I have admired Pearl Red Moon‘s patterns for some time now. She is an Australian textile and mixed media artist and in addition to selling jewellery, fabric (via Spoonflower) and finished garments, she has a line of patterns that encourage the maker and wearer to explore their creative side. Pearl sells via her Etsy shop Boho Banjo art to wear.
I bought the Aurana top pattern a year or so ago. I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand why I sew some patterns immediately after purchase, but sit on others for a while! I pulled it out back in October when I was strongly feeling the need to ‘play’ a bit with fabric in a creative way. The Aurana top is perfect for mixing and matching. From the pattern page: A boxy loose fitting womens top. Pulls on over head and has short sleeves. Round neckline with facing. The front of the top features patchworked sections. The back is plain. There are multiple ways the design could be interpreted and here are some of the designers suggestions:
1) make as a “bojagi” type patchwork, with the garment made in a sheer fabric like silk or organza and with either flat felled seams or french seams on the outside of the garment.
2) patchwork made in 2, 3 or more solid colours.
3) patchwork made in a combination of stripes in varying directions. Stripe fabrics of varying widths could be used and even different colours.
4) patchwork made in a combination of solid colours and prints.
5) Make the centre front V section in a sheer or lacy fabric and the remainder in solid.
6) To make the black and red version with textile art embellishment as shown on the Aurana Top cover page visit my blog at http://www.pearlredmoon.com and download the link given to the FREE TUTORIAL in the right side bar. The tutorial is for a fabric embellishment technique that can be used as a surface applique on clothing. In it I outline how to apply the piece that is made to the Aurana Top. However, experienced sewists could easily use the technique to apply to any other item of clothing. The tutorial is available to anyone for free, without any obligation or need to purchase the Aurana Top PDF sewing pattern.
I love that Pearl gives many suggestions to spark the maker’s creativity and shows each pattern made up in a variety of ways. For me making this top involved pulling out my many linen scraps, then getting to work with the scraps on the pattern pieces to figure out how they’d best work together. I pulled out a selection of colours then moved them around to get a sense of the most pleasing colour combinations and proportions.
Once I’d figured out which fabrics would go where I pinned the pattern pieces on and cut them all out, then carefully assembled them in the order of the pattern instructions. I decided to use different colours for the sleeves and to simply piece the back as well.
Rather than using the supplied facing pieces to finish the neckline, I cut bias strips from other scraps of linen and ran them through one of my handy Clover bias binding makers. The binding was then sewn to the right side of the top before being turned to the inside and machine stitched in place. The nice wide hems were overlocked then turned to the inside and machine stitched as well.
I’m very happy with the way that this top fits me. I sewed size Small, which is for bust sizes between 100-109 cm (39-43 inches). Side note – despite being Australian, and brought up entirely using the metric system, I tend to talk about sewing in a mixture of imperial and metric systems. I blame this on learning to sew from American patterns. I’ve been forced to think in both systems for body measurements and seam allowances!
The pdf printed and assembled well. I used the print at home version, but it also comes with a copy shop file. Instructions were thorough and comprehensive. I’ve recently bought the Zambeesie jacket pattern, which I also plan to sew from scraps, and I also own the End Point dress pattern. I rather fancy the Marama coat and the Pheenie dress. The pattern sizing starts with the Small that I made, and goes to Extra Large with a 49 to 52 inch bust. They’re designed to be roomy.
If you like ‘art-teacher chic’ (which I do) and want some encouragement to get a bit more creative and find patterns with unusual design lines I really encourage you to check out Boho Banjo art to wear. They’re the type of designs that could look completely different sewn in a single fabric versus in a combination of fabrics. You can sew them in ways that are really ‘out there’, and are truly pieces of art to wear, or you can sew them in ways that are more subtle and low key. It’s really just up to your own style and your imagination! No-one has asked me to promote these patterns, by the way – I just reckon that they’re great.