I was delighted to be asked to do a blog post review by the lovely Katie. Sew Sew Sew was one of the first places I purchased some fabric from when I started my hobby in 2021. As a newbie to fabric shopping, Katie was a star in helping and guiding me pick fabrics for my sewing projects. She always gives her honest opinion as to whether a fabric I've selected is suited to a pattern. She has also gone to the extent of making videos of fabric so I could see how they drape and better assess if they are right for my chosen garment. The service from Sew Sew Sew is second to none.
I was truly spoilt for choice on the Sew Sew Sew website when looking for my fabric. To help me narrow it down, I decided that I would try some fabric that was new to me. This brought me to the lovely double gauze I selected. It's simply beautiful and super soft to the touch - reminds me of muslin cloths used for babies. Separately I've been meaning to make the Cuff Top by the Assembly Line for some time, and I thought it would pair really nicely with the double gauze. With this, it resulted with me making a new-to-me pattern with a new-to-me fabric
The Cuff Top is a simple yet elegant top with grown on sleeves without any darts, buttons or zips. Its statement feature is its elasticated cuffs. In its original form it has a wide boat neck and is relatively straight/boxy in style. I was not overly keen on a wide boat neck and have a preference for round necked garments. I recently learnt that the Assembly Line has a free printable round neck pattern on their website to make this change to their existing pattern. This was really helpful and made the process smoother and easier.
When considering the sizing (my sizing being B:34 W:30 H:40) I fell across two sizes; small and medium. Having read some reviews that the top was quite roomy, I decided to cut the entire top in the small size. Having recently discovered bias binding, the other change I knew I was going to make was to finish the neckline with bias binding in place of the recommended facing pieces (who likes flappy facing pieces?). The pattern is sewn up with a 10mm seam allowance on most parts with the exception of the neckline which is only 5-6mm. I therefore used a 12mm wide pre-made bias binding (polycotton) for the neckline.
For the small size, I only needed 110cm of fabric (with width between 140-150cm) and if, like me, bias binding is being used instead of facing pieces, 100cm fabric could be enough. As I was using double gauze I was conscious that the fabric could shrink. I measured the fabric both pre and post washing and the fabric only shrunk by 1cm.
The top is relatively simple to sew up. It could in theory be made up of 2 pieces of fabric if you did not want the centre seam on the front and back pieces. This would be a good idea if you did not want to interrupt or disturb the fabric pattern. For my Cuff Top, I thought the centre back and centre back seams would look quite nice, so I made the pattern as intended (but it is definitely good to know I have the option for future makes). So my Cuff top is made of 4 pieces and the neck binding.
The Cuff Top can be cut and sewn up in one afternoon so it makes a great palate cleanser and is a satisfying make on the whole. The fact it can be made with about 1 metre of fabric is an added bonus and could be a great make for remnant pieces of fabric.
Whilst I had no experience of sewing with double gauze, I'd done some reading around what to expect and best practices. My research suggested pre-washing the fabric as it is susceptible to shrinkage, using a sharp blade to get a fray-free cut/finish and cutting/sewing unironed fabric (if the finished garment is also to be worn unironed). I loved the look of the fabric once washed - the crinkles and wrinkles give the fabric some additional character - so I made a conscious effort to iron all of the seams at the very end so I didn't end up with an uneven top.
Also, as I'm team rotary cutter vs scissors and I found it almost effortless to cut through the double gauze and there was absolutely no fraying. Although the fabric was not slippery or thick, I sewed the Cuff Top with a walking foot - this has just become my default machine foot of late - but I think it would sew absolutely fine with a regular sewing foot. When cutting out the pattern pieces, I didn't feel there was any need to pin the pattern pieces to the fabric - it was not slipping at all - instead I used my daughters books as weights :)
The pattern calls for 50mm wide elastic for the cuffs. I only had 30mm wide elastic at home and because I didn't have the patience to wait for the 50mm elastic to be delivered and so I adapted the sleeve pattern to make it work with what I had. The instructions call for the elastic to be sewn onto the fabric which differs from most patterns I've worked with so far. I liked this way because it means the elastic will not twist which has happened to me with elasticated skirts. That said, it was slightly trickier to sew as the elastic needs to be stretched whilst it's being sewn onto the fabric. For this part of the sewing journey I did think having a walking foot was immensely helpful as my machine may have otherwise struggled. If I was making the top again and I didn't have a walking foot, I would change this step of the sewing process to just fold over and sew the hem of the cuff and then insert the elastic.
The Cuff Top can be dressed up or down and I think it pairs especially well with jeans. I am really pleased I've made my first Cuff Top and I am already scoping out fabric for my next one. For my next Cuff Top, I will work on the neckline to make the top less deep but otherwise I will not make any other changes. I've seen some lovely fabric on the SewSewSew website and I have my eye on some Pima cotton lawn and linen. I think the top will look different depending on the drape of the fabric that is used and this makes the pattern rather versatile.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. Happy fabric shopping and happy sewing :)
** Kam was given the fabric in exchange for this blog post **