Thursday 10 May 2018

Freya Fabulousness

Sorrynotsorry for this photo heavy post. I've just made two cracking new tops and I'm damn well going to make you look at them!!! In the interests of full disclosure: I was sent this book (Tilly and the Buttons: Stretch!) for free by the publisher. That said, thoughts and views are all my own, obvs. 

(image source: Tilly and the Buttons)


Tilly's latest book was released just after most of us came up with our #2018makenine (or #makenine2018?) selections, myself included. I was so focussed on my own selection of upcoming sewing projects that, having thoroughly enjoyed flicking through this book, I put it aside to ponder the projects later in the year. Then all the Freya dress and top pictures started flooding in on the interwebs. Holy smokes, there's not one that I haven't loved.  

The bones of the pattern are great. The fit is ideal, IMO: form fitting without putting exactly how much you had for lunch on display. The collar is elegant but not choking or annoying. And with three sleeve length options, you can really tailor each version to specific seasons. For both versions, I used the same blend of sizes: size 4 for the shoulder and bust area on the front and back pieces, blending to size 5 for the waist and hips. For the sleeve piece, I used the size 4 for the sleeve head so it would fit into the armholes, then blended out to the size 5 for the bicep down because I have slightly chunkier upper arms. This combo of sizes worked out really well. The only tweak I needed to make was to shave off a bit of the curve around the hip area with my overlocker. 

Version 1: 

Tilly's hack to include a ruffle detail is a stroke of genius, and one that I was unable to resist. After half making the top, I popped the top on my dress form and (as instructed) played around with some twill tape to mark a nice position for the inner edge of the ruffle strip. I cut the strip itself quite a bit longer than the instructions suggested after reading Karen's review, and mine is 1cm narrower than the ruffle on the mustard version in the book. 

I took agessssss pinning the ruffle into position, far longer than all the rest of the construction steps combined. (You can see a WIP picture of this on my Instagram feed, @sozoblog.) But I think taking my time really paid off because, having looked at the top from all angles in these photos, I'm pretty sure I got it spot on. I only usually use my dress form for taking photos of my finished projects, but I'm pretty sure it made the ruffle positioning and pinning process 3000% easier than using a flat surface as per the method shown in the book. 


Fabric Godmother had this amazing anchor ponte di Roma in stock last year in two colour ways: white with navy anchors, and navy with white anchors. I bought a length of the white with navy anchors, then kind of regretted it and bought some of the other way the next time I went (most of which became this cardigan and these sweatpants). A while later I cut into the white background colour way for another project, but I'm not even going to tell you about that because I'm embarrassed to say it was completely the wrong type of fabric for the pattern I was attempting. I didn't even get as far as the construction before I bailed on that project, and the cut pieces and scraps lay dormant in a bag. 

When I realised that it would have been the perfect match for the Freya pattern, I scrabbled about to see if I could squeeze the Freya pieces out of the cut-and-abandoned pieces and the leftover scraps. Thankfully, the garment I had previously attempted was larger than the Freya, and I was able to get most of the Freya pieces out easily enough, apart from the back piece that I had to 'cut and shut' together. You can probably see the join in the photo above, but I doubt you'd notice if you saw me wearing it IRL. And if you did, I don't care. 

Version 2:

Having worn the anchor version a metric ton, I went hunting in my stash to see if I had anything more light weight for a warmer weather version. Believe it or not, the knit section of my fabric stash is looking a lot sparser since I committed myself to using up one piece of stash per week, but I found just the piece. In fact, I had been wondering what to do with this fabric since I ordered it from Cotton Bee. But more on the fabric shortly. For this version, I opted for the shorter sleeve length and kept it ruffle-free. The only difference I made regarding construction was to position the collar seam at the Centre Back, rather than at one of the shoulder seams as suggested in the pattern instructions. When I positioned the collar seam at the shoulder seam on my anchor version, it was visually more pleasing in that you didn't notice the collar seam so much, but I found it added extra bulk and a bit of a lump where all those seam allowances met.


Part of me thinks that this fabric deserves a whole post on its own, but anyways. Back in December of last year, Cotton Bee contacted me to see if I wanted a free voucher to try their fabric printing service in exchange for a mention on the ol' blog. If I ever refuse free fabric, call an ambulance immediately. So, they posted me a swatch book of the different types of base fabric they offer, and some additional samples all printed up with some very lovely print designs. In the same vein as their competitor Spoonflower, with Cotton Bee, you can upload your own design to be printed onto the base fabric of your choice, or search through their ridiculously enormous catalogue of existing designs. 

Whole months could easily be spent thinking up random words, and then trawling through the search results that are brought up. When you click on a design you like, it handily shows you both other designs that are similar that you may like more, AND other designs by the same designer, if there are any. I can no longer remember the search trail that lead me to find this amazing hands design, but I also ended up ordering another piece of fabric with a print by the very same designer because I enjoyed her work so much. The one annoying thing I found whilst searching through their design catalogue is this: if you click on a design that you'd like a closer look at, when you click 'back', you are sent to the bottom of the very first page of search results that loaded, even if you have already trawled through hundreds of designs through from that search.

But when you have found the print design of your dreams, you have the fantastic opportunity to alter the scale of the print, and the heavy burden of responsibility that comes with that. I took AN. AGE. trying to visualise how big I wanted the hands in this design to be. I thoroughly annoyed Mr SoZo by taking as long as I did. Anyways, I'm thrilled with the finished product. It's printed on interlock, which is a lovely, soft 100% cotton knit fabric that is heavier than jersey, but thinner than French terry or sweatshirt fabric. It has the same jersey-like appearance on both sides, but it is more stable and easier to work with, e.g. it doesn't curl up at the edges when you've cut your pieces out.

Because I has already made one version, and I was omitting the trickiest step this time (the ruffle), this second version came together in the blink of an eye. The only 'flaw' in this version, is that one of the sleeve pieces was cut too close to the edge (I was cutting out with the fabric folded right sides together) and a bit of the print is missing. Note: when using this service, the design doesn't get printed right up to the selvedge like you find on 'regular' shop-bought printed fabric. I didn't notice until I was almost finished putting my top together, and could be bothered to unpick and recut it, but thankfully it's under the arm so most likely won't be visible. 


I'm so in love with these tops! At time of writing I haven't worn Version 2 yet, the weather has been really warm since I finished it, but I'm excited to work it into some new outfit combos, particularly as that's what my Me-Made-May pledge is all about this year. I definitely plan to make another Freya, probably a long-sleeved version in black ponte for the cooler months. As for the fabrics: keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming post where the scraps of the anchor ponte are put to good use, and I'm thrilled that I have enough of the hands print interlock for another small T-shirt or tank top once the right pattern has been sourced. 


PsychicSewerKathleen said...

Love your Freyas and knowing mine is winging its way to me as I write this excites me even more! I've loved all the Freyas - in fact I love all the patterns in this book. What a winning combination for Tilly and we all get to benefit.

Pamela said...

Hi Zoe, I loved this post! It's wonderfully written and your tops are fantastic. I am going to put Tilly's book in my wish list!

Fabric Tragic said...

Oh the hands, they couldn’t be more perfect! Love!

Abbeydabbles said...

Both of these Freyas are beautiful Zo! And so practical too in the monochrome prints; they'll easily go with most other garments.

Let's Get Sewing said...

These both look amazing! I love your cleo that you’ve worn with the second Freya too.

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