Simplicity 1280: Crossover Top Times Two

I will admit. When it comes to sewing a top, I am a bit of a speed demon. I’m happiest when I’m sewing fast, and I will not stop until I’m done. Yes, I can leave a coat, jacket or dress on the sewing table to be completed another day, but a top? No way! Tops take ONE DAY, don’t you know?

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Enter Simplicity 1280: a cross-over top with a keyhole neckline. The top has a bit of a ‘ANTHRO’ vibe and it can be made in a day!

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I made two versions of this pattern, using a not-so-special rayon, and a fabric that I’d saved for just the right project (both from Fabric Depot). Wouldn’t you know it? The not-so-special fabric turned out to be the one with the best drape for the project. (Can you guess which one it is?)

I made view C with long sleeves and skipped the elastic on the sleeves as I wanted a bit more of a boho look.

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The top went together pretty well, and it was done in ONE DAY!!

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The pattern instructions are great. Here are some construction tips that I can offer after making two versions!

  • The neck is roomy. If you have narrow shoulders like me, you might want to do a muslin, or, at a minimum, baste the neck band on to make sure it doesn’t droop. I found the extra small to be a bit roomy and had to make it even smaller so that I wouldn’t have an ‘off-the-shoulder’look without intending to. Yes, it is trendy, but….
  • The construction of the front crossover pieces is interesting. The pattern instructions tell you to topstitch the two panels together before you have the back bodice attached to the front bodice. If you use a lightweight fabric like I did, you don’t really know if the drape is nice until the top is sewn together, so when you topstitch the two fronts, you can get some gathers and puckers that have to be corrected when the top is finally put together. Personally, I hate to unpick. So,  I’d take a pass on that topstitching step until after you’ve tried the top on and checked fit and drape. On my first version of this pattern, I had to unpick the topstitching and redo it after the back was sewn to the front because the drape was so different once the bodice was completed and there were so many strange puckers to fix!  Blah!!! Second version, I just basted the two front pieces together with a short stitch. Then, after I’d confirmed I had a good fit, I topstitched like I meant it.

The good news….Once you have these crossover pieces topstitched together, they will not gap or move as you wear the top! Yay!

  • The top really needs ‘drape’, so stiff fabrics will give a much different result. I used lightweight woven rayon, and could imagine it would have turned out even better if I had used silk. Next time….

Both fabrics were chosen in hopes that I could mix things up a bit by  wearing the  prints with my striped Morris Blazer. It’s a wardrobe challenge as only solid tee shirts seem to work with it. Alas, I’m not sure either of these prints works either..opinions welcome!

I keep hoping that I’m on the road to having a true capsule wardrobe, but, well, Hmmmmm. Maybe not today?

I hope your Spring sewing is going well. Me-Made-May, are you in or out? I might pledge one Me-Made a day, as Linda at Nice dress Thanks I made it, very wisely suggested. We’ll see.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!!

 

Vogue 9056: One pattern, Two ways

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I’m always amazed at how different fabrics can dramatically change how a pattern looks! That was the certainly the case when I recently sewed two versions of Vogue 9056 , one of my tried and trues (here). Yes, I am the queen of peplums as one of my fellow singers has dubbed me, but I can’t resist them!

Vogue 9056 is an easy peplum tee that is a breeze to make in an afternoon (love that!).V9056_a

Version one is a rayon knit, with so much stretch! In this fabric, the fit is loose and the waist even seems a bit lower, perhaps because of the fabric’s drape.

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I used a contrast ribbed knit on the sleeves and then cut a little pocket out of the same fabric for the top. To finish the neck, I modified the pattern slightly by trimming the neck with a bias strip cut from the fabric. I serged all of the seams (love how that looks on the inside) and also hemmed it using a really tight serge stitch.. This top is so comfortable to wear! Rayon knits are becoming a favorite over here. Now if the weather would just warm up so that I could wear this.

Version Two is made from a stretch cotton denim.

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Unlike some denim, this is very lightweight and I couldn’t resist it because I love the colors…different shades of blue, of course! I wasn’t sure a woven would work for a top that is basically a variation on a tee shirt, but it has enough stretch that it works. I love how the top looks so different in denim! Its crisper, of course and the waist seems a bit higher as does the neck, I guess because of the crispness of the cotton. I finished the neck as the pattern instructed and serged all the seams. The hem on this version is turned up and stitched.

Which do you prefer? The denim was the easiest to sew, but the rayon knit is so great to wear! But I think that version is rather dark for Spring. I enjoyed making two versions of this pattern at the same time. It’s fun to see how different they are, and efficient too. Curious if others do that too?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

Florals, Cut-Out Shoulders and Pants

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This summer, I’m going to be vacationing in Europe during the hottest days of July. Of course, this means a bit of wardrobe planning, a task I take on willingly! A quick review of my closet revealed the truth. I have very few summery tops, and I could use a few light weight skirts and pants too. So, let the sewing marathon begin!

My top was inspired by a recent visit to Anthropologie. Cut-out shoulders are everywhere this Spring and I love the cool, summery vibe. Butterick 6057 is a great pattern that replicates that look, a loose fitting pullover top with cut-out shoulders and a high-low hem.

There are lots of cool details on this top – – sleeve bands, tabs on the sleeves, a stitched down back pleat with button detailing. The pattern is marked fast and easy, but I doubted that was the case when I saw the details, but it is! Even the the sleeve cut out is simple.

The finished look is accomplished by sewing a long skinny facing piece to the cut-out’s curve, then turning the facing to the inside. Nothing tricky about it! And I love how the sleeve tabs are enhanced with a button. These easy details combine to give the top a unique look.

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I made this top out of cotton shirting (a remnant in my stash), and the sleeve and sleeve bands are both from cotton lawn. Both fabrics are a dream to sew and I love the easy fit of this top.

In fact, it was such a success I decided to…. (Drum roll….) make a pair of pants to go with the top. Yes, pants do intimidate me, but I’m taking a ‘jeans’ class and have just enough knowledge now to be dangerous (LOL). I used  a linen/cotton blend with a touch of lycra for that I purchased at Fabric Depot. It’s light weight but crisp, perfect for traveling.

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The pattern?  Butterick 6327, new this Spring from Katherine Tilton.

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The pattern instructions are well written, making the construction easy. As usual, the challenge is in the fit, and, as usual, I’m not entirely pleased with the result. Gaping at the knees! A ‘smile’ line at the crotch.  Argh! That being said,  I think these issues are more about my ability to tailor a pattern to fit my body shape than with the design of the pattern itself.

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Maybe I can adjust the leg side seams at the knee to tighten things up a bit? Not sure how to fix the smile lines? I do like how the pants taper at the ankle. Personal preference, but I think pants that come in a bit at the ankle are more flattering. Of the two projects, I’m guessing the top will get more wear than the pants, but we’ll see. These projects reminded me of one thing…I do so love sewing with crisp, cool cotton. It’s one of the best things about Spring!

The Monthly Stitch is having a Floral challenge this month, inspiring me to use two different florals for the sleeves and sleeve bands on my top. Pop on over there to see all the wonderful makes! It’s such a great community…so much there to explore.

I hope your Spring sewing projects are pleasing you! I’d love to hear what you’re doing. Any advice on how to get rid of the baggy knees and smile lines on my pants is appreciated. Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

 

Sew Boho: Bell Sleeves and a Cardi-Vest

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I’m calling this look ‘boho’, even though some might call it ‘romantic.’ The top has bell sleeves, my favorite look this Spring. I love them because they signal warm weather and outdoor concerts and summer food festivals, you know?

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Here are a couple of ready-to-wear examples for inspiration; a top by Elizabeth and James, and a dress by Alexis.  Love the lace combined with the bell sleeves.

Maybe I’ll make my next version of this top from lace. The pattern I used is McCalls 7285, a semi-fitted, pullover top with a back neck opening, button/thread loop, and narrow hem.

Although the pattern does include a lined version to be used with lace, I chose to make the unlined version (the neck is finished with a facing) and serged the seams. I was able to cut my usual size and found that the pattern fit well, with very little adjustment (just my usual narrow shoulder adjustment). The only issue I had was the length. Even though I am petite (5’3), the cropped length was so short on me, I could only take a narrow hem. If you’re taller, it might be much shorter on you. The sleeves are a dream to sew, much easier than you might imagine. The bell shape is created by gathering a long wide piece of fabric that’s added to the bottom of the straight sleeve and the instructions on how to do that are really clear. The top doesn’t have a zipper, just an opening in the back, so it would be a good pattern for a beginner. I love the easy comfortable fit of this top and plan to make another soon. It’s a fast, easy sew, perfect to make in a weekend!

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Since Spring days around here are usually quite cool, I decided to make a long loose vest to go over the shirt.

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I’m really loving the ‘long vest’ look this year. It’s the perfect layer over a tee, a shirt, even a dress. The pattern I used for my vest is Burda 10/2014 #113, a long coat pattern that I made without sleeves. The fabric is a double-sided jersey knit from my stash. To finish the edges, I used a very tight serged stitch, but you could bind the edges too. On my version, I went with the serged finish because the binding changed the way the fabric draped, and this pattern definitely needs ‘drape’. It’s so easy to sew, you can make it in a couple of hours. It’s basically a circle with some holes in it… can’t get easier than that. But watch out. When the wind catches the vest, it becomes a sail and you fly away!

I found this fun pattern after seeing Helen’s version at Gray All Day. You should check it out…love her cool, breezy look. Her lightweight version would be perfect for summer (or anytime if you’re lucky enough to live in California). Whatever fabric you choose for your vest, I’d suggest that you keep it pretty light with a nice drape so that it hangs nicely. Also, if you want to add bell sleeves to another shirt, Rhonda’s Creative Life has a great post on how to do that. Check it out!

Now, to round out my boho look, I need something else…maybe a different pair of pants? Or would you try a skirt with that top/vest? Hmmm, suggestions welcome! Oh, yeah, and I need new shoes!!!

Happy Spring sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Morris Blazers

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A person can never have enough throw-on blazers, am I right? If you’re wearing a springy top or a dress and a bit of wind happens your way, it’s so handy to have a little blazer or cardigan to pop over it. The Morris Blazer by Grainline Studios is just one of those little toppers that’s stylish and comfortable, a perfect extra layer. Since my much-loved knit blazer hit the donation pile last spring, I  made not one, but two Morris’ to replace it.

My first is made from a fabulous striped Ponte knit, purchased at Mill End Store.

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Stripes are everywhere this spring; vertical or horizontal, thin or thick – – any stripe will do! When I saw this knit, I decided its peach and blue stripes were just right.  The Grainline Morris pattern suggests knits and stretch wovens are the fabrics of choice, so I knew this knit would be perfect.

Generally as blazers go, the Morris blazer is a pretty straightforward sew. It isn’t lined, so I serged all of the seams for a ‘finished’ inside. I did have a few scary moments during construction.

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Because it isn’t lined, the front and the hem are faced. Even though the instructions are generally pretty good on Grainline patterns, they totally lost me when it came time to attach the hem facing  to the front facing. OMG, I thought I would lose my mind! I screwed it up, twice ,before I remembered there was a Morris sew-along on the Grainline website. Those photos saved me.

Fit: I have narrow shoulders, and frequently have to adjust patterns significantly to compensate. This was not necessary on the Morris. In fact, even in the Ponte knit, the Size 10 shoulders are a bit snug on me, whereas the bodice for that same size needed to be graded down to an eight. To me, this means that even folks with ‘regular’ shoulders might find this cut a bit narrow.My knit Morris is comfy, however, the lapels pop up  (perhaps this is my error?) and it flaps in the wind. Plus, it doesn’t have pockets.I Need Pockets Desperately.

Enter Morris Number Two.

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This Morris is  a bit oversized, ‘boyfriend style’, with huge pockets that hold my cell and my keys. Here’s how I got there…..

  • I lengthened the bodice by six inches at the line provided on the pattern.
  • I cut one size larger in the bodice so that I could add buttons for closure.
  • I widened the lapel and front facing by an inch.
  • I drafted patch pockets by tracing the hemline of the jacket.

It’s a good thing I ‘sized up’ because the drape of the stretch twill is pretty different from the knit. Even though it had a lot of ‘give’, it wasn’t very forgiving in the shoulders so my boyfriend version isn’t quite as comfortable as I’d like. I do love that I can button-up this blazer though, and the wider lapels lay down nicely and stay down.  My one complaint about this version…I wish it was lined. The blazer doesn’t slip on and off that easily. If I venture down the Morris path again, I’ll likely add lining

Summary: This is a great pattern and I love both versions. For comfort, the knit wins. For versatility the twill ‘boyfriend’ version wins. If I were to make this pattern again, I would probably stick with the knit, adding pockets for sure. In my opinion, the drape of a stretch woven isn’t quite as nice for the design.

I’m sure I’ll wear the boyfriend version a lot this Spring, when the weather is still cool and windy. I will opt for shorter knit version when I want something over a tee this summer.

With this make, my spring sewing is officially ‘on’. And, it’s a good thing, because Me-made May is just around the corner.  Will you participate this year? I’m not sure if I will, as I don’t have jeans in my ‘me-made wardrobe. That problem will soon be corrected though as I’m starting a Jeans Class at Modern Domestic this Spring. So, who knows? I may pull it off after all.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!