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The Ashton Top from Helen’s Closet.

Sometimes the simplest things are the best. The Ashton Top  from Helen’s Closet Patterns is a perfect example of that.

It’s a sleeveless boxy A-line top available in a cropped or hip length. It’s also worth noting that this pattern is available in an incredible size range – 0-30, with cup size choices too.

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There is however a lot more to this pattern than meets the eye.

Attention to detail ( as usual from Helen’s Closet patterns) is key, and the usual incredibly thorough sewing instructions, illustrations and tips make the process of sewing this top was a real pleasure.

I love that you are given the choice of how to finish the neckline and arms – bias or facing. I opted for the facing as I feel that this always ‘sits’ better than the bias finish. I also love the ‘burrito’ method of attaching the facing too, this is always great fun and feels like a magic trick when you pull it through after sewing doesn’t it!

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The arm opening is quite low cut,  and I did find that my bra strap showed underneath my arm before adjusting it. I also (unsuccessfully) tried to pattern fit it before cutting out  to check the bodice length and dart position, and thought that I needed to lower the bust darts by 2cm. As you can see, I didn’t need this after all, but never mind I can live with this and will alter the pattern back to it’s original dart position for next time.

In my opinion the neckline is just right. Not too high, not too low.

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Although a small detail, I also LOVE that it has a hem facing. Because this was a bit of a ‘try out’ version, I didn’t use the hem facing this time as I hadn’t decided for sure on how long I would want it to be, but now that I have the length sussed, I will look forward to adding this wonderful little touch on my next Ashton.

Whilst we are talking about length, I shortened the pattern piece by 4cm before cutting out, and in the end I used a 3cm hem. I’m 5’2″.

I also cut a size 10 – my measurements are 36 -30 -40. These measurements actually put me in the size 12 range, but upon checking the finished garment measurement chart I decided to size down by one size.

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My fabric choice is this pretty cotton print that I have had in my cupboard for years. It’s good to finally use something that you have had for a long time. I think it would be fun to try it out in a more drapey fabric too. For these pictures I have paired it with a pair of teracotta linen Safiya Trousers  from the latest book by Tilly Walnes ( Tilly and the Buttons) ‘Make It Simple’.

You know you have a good pattern when you are already planning your next one almost before you have finished the first!

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Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

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The Yanta Overalls from Helen’s Closet

I’m pretty sure that you have seen these overalls popping up all over the place since their release about a month ago.

The Yanta Overalls from Helen’s Closet are the cutest relaxed fitting dungarees you have ever seen. They feature a classic v-shaped back and button strap fastenings and have an optional size zip. Patch pockets on the front, back and bib are yours to choose from and there is an option for full/cropped length or a Summery shorts version.

The size range is incredible on this too . Sizes 0-30 are accommodated in with this pattern – how awesome is that? I cut a size 10 at the bib grading out to a 12 at the hips.

This is actually the first time that I have sewn a Helen’s Closet pattern and going on what I had already heard regarding her patterns, I knew that it would be an enjoyable process.

 

As expected, her instructions are clearly written and helpful. Helen describes this as an intermediate pattern and I would agree with that.

My fabric choice is the Ikea Lenda fabric – not the best fabric in the world, but at £5 per metre, it was perfect for trying out this pattern. I think if I made it again I would go for a slightly more lightweight fabric as I feel this looks a little too crisp for the look that I was going for.

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Before I cut out the fabric, I adjusted the length. This pattern is drafted for a 5’6″ body, and as I am only 5’2″, I needed to remove 2″ from the length (that is the 4″ difference divided by 2). This worked out perfectly in terms of leg length, but I think I might need to shorten the crotch length next time I make them as it is a little baggy there.

I loved the wording and illustrations in the instructions – especially the little tips giving explanations regarding why some of the techniques were being used.

I left out interfacing my straps as I felt they had enough structure anyway, and they were fine without.

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The scissors necklace is available for purchase from my website.

The waist at the front and back is nipped in with small darts. This is such a great feature as whilst they are still loose, you have a certain amount of shaping there which is very useful I think – especially when your waist to hip measurement difference is quite big like mine.

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A 5″ invisible zipper is also an option although not always necessary. I could have just about slipped these over my hips without it, but decided to add a zip just to make things easier. I didn’t have an invisible zip of that length, so just used a regular zip here instead.

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The patch pockets on the front and back are cute and whilst I used them on the back of the overalls, I wasn’t sure that I wanted them on the front. I decided that I would insert in-seam pockets instead. After inserting the zip (which I didn’t think that I would want initially), I realised that the in-seam pockets wouldn’t now fit on that side now, but still kept it on the other side. I mean, a girl needs pockets. Not sure if this feels a bit odd just having it on one side, so may try the patch pockets on the front next time if I still need to use the zip.

For the pocket bag I used the same floral fabric that I used for the front and back facings.

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I like the shape of the bib pocket. It has a upward triangular shape to the top edge and I enjoyed the placement of it and all the top stitching details. Top stitching is part of sewing that I really enjoy and this pattern has plenty of it! I particularly like the stitching details on the back strap too.

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I think if I’m honest when I sewed the back of the bodice to the facing with the straps enclosed inside, I didn’t make the best job of it. I think I got a little confused with the two different seam allowances (3/8″ and 5/8″) for this step and may have gone a little wobbly. Luckily this seemed to look alright from the right side, but my facing on the inside has a little ripple in it. Nobody will see this and you’re not going to tell anybody are you? Ha!

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The length of the straps are trimmed when you have finished the garment, and I needed to cut approx 4″ from each strap.

I didn’t finish the legs of the overalls apart from overlocking them, as I know that I will always wear them turned up a couple of times.

I cannot recommend this pattern highly enough if you are considering this style of make in the future. It’s cute, fun to sew, and super comfortable to wear. What’s not to love!

 

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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