I’ve never sewn garments before and last year I spotted a tunic pattern at Joann’s while shopping for fabric. The Esme Top by Sew Liberated was the perfect pattern for my first attempt at garment sewing. While this pattern is suggested for advanced beginners, I thought why not!?
I held on to the pattern for many months before spotting the perfect cotton fabric at the International Quilt Show last year. Fox Trot by Dear Stella is the cutest fabric with little foxes, dainty greenery, and mini mushrooms. The fabric and pattern sat on my to-do pile for quite some time! I recently went with my mom to an Intro to Garment Sewing class where I learned some basics of pattern reading, pattern tracing, sizing, supplies and more. Mom definitely helped me get started! We traced the pattern on tracing paper and cut the fabric together. I’m a petite person and we went with the sizing that I measured…but in the end, I feel the finished top came out too big. A con about this pattern, there are no finished garment sizes listed. I took in the side seams during the construction, but the overall cut was already large. This did help some and I will not mind wearing it a little oversized (that’s stylish with some fall boots, right?), but I will definitely try this pattern again in a smaller size and a different fabric type.
Neko definitely approved of this cute cotton print…
I pre-washed my fabric and added a tricot stitch for the edges of the cut fabric pieces. After my first wear and washing the finished garment, I was not happy with the amount of fraying and trimming of threads that was needed. I want to try pinking shears next time. What is your experience with using pinking shears? Is there still fraying after washing? Sewing the yoke on was a breeze and adding the gathers was fun to do. I was able to complete the front, the back with neck facing, and attaching the two bodice pieces at the shoulders. Then I was at a standstill as I was challenged with putting the sleeves in. I could not get my sleeves to match the opening length. Mom came to visit me and showed me how to set a sleeve in. After that, I was then able to stitch the sides up (where I then took the size in 1 1/4″ on both sides). I had planned to make some ties from the same fabric to help with the fit, but I had trouble making them, so I passed and decided to just finish up. Gathering the base of the sleeves and adding the cuffs was fun to do and I love the look of the poofy sleeves. Added a rolled hem to the bottom of the bodice and I was done!
My finished top lived on my dressform for a few weeks before I bought the buttons for the finishing touch. These are not real button holes, but it was definitely an option to make. The bronze buttons I found were perfect and is my favorite part. Definitely a cute pattern and as I’ve mentioned, I want to try it again with a different fabric type. The cotton I used doesn’t drape as well as I think the pattern is meant to with the gatherings and such. I’m not happy with the cut of the back either. Not sure if smaller sizing and fabric would make me think differently…there’s just no shape to the back as you can see. The dressform is made of felt so it’s grabbing the top, which is giving it some shape. I’m very happy to have completed my first garment and looking forward to the next!