Sewing a Patchwork Shirt from Remnants

If you’ve been sewing for as long as I have, you’ve likely accumulated a large stash of fabric remnants. I find it hard/impossible to part with the lovely leftover bits when I’ve finished a project, so my remnant stash is HUGE, and overwhelming. Recently, I decided to sort and catalog the pieces. That’s when I made a lovely discovery… the colors and textures all work together.

So I decided to use the pieces to make this shirt.

Pattern: For my project, I used a tried and true shirt pattern so that fit would not be an issue. McCalls 6124 has a back yoke, two piece sleeves, a collar band and princess seams…so many opportunities to explore!

Process: Because I patchworked both the front and back, I was able to use three types of shirting and three colors of linen, about a quarter of a yard of each. Sewing was easy as I’ve made this shirt a time or two.

The best part of this project was figuring out fabric coordination and placement. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I had a ‘moment’ when I imagined myself as a quilter. (Just what I need…a new reason to accumulate fabric, LOL!!)

I’m pleased with my shirt and am so glad my remnant stash has shrunk a bit. The good news is my shirt works well with the denim skirt I made a couple of years ago, so I know it will be worn again and again.

Of course, I’ll still be on the look out for new ways to use my lovely leftovers, so if you have ideas…please share!

Although I’ve had a bit of a challenge easing back into sewing ‘post vacation’, I’m definitely inspired by the Fall colors here in Oregon. Our cool weather has me thinking about sweaters and jackets and coats…ideas are brewing! How about you?

Happy sewing, and thanks for stopping by.

A Kalle Shirtdress Becomes a Coat

This week, I marked the beginning of Fall by completing my first cold-weather sewing project. My new denim walking coat was just the kind of project I needed to cope with ‘post vacation blues’. It’s a topstitching extravaganza, just the therapy I needed. Some sewists find topstitching to be stressful, but for me, the focus required is actually a relief that my brain craves when I’m down. 

My inspiration for this coat was a denim coat, designed by Madewell. I saw Cobie Smulders wear it on the already cancelled show, “Friends from College.” It’s a loose-fitting coat, made of mid-weight denim with a hidden placket and a tie belt. 

Although Colbie wore it as a dress on the show, I saw it as a long coat for Fall. Many of my knit dresses (here and here) are below my knees, so this coat will accomodate that length easily.

Pattern: To make the coat, I modified a tried and true pattern, the Kalle Shirt Dress. This pattern has so many options, I recommend it highly.

I chose this pattern because the fit is great, but loose and classic. To make it coat length, I added six inches to the bodice. To create the back vent, I eliminated the back pleat and added a seam instead, open at the bottom. Otherwise, I left the pattern pretty much as is.

 The orginal pattern has short sleeves, but I purchased the long sleeve extension from the Closet Case website. Instead of the classic french cuffs suggested by them, I eliminated the closure on the cuffs, and just folded them back.

Fabric: I used a medium weight denim from my stash for the with a darker denim for the collar, cuffs and pockets. The Kalle has one pocket, but I drafted three more. I used double topstitching on the pockets to make them pop.

I always love using a tried and true pattern in an unexpected way. As a coat, the Kalle does not disappoint! With this make, I’m officially accepting that Fall is here. It’s time to pull out the knits and wools from my stash and sew cozy

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

Italy: My Favorite Linen Travel Dress

Hi All! I had a wonderful trip to Italy and am now easing back into real life. I’m still battling the effects of the 9 hour time difference, but last night I slept through the night so things are looking up!

Although the weather here in Portland is a bit on the cool side, I wanted to share the dress I wore the most in Italy – – a linen dress that I finished the day we left, LOL!!! As usual, I decided at the last minute to add a dress to my travel wardrobe.

These photos were taken in the Villa Cimbrone Garden in Ravello Italy, a breath taking town perched on a cliff high above the Amalfi coast.

This linen dress was my go-to garment on the trip because the weather was warmer than expected. I thought I’d wear this dress with a tee shirt under it to protect my upper arms from the sun, but it was hot so the tee shirt stayed in the suitcase. I chose to stand in the shade often and managed to avoid a sunburn.

Dress Construction – To sew this dress, I modified my favorite loose fitting top pattern, the Grainline Hadley. The cut of this top is so flattering on everyone I think, with two neck options to choose from.

For the dress bodice, I used the sleeveless Hadley without the back pleat and lengthened the Hadley bodice by 6 inches. This became the A-line shaped bodice of the dress, complete with high – low hem.

The back button placket is a non-functional add on, just for looks. To make it, I sewed together two long strips of fabric then added buttons. After the placket was in place, I focussed on drafting the skirt. I cut two huge rectangles, that were 1 and a half times the bottom width of the Hadley. These I sewed together, then gathered and attached them to the bottom of the bodice. That’s all there was to it.

Fabric – Linen was the perfect fabric for Italy. It made me comfortable no matter what the weather. Personally, I could care less about the wrinkles. For this dress, I used a solid blue linen from my stash, purchased last season at the Mill End Store. The striped linen is from Joann’s.

This dress is so fun to wear!

Swinging wasn’t in my vacation plans, but when you’re on the Amalfi coast, why not? I enjoyed wearing linen so much on my trip, I’m determined to find ways to sew with it year round! Any thoughts on this idea?

Sewing plans – As the travel fog lifts and I put away my summer clothes, I know I’ll be inspired to sew a few fall things. I hope there will be a new trench coat, maybe a short wool coat too so watch for those posts.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!