One is good, but two is better!

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One peplum shirt is good, but two is better, right? Of course! That’s why I’m making a second version of one of my favorite Tried ‘n True patterns – Butterick 6097.
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There’s a reason I’m sewing two versions of the same pattern back to back. Not only do I LOVE this pattern, but the Monthly Stitch August Challenge is Two is the magic number. So, if I’m going to obsess over a TNT pattern, what better time to do it?

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 Just like my last version, this shirt uses two contrasting prints. The truth is now obvious. I Love mixing prints! I cannot get enough of it. Even Mr. ElleGee has noticed my new found love. When I wore this shirt a couple of nights ago, he looked at me, tilted his head thoughtfully and said….”Oh. Well, that’s nice. But hey. Umm, aren’t you making a lot of those shirts now with the different fabrics up the front?”
 Well, yes, as I matter of fact I am.  How nice of him to notice :).
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 The print I chose for this particular shirt is from Cotton and Steel, purchased at Fabric Depot. The texture of this cotton is so yummy, I love wearing it.  The fabric is so light weight, I expected it would wrinkle, but it doesn’t. How great is that? These photos were taken after several hours of wear, yet the shirt still looks pretty crisp. (The contrast fabric on the front band and the collar band is from my stash, purchased long ago from who-knows-where.)
 There isn’t much I can say about this pattern, since I’ve made it before ( see it here).  It’s all about the box pleats in the front and back, you know? This version has three quarter length sleeves without a cuff. They’re rolled up a bit in these photos because it’s so hot and muggy today. In spite of the heat though, this shirt is comfortable. And this print is a bit easier on the eyes than the last print I used (see it here), so I’m sure I’ll wear this a lot, maybe with jeans or a skirt.
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Now, that I’ve made this shirt twice in a matter of only a few weeks, is my obsession over? Hmmmm, not sure I can guarantee that as I seem to have another version percolating in mind…..Oh no…….help me out of this horribly deep rut!
Please. Tell me I’m not alone, that you become obsessed with certain patterns too…?
Happy Sewing! And thanks for stopping by!

I’m having a That Seventies Show moment

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I took to heart the advice I saw in a fashion magazine recently. When it comes to fall fashion and prints,  more is more! Apparently, the old maxims about print on print should be damned.
Okay. It’s nice to know that my over-the-top shirt is on-trend, because then, perhaps I’ll have the guts to wear it! Personally, whenever I look at this shirt, all I can think of is ’That Seventies Show’.
imagesThe gang here, giving us some attitude!
I guess that isn’t a bad thing because some fashion experts insist the ‘seventies comeback’ trend in fashion is here for a second season. Okay! Bring it on because I Am Ready!
How did I end up with this print/look? Well, it’s a now familiar story. Both fabrics were in my stash, and I’ve been so In Love with the mixed print look that’s all around in RTW!
Here are some of my favorite examples. Burberry Prorsum is mixing up the prints in their Autumn 2015 RTW line.
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OMG. I need that. The seventies’ vibe is pretty obvious here with more of a folksy interpretation.   I’m going to have to find some fabric to recreate a mix and match look like this soon.
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Love the print and texture overload here, accented with bands of black.  And the fringe on that bag. Please! Can I have some!
Here’s a close up of my wild print. Sure, it’s not as cool as the Burberry print, but it cost only $12.99 a yard…Ha!
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I used one cotton print for the bodice, skirt and sleeves, and used the contrast for the front bands and the collar band. The cotton is so crisp, it sews like a dream (Fabric Depot). I think this cotton is meant to be used for quilting, but that’s never stopped me before, nor will it in the future. The fabric has just enough body to give the peplum a bit of a kick, and what’s not to love about that.
The top I made is Butterick 6097, a fitted shirt with a collar and peplum variations, princess seams and a front button band.
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I chose this pattern because I’ve made it before (here) and I like that fact that it has a bit of structure. Also, the style works with all sorts of bottoms; shorts, skirts, and jeans. To me, the peplum style has a slight retro vibe, which I always, always love. Peplums are nice for Waistless Girls like me, because they fool folks into thinking we actually HAVE them.
I made view B, a long sleeve version that I modified. My sleeves are closer to 3/4. I added a 3 inch cuff, so that I could push the sleeves up if it got too warm (rolled up here because we’ve had more than a few 100 degree days in Oregon this summer…EEK!).
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Because the pattern is so fitted, I chose to go up a size in the waist (since I don’t really have one), then cut my usual size through the hips. These adjustments are the same I made in my previous version. The pattern went together easily and it fit with just a bit of last minute seam adjustment at the sides. The peplum pleats were super easy to sew. You just have to mark them well.
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So, what do you think? Is this print just a bit too much? I’m not sure, but I think I’ll wear this top anyway. The fabric feels so good against my skin, and for me, that’s often the bottom line in terms of a garment’s wearabitliy.  I do love this Butterick pattern, so much so, I’ll be making another version of it this week (more is more?) and posting it here and on the Monthly Stitch Blog, since the August Challenge is ‘Two is the magic number’.
Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!!

New Look 6345: Sewing the Boho Look

IMG_3281Whenever I think of outdoor concerts, I think Boho, that loose, free-spirited look the cool seventies girls made famous. Think Ali McGraw, Stevie Nicks.

Ali (yes, we’re on a first name basis) had the perfect body for boho – -tall and lanky.

American actress Ali MacGraw, 8th March 1971. (Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
American actress Ali MacGraw, 8th March 1971. (Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

But Stevie DEFINED the look. Love the handkerchief hem here and those boots that made her look so tall.

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When I was invited to a concert in an outdoor venue, I looked to these girls for inspiration!

Of course, boho is one of those looks that doesn’t work for everyone. If you have curves, the flow-y dresses can make you look heavier than you are. And if you’re a short girl like me, well, most experts will tell you that loose, oversized clothes are a big no-no. They just swallow us up!

IMG_0512I guess there are worse ways to die though, right? Because I love a flow-y dress or top with a seventies vibe. Those loose clothes stand for independence! Free Spirits! Music festivals! Free love! Not to mention, the clothes are really, really comfortable.

When it came time to search for a pattern, I was surprised at how hard it was to find something with the vibe I was looking for. Finally, I found New Look 6345, a  dress/tunic with a handkerchief hem (very Stevie Nicks, don’t you think?).

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It’s a v-neck, fitted through the bust, with a loose skirt. That made it perfect for the concert, because, when I wasn’t dancing, I’d be sitting cross-legged on a lawn. I made the  length a bit shorter, because I knew I’d be wearing it over jeans.

The fabric I chose is a rayon print (blue and white, no surprise there) from Fabric Depot, with a repeating pattern that runs lengthwise. The rows in the pattern seemed like mini-border prints to me, so I couldn’t resist cutting some out to use as trim around the neck and along the bodice seam. Sounds like an easy modification, eh? Just sew a bit here and there….no problem!

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Truth be told, applying the trim to the neckline was WAY HARDER than it looked.

IMG_3215Because my fabric was a lightweight rayon, it had a freakish ability to stretch. And as I stitched my self-made trim to the neckline, I think I pulled it just enough to make the neckline gape.

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So frustrating. You can see that gape in this photo. There’s also a spider on that chair that is freaking me out, but I digress.

I probably could have prevented this problem by cutting the trim on the bias (?), but that wouldn’t have worked because the print pattern runs lengthwise. To fix the gape, I tightened the neckline by adjusting at the shoulder seams. It helped, although it still gapes when I stand in certain positions (as you can see above). The top is wearable, but maybe I should have put a stiffer bit of interfacing in the trim before adding it? Or maybe a hugely padded bra would fix the situation, but, you know, those cool seventy girls DO NOT WEAR BRAS.  Thoughts?

If I wear chunky shoes, and wear my jeans with this top, I do feel a bit like Stevie Nicks! Yes, it takes a bit of imagination, but you get my drift. Outdoor concert, here I come!IMG_3391

Happy Sewing! And thanks so much for stopping by!

McCalls 7187: A plaid transition dress for Fall

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Yes, this dress is plaid and plaid does scream back-to-school and winter skirts. But don’t let my dress fool you. I have not given up on Summer!! After all, it’s only August. Sure, in a few weeks, the kids will be back in school, the warm air will have a crisp edge and we’ll have to start heating our houses again. But summer hasn’t thrown in the towel yet.

Still, my sewing projects are starting to shift. I’m reaching into my stash for heavier fabrics (reluctantly) with darker colors. I’m easing into this, though. After all, why let go of summer before we have to?

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That’s why I decided to sew a transition dress. I won’t give up the hope that there are still warm days ahead, so the fabric is a light-weight cotton. But to make the dress fall-worthy, the colors of the plaid are dark; black, red, green and gold. And nothing shouts ‘fall’ quite as loudly as plaid. This one’s especially bold – a stand-up-and-get-noticed plaid.

The pattern I used is McCalls 7187, a new one that was included in the McCalls’ fall release.

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It’s a fit and flare style with some interesting options. You can cut the dress with a relatively simple, straight skirt, or you can add pleats or gathers to the side panels. The pattern envelope showed the dress in a plaid, a perfect option for my bold fabric.  I chose the straighter style, only because I didn’t have quite enough fabric for the gathered, fuller option and I wasn’t sure how the plaid would look on the gathered skirt.

The pattern went together like a dream. I always cut one size larger when I’m making a McCall’s pattern, since, on me, they seem to run small (at least that’s what I tell myself). This was the case with this pattern too. The fabric was so easy to work with and fabulous to sew! It’s a woven cotton that I purchased at Mill End Fabrics. It drapes nicely, which I’m guessing is a must for this dress.

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I cut the front inset on the bias as indicated, a fun option that makes the plaid pop. The inset looks tricky, since it has curved seams, which I expected to be absolute torture to get right. But the inset went in perfectly the first time. How about that?!  A shout-out to the pattern designer! Thank-you!

Other than the inset, the dress is was pretty straightforward. The pattern instructions made everything quite clear. All in all,  Actual Sewing Time on this plaid frock was about three hours (three episodes of Game of Thrones, LOL).

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My only regret is that the dress isn’t lined, so my fabric tends to cling a bit to my legs from time to time. (Also, it was a bit windy when I shot the photos for this post which made the skirt go wonky.) I suppose you could line this dress though? But maybe the skirt would make that tricky? Not sure about that….

Are you sewing transition clothes? Or are you still focussed on summer?

Happy Sewing! And thanks for stopping by.