Howdy ho! I hope you’ve all been having a wonderful summer – mine’s been crazy stressful thanks to the demands of a shitty project (hence the radio silence over the past two months). I haven’t felt like there’s been much time for anything and I ended up being told to take a week off once the project went live. I had grand plans for that week. I was going to do ALL the sewing, but it coincided with a heat wave and all I wanted to do was spend time in the coldest place in south west London. Turns out it’s the fruit and veg section of the Colliers Wood Sainsburys, but that’s another story.
The only thing I did manage to make was the Overture top by Storybook Patterns which came free with the latest issue of Simply Sewing magazine here in the UK (it was still available in Sainsburys yesterday… I spend too much time in that place). It’s a floaty dress/top with a little pointed collar and a pleat in the back to give it a bit more volume. The full shape was something of a departure for me, as I usually prefer a more fitted silhouette, whether it’s a cinched waist or slimmer bodice, but I figured it would be good for big dinners and hot temperatures.
The samples in the magazine were made up in cotton lawns, but I knew something with more drape would look good. Luckily I had some funky and floaty pineapple print viscose that I bought on a recent trip to Copenhagen in my stash. I also had some black crepe for a contrast collar, so I was all ready to go.
Assembling the pattern
If you’re going to have a go at this pattern, I’d recommend looking at all four pattern sheets together before you start tracing/cutting out. Because the pattern has a lot of fullness, the back bodice pieces won’t fit on a single sheet, so you have to trace or stick them together – four separate elements make up the single pattern piece. I didn’t realise this and got myself really confused. I suspect it’s something to do with printing/paper restrictions, but I almost gave up as a result.
Fit and drafting
My measurements corresponded with size D and I was pretty pleased with the results, cos it fit me straight out of the packet. Normally I’d grade out for the hips, but looking at the finished measurements, I was confident I wouldn’t need to. The drafting was also spot on with everything matching up nicely.
Judging by the level of detail in the instructions, the Overture set is aimed at ambitious beginners. It’s a reasonably simple pattern, but it teaches some useful skills including two different seam finishes, pleats and inserting a collar. These are all explained really clearly and are accompanied by pictures, which is great and I felt there was something to learn in there for more experienced sewists. For the most part I skimmed the two sheets of instructions, but I appreciated having my hand held a bit more when inserting the collar. I have to say I couldn’t be bothered with the Hong Kong binding used on the back bodice, preferring to use the overlocker, but the side seams are nice and Frenchified.
This top took me four days to complete, what with the heat, stops for ice cream breaks and not being able to fathom out how to assemble the pattern properly. I’m quite pleased with the results. I’ve done a reasonable job in pattern-matching in places, and I’m happy with the finish, which is lovely and neat with a hand-sewn collar and hem. I may change the button at the collar, as it’s a little too big and is making the collar itself sit awkwardly, but I’m generally happy with the way it’s turned out.
I really enjoyed sewing this top, and I like the floatiness, but practically speaking I’m not sure how much wear it’s going to get – for now at least. In this fabric, the shape doesn’t lend itself to layering, so now we’re leaving the summer months behind I may not get a chance to wear it as is.
The Overture top is the first pattern I’ve made that I’ve got free with a magazine, and I’m impressed with the results. Looking at their website, Storybook Patterns are only just setting up, but I’d be interested in seeing what else they have to offer. One to watch!