Duck! My Hawthorn crop top refashion – perfect for relaxing on the M25.


You know you are obsessed when you start planning things to make for specific activities.
Look – ducks!   Perfect for the Taracat Family Annual Shooting Competition.  Not that we shoot ducks. Or anything feathered or furry,  just clays.  I have had mixed reactions when I tell people I like shooting.  People have strong feelings about guns, which they should, but clay pigeon shooting is a sport in the same way that archery or golf are sports. Actually I think golf can be way more dangerous. I have lost close family members to golf.  They used to enjoy coming round,  spending time,  were able to hold intelligent conversations.  Then they tried golf and all of a sudden they had no time for their old friends or family, it took up all their money,  they were constantly thinking about their next fix….
(And before you say it sewing is nothing like that. )

Anyway at the risk of sounding like a psycho I find shooting relaxing, and very rarely picture the faces of my enemies as I squeeze the trigger. And despite only getting to practice when I go home to my parent’s place I am also the unbeaten champion in my family.  So obviously I needed a new top in which to celebrate my certain victory.

Some of you may recognise this fabric. It is the same stuff I used for my Simplicity 2444 bodice and Peony skirt frankenpattern,  blogged about here.

P1200552 Now when I say I used the same fabric, I mean exactly the same fabric.  The Stashbusting UFO and Refashioning challenge that I mentioned in my last post has really made me think about what I wear and what just sits in the wardrobe neglected. This dress was definitely in the latter category.  I have worn it out once and even though I love the fabric the gaping neck and slightly uneven hem bugged me so much that I never wore it again.  I could have tried to fix it but that would mean raising the hem to a length I don’t wear.  With my fabric buying ban in place I need to get ruthless so I decided to resort to something a little more drastic.  Does it count as refashioning if you just totally ignore what it used to be and just chop it up to use the fabric for something completely different?

I didn’t have enough fabric for the peplum top but inspired by the crop top tutorial on the Colette blog I cut out the main Hawthorn bodice pieces from the skirt and the little bits from the dress bodice and some scraps that I’d had the forethought to save when I made the dress. I lengthened it by an inch or so. After two children my crop top wearing days are over. I also added a wide waistband and extended it to make two ties that are long enough to wrap around and tie at the back or the front. I figured this would also give me a little more coverage. I added buttons from a local charity shop, fifty pence for four. IMG_2535Unfortunately despite my best efforts this top still reveals a little more flesh than I wanted.  It looked fine on the dress form:


and it’s okay when I’m sitting down:

IMG_2499Standing up, however, and it does this at the back:


And this at the front:IMG_2506I can kind of hide my muffin tops by hoiking up my jeans and not breathing

IMG_2514Or strategically holding the bow in place

IMG_2523But any kind of movement and it climbs up to show off my stretch marks.  I know why. When I lengthened it I should have also made it gradually wider to accommodate my hips. As it is it is not wide enough so rolls or scrunches up and sits on top of them.  In addition I only had four buttons and was hoping that would do but I also need to add a popper/ press stud at the bottom.

Despite all this I will definitely wear this top. I love the style and the fabric and it looks pretty good over a longer vest top.  It is definitely as keeper, which is more than I could say for the dress.  And now I have figured out what I need to change I do plan on making another.  I guess that means it’s a success.

Anyway, enough about the top. How did I do with the shooting?  And where are all the action shots in the woods pretending to be Elmer Fudd?

It didn’t happen. You could say that pride comes before a fall. After all the effort making this top and talking about how I was going to whoop everyone’s arses we then got stuck on the M25 for three hours on the way there and totally missed the shooting. We did make it in time for a fabulous family dinner and then headed to the village pub for a couple of pints, so it could have been worse.  I was annoyed at first but there was nothing we could do about it so no point in getting stressed.  On the positive side it did motivate me to make something new out of something I had given up on. And I also get to hold on to my unbeaten status, in my own head at least.


35 thoughts on “Duck! My Hawthorn crop top refashion – perfect for relaxing on the M25.

  1. Ginny

    You need high-waisted trousers m’dear! Or wear it with a skirt that sits on your waist. I love a good tie-front blouse, and usually wear mine either with my plain black circle skirt or my Butterick 5895 jeans.

    Excellent transformation from something unloved. And oddly, I was just looking at this fabric on eBay the other day! Love it 🙂

  2. Crowbird

    You look fab!
    My dress form always looks better dressed than me too! Not sure how she does it, but then she hasn’t got to bother about hair and make-up and never puts on weight!
    Oh, and I’m all in favour of bows, the bigger the better,

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Thanks! I know what you mean. My dress form is the same measurements as me but definitely not the same shape. I think I need to pad her out a bit to make her lumps and bumps a bit closer to mine.

  3. Shar

    I love this fabric and what a great version of the Hawthorn! I’m with Helen – just throw a cami (maybe a red one) underneath. My dad and husband are both hunters. When I was growing up my dad used to take me to rifle practice and we used to shoot clay pigeons too. I haven’t picked up a gun in ages, but it was great bonding time with my dad.

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Thanks! I’m definitely going to try it with a cami. My nephew is old enough to come shooting with us now, he’s getting pretty good and it’s been great for bonding between him and his dad too.

  4. Poppy

    Great hawthorn top! Like the girls above say, a red cami underneath would work really well and it would look great with a skirt too.

  5. Elise Lin

    Yeah I think I’d call that a refashion. You saved the dress by making it a top 🙂 It’s very cute, too bad it rides up. Maybe you could attach a very small peplum-like strip (2-3 inches) if you have enough fabric?

  6. Jenny Clark

    This is very very cute! I love the addition of the ties. I think you definitely need to make some super-high-waisted trousers to wear with it as I think that will look lovely! x

  7. PendleStitches

    Please tell me you weren’t stuck in all that traffic around junction 11 the other day? It looked horrendous, although there is always a traffic jam at junction 11(I used to live in Chertsey).
    The top is lovely. As you say, nothing a cami/vest won’t solve and such pretty fabric. Love the bow too.

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Thanks! It was from junction 27 all the way to junction 24. I don’t think I’ve ever been on the M25 without some kind of hold up, although never this bad. It really is the road to Hell.

  8. tania@sewitanyway

    I was in M25 hell last Friday too… and on the bit near Heathrow with five lanes! What is the point in holding everyone up with roadworks for years making new lanes when it still gets jammed up just the same after that?! {rants}
    Love this top! Really cute, but I agree- some high waisters will totally sort what’s worrying you! 🙂
    And as much as I love that guns are very tightly regulated in this country, I went clay shooting the year before last, and it turns out I’m really quite happy with a 12-bore… 😉

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Thanks! I have never been on the M25 without a hold up, i hate it, so rant away 🙂 And yes, I’m all for tight gun regulation, maybe even tighter than it is now when it comes to checks, personal ownership and storage, but I do enjoy shooting as a sport.

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Cheers! It’s the school holidays at the moment and I’m not at work, so I actually have the energy to sew in the evenings after the kids have gone to bed. I go back in September though so I expect my productivity to drop dramatically once I am getting up at five and commuting again.

  9. Roisin Muldoon

    Clay pigeon shooting is fine by me, but it’s probably not something I’d try myself. The top is great though and I just LOVE the fabric – good save from the Peony, and despite your reservations about it, the top is sooooo much cuter than the dress was. It will look adorable under a longer vest or over a high waisted skirt or jeans. Good work, my friend! x

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Cheers Roisin! I really am pleased with it and i will make it work. I put this kind of shooting in the same category as archery. I actually tried archery first, I was seriously addicted to Robin of Sherwood when I was younger (Michael Praed, Jason Connery, Ray Winstone- what’s not to like?) Unfortunately I was crap. I think I got the fabric on eBay but it was ages ago.

  10. smittenness

    That is gorgeous! I did a bit of a double-take when I read “shooting” but the way you compared clay-shooting to archery (in the comments above) makes perfect sense. Good work on re-fashioning too!


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