Butterick 6456- A Boho Top with Statement Sleeves

IMG_3187Do you ever get obsessed with a trend? I’ve been known to go overboard with a new look, and in my case, statement sleeves are my new ‘thing’. This Spring, it seems they are everywhere, and I am clearly jumping on the band wagon! Sure, I like the look (flow-y, care free, maybe even a bit boho), but I also like the challenge of a new sleeve shape. Each pattern is a new adventure in sleeve construction with new techniques to learn.

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I was attracted to Butterick 6456 because of the sleeve options but also because of the v-neck and front pleat, both a rarity in my wardrobe. I also like the flow-y boho look of this top, which is a little different from the structured statement sleeve tops/dresses I’ve made in the past.

I chose a printed rayon from the Mill End Store . I wanted a lightweight fabric with drape, and this fit the bill.

IMG_3248 2The pattern when together nicely. The v-neck, the front pleat, the bell sleeves were all explained well and fairly easy to execute. The challenge was in the fit (that is an understatement). I cut the smallest size, but the v-neck was still pretty large. I mean, we are talking cleavage exposure here folks, and that was just not where I wanted to go with this top (LOL). So, I did a bit of modifying. There is a back seam as you can see from the line art.

B6456So, my strategy was to take that seam in by about an inch. I also eliminated the neckline opening in the back and just sewed the seam closed. That seemed to do the trick.  The neck opening is large enough that the top just slips over my head!

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I love my new top, but wearing it will limit my activities. I cannot imagine cooking or performing cleaning duties of any kind while wearing it. Oh, darn. Hopefully, those sleeves will not get into my dinner, as this is clearly a Date Night top that will see a restaurant or two.  I’m glad I figured out how to modify the neck because I love the fabric. I’m sure this top will get lots of wear from early Spring through Summer. The flow-y rayon was a good choice for this pattern and I can imagine trying it again with silk. I’m not sure a crisp cotton would work well, although I do think a linen with soft hand would be good.

This was a fun make, but I don’t think I’m done with statement sleeves yet.  Next up, a McCall’s pattern from my stash that has five (!!) different sleeve options. So much to learn! Can’t wait to try that next. I’d love to know where you stand on statement sleeves? Also curious if any of you have run into problems with v-necks and fit and how you’ve modified them?

Happy Sewing and thanks for stopping by!

2016: Top Five Hits

1Hi All! It’s almost time to ring in the new year, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to review my top five makes of 2016.

Looking back at my sewing projects always makes me a little nervous, because I can’t bear to face the facts. Sometimes the makes that are the most fun to finish or the most time consuming, are not the ones I love to wear (sigh). They hang in my closet, lonely and ignored. Huh. But without further analysis, here they are….my top five of 2016.

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  1. This little coat:  This topper makes it into the top five because I wore it more than any other make this year! It was so versatile, more than I expected. I wore it constantly. The sewing pattern is great too….Butterick 5927, a new favorite.

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2. The linen and lace dress – – Well, of course I love it. It’s blue, it has statement sleeves and lace trim. This dress made me a fan of clothes with simple lines. I love to wear it.img_8499

3. This coat: OMG, it’s so warm! The stretch wool…the quilted collar…love. To make things even better, when I step into Anthropologie wearing it, the girls that work there swoon, the ultimate compliment. It was supposed to inspire me to rake leaves, but that didn’t happen.

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4. This blouse: Well, because it’s blue. Need I say more?

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5. This poncho: Okay, it had to make the list because wearing it makes me so happy. Yes, fringing it was a nightmare, but the end result made this poncho such a wardrobe stand- out. I have a ‘boho’ moment every time I put it on, something I sorely need.

Honorable mentions:

I was obsessed with denim this year too, so I just have to mention these ‘makes ‘. I didn’t wear them quite as much as I expected though (not sure why?), so I won’t give them ‘top five’ status.

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1. This button up denim skirt: What fun this was to make! The top stitching, the ‘jeans’ buttons up the front…my favorite things.

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2. This denim shirt dress: I love a good shirt dress, and I felt so great when I finished this one! I also learned about snaps. They look great, and you also get to pound them in…If you haven’t tried it, do!

There were a few misses in 2016, but who wants to talk about those? Overall, I had alot of fun at my sewing machine, which is the true test of success for me. I even made my first pair of jeans.

But the best part of 2016 was meeting all of you. I love our community and our conversations. You and your makes are a constant source of inspiration and joy for me. I want to thank you for visiting here and for being a part of my life.

Here’s to an even better 2017! And thanks to Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow for encouraging us to celebrate a fabulous year with our Top Five Makes.

Happy New Year, and thanks for stopping by!

Butterick 5526- One pattern, three versions

There’s nothing like a sewing contest to inspire you to explore the long forgotten bins in your fabric stash! That’s where I found these cottons. They were perfect for my entry into Pattern Review’s ‘One Pattern, Many Ways’ contest. As I result, my stash is considerably smaller, and let me tell you, it feels great!

For my entry, I chose to make three versions of Butterick 5526, a button down shirt with variations. It’s a tried and true pattern for me (see it here).

In the past, making three frocks with button closures in four weeks would have driven me to drink. Why? Because I hate to sew buttons on by hand. Please, just shoot me instead.

Then, during a unplanned visit to Modern Domestic (Bernina and Fabric heaven, here in Portland), I discovered the Bernina button attachment (#18), a nifty gaget that does it for you in about five seconds (I am not exaggerating here). I begged Santa for it, and he delivered. Seriously, that attachment was a game changer. Bring on those buttons!

My shirt dress version was inspired by a Burberry shirt dress with a big bold plaid.

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No, I could not find that fabric anywhere, so I settled for this (Mill End Store).

img_0001To make my shirt into a dress, I just added seven inches to the length. Because the dress is very unstructured, I will wear it with a belt made from leftover pleather. I also added sleeve tabs so that I can roll up the sleeves when the weather is warm.

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Version two is a lacy top that I wanted to look a bit ‘boho’.

img_9921To make the top look less tailored and more relaxed, I eliminated the collar and cuffs, and added lace sleeves and trim. To add the lace to the bottom of the shirt, I cropped it at the waist, then added a swath of left over lace to the bottom, hemmed with a machine stitch.

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The fabric is embroidered linen (such a rare find around here), and it is so soft and comfortable to wear. I’ll likely pair this shirt this winter with a long cardi-vest. The linen was very fussy, and I was glad I had a serger to finish the frayed edges of this fabric. My only complaint about this version of the shirt is the pocket placement. It’s a bit high for me?

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My ‘kite’ version is just a straight version of view C. Nothing too challenging here, except for the linear pattern of the kites. They made the fabric layout surprisingly difficult, but they are worth it. Of course,  I LOVE this fabric. So many shades of  BLUE, and it was a joy to work with. There’s nothing like a crisp, cool cotton to make your sewing machine sing.

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So, that’s my quota of button down shirts for the next year. Because I’ve been a good girl and sewn three projects from my fabric stash, don’t you think I deserve to go fabric shopping? So far, I’m satisfied with my new stash elimination policy – – I must sew two projects from my stash for every new fabric purchase. I’m determined to make a dent in it!

I hope you’ll pop on over to Pattern Review to see all of the great makes in the contest. It’s so fun to see how you can take one pattern and make it something new. Do you have a favorite sewing pattern that you use over and over again?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

A plaid and leather ‘duster’ for fall

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Hi all! Wearing a coat in the fall is a no-brainer, but finding the perfect one can be a bit tricky. There are days when it’s cool but not cold and wool is too much, but a summer jacket isn’t enough. That’s when a duster comes in handy!

‘Duster’ is an odd word for a topper, and a friend questioned me about why I used it, so, I looked it up. The original dusters were full-length, light-colored canvas coats worn by horsemen to protect their clothing from trail dust. Well, since I haven’t been on a horse in years, who knows why duster came to be such a catch-all term for me. I use it pretty liberally for any knee length topper that is more than a blazer, but not quite heavy enough to be called a coat.

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My duster is  made from a plaid cotton blend, that is lined in silk and trimmed with pleather at the collar and cuffs. I’ve had the fabric in my stash for awhile. It languished there, forgotten and unloved because I didn’t quite know what to do with it. I love plaid, but sometimes, it’s a bit too stiff looking for my taste. But a recent sewing room ‘re-org’ brought it to my attention again, and woudn’t you know it? I’d stored it in box with a remnant of textured ‘pleather’ (fake leather). Inspiration!

The pattern I used for my duster is Butterick 6382, a semifitted lined jacket with neckline, pocket, sleeve and length variations. I chose version D, a knee length coat with pockets and a collar.

 

I cut the pattern as designed with a few modifications:

  1. The coat’s front bodices meet at the middle but don’t close. I extended the front bodice pieces by an inch and a half so that they would overlap then added buttonholes and buttons.
  2. Because my fabric is a bit tame I livened it up with some textured ‘pleather’ for contrast. The pocket is trimmed with a 1′ band.img_8608
  3. I added 3″ pleather cuffs to the sleeeves.
  4. I cut the collar from ‘pleather’ and skipped the interfacing.

The pattern was pretty easy to sew, and the instructions were great. Of course, the plaid matching took a bit of effort, but that’s all on me for choosing plaid in the first place! The duster is a-line, and the shaping is accomplished by long bodice darts in the front and back. The most difficult part of the project was the additon of the trim. Since I chose pleather, this was a bit challenging.

What I learned: Pleather does not like to bend. Well, I thought that was okay because I could shape it by pressing it. Ha!  My first attempt at low heat resulted in a MELT DOWN, a mess of damaged plastic that almost ruined my iron. Yes, I did use a pressing cloth, but you have to be really, really careful. I eventually discovered that it could be coaxed into shape by using my fingers and a corner press for the collar. (This required a bit of patience). Also, my pleather remembered every pin prick, so I used fusible seam tape to secure pockets before stitching them in place.

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In case you were wondering, this is not a leaf-raking coat, even though someone I live with probably wishes it was. Ha! Frankly, I’m not sure about this make. Yes, I’m glad I did it because it pushed me to learn more about sewing with ‘pleather’ which was fun. I guess I’m not wild about this look or these colors on me. I do like how the duster feels when you wear it though, probably because of the silk lining. Maybe I should add two more pockets at chest level to give the duster a bit more style?  Or maybe it’s the shape? Belted, or unbelted?

Opinions welcome!

I’d love to know if any of you have experienced a pleather melt down as I did? And any ideas on how you can get the stuff to bend and mold? Yes, it’s a challenging fabric, but I’m dying to use it again, maybe for a skirt or jacket. Tips and advice is welcome!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

A wrap jumper or a pinafore?

 

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When I think Fall, I think, it’s ‘jumper’ weather! To me, a jumper is a sleeveless dress that’s meant to be worn over a shirt or blouse. But to my UK friends, ‘jumper’ means a sweater. Maybe, it’s less confusing to call my new make ‘a wrap dress that I am wearing over a shirt’.

This dress is one of my favorite styles because it’s wrapped. To me ‘wrap’ means comfortable, but what I really love about the style is that it’s so flattering. A wrap dress is considered to be perfect for any figure type because it defines your waist (especially nice for those of us who don’t have a waist). Wrap styles are perfect at any age, and you can wear them dressed up or dressed down.

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My sleeveless wrap dress is McCall’s 6884.

The bodice of my ‘jumper’ is view B (without the gathered front), and the sleeves are view D. I eliminated the tie and made a mock closer with three buttons, arranged assymetrically across the wrap.The fabric is black ponte knit that has moderate stretch from my stash.

Under my jumper, I’m wearing a new button-down shirt, Butterick 5526.

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This pattern in a new favorite. I made View D, but used the sleeve tabs from View A for the days when long sleeves are just too much. I chose View D because it has princess seams which makes the fit perfectly tapered. This makes the shirt easy to wear either loose, or tucked in.The fit of this pattern seems a bit snug to me through the waist, so I cut a size up from my usual.

As fitted shirts go, this pattern is pretty straightforward, and the instructions are great. But, it did take a bit of time to complete. From cut to finish, this project clocked in at four and half hours. (BTW, I finished the seams with my serger rather than constructing french seams. If you’re going to do that, add another hour (LOL).

Princess seams are my FAVORITE. Who can resist that tapered shape? The fabric I used is 100% cotton that I found in the quilting department of Joann’s. Honestly, there are bargains to be had there! I paid $5.99 a yard for this perfect pring. The colors go with everything in my closet.

A friend who is very ‘fashion forward’ wears her wrap jumper open as a long vest. Yes, I love to throw long vests over everything, so thought I’d give it a try, but I’m not sure….

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Hmmm, probably not….? 

Here’s to Fall fashion; to jumpers and skirt and coats…all my favorite things to sew! What would you call this make; a jumper, a pinafore, or a sleeveless dress?  Would you ever wear it open as a vest?

Happy sewing, and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

Butterick 6378: Two tie neck tops

IMG_6452Sometimes, you make one version of a pattern, and you love it so much, you rush have to make another.

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It wasn’t just the versatility of the pattern that inspired me to sew two (2) versions, it was envy too. When I saw these versions in ready to wear, I had to have one (or two) for myself.

Version 1 is by Sea, and version two is Chloe. You can wear either one with the tie ‘tied’, or not, depending on your mood and it still works!

 

This pattern is part of Butterick’s fall collection. It offers several options, a narrow tie collar, and a broader tie that’s incorporated into the neckline.

Because the tops slip over your head, they’re easier than some to sew. But as usual, the devil is in the details. I found the two collar options to be quite different to sew.

The bow collar on this version is part of the neck line finish. It’s only two pieces which are sewed onto the collar opening….so easy!!! It becomes the facing and the collar – – so efficient. This version is made from a very stubborn rayon, that was a bit tricky to sew, but feels great to wear.IMG_6640

The fabric was very ‘shifty’. This version is ‘as designed’ with one modification. I eliminated the elastic on the sleeves and added a self-drafted 3″ cuff.

Version two is the narrow tie option. I made this out of a yummy rayon (fabric depot.com).

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This version (shown here with my jeans skirt) was a bit trickier to sew because there is a narrow collar that is sewn on after you insert the narrow ties. Narrow ties are hard to turn, for one thing (an understatement. My finger tips will never be the same). Then, the ties have to be placed just ‘so’ before you attach the teeny-tiny collar. Sure, it’s not impossible to get it right, but you need a bit of patience :).

I love both versions and can imagine making antoher in silk with, maybe….Hmmm….bell sleeves?!? I am not done with that look yet! Anyway, I’m giving this pattern a thumbs up. It’s a great transion look, I think, a nice bridge between the seasons, and if I could find some great fabric like the Chloe or Sea versions, I’d be all over making version number three.

Long sleeves….I think that makes this a ‘Fall’ project, even though the temperature is in the mid-90s here! Have you started your Fall sewing yet?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

DIY top with waist tucks and bell sleeves

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Greetings from the sultry streets of Portland. The temperature rarely rises above ninety degrees here in the rose city, but this week has been extraordinary. Two days have topped out at 100+ and more hot days are ahead. Weather like this drives me to my basement sewing room where the air is cool. And, as luck would have it, a beautiful piece of silk waited for me there!

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This top was inspired by the runway fashions this Spring that featured Bell sleeves. I can’t seem to get enough of the look (see my other makes here and here), and I can tell as I wear this new top, I’m probably not done with this look even now. Because the bell sleeves have lots of volume, I decided to pair them with a more defined waist to balance out the bigness of the sleeves.  The fabric is from my stash, a lightweight silk that fells like nothing when you wear it. I found it at Mill End Store last Spring and have been waiting for inspiration to strike. The print is bold, so I knew a simple design would be my preference.

 

I modified a much loved pattern, Butterick 5890.

This pattern has loads of personality, with waist tucks and collar variations that are easy and fun to modify. I decided to draft new sleeves that would satisfy my bell sleeve obsession. I also made a long tie belt, that can be wrapped twice to give the waist more definition. The waist tucks are nice enough as they are though, so sometimes, I’ll  just wear the top without the belt.

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I used view C, but modified the pattern as follows:

-I cut the front bodice on the fold.

-I lengthened the sleeve by five inches.

-I added a bell to the sleeve by cutting a rectangluar shaped piece, 8″ by 20″. I gathered one long edge of this piece, then stitched the 8″ ends together before attaching it to the sleeve to create the bell.

-I added a long wrap belt, 70″ by 4″ .

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All in all, I’m happy with this new top. In part, it gets a thumbs up because it was comfortable today, even in the heat. And, it Did Not Wrinkle! Also, I should say, I’m pretty sure my bell sleeve obsession isn’t over yet. I’ve already started to imagine a longer sleeve version for fall, and am toying with the idea of adding a sleeve band detail too. We’ll see how that idea evolves :).

Move over Linen! Silk is my new favorite ‘hot’ weather fabric. What’s yours?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

Butterick 6057-Chambray and Floral Top

IMG_4012Hi All! It’s hot here in Oregon, so there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy my vacation wardrobe even though I’m back at home. Might as well keep those vacation vibes going as long as possible, don’t you think? This top was one of my favorites on my summer vacation, completed only a day before I left. In fact, it almost didn’t make the wardrobe ‘cut’. But I threw it into my suitcase at the last minute and I’m so glad I did. It was worth the space it took because it went with everything; skirts or shorts.   IMG_4001 (1)

The contrast print makes this shirt, if you ask me. It’s a Liberty remnant I picked up at a small shop here in Portland, Josephine’s Dry Goods. I love Liberty floral prints, but I can’t always imagine wearing something that’s all floral. But using a bit for contrast is something I can easily get into. I used the Liberty on the sleeves, the pockets and the back button band. I love these colors so much, I might just start calling them my color ‘palate’; blue, black, rust, green, colors that are perfect for fall too. That makes this top ‘transitional’, don’t you think?

This pattern, Butterick 6057, is genius. The buttons and button band down the back just give it that extra something. Oh, and I love the tabs on the sleeves too. I used a solid black for those to try to make that Liberty print stand out even more. This pattern is now, officially, a ‘tried and true’ for me.I made it before here. It’s easy to sew  and the cut is comfortable, but not ‘baggy’ and the high low hem is fun.B6057Here’s the top in ‘action’. This is Nuremburg, Germany,our last stop on the Danube. I’m posing here in chambray with my friend, Suzanne who is wearing a beautiful linen dress.  She bought a bit of fabric on this trip too :). Her shoes are cute, mine not so much. What can I say? My feet had minds of their own that day!!IMG_5747

I hope you’re enjoying the dog days of summer and are finding time to sew a few transitional wardrobe pieces for yourself! 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!