all my own work by ann

Sewing and textiles with Ann

Make a garment from a book that you already own!

This challenge is probably over by now and I can’t remember who was running it, so I won’t be winning any prizes, but, I thought it was a good idea, and eventually got round to meeting the challenge.

I have several sewing books. Not loads; just several. I have a couple of the Sewing Bee books, Tilly’s Love at First Stitch, one of Gertie’s books, and surprise, surprise, The Maker’s Atelier Essential Collection, which I have already used several times.

In fact, I was reading the pre-amble to the book the other day and noticed Francis’s comment about not being everyone’s style, but great if you like relaxed and looser fitting clothes. So great!


There are still patterns in the book that I have not yet made. Really. So this time I chose the tie neck blouse, and am really pleased with the result. It’s quite smart; work wear even, but will be a useful addition to my wardrobe even though I don’t go to work anymore. On that front, having become relatively casual around the house, I enjoy smartening up when I go out.

And for once I seem to have got my choice of fabric spot on! It’s a viscose crepe from Barry’s, with a small bird print, and hangs beautifully. It is deliberately pink and blue so that it will go with two of my pencil skirts from the same book. It laid straight nicely for cutting out, and although the cutting itself wasn’t very user friendly, it sewed up ok using the walking foot.


I debated several aspects of the make.

First, how to stitch the seams? On the face of it, fine fabric should be sewn with French seams. I tested, and they didn’t lie very flat. I think there is some crepe in the fabric, which gives it a little bit of bounce. Eventually, I stitched a normal seam, overlocked the edges together and then stitched down the overlocking close to the edge. That solution lay nicely flat.

I didn’t follow the instructions for finishing the inside of the tie. I hand stitched along the inside of the neck edge instead. I think that is much tidier and gives greater control at ‘point A’, where the tie moves from attaching to the neck edge to being a free hanging tie.

I also set in the sleeves in the round, rather than flat. I always use my dressmaker’s dummy to do this and I think it gives a better fit, especially if the markings are disappearing. They were easily visible in this case, as I used tailor’s tacks in key areas where I knew I needed to get the joins in the right places.

And finally, whether to apply interfacing behind the button holes or not. I couldn’t see anywhere in the instructions that mentions interfacing, and I know that Francis often deliberately doesn’t use it in order to get that relaxed finish, but would the fabric actually let me sew neat button holes without interfacing? I tested again before enclosing access to the front placket. The button holes stitched ok without interfacing, although when cut open they do fray a lot. However, I don’t ever need to pass a button through the hole again, as the blouse has plenty of neck space for pulling on and off over the head. So hopefully there will be limited, or no further fraying.

I don’t very often wear blouses tucked in, but this looks much better when tucked in. I also prefer it with the bow tied.


Altogether a successful make. There may be no challenge prizes for me, but I have a lovely new blouse, and that is all that I need. The Maker’s Atelier strikes again!

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