I drag my sewing machine out of storage about once a year these days. Usually it’s because I want a couple of new tops, or maybe a few simple dresses. This year it was the former, and I went back to my old, easy standby: Built by Wendy Simplicity 3835. I’ve been sewing this pattern for 11 years! It’s the first shirt I learned to sew, and it’s still the easiest. It’s got nothing in the way of shaping, so no fussy darts to mess with. And the simple pattern shapes are easy to modify.
The half dozen or so of this pattern that I still have in my closet are not making me happy lately. The fact that they are all 3 or more years old and have shrunk over time is definitely part of the problem. But the several pounds I have gained since going back to an office job are also a factor. I really enjoy that significant portions of my work wardrobe are me-made, so it’s been disappointing to be uncomfortable in my handmade tops this summer.
I decided, when we went to Lancaster last month, that one of my goals was to get a couple of fabrics that I could turn into new tops. The orange quilting cotton, and the green cotton lawn came from that trip. The following week, I decided to pick up a few more fabrics locally, and that’s where the two aqua-colored ones came from. The darker plaid is a nice woven fabric, and the pale gingham is super lightweight (but not at all breathable – probably some synthetic blend).
I cut out all four shirts at the same time, adding 2 inches to the length, and a smidge to the width. I’m super happy with the length of these. They’re more like a tunic, and that suits me nicely right now. I definitely went too far with the width, though, and I ended up taking them all in. They’re all a bit billowy, which is better for my comfort, but not better for my silhouette. I can own my own weight, but I’m not quite as cool with tops that make me look heavier than I actually am.
I also made the sleeves wider, and skipped the elastic. The jury is still out on those mods. I like the one long-sleeved version, but the rest of them seem to be too wide. I may put some elastic in them to tame them.
(At least two of these tops really should have been ironed before my little photo shoot 😬)
So, I’ve posed in these for show-and-tell purposes, without hiding behind sweaters, vests, or shawls. But chances are, when I wear them out in the wild, there will be layering involved.
These will be great tops to wear with jeans, and a handknit sweater when the weather gets cooler. And I like the way the gingham one looks with my new Taryn shawl (sneak peek!). I didn’t buy fabrics in different weights or levels of drapiness on purpose. But the results. They’re all not identical to each other, even though they came from the same pattern.
Now we should probably take bets… How long will it be before I pack up the sewing machine and get it out of my dining room? 😜