Friday, February 4, 2011

Twinkle Sews || "Take Manhattan" Overblouse

I'll take Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island too...
(I was whistling this Sinatra tune the whole time I was working on this top!)

Pattern Description: Short-sleeved, raglan-sleeve overblouse with cowl collar and tie. Lined or unlined are options.

Pattern Sizing: 2-6-8-10-12-16. Mine is a 12.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Mostly. See more on this below...

Were the instructions easy to follow? As many reviewers on have said, "Twinkle Sews" would be challenging for the new sewist. The writer makes many assumptions regarding construction details, and this could be very confusing to some. That being said, I barely read the instructions.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Boy howdy, you'd better REALLY like the patterns in this book. The book comes with a CD that includes all the patterns as .pdf or .ai files at various sizes. This simple pattern was over 65 separate sheets of 8-1/2  x 11 paper and took more than 3 hours to tape together. (I have performed this level of tiling in previous employment, so I'm fast.) Also, the author could have chosen an "on the fold" layout vs. cutting the pieces flat. Separate, designated lining pattern pieces were unnecessary as they're only .5" longer than the fashion fabric pieces. Altogether, this was pretty wasteful.

After taping, I also had to re-draw the pattern on tissue for pattern fitting before even cutting out the fashion fabric. I'd read other reviews of the clothes in this book, and knew that other sewists have have trouble with sizing running far too large. Altogether, the prep/cutting took 5 hours and the sewing took 3 hours. That's a lot of work for this top. I would HIGHLY recommend taking the CD to a large format print house and let them print it out for you. It'll save a lot of frustration. I'm hoping if Twinkle has a 2nd volume, she'll consider including the paper patterns, like Burda and Knipmode do.

A few more things to keep in mind:
1) The size 12, when laid out on-grain would take nearly 3 yards of 60" wide fabric.
2) The collar is far too long for the neck opening. I had to gather the collar to fit the neck and even then, there was way too much ease when it was attached. Another reviewer mentioned that she'd made her cowl 1/2 the size of the pattern piece for her size. I'll start there with the re-draft.
3) The author alternates between 3/8" and 5/8" seams. I used 5/8" throughout. This made it easier to do the specialty seaming.
4) If you're not planning on lining this top, use flat-felled seams for the sides and french seams for the sleeve and cowl.
5) Make sure you're comfortable with the sleeve length. They're really, really short.

Fabric Used: I bought the recommended 2 yards of 60" wide fabric, and really should have bought 3 yards.
My 100% polyester mid-weight fabric has a lot of body and won't hold a crease, which is perfect for traveling, but horrible when you want it hang flat on body. I used the cording in the hood to gather up the hood and really like this look in this fabric. I think I look like a little modern flower. However, I'll buy  fabric with less body next time, so that the cowl drapes instead.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Removed 4" from hip width, added 2" to length. Next time, I'll add 3-4" to the sleeve length. In lieu of a self-fabric tie, I used 1/2" flat black cording from the stash.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I worked FAR too hard on this top not to make it again. A summer version is in order. Possibly in the hot pink linen I have in the stash.

Conclusion: If you're willing to make a considerable time investment,
this hip, modern silhouette is worth the work.


  1. It's cute and modern, but I don't think I would be up for all the work involved!

  2. The paperwork wounds pretty horrendous, 65 sheets of paper, yikes!!, but the top is adorable, so I can see why you went for it! You do look like a little modern flower, indeed...
    Thank you for putting up a hand (or two!) to make gloves with me.. I'm thinking of starting in a few weeks.

  3. Oops, "sounds"!! not "wounds", sorry!