FO: I’m Only a Poor Little Sparrow Top

Oh come on – you must remember that song?  Go on – have a nostalgia trip!

So what have we here, Roo?

I needed a palette-cleansing project.  Something to make and wear.  A fuss-free, everyday sort of a thing.
So I dug out my Renfrew pattern and grabbed the yard of Girl Charlee jersey that only arrived on Friday, thinking “quick tee”.  Ha!  When did I ever take the simple path?

This particular jersey has a little bit of something non-cotton going on, making it drapier than plain t-shirt material.  (Rayon, says the web-site.)  It seemed like an awful shame not to work with that quality, so I rummaged around for ideas to add more volume without turning it into a maternity smock.

Simplicity 3692, out of print
Simplicity 2798

I really liked what I saw of a Built by Wendy tee pattern (Simplicity 3692, now out of print) which features a yoke with a lightly gathered bodice.

There is a similar style in Cal Patch’s book, the Marguerite tee.

And Boden are selling something similar this season, the fabric-mix top.

I brewed these ideas for a while over a mug of tea and decided to use the yoke shaping from Simplicity 2798 (because I had it in my stash already) as the basis for a reworked Renfrew.  I redrafted the neckline of the yoke section to fall mid-way between a Renfrew and a 2798, and added 2 inches down the centre front of the Renfrew piece.

I hit on the idea of stitching a few rows of shirring at the centre front (using elastic in the bobbin) and gently gathering the top edge to absorb the rest of the excess fabric around the yoke.  My shirring is a bit squiggly, and so is my top-stitching, but hopefully nobody will be staring at my chest long enough to notice.
This has given the top a bit more ease at the bust than my standard Size 2 Renfrew, while the woven fabric of the yoke adds structure and stability.  I really like how it has turned out :)
I didn’t bother with cuffs or hem-bands, but added 2 inches to the length of the Renfrew sleeves and body, then turned up a narrow double hem, which I stitched with a small zig zag.  I sewed the long seams with the vari-overlock stitch (number 6) and attached the yoke with an ordinary straight stitch.  All the sewing was done with my normal Bernina.  I still don’t feel the need for a serger!

Patterns:  Renfrew top by Sewaholic in size 2 for back, sleeves and lower front.  Simplicity 2798 in size 4 for the yoke, with neckline lowered and the shoulder narrowed to line up with the Renfrew template.
Fabric:  One yard of “Sparrows in the Woods” jersey from Girl Charlee, $5.50 (plus postage – see below).  A scrap of cream broderie anglaise from a seemingly never-ending piece I bought from Ditto Fabrics a while back.
Other:  Half a yard or so of shirring elastic, used in the lower bobbin of the sewing machine.  An oddment of white cotton bias binding, cut in half lengthwise, to bind the neck edge.

I am really happy with it!
The fabric is quite thin but feels lovely and drapes well.  My new cardigan is a great colour match so I will even be able to wear it in the snow!
I like the contrast between the narrow sleeves and the slightly fuller front. 
It works well worn loose or tucked in.
Yup – it’s a keeper! :D

A note about Girl Charlee:
A couple of people have asked me about the cost of buying fabric from the States.
This is the second time I have bought fabric from Girl Charlee and I have been very pleased with the quality of the fabric, speed of delivery (less than a week) and overall value.
On both occasions, I bought 3 yards of fabric for a total of 16 US dollars and paid 16.95 US dollars on top of that for postage.  Yes – I paid more for the postage than the fabric!  But when I worked it out, this came to a total cost of £21 for 3 yards of fabric, so £7 a yard.  That is cheaper than the last “cheap” jersey I bought from ebay within the UK, and I don’t have a local source of knit fabrics.
I wasn’t charged a customs fee for either parcel. 
So as long as I can make a lovely top for £7, I’ll be going back to Girl Charlee :)