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As Summer comes to a close I am starting to look at some of the clothes that I want to make for Autumn. I have my eye on some pinafore dress patterns – with pockets, obviously. But I realised that I do not have any suitable tops for layering underneath. So I decided to try the Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top pattern.
Tilly And The Buttons Agnes Top
The Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top is marked as an improvers sewing pattern. This means that it is more suitable for people with some sewing experience. Perhaps this is because this pattern is designed for stretch fabrics.
See my post on how to get started sewing knits or jersey. It really is not as difficult as you think. Jersey knitted clothes are so much more comfortable, and great for layering in the colder months. You can even sew them on a standard sewing machine. So this is an ideal pattern for wearing underneath autumn and winter pinafores.
The Agnes Top
- a close fitted main body
- the choice of long or cropped sleeves
- a deep scoop neckline
- the choice of a ruched front to give the top a sweetheart neckline
- two different sleeve types, either plain or with a ruche puffed shoulder
There are no buttons or zips because it is a stretch pattern. It is a pull over the head design.
PDF Pattern vs Printed?
I actually love PDF patterns and use them a lot. They are
- easily and rapidly downloaded – it arrives in minutes – so there is no need to wait for the pattern to come in the post. You can use it that day to make the clothes you want.
- easy to print out – as long as you have adobe reader downloaded on your computer.
- you can print the pattern time and time again, meaning that you don’t need to trace different sizes from a pattern (which is a laborious job!) And sometimes you can just print the size that you need.
However, you do sometimes need a lot of paper. And it can be quite wasteful of paper. You also need to stick the pattern together, which can take a lot of time. And you don’t get an envelope for the pattern, though I usually make myself one from the printed front cover sheet and another page.
I chose to buy myself a printed copy this time.
Choosing and Cutting the Fabric
I usually make a toile out of cheap fabrics to ensure a good fit (read why here). But this time I had some lovely ex designer fabric and just decided to go ahead. The instructions are really clear on how much fabric you need, and how to lay out your fabric for cutting, so I was confident that it would be a great top. I would normally choose a cotton jersey of 220-240 gsm weight, but this fabric is quite a thin very stretchy viscose jersey.
I cut out the pattern size 8 (which is about a UK 18) to the length of the pattern. However, the pattern has a clear indications of where you can add to lengthen the top if you need it.
I also cut my sleeve to be in-between the sleeve lengths on the pattern. The sleeve lengths given on the pattern are an elbow length and a full length. I cut my sleeve to be about half way in-between, so that it could be a 3/4 length.
Sewing Up The Top
I would say that this pattern was great for a stretch beginner. As usually with a Tilly pattern the instructions were really helpful and thorough. There are even very clear pictures.
Although it did not include this in the instructions, I overlocked the seams as I went along. You can sew this top with just a standard sewing machine, but I do love the extra strength of overlocking.
However, the only instructions I found a little vague in the instructions was on how to fit the neck band. I used my usual quartering technique for fitting the neckband instead of how Tilly did it (see my tutorial on neckbands here)
I also used a twin needle to finish the neckline and hems. See my post here on how a twin needle gives the most professional finish to your stretch garments.
The Finished top
Very quickly all the pieces sewed up.
I was absolutely overjoyed with my finished Tilly and the Buttons Agnes Top. It is such a versatile pattern, and I love the fact that I could make a completely different stop with a sweetheart neckline and/or ruche sleeves from the same pattern. I shall be making so many more of these in all colours to go under my finished pinafores.
The next time I make it though, I shall lengthen the top slightly. I prefer a longer top, but did want to see how long the standard pattern make was. I tend to wear tops covering my hips. This one is perfect for wearing under my Kwik sew pinafore or Tilly and The Buttons Cleo Dress though, which is exactly what I needed.
Fancy getting your hands on this pattern? Buy it here!
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