I’ve got a big bag of fabric scraps in the corner of my sewing space with the word QUILT written on it. It’s a collection of sewing scraps and offcuts of all different shapes and sizes, which collectively tell a little tale about the history of my home sewing. There’s lots of Nani Iro, Liberty bits and pieces, stripes, checks, ginghams and many, many chambrays. All just sitting in a bag, patiently waiting to be made into a quilt.
I’ve never made a quilt, or shown any interest in quilting – when it comes to making, I’m all about the clothes. And as time moves on and the scrap bag spreads, I wonder if this quilt is ever going to happen (in the same way I wonder if I’ll ever master a second language, write a novel, or make pasta from scratch. Time’s a-ticking.)
So recently I started raiding the quilt bag for kid projects, and I’ve been hunting for simple patterns that can accommodate smallish scraps. Just in time, True Bias kindly released the Mini Sutton top pattern for girls – a simple, kimono-sleeved top with buttons on one shoulder. I challenged the small daughters to each choose a fabric – and stick to that decision for more than five minutes…! They finally settled on two Nani Iro pieces – the blue floral is from 2012, and the pink-green-white is 2014 (both from Miss Matatabi). The pieces weren’t big enough for whole tops, so I cut the Nani Iro for the fronts, and chose a leftover Merchant and Mills Japanese denim for the backs. Mine aren’t super-frilly kids, and I kind of like the way the denim toughens up the florals a bit.
The Mini Sutton is a fun and easy make – the PDF pattern comes in A0 size which saves time in pattern-taping, and there are just two main pieces (three if you choose the v-neck version), plus binding and facing. The pattern is straightforward to follow (True Bias have an online tute for extra hand-holding on the button placket construction), and although it’s simple, it’s clever. A combination of French seams, tucked-under side seams and inside-outed corners gives a lovely, neat looking finish (which is highly unusual for me – it’s often carnage under the bonnet when it comes to my sewing…).
I’m not confident with buttonholes and had never tried them with double gauze, so I saved this step for Klarissa and her Bernina. After many, many practice runs she finally got brave and they came up pretty well – the placket’s small so keep an eye out for tiny buttons if you’re planning a Mini Sutton. One small regret for me with these two tops is the binding, I was planning to make some with the double gauze, but it just seemed too thick when doubled up and I resorted instead to the cheaper store-bought stuff. I think I should have stuck to Plan A.
These tiny details don’t matter in the end, both kiddos love their tops and plan to wear them every day on an upcoming trip to Japan. It may be a total tourist cliché but I can’t wait to see them take in the craziness of Tokyo in their Japanese-fabric kimono tops. Far more fun than making a quilt, right?