ALL SEWN UP: Checks and Biases

by Jamie on February 15, 2015


Today’s ‘All Sewn Up’ is another summer top I recently made over the holidays.

Sticking with the boxy theme from my last sewn project, I decided to make use of a yarn-dyed check in a silk/linen blend.

I’d recently purchased this fabric at Astratex in Richmond, Melbourne. The material was a little pricey, so I only bought a metre, convincing myself I could make something wearable from the limited supply.


The pattern for this top was drafted using the Boxy Tee as a base, but with a number of alterations that took account of the large woven check and my intention to create a fit that was a little more relaxed than the Boxy Tee shape. I eliminated the side bust darts,  dropped the shoulders to create kimono-like sleeves and straightened the hemline to ensue the check placement would continue straight around the circumference of the hemline. The neckline only differed slightly from the Boxy Tee in that I scooped about 1.5cm out of the center-front to create a softer neckline than the boat neck of the previous pattern.

Check-Top-illustration Original design for the check top with bias-cut bands at hem and sleeve.


My original intention for this design was to add a bias-cut hem and sleeve band to the style, but after starting to cut the pattern out in the fabric, no amount of “I’ll make it fit” attitude it was going to make it possible – given the limited fabric.

So, with my front and back already cut out I was wishing that I’d made the top a little longer. I had counted on extending the length of the top at least 5cm with a hem band – now I barely had an allowance to finish the hem at all. At least I had just enough fabric for a bias-cut sleeve – but the raw edges still needed finishing without significantly shortening the length of the top and sleeves.


The solution came in the way of some navy blue silk/cotton voile I had in my stash. Whilst not being a perfect match with the navy check, it was close enough and I thought using the fabric as a bias finish to the outside of the garment would tie the whole thing together and ensure that a minimal allowance was used in the finishing of the raw edges… I was fairly happy with the outcome of the finishing – even though the top was a bit shorter than I would have liked.

If I had my time with this project again, I’d be more mindful when planning the sleeves. By cutting the sleeves on the bias, I intended to eliminate any issues to do with check placement, however, I think the cut of the drop shoulder and the nature of the large check made the placement look pretty ordinary around the armhole… Live and learn Eh?

Excepting the above reservations, the cool fabric and loose design is extremely wearable – especially  in the hot weather and I’ve happily worn this top a number of times over the last few weeks. I’m confident it will remain a top that will get much use over the warmer seasons.

Again, throwing caution to the wind and taking risks altered the outcome of this project… I’m starting to realise that this is something I often do – create problems and solve them as I go.

That being said, the solutions to the problems create outcomes for me that would not have been thought of initially… and that’s what I find so exciting.

Sew, Wear, Love









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