MBM - Maggie + Mabel

First of all, doesn't Maggie + Mabel sound like a chi-chi childrenswear label?  If you are a childrenswear designer in search of a name for your label, you are welcome to it, but remember you heard it here first!

Ok onto the sewing. This pair of projects, Colette Patterns Mabel and Tessuti Maggie, demonstrate the everyday ups and downs of sewing.
Let’s start with the Mabel:
Twice I’ve bemoaned the failure I had last year with the Grainline Morris blazer, made in grey ponti knit. Gee, I was disappointed , made worse by the fact it almost seemed sacriligeous to turf the project, with perfectly good fabric, out altogether.
Anyway, I started thinking, as you do, that maybe, I might be able to scrounge a Mabel skirt out of it. I’d made the Mabel before, so it was just a matter of pulling the jacket apart (no mean feat as I hate unpicking stitches in knits) and seeing if the pattern pieces of the Mabel could be accommodated.
The back of the blazer became the front of the skirt, the fronts of the blazer became the back pieces. The sleeves did not accommodate the waistband pieces, so I decided to the make a wide elastic sandwich, as I did on my Misty pants. Blind hem. Done. The most time consuming part was unpicking the blazer. I’m overjoyed that I saved this fabric from a premature trip to landfill.This  ponti skirt will probably be put away until it is boots-and-tights weather. 
So, yay, victory of sorts snatched from the jaws of defeat.

Tessuti Maggie Tunic
The Tessuti Maggie is a  basic tunic pattern with bust darts, a shaped V slit neckline (I'm not sure how else to describe it), side slits, with mitred finish as seen on the Tessuti Kate, and slightly wide sleeves.
I made a few fit alterations, all normal for me – FBA, drop the bust dart, widen the sleeve by about an inch  (possibly too much) and lengthened by 5cm overall.
As I noted in the last post, Tessuti is very good at showing you how to do simple things to a high standard. In this case, it was sewing in the facing. Normally I’m no fan of the facing as too many seem to fly out. This one doesn’t, and is nice and flat (notwithstanding the slightly dodgy sewing at the point of the “V”, but I’ll take responsibility for that one. ) It seems the combination of using a 1cm seam allowance, and Vilene tearaway to sew in the facing makes a big difference. You might be interested to know that there is no clipping or grading involved in sewing the neckline at all.
Given that this is a nice pattern, it is a bit of a pity that the fabric I chose didn’t have the degree of drape it really needs. This is a cotton poplin I bought off the remnant table at Tessuti, and I love the chevrons and colours so I was keen to make it up. I thought the Maggie was was a good pattern to accommodate the pattern, but the hand doesn't really suit it..Sigh.
And then, I mucked up the pattern placement when I cut it out. (No this is not a case of ablogogising – just statement of fact!) I thought these busy chevrons would be  forgiving, but I was wrong.  They really demanded careful pattern placement for cutting. I would have been well advised to cut this out in a single layer, duplicating both back and front pieces to make full pieces, instead of cutting on the fold. I was slightly off in pattern placement, with the most irritating result being that the point of the “V” doesn’t line up with a chevron. 
I wore this tunic once to the beach, and was so conscious of the "v"pointing to the wrong place that I draped a cotton scarf around my neck to cover it up. Seems ridiculous, but I’m sure most of those reading this would and could relate.
I’m afraid that this version of Maggie is destined to be re-purposed, in the manner of the Morris to Mabel. I definitely would like to keep the fabric, as I  like it a lot. So the search for a suitable pattern for the chevrons continues. And I'm on the look out for fabric with drape for the Maggie.
BTW, I’m only wearing these two items together because they vaguely seem to go together and I sewed them one after the other. I would not wear them together IRL. 

If you appreciate a back view, here you go!


  1. I totally do not notice any odd pattern placement by that V neck, even after you drew my attention to it! I'd call this a very nice top in very flattering colors for you. I'm about to give the Morris a try - off to check out your experiences before I dive in.

  2. Thanks, Nancy. I know I'm being slightly ridiculous but it's a bit like a pebble in your shoe - I know it's there.
    On the Morris my issues again stemmed from fabric choice. The ponti I used was a but thick. I plan to try again in a stretch woven, and cut one size down.

  3. So glad that you were able to salvage the fabric from your Morris. The Mabel is a great little pattern and yours looks like it will be a handy addition to your wardrobe. I'm sorry to hear of your woes with the Maggie Tunic. I'm sure all of the flaws you mentioned will only be seen by you. Choosing fabric with the right amount of drape is something I have trouble with too. Don't be too hard on yourself.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Jean. I'm not giving myself too a hard time over this one. It's more a feeling of exasperation. Matching fabric to pattern is certainly an art that I need to work on!

  4. Very clever way to sew your Morris jacket into a Mabel. Only you will notice the "v" and chevron, you need to look at RTW more, there are some horrors that people pay good money for.

    I really like your Maggie tunic and the colours are a lot of fun.

    1. Thanks Sharon - I've gotten over the less-than-perfect pattern placement and have worn this tunic quite a bit since I made it in January. The colours go with a lot that is in my wardrobe, and always make me smile.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

A bit of a book review - Gertie Sews Vintage Casual

MBM - Tessuti Berlin jacket

MBM - Tessuti Bondi dress