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Just for Me January: Sis Boom Tortola

Sis Boom Tortola

I’m very excited to be part of the Sis Boom Just for Me January Tour. The Sis Boom Dana pattern was the first (wearable) thing I ever made for myself. I knew how to work a sewing machine, but the instructions in most patterns went straight over my head, and the resulting garment straight into the bin. I stumbled across a sew along for the Dana top on Facebook about 4 years ago, and discovered Sis Boom patterns, full of instructions and diagrams so clear and detailed that it was like having a friend watching over my shoulder helping me the whole way. I proceeded to make pretty much every Sis Boom pattern in the range before venturing out to other designers, and I’ve never looked back. But I will always have a special place in my heart for the designer that got me started on this journey!

I’m not much of a pattern hacker … yet … that’s something I’d like to do more of this year. So for this tour, rather than changing or restyling a pattern, I wanted to share a story of how sometimes (let’s face it, often, actually!), the first time you make a new pattern for yourself, it doesn’t necessarily work out perfectly. I got the Sis Boom Tortola pattern when it was released a couple of years ago – I’d seen lots of blog posts and photos, and everyone looked great in it. There aren’t many easy top patterns around like this for wovens (i.e. no zips, no buttons, easy rather than really tailored fit), so I was excited to give it a go.

Spoiler alerts …
(1) it was worth the excitement in the end
(2) make sure you read to the end of this post for your chance to win a copy for yourself

 

This is what I made, and it’s OK, but it’s a bit… meh. There are a few issues here, and all of them down to choices and adjustments I’d made that meant it just didn’t really sing for me. So, let me take you behind the scenes on some little things that made a big difference.

Firstly, my fabric choice wasn’t great. This is a light cotton poplin, and it just doesn’t sit right – every time I put this on it didn’t feel comfortable, and I felt I had to adjust it somewhere. Even though it’s thin (and the pattern pieces are cut on the bias), it’s just too stiff. Also, this colour doesn’t do anything for me at all!

Secondly, I adjusted the shoulders by taking them up about 1/4″, which is an adjustment I do for almost every pattern. But for this one, it sat too high under my armpits.

And finally, the pattern has different length options, and my original choice of length was too long, and really unflattering over my hips. So I shortened it… too much, and also lost some of the shaping around the bottom in doing so. It’s not the first or last time I’ve made that mistake!

When I was choosing a pattern for this blog tour, I immediately thought of the Tortola, and how I’d never really nailed it. I pulled out my slightly sad first attempt, looked at those old blog posts again for inspiration, and decided to have a go with the good fabric and some better choices.

And look at the difference it makes! This is Liberty Tana Lawn, which is much softer than the poplin, and has more drape. The colour also works much better for me than the grey! I left the shoulders as per the pattern. This pattern has different cut lines for a full bust (which I used), which meant I didn’t actually need to do my usual shoulder adjustment. I chose a better length to start with. And I went for the option with the notched neckline, which I also think makes it more flattering.

So, there you have it – a lovely simple woven top (and look, no zipper or buttons or anything at the back).

Pattern designers always tell you to make a muslin. Sometimes you can get lucky and make something wearable the first time around. But it’s often the second time you make a pattern that you really nail it. I’m so glad I revisited this one.

 

{Competition closed} One lucky reader of this blog will win a copy of the Tortola pattern, thanks to Sis Boom. Just leave a comment here by Thursday night (January 26, 2017), and I will draw a winner at random from the comments. Thanks for reading, and good luck!

For news and updates on new women’s PDF sewing patterns and blog posts, you can follow Not Sew Selfish on Facebook.

Entries have now closed – thank you everyone who commented and entered, and congratulations to Anita who is the lucky winner of the Tortola pattern. Hope you love it Anita. – Lisa.

Comments 55

  1. You have inspired me to start sewing garments. I’ll have to give it a try. Thank you for your tips and for sharing!!!

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  2. absolute perfection!!!! Glad you gave it another go 🙂 That floral one is just so perfect on you!

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  3. I like both of them! Of course I can’t feel the fabric or how it fits on your first one, but I think it’s still cute. The second is very flattering and I love the length.

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  4. Thank you for sharing the good and the bad. Sometimes it takes a wadder to make the next one perfect. You were spot on with this one.

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  5. Gotta love the Internet ,reading people’s reviews and seeing the inspirations and finished products is so helpful!

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  6. I wish there were more ‘easy’ top patterns for woven material! I love your persistence and the outcome!!

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  7. OK, you’ve convinced me to give it a go. I’ve been quilting, but still haven’t tried to sew clothes yet. I’m a bit terrified of screwing up! This looks simple enough for even me.

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  8. I agree with Stephanie, it’s nice to have some woven options. I also like the scoop neck, but it’s a modest depth.

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  9. My daughter loves sleeveless tops. I’ll have to give this one try for both of us. It looks lovely.

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  10. I have been sewing for many years but mainly now do revamping of existing clothes, but I was only thinking I need another little top just like the one you demonstrated and there it was right in front of me. Very, very nice.

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  11. I like both tops on you, but agree the pink one suits you much better. I would love to have this pattern, it looks like it might work with my body type.

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  12. Thanks for your inspiration. I have just had two goes at a pattern and had given up, after reading this I think I might give it one more go, and do it in good fabric!!! Yours looks so lovely, hopefully I will get mine third time around 🙂

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      Congratulations Anita, you are the lucky winner of a copy of the Tortola pattern. I’ll arrange for the pattern to be emailed to you. – Lisa

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      Thanks Tracee. I’m in Australia (can you tell from the tan lines lol) and it’s perfect for summer, yes.

  13. Ohhh, this is the first time I’ve seen this pattern and I’ll be buying it if I don’t win it (fingers crossed!) It will be perfect for under cardigans in the cool weather and by itself in the summer. Can’t wait!

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    Thank you everyone for your comments, enthusiasm and encouragement, and congratulations to Anita, who is the lucky winner of the Tortola pattern. Happy sewing to you all – Lisa.

  15. 😃😃 OH MY GOSH 😃😃
    Thank you so so much Lisa!!!! I am so stoked, very excited to win this pattern 😍
    Can’t wait to give it a go.
    THANK YOU

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