Just like Anne of Green Gables before us, we have a powerful longing for puffy sleeves. Luckily our desire has been sated, for now, by the beautiful Peppermint Paddington Top, the culmination of our collaboration with South African patternmaker Sarah Steenkamp of French Navy Patterns.
With its romantic sleeve puffs, no-sweat, easy-to-set raglan sleeves and fun back button detailing, the Paddington Top is an instant classic – a soon to be wardrobe staple that livens up any look. And it’s free to download, just waiting for you!
This darling pattern was created in partnership with our good friends at Spoonflower. The world’s largest marketplace of independent designs from global artists, Spoonflower provides custom, sustainable textile printing we know you’ll love. Their on-demand process significantly reduces materials, energy and water, featuring eco-friendly inks and a carefully sourced range of fabrics – including organic options.
For our gorgeous version of the top we used the new Cotton Lawn from Spoonflower, printed with the winner of our Spoonflower design challenge, Californian surface-pattern designer Grace Andersson’s sunny floral pattern. For even more lovely hand-drawn floral patterns, you can check out all the fabulous entries here.
The possibilities of the Paddington Top are limitless. If you haven’t made your own version yet, what are you waiting for? To give you a boost of inspiration, we asked six fantastic sewing influencers to create their own tops in a Spoonflower fabric of their choice. And boy did they blow us away! From @the.sewcialite’s poppy cotton poplin to @m_o_l_l_y_m_o_l_l_y’s geometric double gauze, @sewlike’s fabulously floral cotton lawn, @mirry_maker’s bright and busy sweet pea gauze, @purplesewingcloud’s darling daisy cotton lawn, and not to mention @gyasti’s delicate Missouri natives print – the inspiration is endless!
Find out what they all had to say about the pattern below and feel the #sewspo flow through you!
Fabric Choice – Midnight White Dots by Crystal Walen in Cotton Poplin
“Day four of lockdown and I’ve made a dress! I feel like a cartoon character in it and I love the drama these socks give!
This is my #PeppermintPaddingtonTop (drafted by French Navy Patterns) made in a Spoonflower Cotton Poplin. This was a collab with Peppermint and I was gifted the fabric for it. I SQUEEZED every bit of fabric out to make this, and the skirt ended up borderline too short. But I still love… so here are my mods:
Shortened front and back bodice by five inches, then gathered two rectangles (50cm long, 100cm wide) and attached them to the bodice! And voila, you have a dress!
I gotta say, this cotton was a little stiff to gather, so I shouldn’t have gathered such a wide piece of fabric, but it’s fun walking around like a puff ball!
Here’s what I did to the back: I’d omitted the button placket (I’m in lockdown and have no buttons) and just did a one-button closure instead.
This ceramic button was a gift from my friend and is actually migrating from my old Dawn Jeans (that were too stained and stretched out)! I love how the colour is PERFECT for this dress!
The print for this fabric was called Midnight White Dots by Crystal Walen. Spoonflower has so many amazing artist designs on their site and you can choose to have them printed on a range of fabrics and fibres. It really is like wearing art!”
Fabric Choice – Modern Geometric by Lemonni in Organic Sweet Pea Gauze
“What we wear has the power to change how we feel. After a lacklustre week of “same same”, my first try on of this top and skirt together reminded me of a life where I used to get dressed up and contribute to the hustle around me. It was such a nice feeling, and an unexpected one.
I made this French Navy Patterns #PeppermintPaddingtonTop from Peppermint as part of a promotion. I rarely agree to promote anything but I loved the puff sleeves on this top, and Peppermint’s free patterns are a great entry point to expand our sewing community and an amplification opportunity for indie pattern designers… and these are two things I’m passionate about.
Fabric is the double gauze gifted by Spoonflower with my choice of surface design. I chose to use Modern Geometric from talented designer Lemonni. Annie’s work really makes this outfit that bit more special.
My mods were
1) Reduced sleeve volume and elastic a touch because my arms are thin. I also tucked folds rather than steamed sleeve hems into position per my photos – they look totally fine gathered.
2) Neck is slightly smaller for my small head.
3) Removed the buttons at the back as the gauze is very light. Because I’d ordered enough fabric to pattern match, then realised I didn’t need the back buttons, I made a simple rectangle skirt from the excess. And my gosh. Talk about a sum being more than its parts! This is totally a #twopiecesetacular outfit. I can’t imagine wearing these pieces anything but together.”
Fabric Choice – Big Flowers White M+M Multicolor by Friztin in Cotton Lawn
“Every now and then you plan on making something and then everything just falls into place. That was the case for the #PeppermintPaddingtonTop from Peppermint and French Navy Patterns.
As soon as this pattern was released I downloaded it and sent it off to print! What I didn’t expect was to hear from Peppermint asking me if I’d like to make it with some gifted Spoonflower fabric! A definite yes from me!
I chose the Cotton Lawn from Spoonflower in this cute and chic floral print from Friztingram; a print I’d been eyeing for a while so talk about stars aligning! The pattern came together super fast! I wrote all about it in a blog post if you’re curious. The main takeaways being: I can pop the top over my head, so I actually didn’t do the button holes and attached the buttons on directly to the overlapping buttons stands; test your fabric and see if you need the interfacing (I interfaced mine in accordance with the pattern, but moving forward I don’t think I need to); I’ve not done the method used for the sleeve hem before. I quite like it. Trust the process, it works!
I absolutely love my new top and it works dressed up and down, so that’s a huge plus for me. It’s really comfortable too. I made the size I and could have sized down easily, but I love the fit for that flowy, Marimekko look.”
Fabric Choice – Seamless pattern01 by Molesko Studio in Organic Sweet Pea Gauze
“My wardrobe is getting summer ready, but where is the sun? While it’s been raining, I’ve had some summery fabric and patterns on my sewing table. I made the lovely #PeppermintPaddingtonTop drafted by French Navy Patterns for Peppermint. This make was in collaboration with Peppermint (you can download the free Paddington Top from their website) and Spoonflower who provided this gorgeous fabric in exchange for this post.
I chose to make this top in their Organic Sweet Pea Gauze. I found it different compared to any other gauze I’ve used but in a good way.
There’s a grid-like pattern in the weave of the fabric and I really like that. It makes it look different to regular gauze. It’s soft but doesn’t feel fragile (but it’s still gauze so mind the fraying). The fabric is lightweight and will be so cool to wear should the sun ever make an appearance in the UK this summer.
I’ll be making more Paddington Tops because of these reasons:
1) It came together pretty quickly and these days a quick make is where its at for me.
2) It’s a lovely simple silhouette for beautiful fabric like the ones you can find on the Spoonflower website.
3) It’s got hackability (see the version The Sewcialite made!).
I made no modifications to this pattern but I did choose to use poppers at the back instead of buttons because I’m a button hole avoider.”
Purple Sewing Cloud
“Isn’t it amazing how much you glow when you put on something you love? I just feel like I can’t stop smiling!
Peppermint asked if they could send me some Spoonflower fabric to make their new free pattern – the #PeppermintPaddingtonTop – and I jumped at the chance. I’ve chosen Spoonflower’s Cotton Lawn because it’s a nice light fabric and I know I can use the cotton scraps for quilting projects. I also chose the print and went with this amazing daisy print that really makes me smile.
The pattern is beautiful to work with and the instructions are well thought out with excellent illustrations and clear instructions. I made a couple of changes to the pattern. Firstly I moved the button placket to the front for my access needs, I really struggle with fastening buttons behind me and this means I don’t need to ask for help. You can make this so it pops over your head without the need of functional buttons. I’ve also shortened the bodice and added a gathered skirt and it looks amazing. It’s the perfect summer dress!”
Fabric Choice – Missouri Natives by A Bear Cub in Cotton Lawn
“Never underestimate the power of floral print dresses to cheer you up!
This is the new #PeppermintPaddingtonTop hacked into a dress, inspired by The Sewcialite! To do this, I shortened the bodice by five inches, and cut two skirt pieces 18.5 inches long and the entire width of the fabric wide, which was about 44 inches. I also added a narrow two-inch ruffle at the bottom of the dress. I found that I don’t need the button placket on the back to get this dress on, so I will omit that next time around. I lengthened the sleeves by two inches and used narrower elastic, mine was one-quarter inch.
Now for the fabric, it’s the Missouri Natives print by A Bear Cub in Spoonflower Cotton Lawn. This fabric is such a dream to work with! It’s very lightweight and holds a press very well. I will be wearing this dress all summer long.”