A blue tee with pops of white for Spring

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I always feel as though Spring begins the first day after Easter because that’s when my sewing mood begins to shift. I put away the wools and sweater knits as I dream of sunshine and linen and silk.

But it’s been so cold and rainy here, it feels as though the sun has deserted us. I’m getting desperate for a few warm rays. That’s why I was drawn to a caption in a recent ‘ready-to-wear’ catalog that promised a ‘Riveria’ mood when wearing “crisp colors with pops of white.” If clothing can put you in a resort frame of mind, count me in! Why not add a bit of white to my blue top to make me feel…sunnier? IMG_8560

After completing my denim shirt dress (a labor of love, yes, but there was  a lot of topstitching!!), I need an easy, fast sew to revive my sew-jo. So, for this top I used a pattern that’s an old favorite; Vogue 8710 (OOP, but still available on their website).

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I’ve made it before (here).There’s a reason this top is a good ‘palate cleansing project’. The pattern is a fast sew and it fits well. For me, this is not always the case with Katherine Tilton designs. Often, they’re too voluminous for me, since I’m short and small, but this one is a winner.  The fit is close on top, flaring gently to a loose a-line shape at the bottom. This is accomplished by two insets, and the placement of those pieces is strategic; they have a slimming effect.The style would be flattering to anyone’s shape, I think.

There are two things I love about this pattern; it’s simple to put together, only a few main pattern pieces so cutting time is minimal. Not only that, but you can make it in an afternoon!! I used the stretch stitch on my regular sewing machine, and it worked fine.

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I made the pattern as designed except for two modifications. I cut contrast fabric on the bias for the neck instead of just using bias tape as suggested. I also shortened the length of the bodice by two inches so that it wouldn’t feel like a tunic on me. Fabric: Both the white and the blue knit are cotton jersey with two way stretch from Fabric Depot.

I love my new top! The cut is so versatile, I’ll wear it with pants or skirts. And I love the blue/white combination. It puts me in the mood for Spring. In fact, I do have the FEVER. I’ve been cleaning my sewing room, even reorganizing my stash so that the cotton lawns and linens are front and center. I’m eyeing some new fabric purchases too, a few new cottons, maybe even a bright print or two ( that’s how crazy Spring makes me.) For inspiration, I’m stalking my favorite ready to wear stores (Anthropologie) and the Vogue runway collection as well as your blogs and Instagram posts. But I’m always looking for something fresh and new.Where do you go when you need inspiration?

Happy sewing, and thanks for stopping by!

 

Sew the look: A denim shirtdress

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It’s Spring, the perfect time for shirt dresses. There’s nothing easier to wear when the weather’s warm than a simple dress, and if it’s made from denim…well, that’s even better!! Here are some of the shirt dresses that inspired me this Spring.

First up…Burberry’s version. Perfect in dark denim, with princess seams and topstitching. burberry-brit-dark-indigo-pippi-denim-shirtdress-blue-product-0-002385459-normal

Made well’s version is waistless and the denim looks so soft and comfy.

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This one from Chanel has tucks at the waist. The skirt is so cool…it’s an overlay, or is it a drop waist, or…well..I’m not sure? Love the puffy sleeves and the printed denim. I would die for this dress.

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Here’s mine…Straight cut, princess seams. I need the Chanel shoes with it, don’t you think?IMG_8737For my dress, I used McCall’s 6124, a classic shirt pattern that I used to make Alexa’s corduroy dress here. I love this pattern because it has princess seams, a classic collar with a band, and two-piece sleeves with cuffs; all the timeless design elements I want in a shirt dress.  Honestly though, there are other cool patterns out there too. For my next shirt dress, I’ll try a flared version like Simplicity 8014, Or McCalls 6696. All of those are in my queue, waiting for the perfect fabric to reveal itself.

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My fabric is 5 oz denim from Joann’s (Is it just me, or has that store upped their game lately with more natural fibers and on-trend fabrics?). This fabric has enough body to support the dresses’s structural elements like the pockets, collar and cuffs, but it has a soft feel too, and just the tiniest bit of lycra….which makes this close-fitting dress pretty comfortable to wear.

The details...

  • I added (2) 6″inch self drafted pockets with flaps to the front. I gave them a bit of a pointy edge this time, just for fun! I interfaced the flaps and added functional buttons too (no I will not be stashing money or car keys or my cell in those pockets, but nice to know I could if I wanted to :)).
  • I double top-stitched the dress using topstitching thread. Here’s my latest top-stitching process. To get the distance I wanted between the two rows, I lined up my trusty #57 presser foot (patchwork seam foot) with the seam for the first row. For the second row, I move the needle three clicks to the left of the first row to position it for the second row.I used topstitching thread in gold, and a stitch length of 3.  Love that #57 presser foot (pictured here) I could not have done all of this topstitching without it!

Question though…I used regular thread in the bobbin as my machine groaned when I tried topstitching thread there. Not sure if other’s have that problem?

  • I used bronze jeans buttons that you punch into the fabric. (Fun!!!)
  • I used french seams throughout to keep the insides looking crisp.
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Besides being comfortable, the 5 oz. denim has an added benefit. It didn’t wrinkle ever after I wore it all day!

IMG_8742Yes, it’s Spring, but it’s still cold and rainy outside, so these photos were taken indoors (sigh), but my furry friend quite likes the routine now.

This dress took a bit of time (top-stitching is like that, isn’t it?) but I think it’s a dress I’ll wear a lot, especially since I made a topper to go with it just last week. Hmmm…the word capsule keeps coming into my mind….

Sometime this Spring, I would love to make a drop-waist shirt dress like the Chanel I showed above, but how? Does anyone have pattern suggestions for that?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Butterick 5927: Dress up denim with a Topper

IMG_8454I wear a lot of denim. Ha, there’s no denying this fact as it’s well documented in my blog photos! (In fact, one might wonder why I haven’t yet made a pair of jeans…?!) Even though I’m into denim, sometimes I like to dress my look up a bit so that I feel a bit more polished. That’s when I throw on a jacket or coat. And in the Spring, I rely on lightweight toppers to add a bit of shape and style to my outfit.

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The fabric I chose is a rayon wool blend that caught my eye because of its graphic print and bright blue accents. I don’t often find myself drawn to fabrics that are blends, but honestly, when I saw the blue in this fabric, there was no stopping me. I found it at Fabric Depot and it was a dream to sew, with just the right amount of ‘body’ to support the structure of this little coat. I lined it with a simple black rayon lining, very lightweight so that the coat won’t be too warm as the temperatures began to soar.

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This lightweight coat is a version of one of my tried and true patterns Butterick 5927.

I made it here last spring. It’s a short lined jacket with variations. I made view B, but modified it by adding 8 inches to the length. The pattern is pretty simple, especially view B. The hardest part of this project was getting those graphic designs to line up.

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I think I nailed it! I also had to get that blue stripe to travel down both arms :). I was a bit obsessed with getting that right. As I manipulated the pattern pieces, I was so, so glad I bought a bit more fabric than I needed (not my usual behavior.). Let me tell you, that extra half yard was sorely needed as I lined things up.

I’m probably more likely to wear this coat open than closed, but it’s nice to have chance to use these lovely vintage buttons I’ve had in my stash. One thing I do know though. I will not be wearing this coat around my furry beast of a cat. As you can see here though, he can’t take a hint. He insisted on being in this photo, even though I gave him a stern look.

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He does look a bit sad though, doesn’t he? Perhaps, my look was a bit too stern.

I think this coat might be the base piece of a capsule wardrobe for me (?). Not sure if I’ll really follow through on the concept as I mentioned in my last post, but I’ve found myself mulling this a bit more this week as I reviewed my sizable stash. If I had a method to my madness, would it be less chaotic? I continue to wonder.

On another note, I was at sewing class recently and was told that thread has a shelf life of only a couple of years. Old thread should be thrown out. I didn’t realize that and purchased a huge box of thread at an estate sale awhile back, a find that I was pretty proud of. But apparently, this is a HUGE no-no!  Did you all know that? Old thread can cause havoc in your machine. There’s so much to learn, so little time.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Vogue 9166: A sleek and sporty basic

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When I saw the new Vogue patterns for Spring, I could hardly believe my luck. Those lovely designers read my mind!!  I’ve been looking for a dress pattern with two-piece sleeves since the sporty trend began last Spring. Even though no one has ever described me as athletic, I sure like to look like I am! Racer details, vertical stripes, anything that gives an outfit a sporty edge and I’m all in.

There’s nothing like a knit sleeve that’s color blocked to make you feel like you can get to the finish line fast. My favorite design element of this dress is definitely the sleeves.The good news is, they aren’t just sporty. They’re easy to sew too.

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This dress is a breeze to make. From cut to hem, it only took about three hours.Vogue 9166 includes a dress and a top version as well as pants. All are made from knits.

Not only are the sleeves and yoke details cool, but the high low hem is fun too.  Because my knit had moderate stretch, I used my overlock stitch on my Bernina to finish the seams and hemmed with a twin needle.

Here’s a close up of the knit. It’s sort of unusual, I think, a Ponte from my stash (Yay!) with a silver design printed on it.

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Black is so hard to photograph! The silvery design printed on the knit dresses it up a bit, don’t you think?

The construction of this dress is really simple and straightforward, so if you’re new to knits, give it a try. I made my usual size and made a slight adjustment for my narrow shoulders. To give the style a bit of structure, I’d recommend a medium weight knit, something that isn’t too flimsy, or the dress won’t hang well. The cut is simple so the dress is easy to wear. It’s the sort of dress that you can move around in, a ‘throw on and go’ dress, my favorite! I’m sure I’ll wear it a lot.IMG_8316

I like the pattern and can imagine making it again, maybe a top, or another dress with a two bright colored knits (blue, anyone?). It would be a good piece to include in a capsule wardrobe. I’m suggesting that, not because I’m planning one, but because I should. I also noticed there’s a capsule wardrobe contest this Spring hosted by Pattern Review that provides great motivation to plan one. Will I? Probably not (?!?) but I’m looking forward to seeing what others put together as I continue to mull over the concept. Anyway, it seems to me that this dress, with its timeless style and high degree of wearability would be perfect for such a wardrobe, don’t you think?

Do you plan your wardrobe around the capsule concept, or are you a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ person like me? Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!