Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Holiday Holiday Holiday Top


Nearly four weeks….but I’m back!

I had yet another birthday and took a Ford Mustang (the only one in Northern Ireland) out for a spin up the motorway. I can’t tell you exactly how fast I drove but…..very.


It makes me look young and slim doesn’t it? Unfortunately there’s a 12 month waiting list and with a price tag bigger than what we paid for our house, it doesn’t look like I’ll own one soon. Wearing Jungle January’s snow leopard coat – black and white always goes with red.

The exam marking is drawing to a close and becoming manageable, so thoughts are turning more and more to my first love – sewing. Me DS

Let me introduce you to a new-to-me pattern company – The Maker’s Atelier. Based in England, Frances Tobin produces some beautiful classic pieces – think Merchant and Mills without the arty bit. Not cheap and only on paper but neat little envelopes tied with string and they possess an enduring quality.

I’ve started with the Holiday Top – relaxed, boxy with a couple of options.

Holiday Top illus 1

All you need is thread; no zips, buttons, hooks or eyes, not even interfacing. There are little details like the hemline splits and the soft fold-over collar is both classic and casual.

The pattern comes with separate pieces for long and short sleeves: collar or hood.

Stocked up on linen from Fabworks, I started with the short sleeved shirt in the eternal-go-with-anything off-white.

I loved this so much, I carried on and currently now have another three.

Lime green – hood, drawstring made with self fabric


Inky indigo – long sleeved, collar


Lime green – mid sleeved, collar and patch pockets

As with most Internet fabric purchases you have to buy whole meters, so with the leftovers (about .75m each)  and the machine threaded in the right colour, I also got a simple white tie-neck top and an indigo vest with arty pleats and asymmetrical hemline.

Bonus, bonus.

Worn with the Holiday Tops are my custom fit Bootstrap Skinny jeans – currently at two pairs. Type in your (true and honest) measurements, get your PDF, print, cut out: sew without measuring, trying on or anything and wonders of absolute wonders – a perfectly fitting pair of jeans! Oh, I did my usual 1.5-2″ reduction in the back thigh length to eliminate baggy back thighs – did it work? Did it? It always does.


This first pair (blue) I sewed with traditional 5/8″ seam allowances, then I read the instructions and there’s a 1cm allowance! So the ‘good’ fit, just might have been a too tight fit…….They are made in a heavy linen-look weave cotton with absolutely no stretch whatsoever. The colour is lovely though, not denim, not royal blue but tending more towards Forget-me-Not blue. From Ray Stitch.

These are not low-rise jeans, mine go all the way up to my waist and a perfect fit they are there too – no gaping or tightness – I don’t even have to lie down on the bed with a shoestring to get the zip up. The second pair were sewn with 1cm seams and are a little looser in that I can get them off without having to turn them outside out over my ankles. I did crop the length a bit for a summer-look but sure, it’s easy to lengthen the next pair.

The second pair are made with cotton twill, again from Fabworks ( I wonder if do they do loyalty cards?). It’s called Hashtag but I opted for the reverse grid side. I did try to get the horizontal stripes to match across the seams but did not achieve a uniform result: sometimes they match sometimes they don’t………


Photobombed by a husband and a suitcase – he’s not leaving, it’s son arriving…….

The payments are being deposited from the marking – so time to start planning, prepping and purchasing for my Six Napoleon dress.





33 thoughts on “Holiday Holiday Holiday Top

  1. Like a boss huni xxxxx

  2. My first car was a Mustang…I bought it before I even started dating my husband and we drove it until we could no longer get parts easily and we needed more room for baby seats. Traded it in on a boxy Plymouth that I never loved much.

    We bought a car for me to drive a couple of months ago…a nice, practical crossover Hyundai…but I did sit in the candy red Mustang on the lot for just a few minutes. I might have been tempted had the front bumper not come down so low…it would’ve scrapped the drive every time we pulled in or out.

    But it was nice to pretend, for just a minute, that I could have one. 😉

    • Oh Lisa my heart bleeds for you – losing a Mustang….. the back seats are no more than a narrow bench and not much good for a real person but perfect for a handbag. I feel your desire- nice to pretend, for just a minute.

      Thank you. We Mustang sewing Mums might just have to create a new society…..

  3. Mr Core Couture is a darling but I did wonder when I saw the picture if he’s worried about his position now you’ve got yourself a new wardrobe, some free time and half of NI having admired you in ‘your Mustang’! For years there’d be a Mustang parked outside Greenwich Park which my son and I would ogle whenever we passed. It was a similar colour to your kiwi top and gorgeous matching shoes. We mourn its passing.

    Lovely fresh garment. Enjoy summer and don’t forget to indulge the student just a little!

    • Here’s the real deal Marianna:
      Firstly, he’s not a darling (he’s an outer!) however, for some reason or another I’ve let him hang around for the best part of 22 years!
      Secondly, he doesn’t drive, so I can choose my own car except I have to factor in “the family” (damn)
      Thirdly – emmm no 3rd but thanks for your comment and 6Nap in development.

      I had teenage boys and middle aged men actually walking backwards as they gazed upon the Mustang; bog-standard BMVs, Mercs and Range Rovers simply moved to the inside lane as I glided alongside. Nice……..

  4. What a fascinating post. I love the blouse pattern: I think you may have just changed my life with an introduction to The Maker’s Atelier (though a potentially expensive discovery!), as well as Bootstrap ‘made to measure’. As a relative newcomer to your blog, the post also took me to your earlier information on eliminating wrinkling in the back thigh of jeans: another revelation! I really appreciate the detail that you convey on your blog – it’s so helpful for a relatively new (but enthusiastic!) sewers such as myself — thank you, thank you, thank you….

    • Hello Jacqueline, thank for joining in. Whereabouts are you in the world ? The sewing Internet has no boundaries.
      I’m so glad that something helped and if you need any more direction, just email and ask.

      Thank you very much and welcome.

  5. Another fabulous set of clothes. A red sports car would set them off nicely too.

    • Yes Elle, you and I totally agree – I absolutely NEED a red sports car! I mean, I have so many clothes and outfits that totally match………

  6. I love all your tops – especially the long sleeved indigo one. I recently discovered the Makers Atelier at the Knitting and Stitching Show on Edinburgh. It was a treat to see all the made up samples in real life. I bought the Origami top/ dress pattern. I have made the top in a dark peacock lightweight Jersey -easy to make up and a lovely classic style.

    • It’s a treasure trove of timeless classics, isn’t it?
      The aesthetic suits me perfectly. They will definitely be more from Atelier’s in the months to come.

      Thank you Janice.

  7. I love Makers Atelier, I haven’t tried the holiday top but after seeing yours I might just have to!

    Love the jeans too, they fit beautifully

  8. Lovely tops! and I always admire your ability to squeeze the most fabulous garments out of every inch of fabric. That freebie white top with the necktie is precisely what I need this summer. And thanks for introducing us to Bootstrap jeans. My RTW jeans are really, truly falling apart so I have been dreading the process of replacing them, but now I think i have a viable option. I’m sure I’ll be coming back to your posts to learn how to fine tune the fit. Thanks for being so generous with your knowledge!

    • Thank you Lucia The tie-neck blouse is Kwik Sew 3782 if you want to have a go.
      I highly recommend Bootstrap Patterns as everything I’ve ordered so far are the ‘perfect’ fit .

      Hope you are still sewing fabulous things……

  9. Love all the garments you’ve posted about. Interesting new to me pattern company.

    • Thanks Danvillegirl, it’s a traditional English company with complimentary aesthetics – down playing glam but up playing the longevity of design.

  10. Darn it Ruth do you have to be so productive – it makes me feel like an absolute sloth! Love the clothes, and love the car. The Management had a mid (late?) life blip and bought a two seater sports car in silver – I would have preferred red. I’m just waiting for his back to protest and he can swop for my little reliable whilst I turn into Penelope Pitstop 🙂

  11. I had to come out of the woodwork to tell you I LOVE those tops (the car isn’t bad either, but I would rather have it in acid green). With this crazy economic/political UK thing going on, I may just have to order a few patterns! The patterns do not indicate ease…most of her patterns look pretty generously sized…any insights?

    • The nice thing Andi is that all the models in the photographs are a UK size 12, sort of normal not skinny and 6’6″. As this is top is loose and unfitted I didn’t worry about ease. I cut a UK 14 and I like the fit. And you’re right, most of the patterns are loosely shaped.
      Thank you for coming out of the woodwork.

  12. Love the mustang but more a fiat 500 girl myself! Great tops but it’s the jeans I really like , what a fit! Must get the pattern. X

    • Mags – I’d need my own personal petrol tanker following me on every journey – not the most economical or ‘green’ car in the world! I’m sticking with my little Eco Fiesta for now…but still dreaming……
      Thank you and do check out Bootstrap.

  13. Love all your new garments Ruth. You have been busy…the car was pretty impressive too.

  14. I’m so glad you mentioned your jeans! I love how they fit.

  15. LOL!!! Brilliant photo bombing!! I love the green top, and the trousers are brilliant. I’ll have to have a look at the pattern. Also, Andrew was reading this over my shoulder, and he loves the car. It definately suits you – one for the lottery win list!

  16. Ohhhh the car is just wonderful, I am very very jealous! And I’m even more jealous of your jeans, I think the idea of getting a pattern generated for your measurements is just brillo. Definitely one to keep in mind when I get a wee bit more experienced with the sewing. The lime green works wonderfully with your skin tone, I am again jealous!

  17. Just love the work on the jeans and Thank you for the very informative post!

  18. The Maker’s Atelier is definitely something to check into. I love, love, love the green hoodie and blouse. Each of these outfits is fabulous! And oh goodness, I remember Mustangs from back in the day. The new ones are much more comfy and so sleek. That red car looks good on you!

  19. Many happy returns on your birthday and great choice of car. Love those checked pants.

  20. Pingback: The Right Tools | corecouture

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