McCall’s 7476 (#2) in textured wool

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Hi All – – I’m back with another cardigan, this time in a nubby sweater knit. This fabulous wool came from the remnant section of Fabric Depot, a fabric I had longed for from afar, but didn’t purchase since it was really expensive. Then, one day, Lady Luck looked my way. When I was there to buy a zipper, I perused the remnant rack and found two small pieces of this wool for 50% off! How could I resist?

Okay, there was a small problem though. My two pieces were a scant yard and a half. This is where being a small person comes in handy. No, I cannot see the dirt on the top of the refrigerator, but I can make something out of two little remnants.

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Well, it took me an about an hour and a half to figure out how to cut this sleeveless cardigan out of my little pieces of fabric (LOL). It’s a good thing I was determined because it was not easy! This cardigan is my second version of my new favorite pattern, McCalls 7476.

I made another version here. The only change I made this time was to leave off the sleeves and to raise the front opening by two inches. I also used three buttons to fasten it instead of one as the pattern suggests. I LOVE this pattern. It’s easy but stylish and you can cut and sew it in only a couple of hours, (two episodes of my new binge watching obsession, The Crown). My nubby knit is a very loose weave though so  I did use my serger to finish the seams since the fabric wanted to fray with very little encouragement. Still I love this fabric. It’s warm and the texture makes it so unusual.

I was able to find a moment when it wasn’t raining to take a quick outdoor shot. This was a true test of this wool, and it held up to the brisk temperature.

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I’d say the only thing I’m a bit worried about with this sweater knit is snagging it. Not sure what to do if that happens? I know some of you would find fixing a snag an easy challenge, so please sure any tips you have, as I’m sure it will happen.

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My winter sewing plans are in full swing. I’m finishing a velvet and lace swing dress which I will post soon, and have plans for a cape and a coat. Yes, that’s a lot to take on when I also want to bake holiday cookies and shop for presents and sing in a few holiday concerts. I’ll be fine IF I stick to easy, simple projects  with tried and true patterns that don’t add unneeded stress to life. Then sewing is fast and fun without alot of unpicking to do.

I hope your holiday sewing is progressing nicely, and that you’re enjoying the season. Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.

Butterick 5789, Cropped Drape Front Jacket

 

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Hi All! ‘Tis the season for indoor photos here in Oregon. It’s also the season to sew a few layering pieces, wearables that you can wrap yourself up in when it’s damp and cold (most days here). That’s why this cropped drape front jacket grabbed my attention. The style is so versatile – you can wear it closed, or open.

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My inspiration for this cropped jacket was a Ellie Tahari drape front sweater I saw on a recent ready-to-wear shopping trip. I loved the drape front, but hated the price tag. Honestly, it was several hundreds of dollars, and when you compare that to the cost of a sewn garment, me-made wins easily!

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Nevertheless, it is a gorgeous sweater. It almost made me want to learn to knit (ha).

For my version, I used a sweater knit, a wool blend I picked up at Mill End Store. It has a moderate amount of cross wise stretch, just enough for a drapey jacket.My pattern is Butterick 5789.

This is a drape front vest or jacket and the front extends into the back collar. I made view D and cropped it significantly (six inches all the way around). In order to make the front closure, I added a  button hole at the bottom corner of the drape front, then put a button on the opposite shoulder so that I could pull the ends up, criss-cross style.

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It’s such a wearable jacket, I know I’ll put it to good use right away. Honestly, this was so easy too. From cut to finish it only took two hours. Of course, part of this is because the front drape isn’t finished with a facing. That means the wrong side of your fabric shows. That’s not usually a problem with a knit though, as both sides of the fabric are usually okay to look at. I wonder which look I’ll wear the most?

 

I hope you’re finding time at this busy time of year to sew a bit. I’m contemplating a few ‘sewn’ gifts this year, but thus far have done nothing but dream about it, and of course it is alot of effort at a busy time of year, which can take some of the fun out of it. What do you think?  Are you sewing gifts this year?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

Butterick 5526- One pattern, three versions

There’s nothing like a sewing contest to inspire you to explore the long forgotten bins in your fabric stash! That’s where I found these cottons. They were perfect for my entry into Pattern Review’s ‘One Pattern, Many Ways’ contest. As I result, my stash is considerably smaller, and let me tell you, it feels great!

For my entry, I chose to make three versions of Butterick 5526, a button down shirt with variations. It’s a tried and true pattern for me (see it here).

In the past, making three frocks with button closures in four weeks would have driven me to drink. Why? Because I hate to sew buttons on by hand. Please, just shoot me instead.

Then, during a unplanned visit to Modern Domestic (Bernina and Fabric heaven, here in Portland), I discovered the Bernina button attachment (#18), a nifty gaget that does it for you in about five seconds (I am not exaggerating here). I begged Santa for it, and he delivered. Seriously, that attachment was a game changer. Bring on those buttons!

My shirt dress version was inspired by a Burberry shirt dress with a big bold plaid.

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No, I could not find that fabric anywhere, so I settled for this (Mill End Store).

img_0001To make my shirt into a dress, I just added seven inches to the length. Because the dress is very unstructured, I will wear it with a belt made from leftover pleather. I also added sleeve tabs so that I can roll up the sleeves when the weather is warm.

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Version two is a lacy top that I wanted to look a bit ‘boho’.

img_9921To make the top look less tailored and more relaxed, I eliminated the collar and cuffs, and added lace sleeves and trim. To add the lace to the bottom of the shirt, I cropped it at the waist, then added a swath of left over lace to the bottom, hemmed with a machine stitch.

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The fabric is embroidered linen (such a rare find around here), and it is so soft and comfortable to wear. I’ll likely pair this shirt this winter with a long cardi-vest. The linen was very fussy, and I was glad I had a serger to finish the frayed edges of this fabric. My only complaint about this version of the shirt is the pocket placement. It’s a bit high for me?

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My ‘kite’ version is just a straight version of view C. Nothing too challenging here, except for the linear pattern of the kites. They made the fabric layout surprisingly difficult, but they are worth it. Of course,  I LOVE this fabric. So many shades of  BLUE, and it was a joy to work with. There’s nothing like a crisp, cool cotton to make your sewing machine sing.

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So, that’s my quota of button down shirts for the next year. Because I’ve been a good girl and sewn three projects from my fabric stash, don’t you think I deserve to go fabric shopping? So far, I’m satisfied with my new stash elimination policy – – I must sew two projects from my stash for every new fabric purchase. I’m determined to make a dent in it!

I hope you’ll pop on over to Pattern Review to see all of the great makes in the contest. It’s so fun to see how you can take one pattern and make it something new. Do you have a favorite sewing pattern that you use over and over again?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

McCalls 7476-A cardigan for all seasons

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Hi All! Fall means cardigans because they are the perfect layer to throw over shirts and tee shirts when the weather begins to shift, so I’m always searching for new patterns. I was so pleased to find this new McCall’s option; a cardigan destined for ‘tried and true’ status. It’s easy and versatile with just the right amount of tapering for fit.

img_9071I like that it works with a collared shirt like this tie blouse, or over a collarless tee as well.

 

img_9707Because this sweater knit is pretty heavy with a bit of wool in the mix, I will likely wear it instead of a light-weight coat, so I made it really long. But I plan on making a shorter version with a shawl collar as soon as I can find another perfect knit!

The Details: My sweater knit is from Fabric Depot, a furry knit with lycra and wool in it, perfect for a cardigan jacket. The pattern is McCalls 7476, a cardigan with dropped shoulders, length options and collar variations.

m7476I love the fact that there are so many great options with this pattern. I cut my usual size small and didn’t have any fit issues. I wanted a snug fit when buttoned, but if you want a looser fit, you might want to jump up a size.

img_9692This pattern is super easy and fast to sew. I think from cut to finish it took me about three hours. I used a serger to finish my seams, but a zigzag would likely work.

It’s been a long while since I added a cardigan pattern to my pattern stash and this one has reminded me that I love them. If only I had a few more options to choose from. Do you have a favorite cardigan pattern? Let me know!

I hope your fall sewing is going splendidly. Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

McCall’s 7430- A sweater dress

 

img_9604As you all know, I am a big fan of sweater knits, so much so I tend to stash/horde every one I find. Yes, I have quite a few squirreled away in my sewing nook, so (fair warning here) this is only the beginning of my annual sweater knit obsession.

Here is why I love them so, so much.  Most sweater knits are easy to sew (even without a fancy serger, just use a zigzag stitch) and wonderful to wear. I’m talking about those moderate stretch wonders with just the right amount of lycra with a dense, cozy weave. This houndstooth sweater knit is a perfect example of why I’m obsessed. It’s the perfect mix of stretch and cozy…destined to become a fall/winter wardrobe staple.

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McCall’s 7430 is the perfect sweater dress.

I love the side panels, the neckline variations, and the front and back yoke. I also love the sleeve caps. You could really have fun with contrast and color blocking here. There’s so much you can do with this pattern to make it your own.

The only modifications I made to the dress were to add front patch pockets, each 6 inches by five inches (gotta keep those pinkies warm!). I added contrast sleeve bands to finish the cuffs as well, but this is so optional. You could easily hem them with your machine as the pattern suggests.

One note about fit. The side panels eliminate the usual side seams so it’s a bit harder to use them to modify fit. Yes, I’m a big fan of taking a dress in at the sides, and I hate making muslins on a knit pattern.  It’s not impossible to adjust this pattern that way. It’s just a bit more time consuming, and if you adjust those panels too much, you run the risk of changing the look of your lovely dress. So, I’m glad the sizing is pretty true on this pattern because I didn’t need to make any adjustments at all. Phew!

img_9581I guess my obsession with sweater knits isn’t likely to end in the near future🙂. I’ll probably make another dress from this pattern, out of a solid knit with a contrast, since it’s so comfy and versatile. I think it’s one of those patterns you can dress up or down, maybe even make as a tunic length to wear over leggings. Love these inspiring versions from Vince Camuto…

 

Hmmmm, so mamy options, so little time to sew! Curious if you all are as obsessed with sweater knits as I am? Pretty sure there’s a color blocked version of this dress in my very near future!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Tie top and pleather skirt

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Hi All! This time, patience paid off! I was determined to take photos outside one more time before the leaves dropped, and finally, after surviving a week of rain, we’re enjoying a clear day. The temperature is mild too, and there’s very little wind. Moderate weather is perfect for pleather I think, because it isn’t the coziest fabric to wear. I paired my new pleather skirt with a tie top of azure and gold to celebrate the season.

Even though I wouldn’t call it cozy, I do love my new skirt, and, I’m pleased to say, this pleather project was a huge improvement over my last attempt.

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This pattern is Simplicity 1322, a mock wrap skirt in three lengths. I added a toggle closure on the mock wrap for fun (easy, you just machine stitch it in place). The skirt is a fun, easy sew. The challenge again was working with the stubborn fabric. Here are a few tricks I learned along the way.

  1. Use wonder tape liberally instead of pins when attaching things or holding seams in place.  Tape is great because you don’t have to use alot of pins.
  2. When I had to press the pleather, I used steam in my iron. It seemed to make pleather pliable quickly. I’m not sure if this would work with all pleather (there seems to be quite a variety of textures and thicknesses out there) so test before you steam. Who wants a melt down?
  3. Avoid hand sewing. I used wonder tape to hold the hem in place then machine stitched it. I tried to hand sew…it was a nightmare!  I just couldn’t get the needle through without injuring myself (Who knew sewing could be so dangerous, LOL?).

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The tie top pattern is a new one for me, Simplicity 8216. I have made other tie tops, but decided try this pattern because of the yoke and gathers that give it a softer look. I found this pattern on sale at Joann’s and I love it. simplicity-tops-vests-pattern-8216-envelope-front

There are several neck variations so you can modify it to get the look you want. It went together so easily, and the fit was spot on, first try! No adjustments at the shoulders for me.  I used a Cotton and Steel rayon (Fabric Depot), which is a lovely, silky fabric with an easy drape, so important for a pattern with gathers at the yoke and a tie.

I love this neckline! It’s fun all by itself, and it holds up well when paired with a cardigan or vest too. Here it is with the draped vest I made last winter.

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With the changing seasons, I’m contemplating a slight change in my color palate. I love the gold/mustard color in the cherries in this blouse, don’t you? I want more of that yummy color in my wardrobe. It almost matches the changing leaves in the tree behind me!

Have you ever tried to handsew with leather or pleather or suede? Have you ever used steam when pressing it? Pleather and Leather must be similar to sew with? I’m amazed at the pants and leggings some of you have made from the stuff. Would love to hear how you managed that🙂.

I hope your fall sewing is going well, and that you’re enjoying a bit of fall color where you are. Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

A plaid and leather ‘duster’ for fall

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Hi all! Wearing a coat in the fall is a no-brainer, but finding the perfect one can be a bit tricky. There are days when it’s cool but not cold and wool is too much, but a summer jacket isn’t enough. That’s when a duster comes in handy!

‘Duster’ is an odd word for a topper, and a friend questioned me about why I used it, so, I looked it up. The original dusters were full-length, light-colored canvas coats worn by horsemen to protect their clothing from trail dust. Well, since I haven’t been on a horse in years, who knows why duster came to be such a catch-all term for me. I use it pretty liberally for any knee length topper that is more than a blazer, but not quite heavy enough to be called a coat.

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My duster is  made from a plaid cotton blend, that is lined in silk and trimmed with pleather at the collar and cuffs. I’ve had the fabric in my stash for awhile. It languished there, forgotten and unloved because I didn’t quite know what to do with it. I love plaid, but sometimes, it’s a bit too stiff looking for my taste. But a recent sewing room ‘re-org’ brought it to my attention again, and woudn’t you know it? I’d stored it in box with a remnant of textured ‘pleather’ (fake leather). Inspiration!

The pattern I used for my duster is Butterick 6382, a semifitted lined jacket with neckline, pocket, sleeve and length variations. I chose version D, a knee length coat with pockets and a collar.

 

I cut the pattern as designed with a few modifications:

  1. The coat’s front bodices meet at the middle but don’t close. I extended the front bodice pieces by an inch and a half so that they would overlap then added buttonholes and buttons.
  2. Because my fabric is a bit tame I livened it up with some textured ‘pleather’ for contrast. The pocket is trimmed with a 1′ band.img_8608
  3. I added 3″ pleather cuffs to the sleeeves.
  4. I cut the collar from ‘pleather’ and skipped the interfacing.

The pattern was pretty easy to sew, and the instructions were great. Of course, the plaid matching took a bit of effort, but that’s all on me for choosing plaid in the first place! The duster is a-line, and the shaping is accomplished by long bodice darts in the front and back. The most difficult part of the project was the additon of the trim. Since I chose pleather, this was a bit challenging.

What I learned: Pleather does not like to bend. Well, I thought that was okay because I could shape it by pressing it. Ha!  My first attempt at low heat resulted in a MELT DOWN, a mess of damaged plastic that almost ruined my iron. Yes, I did use a pressing cloth, but you have to be really, really careful. I eventually discovered that it could be coaxed into shape by using my fingers and a corner press for the collar. (This required a bit of patience). Also, my pleather remembered every pin prick, so I used fusible seam tape to secure pockets before stitching them in place.

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In case you were wondering, this is not a leaf-raking coat, even though someone I live with probably wishes it was. Ha! Frankly, I’m not sure about this make. Yes, I’m glad I did it because it pushed me to learn more about sewing with ‘pleather’ which was fun. I guess I’m not wild about this look or these colors on me. I do like how the duster feels when you wear it though, probably because of the silk lining. Maybe I should add two more pockets at chest level to give the duster a bit more style?  Or maybe it’s the shape? Belted, or unbelted?

Opinions welcome!

I’d love to know if any of you have experienced a pleather melt down as I did? And any ideas on how you can get the stuff to bend and mold? Yes, it’s a challenging fabric, but I’m dying to use it again, maybe for a skirt or jacket. Tips and advice is welcome!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

McCalls 7333- An Easy Jacket for Raking Leaves

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Hi All…..It’s leaf-raking time here in Oregon, a task that requires a specialized wardrobe, don’t you think? Well, here they are, piling up on the deck.

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Yet, I do not have a rake in my hand. But, if I do decide to grab one, I’ll be dressed for it! As you can see, the rainy season is upon us here in Oregon, making outside photos a challenge. I just managed to sneak one in before the rain and wind started. Good thing I chose a jacket pattern with a hood. It will come in handy in the weeks ahead.

My inspiration for this jacket was this poncho from Anthropology. I tried it on and LOVED the fit, the fleece, the tie front and the big sleeves, but didn’t love the color or the fact that it didn’t have a hood.

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So, I grabbed a heavy knit in my stash and made McCalls 7333. That’s the beauty of sewing isn’t it, the ability to get what you want? This pattern is a fun sew, a loose-fitting, unlined jacket that has a front that extends to the hood and drop shoulders, which I really love. The waist is enhanced with a tie that you can cinch as tight as you want. This style is perfect for those of us who are ‘waist-challenged’ because we can fake what we  don’t have!  You can make it out of a variety of fabrics, including lace.

I chose a stable knit from my stash that’s pinstriped. It’s more like fleece but you could probably make this pattern out of cotton or wool too. Here’s a shot of the cinched waist from the back.

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For contrast, I used a gray quilted cotton knit for the hood lining and front band.Because my knit was double faced, the jacket is VERY warm, so I didn’t need to line it. The pattern is very straightforward with great instructions. The tie waist is a cord that is encased in fabric, which sounds harder than it is. To construct the casing, you merely sew a long piece of fabric to the outside. The challenge of this pattern for me, was managing the thick fabric. It was a bit tricky gettting the sleeves in smoothly because the fabric wanted to bunch, but after a few tries, I managed. I serged the seams for a nice finish.

 

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Oh, and the jacket has pockets too, great for long walks on crisp days. The navy pinstripe is better on me than the bright orange-y red of the Anthro. jacket. And I’m calling my jacket an on-trend make (LOL) since pinstripes are all the rage this Fall. So nice to finish this warm, little jacket before the monsoons start.

The Pattern Review Surprise Sewing Bee is on right now, lots of fun makes to see there, and Froctober is happening on the Monthly Stitch. There’s so much going on in our sewing community in the Fall. There’s no shortage of inspiration to be found! I didn’t participate in the Sewing Bee this year, but I do try to keep up with the Monthly Stitch challenges, although I have missed a few lately. Still, I love seeing everyone’s posts over there. If you haven’t, you should really take a peek. Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

A wrap jumper or a pinafore?

 

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When I think Fall, I think, it’s ‘jumper’ weather! To me, a jumper is a sleeveless dress that’s meant to be worn over a shirt or blouse. But to my UK friends, ‘jumper’ means a sweater. Maybe, it’s less confusing to call my new make ‘a wrap dress that I am wearing over a shirt’.

This dress is one of my favorite styles because it’s wrapped. To me ‘wrap’ means comfortable, but what I really love about the style is that it’s so flattering. A wrap dress is considered to be perfect for any figure type because it defines your waist (especially nice for those of us who don’t have a waist). Wrap styles are perfect at any age, and you can wear them dressed up or dressed down.

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My sleeveless wrap dress is McCall’s 6884.

The bodice of my ‘jumper’ is view B (without the gathered front), and the sleeves are view D. I eliminated the tie and made a mock closer with three buttons, arranged assymetrically across the wrap.The fabric is black ponte knit that has moderate stretch from my stash.

Under my jumper, I’m wearing a new button-down shirt, Butterick 5526.

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This pattern in a new favorite. I made View D, but used the sleeve tabs from View A for the days when long sleeves are just too much. I chose View D because it has princess seams which makes the fit perfectly tapered. This makes the shirt easy to wear either loose, or tucked in.The fit of this pattern seems a bit snug to me through the waist, so I cut a size up from my usual.

As fitted shirts go, this pattern is pretty straightforward, and the instructions are great. But, it did take a bit of time to complete. From cut to finish, this project clocked in at four and half hours. (BTW, I finished the seams with my serger rather than constructing french seams. If you’re going to do that, add another hour (LOL).

Princess seams are my FAVORITE. Who can resist that tapered shape? The fabric I used is 100% cotton that I found in the quilting department of Joann’s. Honestly, there are bargains to be had there! I paid $5.99 a yard for this perfect pring. The colors go with everything in my closet.

A friend who is very ‘fashion forward’ wears her wrap jumper open as a long vest. Yes, I love to throw long vests over everything, so thought I’d give it a try, but I’m not sure….

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Hmmm, probably not….? 

Here’s to Fall fashion; to jumpers and skirt and coats…all my favorite things to sew! What would you call this make; a jumper, a pinafore, or a sleeveless dress?  Would you ever wear it open as a vest?

Happy sewing, and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

DIY Cropped Pants and an Easy Top

img_7842Hi All! What are these? Cropped pants? Wide shorts? Culottes? Tell me, please. Whatever they are, they’re strangely reminscent of a poppy skirt I bought in junior high. Yes, it has been that long since I had anything in my wardrobe that was poppy! Can’t tell you why I’ve waited this long because the color is so fabulous. In fact, when you think of all the colors you can wear with it (black, navy, white, denim, maybe even army green?), you could almost call it a neutral.

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I’ve wanted a pair of wide shorts/cropped pants since I saw Mimi G rocking them on her website. Yes, I could have purchased one of her excellent patterns to make these, but I felt sure a shorts pattern I had in my stash would work just fine. But after I made them, I realized didn’t have quite the right top to go with them. You know how it goes. One thing leads to another….

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The cropped pants are a long version of Vogue 9008, a shorts pattern that is so versatile. You can make a flat front or pleated front version. I chose the pleats, but then I sewed them down to give the front a smooth finish. To get the full leg look I wanted, I lengthened the shorts by six inches, keeping the line of the shorts wide at the bottom. I love the effect. The shorts are snug at the top, but they flare out like a skirt at the bottom.

The pattern is pretty straightforward. It has a mock fly zipper, which is easy to insert, and you can add pockets if you want. The instructions were clear. It wasn’t hard, but with belt loops and a back yoke (which I love) this pattern is a bit time consuming.

I made them from poppy linen, purchased at Fabric Depot. It is midweight and I planned on lining the shorts with silk, but ended up taking the lining out because it made the legs too full and bunchy.  Yes, I wanted them to be full, but I did not want them to look like clown pants.

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The top is made from a cotton-linen blend that’s the color of denim. I love this fabric and wish I could remember where I got it because I’d love to have more. The pattern is Vogue, 8906.

It has front pleats that form the shape of the bodice, eliminating the need for darts. There’s a zipper in back. To make the sleeves a little more boxy, I added a sleeve band that is 5″ wide. It makes the sleeves look more ‘finished’ to me, and adds a bit of a retro vibe, I think. I also added a v-neck, and adjusted the facings accordingly. This pattern is super easy! I plan on making several more versions including one with buttons down the front. The fit was spot on for me. I didn’t even have to adjust for my narrow shoulders. Nice!

img_7846I’m not sure if Poppy is a fall color, but I’m going to be wearing this outfit now, because linen is so perfect at this time of year. I’m not sure if I’ll really wear this top with the shorts though. Together they might be too much flare for me. Maybe I should wear them with a top that fits snuggly, or maybe something tucked in? Opinions welcome!

I hope your sewing projects are going well. Fall is my favorite time to sew, because the new fabrics are so fabulous. Enjoy!