No pattern tops for starters

Following on from my posting here, I thought I’d show my no pattern tops. They are very good tee shirt replacements for everyday life. This one used 1.5 metres of 1.2m wide fabric. As I’m trying not to save scraps, I’ll make the remainder into one of my fabric pots and some bias binding – both to sell over the summer if I’m lucky.

Me Made May Day 7

A younger me wearing one made from a charity shopped Liberty print skirt


And the whole collection…

They are all different, but all made by tucking and manipulating fabric to fit my shape. Buttons are my favourite fastenings so they always feature in these tops and dresses.

Odd? Yes, I suppose so, but they can be quite pretty, they are cool to wear and they don’t use much fabric. The dress was made from only 1 metre of 1.5m wide fabric.

Meantime on the 1930s front, I have a blouse I made a while ago which I think will make a good starting point for this:


Thank you to all those of you who offered sugestions as to where I could find a pattern – I think going through all your suggestions helped me to realise that I actually had something that I could use. I’ll show you soon.

EmilyAnn has some interesting pointers to share on her 1930s dress toile. I am learning a lot from her methods.

And for the #oneyearoneoutfit project, I’ve started sewing the bias Irish linen top. I’ve unpicked some of the threads from the fabric to use as sewing thread as I’ve been unable to source any suitable linen thread. To make it usable I stick to short lengths (about 12 inches)  and pull it through a beeswax block. It seems strong enough. Obviously, handsewing is the only way to do it.

Once I’ve made the top I plan to dye it with plants from my garden (or maybe my neighbours’ fields).

Thanks for dropping by.

Norma x



Filed under #1year1outfit, 1930s sewalong, Clothes, dresses, dressmaking, sewing, textiles

15 responses to “No pattern tops for starters

  1. Those tops are great-perfect for warmer weather or even colder if yu put on a long sleeved jersey on underneath. You could try selling them this summer as well–I’d buy one.
    Glad to hear you figured out the top for the 10930’s outfit. I never realized that sewing involved so much problem solving.
    Can’t believe that you are re-using the thread but hey–necessity is the mother of invention. I’ll bet people did it back in the old days too. They were way more careful about just throwing stuff away in the old days. We used magazines in the outhouse when I was a kid. paper was hard to come by.
    Looking forward to seeing the dyeing process. Seems like you have a VERY busy summer ahead of you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. piecefulwendy

    What a clever, creative idea for making a top! I’m looking forward to seeing your 1930s creation. You are one talented lady!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like your no-pattern tops, Norma. In a way they remind me of the popular “One Hour Dress” patterns of the 1910s and 1920s. There were no patterns. Just certain measurements applied to rectangles of fabric. Some styles had the type of cap sleeve your tops do. I haven’t seen any “One Hour Dress” patterns from the 1930s, though. This makes an interesting topic to research and post about. If I get time I can link a posting to this one since they’ll complement each other.

    I like your choice of fabrics and buttons. This is what makes your tops unique and appealing. I wish you success in marketing them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. I’d love to see something about 1 hour dresses. I just did it out of my head when I got the Liberty skirt.
      Mine have cap sleeves because the tops of my arms are not so nice these days.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Cap sleeves are more flattering. I don’t find sleeveless tops and low front or backs very attractive. That’s just me. I’ll get a posting in with pics in a week or so. I’m preparing for travel to Baltimore for a wedding. Things are so busy in a happy way.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Unpicking the threads is genius!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love your handmade t-shirts … so much prettier and more unique than anything found at the shops.

    I know I’ve said it before, but I am so fascinated by your methods of making your historic garments. Using the linen threads from the fabric, and passing them through bees wax is so cool. I just read a historic novel set in the early 1800s, that included a character who was a seamstress (The Invention of Wings) and it sounds like you and she were sewing in the same era!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Pattern Design Books | She Sews You Know

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