A DIY Poncho You Can Sew in an Afternoon

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Fall weather can be so unpredictable in Oregon; warm one minute; cold the next. That’s why each Fall, I find myself drawn to add another poncho to my wardrobe. (previous makes here and here).  With very few seams and lots of fabric options, it’s the ideal quick and satisfying sewing project for a Saturday afternoon. It’s such a fun, easy project I can imagine making several of these to give as Christmas gifts.

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I’ve been collecting images of my favorite Fall Ponchos on Pinterest and was inspired by the many versions with button closures. When I saw this layered knit at the Mill End store, I knew it would be perfect for a cozy sweater poncho.

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This knit is extraordinary, a lucky find! It looks like lace but has the coziness of a knit, and, as an added bonus, the selvedge makes a cool-looking border.

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To make this poncho…

  • I used 1 5/8 yard of 58” wide fabric. I used the fabulous selvedges as a design detail. Probably any knit would work for this make. Come to think of it, you could probably use a woven too.
  • The button band is1 1/2 inches wide, and to make it, I just folded the long side of the fabric under. Before topstitching it in place,  I interfaced the band with a lightweight fusible interfacing. Because my knit has moderate stretch, I felt it would need the stability of the interfacing to support the buttons and button holes.
  • Before placing the buttons and buttonholes, I tried the poncho on to determine how big of a neck opening I wanted, then added the button holes accordingly, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart. For me, the opening was about 20 inches from the edge.
  • I finished the poncho’s edges with a narrow machine stitched hem.

I love this cozy poncho. If it’s chilly, I’ll keep the neck opening small by buttoning it all the way up. If it isn’t, I leave a few unbuttoned to give the neck opening a casual look. I’ve also worn it with the buttons down the front, like a cardigan. It would make a great Christmas gift, don’t you think?

IMG_8737l managed to squeeze in a quick outdoor photo before it started to rain. As you can see the fall colors are extraordinary right now. If only these days would last a bit longer!

Up next: I have a cardigan cut out from a nice sweater knit, and am shopping for a gabardine for a trench. I’ll likely sew up a plaid skirt too in the next month. What’s on your sewing list?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

An Anthro-Inspired Corduroy Shirt Dress

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Corduroy seems to always find a way into my Fall sewing plans and I can always count on Anthropologie to have a offerings to inspire me. When I saw this shirt dress on their website, I had to have a new corduroy shirt dress of my own.

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I’ve made a couple of shirt dresses before using a variety of Big Four and Indie patterns (here, here and here). I decided to use a new pattern, McCall’s 7575 for this dress, because I loved how the bodice was shaped by long darts. 

I also love shirts with back yokes and two piece sleeves. View C was my choice because it’s tunic length, easily modified to a dress.

 

My corduroy was purchased at Fabric Depot. It has a soft hand and a touch of lycra, which makes a form-fitting dress sooooo comfortable to wear. The rust color caught my eye, a must have!

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I followed the pattern but modified as follows;

  1. I lengthened it by six inches.
  2. I added a very wide self tie to the side seams  (8” wide to allow for turning the edges under for a clean finish) .  Positioning this was a bit tricky. The Anthro waist tie rides a bit above the waist, and it took a few tries to get it right. Also, I think the Anthro waist tie is faced so that you don’t see the wrong side when it’s tied, but I didn’t have enough fabric. I think it looks okay one-sided with an edge stitched finish, but if I had to do it over again, I’d buy more fabric.
  3. To recreate the close-fitting look of the Anthro dress, I lengthened the bodice darts (both front and back) so that they extended the full length of the dress. Then I top stitched them down to give the look of french seams.
  4. I added French seams on the side, back yoke and on the sleeves and topstitched them all.
  5. The Anthro dress doesn’t have pockets, but I added a couple. I’m not sure that was a wise choice ( ??) as the tie overlaps over the pockets. The pockets might be a bit of a distraction from the lines of the dress. Opinions welcome…

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I love this pattern and will definitely add it to my arsenal of shirt patterns! I always feel ready for Fall when I’m wearing corduroy, a throwback to the days when I bought corduroy skirts to wear to school, I suppose. It’s so funny how that ritual of getting ready for the first days of school still dominates my Fall mood in spite of the fact that my family is beyond that stage of life.

When I’m taking photos for a blog post, I always try different shoes with a dress because as long as I’m at it, I might as well see what the options are, am I right?

 

As you can see in the photos, I tried the dress with booties with tights, booties without tights and tall boots. I think I like the tall boots best, although I’m not sure the mustard tone of my tall boots is really warm enough to go with the rust color. Opinions welcome!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

A Floral Wrap Dress for Fall

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Fall sewing means dark florals, plaids, heathered wools…it’s all fabulous to me! The weather has turned a sharp corner here in Oregon. Yesterday was wet and blustery, a perfect day to stay in and sew. I knew exactly what I wanted to make. Wrap dresses have been on my mind since my trip to France. They were everywhere in Paris, on the women and in the stores, and most were made from rich, vibrant florals.

 

  1. Sezane 2. Anthropologie 3. Anthropologie

Fortuantely, I had the perfect Rayon challis in my stash, purchased at Mill End store last fall.

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I used my trusty wrap dress pattern, Vogue 9313 (also made here).

 

 

I love this pattern because it comes with separate pattern pieces for A, B, C, and D cups. Before I met this pattern, wrap dresses and their bodice closure always challenged me. rI could never get them to stay closed without gaping. I believe this happened because my cup size (small) is not in proportion to my hip size, as drafted by most pattern companies. In any event, Vogue solved my problem with this pattern!

Other things I love – – the width of the front band and skirt bands are wide enough (some I’ve tried are not, a pet peeve of mine.) I also love the back yoke, a nice detail that adds a bit of style and a lovely fit.

One big change I made: I redrafted the skirt. The skirt options are a big ‘circle’ skirt or a pencil. I wanted something in between, a ‘a-line’ style, a skirt with some movement, but not a full skirt. So, I took the pencil skirt and redrafted it as a-line, (I widened it gradually on the side and at the front) placing the darts as they were on the pencil skirt option.  I also straightened the angled front where the skirt overlaps, just because I like a skirt that stays closed easily when it’s windy and cold. The other construction detail I changed is that I didn’t slip stitch the front band facing down (all that handstitching made no sense to me). I secured it with my machine by first finishing the front bodice and skirt band’s edges with my serger. Then, folded the edge over, pressed, then ‘stitched in the ditch’ to hold the facing in place.

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Most of the dresses I’ve been eyeing in RTW are midi-length this season, so I hemmed this a bit longer than I usually do. I can’t wait to find some yummy boots to wear with it…shopping now!

Florals have never been my thing, but I can sense that is changing. I actually bought some Liberty cotton while traveling and I really love it. So expect to see a few more florals in my future posts. I’m glad I gave this floral a try – I know I’ll wear this dress constantly this winter with tights, and boots and with a long sweater thrown over it!

Mitchell likes to be in photos…what can I say?

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Here, he was my helper, showing me that my bootie wasn’t zipped up. Handy guy to have around!

Fall sewing plans? Mine are evolving. I’m really into plaid and have been imagining a plaid button up skirt, and a cape or jacket. I wear my denim shirtdress (here) alot in the Fall, and I have an urge to add a new one to my wardrobe. I’m also pretty inspired by the lovely trench coats I see everywhere. I want to try to make one (a first!) but, I still haven’t found the perfect pattern. As the plan develops, I may do a post about inspirations and patterns, which I’ve never done before. Thoughts and advice is appreciated.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!!