Twinkle Sews Take Manhattan

This month, Pattern Review are having a pattern stash competition.  The winner is the person who sews the most patterns from their stash, but I decided to use this competition just to sew up one pattern in my stash that has been sitting there for a long while, and that I will regret not ever getting around to sewing (sadly, I have a lot of patterns in that category to choose from).

I bought the Twinkle Sews book in 2009.  I did make a handful of garments at the time, but not all the ones I wanted to make.  I bought the fabric for the Take Manhattan tunic on a trip to Tessuti not long after I bought the book, and they have been sitting paired together for the past 8 years.

Finally, today, that project has been realised.

The main fabric is a very light, floaty fabric.  I never knew the exact composition, but I believe it is a melange of natural and synthetic fibres.  it is slightly sheer.  It is warm for its weight, and a tiny bit scratchy, so I think that there is some wool in the mix.

I didn't make any fitting changes to the pattern.  I need to add some more room across the back if I sew this again.  It looks okay here, but the fabric has no give, and I can feel it pulling in the back when I move my arms in front.

The design is described as an overblouse.  I did put it on over a brown t-shirt, over black jeans, but the whole ensemble then had a a bit of a Friar Tuck vibe about it.

Because the fabric was a little scratchy, I decided to make the cowl lining in a different fabric.  The silk crepe de chine that I used to line the bodice wasn't a close enough colour match, so one night I spent hours hunting through my fabrics for a better choice.  It took me a while.  Usually I have something in mind before I go digging, but this time I was coming up blank.  I started with my remnants, then trawled through the piles of new fabrics and finally I pulled out my box of "the good stuff".  I don't usually like to cut into a new length of fabric for one piece like this, but I had no project in mind for this particular fabric, and as a family member delightfully pointed out, I won't get it all sewn before I die.  I may as well use it now.  This charcoal black silk has a gold thread running through that matched well with my main fabric.  I got this contrast fabric from EmmaOneSock, and I believe it was labelled as a Calvin Klein fabric.

For many of Wenlan Chia's designs, the delight is in the details.  This tunic has a lined bodice.  The inner neck edge of the cowl is finished with a bias strip.  Here you can see the buttonholes for the drawstring.  My drawstring is a little shorted than the pattern because I wanted to use the selvedge and this is what I had in a single strip.

The top of the kangaroo pocket is finished with rivets.  The pocket has top-stitching down the centre so that it doesn't gape open.

My rivet stems were purchased to go through denim, and I was worried about them hanging in space at the back of this fine fabric, so I stuck in a couple of pieces of batting behind the rivet.  This sits between the bodice and the lining.

I thought I would save myself the trouble of sewing a neat narrow hem in crepe de chine lining, and finished the edge with a strip of lace instead.

Possibly, I sewed the lace on the wrong side of the lining.  I sewed the lining with french seams, but used my overlocker on the main fabric because it frayed so much.  The main hem is a blind hem.  I used a not narrow, not wide double hem on the sleeves, which I forgot to photograph.  

This was an exercise in slow sewing for me.  I don't get the time to sew all I want, and I don't get through as much as I want in that time.  I need to be mindful not to get frustrated at the lack of progress, but to enjoy each of the steps (though I will never enjoy taping together all those pdf pages).  Sewing is my hobby, but it is not always a relaxing hobby, and I need it to be.

The projects that I have made from "Twinkle Sews" have been some of my favourites.  You can see them all by clicking on the "Twinkle" label.  I still have my eye on a couple more of the designs in the book.


  1. Love your top! I perused all your posts using the Twinkle book and they are so amazing I hopped over the Amazon to order the book but some of the reviews stopped me in my tracks. Did you have any trouble with the patterns not printing out correctly or the instructions lacking clarity? I love the uniqueness of her styles - very couture :)

    1. Hi Kathleen, the printing is a problem. There are hundreds of pages to print. The sizing information in the book is confusing, so it is easy to print off hundreds of pages in the wrong size and have to do it again. I do have problems with edges of pages being cut-off, but maybe because I am printing on A4. The printing and taping is why I haven't made every design in the book.

      I don't remember the instructions being a problem. They are not illustrated, but I am an experienced sewer and the underlying designs are not that complicated. As for the details, I think if you sew those a little wrong or differently to how the author intended, it does not matter so much...creative design in progress!

      I have sewn more designs out of this book than any of my other sewing magazines...the styling and little details just appeal to me so much.

  2. Ooh I remember this top, I made it back in 2009 when Twinkle Sews came out. This book was a favorite of mine for a long time. But I do remember there were some mistakes here and there.

  3. Your top is gorgeous. I must get my Twinkle Sews out again and make something!

  4. This is so lovely! The colour is gorgeous.

  5. I love this top and the fabrics you chose. I too have the Twinkle Sews book but have never made any of the garments even though I really like some of the styles. Someday.

  6. Lovely top with lots of nice details, I feel like it really suits you! This colour looks great with jeans doesn't it? I giggled at your Friar Tuck comment, I had a similar Alice in Wonderland moment once!

  7. I love the end result, even if it was slow. The fabric combination is gorgeous and the final garment really suits you. Well done!