New make: Fancy Tiger Crafts Sailor Top

Well, hello there! Remember me? Three weeks since my last post: eh? It’s not because I haven’t been doing/making things but is actually because it’s been one of those bitty periods where I’ve been starting things, screwing things up, trying little tips, etc. etc. I now have enough bits and pieces to write a post or two, but first I’m going to catch up by posting the last make from my Drygoods Design Apparel Trilogy course earlier this year: the Fancy Tiger Crafts Sailor Top.


This top was actually the first thing we made and in a way was supposed to be the most straightforward. (The others were the Fen dress and the Linden sweatshirt if you’re interested). But it was, without a doubt, the item that gave me the most grief. And all because of a neckline yoke. Urgh. Now, I hasten to add that this was not in ANY way the fault of the pattern. It was all me, me, me. Mia culpa. Mia idiot. (Or Mia nidiot I suppose).


A little side/sleeve detail. I love the colours. Woohoo.

The only reason I finished this top was because of the fabric. It was one of those rare times when I tried on the botched up No. 1 attempt and thought “Woah, this colour looks really nice!” as in, too nice to scrap. The fabric is from the Honeymoon collection by Sarah Watts for Cotton & Steel and is the Palm in Purple print. I love that whole collection, but these colours are so rich and just POP. I think you can see that in the pics and, although I obviously bought it because I like it, it even surprised me.


But I’m jumping ahead. Firstly, I have to tell you that this is a well-drafted pattern with good instructions. It’s a raglan sleeve top that comes in sizes XS to XXL with plenty of ease. I actually went down a size (L) as I prefer a slightly closer fit, particularly around the bust/underbust, but there is still a good amount of room around the waist and hips. Having said that, since this was a class, we didn’t follow the booklet per se, but instead our teacher, Julienne, guided us through. I think she stayed fairly close to the instructions, but mixed up the order a little. Either way, the construction went very smoothly (sew raglan sleeves to body, sew full-length side seams) until the last part: gathering and adding the yoke.

I’m not going to give you every finite detail, but basically, we gathered using elastic thread. This differs from the official instructions as you gather using a machine basting stitch in four parts (fiddly looking). You then attach the yoke at the top of the body, right sides, raw edges together and flip it over, as you would with any facing/binding and then stitch down. My problem arose when I stitched on the yoke, and caught the fabric of the main body several times, resulting in some BIG tucks, rather than the small gathers needed. This occurred at the end of the class, so I figured, okay, I’ll unpick and finish when I get home. (I thought I had pics of this, but sadly I can’t find them).


That g%^&^%# yoke!

So, I get home, unpick and re-stitch. The second time, it goes better. I press carefully and I go downstairs and try it on. It looks AWFUL and doesn’t fit at all. Now, we did an exact fitting and a muslin yoke in class, so I know this should fit. I think, ok, I’ll try again. Unpick the whole darn thing and re-sew again. Get some tucks, unpick, re-sew them. Try it on – looks better, but still pretty bad. By now, I’ve spent quite a few hours doing this, so I think, sod it, it’ll do – and finish the seams. Later that evening, I can’t get to sleep and all of a sudden -POP- lightbulb moment. Is the yoke on BACKWARDS??? Did I turn it by mistake?


The final inside of the yoke. This is NO WAY represents the mess that is underneath.

Next day, I unpick it yet again, swearing under my breath, turn it and baste. It is immediately obvious that this is what I have done. What a numpty. But of course now I’ve finished the seams!! Argh! And because of all the gathers, they’re not straight either, more like raggedy scraps, jeering at my pain. I try to sew the yoke on again, for the FOURTH time. It’s a total mess. Holes, uneven, awful. I almost give up. But I suddenly remember that I still have a couple of hours of studio time left as part of the class and so I ask Julienne if she can help a poor yoke. This lovely lady says, “Sure! Bring it in.” To cut a long story short, Julienne helps me pin the offending mess, doing, I swear, the exact same thing I have been doing at home, but somehow it magically works and looks GREAT! The magic touch of experience, fellow sewists, the magic touch of experience.


My fly looks open. It’s not. I just had lunch and these are stretchy jeans. :/

Anyway, I have actually worn this top quite a lot. It is a great top for a day when you feel like hiding your paunch more than normal and it’s very comfortable. It’s actually a straightforward top to make too. Just, you know, label your yoke. And NEVER finish your seams until you’re 100% sure about them. (At least as a beginner – this has tripped me up a few times, more fool me). I plan to make it again using the other method of gathering as I found the elastic thread a little tricky to handle actually, and I’m fairly sure this was due to my inexperience at the machine. I still need to gain a bit more of the feel of sewing to handle it expertly.


What else? Oh yes, I noticed there is a Creativebug class for this top actually. I signed up for a trial of Creativebug recently and I’m enjoying it greatly. There are some wonderful classes on there and I imagine the Sailor Top videos will be great. The videos I’ve watched so far are very high quality indeed. So it might be an option if you’re interested. That’s it for now – I will be back soon though, as I have a few other odds and ends I’d like to get on here before I forget them: tips and so on. Oh – and I bought a serger! Hee hee. Bye for now!



10 thoughts on “New make: Fancy Tiger Crafts Sailor Top

  1. It’s fantastic that even though this turned into such a challenging sewing project, the end result is lovely! Looking forward to seeing what else you’ve been working on 🙂

    Messing up — as much as it hurts to potentially lose nice fabric — is so important for learning. I don’t always enjoy acknowledging that but it is true.


    1. Thanks so much! Wise words as always. 🙂 Oh my word, I love your latest Anna dress. The mix n match effect fabric panels are sooo great – I love them! Yep, don’t worry: I shall be posting some of my *ahem* experiments? on a blog post near you soon! 😀


      1. Nice! I’m looking forward to learning more about them — the more experimental, the better 😉 I guess there’s just no learning without risk, is there?

        Thank you for the compliments on the new Anna dress. It always takes me time to not just get used to a new item but, really, to be able to see it. When I’m finished, I’m still so wrapped up in the process it’s difficult to think about the actual finished garment.


  2. It turned out looking surprisingly fantastic given all the hurdles! I would never have guessed you had to unpick it and fuss with it so much. Excellent job. I think covering my mistakes is a skill I ought to improve upon.


    1. Aw, thank you so much! Honestly though, much of the credit goes to the class teacher. It didn’t look as neat as that when I tried to do it solo!! I checked out your blog and it’s great and I’m intrigued to see how your Newcastle turns out. I’m impressed you dyed that fabric!! That’s dedication. I made the Thread Theory underwear and it turned out great, so I’d definitely be up for trying more of their patterns. And it’s so hard to find cool menswear…


      1. Spoiler: the Newcastle has been one disaster after another. I am still persevering though and if I can figure out buttonhole spacing it is just about it done! I’ll probably update on it soon 🙂


      2. Oh man, that’s such a bummer. And yet… so familiar to my ears… 🙂 Good on you for persevering and your other half will probably never notice! I’ll be posting my wadder of a pair of shorts soon, so you are not alone…


    1. Thank you very much. Isn’t it lovely? I’m kind of thankful I’m not a quilter sometimes – I would find it very hard to resist all those beautiful cottons. Not that I resist too hard with apparel fabric either! But yes, the C&S lines are lovely. And Carolyn Friedlander’s. And Lizzy House’s. And Sarah Jane’s. And… and… and…

      Liked by 1 person

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