Chasing Waterfalls in Tulips (and Tips for Jersey Recovery)


Over the past week, I’ve shown you many made-by-me samples for the Hummingbird Peplum Top & Skirt.  I have the idea that simple but thoughtful cuts like Hummingbird lend themselves well to dressing up or down according to fabric choices.   Styling comes into play, too, but I can’t go past fabric choice as the most vital aspect of re-make-ability to create a versatile wardrobe.

Today we’ll go uber-casual around the farm with my tulip printed Hummingbird Green top.  This is my in-laws piece of paradise in the New South Wales coastal countryside, a welcome retreat from the city for my country-reared husband and me.

Tulip Printed Cotton Jersey

This obnoxious print has been my go-to jersey muslin fabric for the past year or so.  I picked up a large roll at one of those Spotlight sales- $1/m.  I worked with this range in the past for Lila clothes, so I knew it would wash well without pilling.


Jerseys stretch.  That’s what they do and why we love them.  But all jerseys are not created equal.  This one doesn’t mind stretching, but since it’s 100% cotton it doesn’t bounce back after until I wash it.  You know the fabric type I’m talking about.  The curve of the neckline on the Hummingbird Top is steep at the CF and I found no matter what I tried, I could not make the binding lie flat for this fabric.

Picture 7

Nevermind, I thought, let’s just make this top wearable.  You can see here I turned the offensive binding to the inside of the neck edge and top-stitched it in place.  After much washing and wear, I can see this produces a clean and tidy neck edge that stays in place.

Hummingbird on a Hike

Tulip Printed Hummingbird Green

What’s more casual than a tramp through cow pastures to a hidden waterfall?  (ok-maybe lying around the house, but this is more interesting for all of us!)

Hummingbird Green | Tulip Printed Fabric

I paired this Hummingbird Green top with a pair of manky old shorts and rubber “gum boots” for our walk.  Not pictured: thick black work socks.

Hummingbird Green Tulip Printed Jersey

This is a prime example of what I mean when I say this fabric stretches but doesn’t recover.  It was a hot day, steamy, and the fabric expanded as I moved.  That’s perfectly normal.  It also means when I stand still, the excess fabric falls in wrinkles.  That’s ok.  That’s life.

Tulip Printed Cotton | Cake Patterns

This waterfall is near the top of a mountain, fed by both a spring and rainwater.  After the rains, the water rushes strong and fast down the rock face- this is a light-medium gush.

Hummingbird Green Tulip Print

It’s quite clean enough to drink, pure and delicious.  The air was soft and cool and smelled of rain on an otherwise hot and wretched day.

Chasing Waterfalls

It’s tall!  Can you spot my husband?  He climbed right up the rock face and sat in the stream, one day I’ll make it up there.

Working with fabrics with low recovery

When working with a jersey that doesn’t like to bounce right back after stretching, you have two options.  Here, I’m showing you the first- wear a shirt that bags a little bit.  The other option for those who prefer fewer wrinkles is to cut the shirt a size smaller than usual through the torso (I’d keep the arm openings the same).  The fabric will expand and hug the body with little enough extra fabric it won’t look like an elephant’s ankles.

Hummingbird Green with Hummingbird Orange in Denim

I find a good wash will cinch up the fabric every time.  To avoid the issue entirely, keep an eye out for jerseys made with natural fibers (breathability, comfort) with a tiny whiff of Lycra- I’d suggest 5% or less.  That smidgen of Lycra is enough to allow the cotton, bamboo, or etc to stay with you while you move.

What do you think?  How do you adapt your sewing to use jerseys with little recovery?  Have you ever made a pattern in both a fancy and a casual fabric?  What are your tips?

Hummingbird Peplum Top & Skirt

The Hummingbird Peplum Top & Skirt pre-sale continues through April 7.  Thanks so much for your support, this is how we pay Cake bills!

Picture 2

For a preview of the Hummingbird Top linework, a printable “proof” for you to check out, and the Top sizing guide, visit  This is the next generation of the “customize your size” schematic that was so popular on the Tiramisu Dress.  It’s easy to cut a peplum top with a waistline seam right where you want it, and a fit that’s “just so” around the waist.  Check it out.


  1. I love that fabric – it’s so cute! It just seems to go with the style of the pattern. By the way I ordered the Hummingbird yesterday & can hardly wait till it arrives!!! I have many outfits planned for it already! Thanks Steph!!

  2. First, I’m SO disappointed we didn’t get to see pics of your thick black work socks. :)

    Ok, I’ll be serious now, what lovely refreshing pictures. I really like that fabric. It is fun and I’m surprised how cute and casual that top makes up.
    Thanks for your specific tips on handling jersey. I have learned so much about stretch fabrics from you and my sewing quality is improving because of it.

    • Hahaha! I’ll try to get them in the shot next time… :)

      Thanks… I have a Tira made in this fabric, cut a size small, and it’s my husby’s favorite version. Probably because it’s pink and tight. ;)

      I am so glad! That makes my day!

  3. I really love how the hummingbird top sizing works. (I’m having fun playing with the mini-printable top! :) ) I also appreciate you defining so clearly how much ease you’ve provided and the rationale behind the ease, so we can figure out what works best for us. Thank you for the jersey tips–they are really helpful. I’m trying to learn as much as I can about fabric, so I can make good choices when shopping.

    • Oh Good! :) I was really, really insistent on a seamless peplum (though I have a few seaming variations to show y’all during the Shipping Season!) and that meant waist customization… This is what came out on the paper after a lot of thinking and measuring and working, I think I may replace the good old BCT with a sizing scheme like this one… :)

      Ease is a preference. I’m a facilitator. :)

  4. This version of your top just totally sold me on this pattern! I love it. P.S. My two year old son is loving the Praying Mantis photos… he just said ‘thank you for posting them’! Awwwwww!

    • Oh good, I’m glad you like her! :) I love Praying Mantis(es?) too! We hung out with this guy for quite a while, telling him how pretty he was, and how useful before we put him in a kumquat tree. One of these days I’ll show y’all the huge stick insects around here. Every now and then Stephen finds one and brings it home to play.

  5. Pingback: Hummingbird Dress Ups « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

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