when I printed this as I had to shorten the pattern (I’m pretty tall so definitely wasn’t expecting this), but the print out didn’t include a test square (or I missed it) so I couldn’t check.

After quite a lot of measuring of the flat pattern vs existing pyjamas to try and get the right size cut I ended up with a pair of wearable pyjamas, but they are snugger than I would like around the hips.  Long enough though!

Pyjama bottoms

New techniques I learnt:

  • Making button holes (loving the easy buttonhole foot that came with my sewing machine)
  • Making an elasticated waistband

Pyjama bottoms buttonhole detail

I like these pyjama bottoms, but in all honesty not sure how much wear they’ll get due to the fit. These have a horizontal waist all way around, but I’ve now seen other trouser patterns that angle up at the back, which I think would help make them more comfy for lounging around in. So next time I make pyjamas I’ll try a different pattern, luckily I now have one after getting my (signed 🙂 ) copy of Love At First Stitch at the Make Good Festival:

Love at first stitch