Scrappy Shrooms

I admit, the next garment I made was influencer influenced. There was a frugal sewing challenge for March happening via YouTube at the time. I didn’t want to join it, and it wouldn’t have qualified because I wasn’t using a free pattern anyway, but it was encouraging sewers to make things out of scraps and there was a lot of talk about colour-blocking.

I had two in mind, one in an aqua and complimentary floral fabric, and another based on a scrap of mushroom printed fabric plus a mix of black, dark green and brown leftover knit fabric.

I intended to make a mock turtleneck out of the aqua fabric, too, so I cut those pieces out first. Then I put it and the aqua and floral fabric aside. Sewing them would mean switching out the thread on the overlocker and it made more sense to tackle all the projects that used the black on the machine. Which did include the mushroom top.

The mushroom fabric was too small for any piece of the Alexi top pattern, but I had an idea to turn this dress pattern, with princess and raglan seams into a top:

I made the righthand version back in the 90s, out of a chocolate brown stretch velvet with a rose pattern. It worked perfectly, but with such a full skirt was very heavy. I was a size 10 back then, and hadn’t learned to trace off a pattern in the size I wanted, but I’d kept all the pattern offcuts.

All I had to do was tape them all back on. I spent half a day tracing and altering the pattern, and doing a test version. I used the skirt fabric from the test version of a wrap dress I made year and a half ago (so using up another ‘scrap’):

The result was a bit too nipped in at the waist, but otherwise fit fine. I made some pattern adjustments, then started designing.

The centre front fit easily on the mushroom fabric, but there wasn’t enough to do a centre back. I examined the black fabric scraps, and the only pieces that fit onto that was the side back. Since I didn’t want any colour of fabric butting up against itself, the rest was pretty much decided for me. The side fronts and centre back would have to be green, and the arms had to be brown. I did a sketch to see if I liked it:

I did, so a few days later I cut out the pieces and got sewing. It all went together well until I got to the neck band. As soon as I put it on I felt uncomfortable. The neck opening was much too big. I’m not sure why I didn’t feel that way with the test version, but then the weather had got a bit chillier. I removed the band, shortened and re-pinned it. Didn’t sit right. I made a wider band and tried that. Really didn’t sit right. Finally I put it on the mannequin, pinched in the raglan seams, pinned on the original band – and that fixed it. So I sewed on the band and altered the pattern.

The Mushroom Top was done:

The back:

Constructing this post and seeing the dress pattern again, I realise that the dress is probably supposed to have shoulder pads, so that would explain the extra roominess there. I’m glad I put the work into making it into a top pattern, because it is a good one for using up smaller pieces of fabric. I might use it for the blue and floral top… or I might do something else.