Sunday, 7 March 2021

Handmade Ruched Front Top

Recently, I've been enjoying sewing with leftover fabrics from my stash. These are fabrics that I've already made something out of but didn't fully use up, so they're not usually big enough to make something like a dress put are perfect for t-shirts. It's been a particularly good thing to do recently as I haven't been able to visit any fabric shops to buy new fabrics and I like being able to use up bits of fabric that would otherwise be lying around taking up space for years. This jacket is the perfect example of using up leftover fabrics from several different projects, although for the most part my leftover makes aren't that complicated.

With this fabric I was lucky to have enough leftover to make a long-sleeved top, although most leftover projects have to be sleeveless due to fabric restrictions. I actually got this fabric over a year ago from Minerva, I really liked the lilac colour but it was more drapey and lightweight than I was expecting so I wasn't sure what to make from it. I ended up making a simple t-shirt for my sister which she's worn as a pyjama top, but I wanted to try and do the fabric justice by making something a bit nicer out of it. Because of its drape I thought it would be perfect for something involving gathers or ruching which tend to work best with lightweight fabrics.

Having been really stuck with what to make when I initially received the fabric I knew exactly what I wanted this time round. The best thing about sewing from leftover fabric which would otherwise never be used is the opportunity to give any technique a go. I love being able to try out new details without the fear of wasting fabric, although these simple tops often turn out really well.
I've made quite a few different tops with ruching details over the last year or so and also want to try out putting ruching into the side seam in the future. I initially made this grey top which has a ruching effect created by ties and really enjoy wearing it, so I then made another similar top out of Tilly and the Buttons jersey. Both of those makes turned out really well, so I know that ruching is a good detail to add to t-shirts.

I didn't want to make another top using the channel and ties so decided to use elastic to add the ruching detail. I first tried this out on this top where I added elastic to just the neckline rather than going all the way down the top. I like both versions, it's great to be able to make a simple adjustment like changing the length of the elastic to create a completely different top. One thing that I took into account after making the other elasticated top was to make the neckline a bit wider. It's hard to know how wide to make the neckline when cutting it as it does change size slightly after the neckband and elastic has been added, but I think slightly wider is better as the neckband will bring it in. I'm also really pleased with how this neckband looks, it's definitely an improvement from the first v-neck t-shirt I made although gathering hides a multitude of sins!

Having added ruching to two tops made from plain fabrics and two from printed fabrics, I really think that it's a detail that looks good on a lot of different fabrics. It can be used to add interest to a plain top as well as being a more subtle addition to a busy fabric. I tend to mainly wear plain tops and to me having a ruched front is the perfect way to make a simple t-shirt more interesting. I'd like to add it to a plain black or white t-shirt next in order to create more basics that aren't boring.

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