Summer Making Journal 2: a Patchwork top, Inari hacks and Free Range Slacks

IMG_1094Hi all! July was a busy month in the sewing room. Recently, I cleaned my closet and donated several ragged tops (made so long ago!). I’ve been on a mission to replace them, while honoring a pledge I made to myself to use up my remnants. That pledge led me here…to my first pieced top.

IMG_1116I have never been able to throw away even the smallest scrap of linen. It’s too wonderful to toss! So, when the #JoinupJuly challenge started on Instagram, I was challenged to join up some of my linen scraps into a top.

The process of making a patchwork top isn’t difficult at all. Basically, with a quarter inch seam, you piece blocks and bits of fabric together, varying the colors. Then, when your pieced creation is large enough, you lay your pattern pieces on it and cut! My top is made using the Inari pattern from Named clothing(also made here). The lines are simple so it showcases piece work nicely.  It was so fun to figure out how to combine the linens into a pleasing pattern.

IMG_1185Here, I’m wearing my new pieced Inari with my first ever Free Range Slacks,a lovely pattern from Sew House Seven. I’ve been wanting to make these pants for ages. I used linen from my stash for this version.  I love the boxy shape of the pants, the cool seams and the deep pockets. But I found the fit to be more generous than I expected. Because the pants are high waisted and I’m short waisted, the fit of the rise was challenging. I’m pleased with the result, but my advice is to remember the loose fit when you’re choosing the size to cut. A toile would be a good idea too!

IMG_1153As you can see, the fit isn’t perfect yet. There are creases in the crouch. I’ll adjust the rise a bit more next time.

IMG_1339Here’s another Inari, this one with sleeves. I made this from rayon scraps left over from my Sew Over It Wrap skirt (see it here).I do love this rayon! It’s from art Gallery and it is so sumptious to wear. It flows so nicely too! This pattern, the Inari, is a keeper too, simple but stylish and so easy to modify to make it your own! The shorts I’m wearing are Simplicity 8841. This is a easy pattern with great fit! It has a elastic waist so you can make it quickly.IMG_1238I’m wearing my Inari here with the paper bag Burda shorts I made last summer (Here)…Love these! The linen just gets better with time. I wear them constantly!

My last Inari was also made from linen scraps, left overs from this summer dress.IMG_1274Again I used the Inari. Because I had oddly shaped pieces of fabric, I had only enough for a cropped version of the front and back bodice. So, I added a short peplum also pieced from scraps. Luckily the gathering of the peplum hides the many seams:). The sleeve bands are cut from a contrast linen.

That’s it for me for now. I’m in the process of cleaning and reorganizing my sewing room using Ikea modular shelves. And even though I recently reorganized my stash, I’m revisiting the scheme. Isn’t that the way it is with this hobby? It seems like there’s always a better way to organize your fabric, notions and patterns.

Stay safe and healthy. Happy sewing! Thanks for stopping by.

 

July Making Journal: A Wiksten Haori, A Libby Shirt, a Peplum Top

Although we’ve all felt the strain of the unknown over the past months, for me, there have been some positive things about the quarantine. I’ve truly appreciated the gift of time. It’s been lovely to slow down and savor making things. As Oregon gradually reopens, I hope I can resist the urge to rush!

Denim Wiksten Haori

When considering what to do with several old pairs of jeans, it’s probably no surprise that I reached for my well-used Wiksten Haori pattern. I do  love creating from scraps.

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 My last two versions are soft now and well worn (hereand here).

For this Haori, I mixed and matched the legs of several pairs of jeans, all from different colors of denim.

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To get enough denim for the front and back bodice, I cut pieces from the legs. I also ripped off pockets and added them to the front and inside of the jacket.

To tie it all together, I used white topstitching thread and double stitched where ever possible. For lining, scraps of soft chambray came in handy.  I hardly noticed the time as I ripped and cut and sewed. It’s a lovely weight, perfect for our cooler summer evenings. This will be one of my entries for #joinupjuly on instagram.

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Libby Shirt

This month, I enjoyed revisiting one of the older Sew Over It patterns, the Libby shirt. This easy button-up top is cropped and loose fitting for a modern look. I made both versions from rayon. Even though it’s easy to sew, the pattern has lovely details. I love the vintage collar and cute cuffs.  Rayon is a great fabric for this one. Since the fit of this top is loose, I cut the smallest size.

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McCalls 7052

My last make is a tried and true top that I’ve made so, so many times. It’s a easy-fitting top with a swing-y peplum, McCalls 7052 (also made here). I love this top because you can throw it on and feel put together, even though the style is relaxed and easy. This is project you can finish in an afternoon – -instant gratification! I’ve used different fabrics for other versions, but love the feel of it in rayon.

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The journal/diary format I’m using here on the blog today is new for me.  It seems to make sense when I’m reviewing makes I’ve sewn before. What do you think?

I hope you’re enjoying your sewing projects as much as I am these days.  Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

My Sew Over It London Summer Capsule Wardrobe

It’s been awhile since I’ve written. It’s been hard to imagine posting smiling photos of me in new clothes when there’s anger, hurt and death because of the systematic racism that surrounds us (during a global pandemic, no less). I’ve learned that I know very little about the daily experience of being black. So, I want to say that I’m committed to listening and learning. I support #Blacklivesmatter and am looking to the leadership and posts from @blkmakersmatter on IG. As my first action step, I am committing to making my sewing dollars count by buying from only those organizations that support anti-racism, equality and inclusion. 

Creating anything….art, clothes, music, helps us find our best selves. So in that spirit, I share what I’ve been sewing lately….

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This month, Sew Over It London launched a beautiful ebook calledSummer Dreaming.Tech-Drawings-700.pngIt includes a collection of  patterns that comprise a capsule wardrobe for summer. As a Pattern Insider, I had the opportuitiy to try the patterns before release. So today, I offer an overview of the pieces I made from that collection.

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The key piece in my capsule is the Sorrento Jacket. It’s designed with lots of fun seams, pockets and tabs at the waist. Since I’m a big fan of topstitching, I could hardly wait to sink my teeth into this one. And it did not disappoint!  I was a little concerned about the length of the jacket since I’m short-waisted and only 5’ 4”. The sizing of this pattern was spot on for me. I did do a tissue fitting, paying attention to the shoulders and waistline. In the end, I decided to leave all as is and the fit is good!

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The double seams in the front are so retro and cool. It’s well worth the time required to make it. If I had to say, I’d rate the skills required to make the jacket at intermediate level. Collar insertion and cuffs are required which can be a bit challenging, but the instructions are very complete. There’s lots of topstitching on the jacket which takes time, but I personally love sewing projects with alot of detail. I used a light gray thread to make the stitching pop. I chose medium weight denim and I’m glad I didn’t go any heavier. A heavy denim would make it difficult to get the thick seams pressed and topstitched, so I’d stick with a light to medium weight denim.

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Next up is the Ravello dress… a lovely versatile pattern. You can make it as a dress (long or short) or you can crop it as a top. I made it three ways, as a short dress, a cropped wrap top in linen and also another wrap top in Liberty cotton. The dress is a breeze to make, and is perfect for a beginner. It isn’t lined, so beware of picking a sheer fabric. A linen, lightweight cotton or rayon would be my choices for this pattern. It’s a quick make as the kimono style sleeves are cut into the bodice – – you can make this one in an afternoon. I love my top versions too, and want to make a long dress in the future.

Here’s the long wrap top version.

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And here’s the cropped linen version with the skirt of my Siena sun dress.

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The most challenging piece of all in the collection has to be the Siena dress!

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It can be made into a one piece sundress or made as separates ( a camisole style top and skirt). I love to mix and match so I chose the separates version. The dress has a shirred back and since I’d never tried shirring before I had to give this a whirl. It’s a fun process and not to hard to do. The top wasn’t the easiest piece to fit but end result was worth it. I made both pieces from linen. Rayon or cotton would work well too. I absolutely love the skirt. It will be in heavy rotation throughout the summer.

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My last make from the collection was the Alba skirt.

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This skirt is what summer dressing is all about! It’s a simple wrap skirt that you can make with or without a ruffle. I made it without the ruffle and it was such a fast easy make. A flowy fabric like rayon is best for this skirt. I like to wear it with a tee shirt, or with my Ravello top or my Sorrento jacket!

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This collection really would be perfect for travel (when we can safely do that again! ). The patterns are at a variety of sewing levels so there’s something here for everyone. I’ll use the jacket, dress and skirt patterns again and again. Thanks to Sew Over It for giving me the chance to try out these lovely patterns!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.

Four Linen LB Pull Overs

Even though I didn’t post photos during Me Made May, I’ve been taking stock of my me-made wardrobe. To my surprise, my Spring wardrobe includes 4 linen LB pullovers! What’s even more surprising, is that I’ve never written a blog post about one of my favorite patterns. It’s time to rectify that situation.

If you’re unfamiliar with the LB pullover by Paper Theory, here’s a quick run down. It’s a loose-fitting top that is suitable for wovens or knits. It has drop shoulders and long sleeves which you can modify to any length you want. There are two neck finishes, a turtleneck version or crew neck. I love this pattern because the look changes with your fabric choice. Also, it’s fun to hack!

My first linen version was simple.

This is a straightforward, out of the box version from lightweight linen (Josephines fabric.) Instant love. Immediately, I cut another in a lightweight linen (from Britex).

This time, I cropped the bodice by 6 inches and added a 8 inch peplum. To figure out how wide to make the peplum, I measured the width of the fabric at the bottom of the bodice and multiplied that by 1 1/2. Then I gathered the peplum using long stitches before stitching it to the shortened bodice. So easy! I love the loose fit of this version.

I used a remnant in my stash for this violet colored version. I absolutley love the soft feel of this linen. I cropped this version a bit, shortening the bodice by three inches. The sleeves are 3/4 length and I love to roll them up. I used the turtle neck pattern, but took a 1.5 inches off the width. This top is so easy to wear. It’s in heavy rotation.

This last version is color blocked with two linen remnants.

When the weather is hot, this hankerchief linen version is my favorite. It’s so great to work with a pattern that looks so different based on your fabric choice. I have two more LB pullovers on my cutting table, this time in knit fabrics. More on those in another post.

I hope you are well and happy during this strange, challenging time. I am grateful for the joy sewing brings and for our fabulous community of makers. Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

#sewjapaneseinjanuary times two!

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that I’ve been inspired by yet another Instagram sewing challenge! January in Oregon can be pretty dull and gray, so I’m often tempted to turn to Instagram for a bit of stimulation. Last month, the #sewjapaneseinjanuary challenge caught my eye. So, I dove into my pile of long neglected Japanese pattern books. Here’s one of my favorites.

Although some japanese pattern books are translated into English, wouldn’t you know, this favorite by Asuka Hamada is not!! No matter….we’re up the challenge, eh? Asuka Hamada’s designs are well worth the effort….chic without being too complicated.

Of course, when you sew from a Japanese pattern book, you have to trace the pattern…sigh. Well, here’s the good news. Now that I’ve done this a few times, I can honestly say, I actually enjoy the process. It’s sort of….meditative. For me, the concentration required to pattern trace is a lovely distraction! It’s like putting a jigsaw puzzle together…you have to be completely absorbed in the process or it just doesn’t happen. Here is the pattern I chose, a simple shirt with really great sleeves.

Since I don’t understand Japanese, the illustrations guided me.

Sewing from line drawings was simpler than it looks. It was freeing in a way and the process went faster too. Honestly, I may never read the pattern instructions again…LOL.

The shirt is slightly oversized which makes it great tucked into a pencil skirt or worn loose with jeans. My fabric is a lovely linen purchased at Bolt fabric. I enjoyed sewing this shirt so much, I had to make another version (minus the collar) from a linen cotton blend.

This Spring and summer, this shirt will be in heavy rotation with the striped linen skirt I made last summer.

Well, now that I know language isn’t really a barrier to trying new pattern books, who knows what will happen!? Maybe I’ll have to add another shelf in my sewing room for some new Japanese pattern books, eh? If you have any favorite pattern books…please share. I’m in the mood for a shopping spree.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

Travel Mix and Match: Burda Culottes with Two Linen Tops

Hi All! In two weeks, I’ll be traveling to Italy, and there’s nothing like a deadline to get you motivated to sew, sew… SEW. Although I love to travel with dresses (this linen Burda will go with me) I’m going to stretch my options a bit by packing a few mix and match separates too.

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Burda refers to this pattern as shorts, but I consider them to be culottes. I love the wide cut in the leg contrasted with the paper bag waist. This pattern was in the Burda magazine (07/2019 #107A) and there were only TWO pattern pieces to trace…Yahoo! Because I was going for the culotte look, I lengthened them by two inches. Cut from linen, I think they’ll be perfect for Italy’s soaring temperatures.

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The paper bag waist is formed by pleats that are stitiched down at the waist. I decided to add a belt to make the waist more dramatic when I wear them with a shirt tucked in.  I also added in seam pockets – – honestly I can’t live without pockets!

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I’m wearing the culottes with my new Cuff Top by the Assembly line. I love this pattern. It’s simple but unique with sleeves that are gathered at the cuff by wide elastic. Because the sleeves are cut as part of the bodice, it’s really pretty easy to put this top together. The design details are what make this top special to me…the front seam (flat felled and top-stitiched with a double needle) and the wide boat neck (also topstitiched with a double needle).  Because the front of this top is seamed, you could use contrasting fabric to great effect. I’m imagining another version in a stripe! This fabric is a lightweight gray linen, which should be perfect in the heat. 

My second travel top is also made from linen, New Look N6601. 

IMG_2816This wrap top looks much harder than it is to sew. The neck is pretty simple…faced with bias binding.  Luckily, I had enough fabric to make my own. If you’ve never made your own bias binding, I highly recommend it.  It’s really a easy way to make the inside of your garment special. If you’re curious, check out the many tutorials on U-tube. IMG_3066.jpeg

Fit can be a bit tricky for me with wrap tops, but this is drafted so well, I made a slight adjustment for narrowed shoulders and called it good.

I’m really pleased with these additions to my travel wardrobe…there’s nothing like some new pieces to really heighten your anticiaption of a trip!

I know linen wrinkles, but I’m determined to travel with it anyway. It’s perfect for hot weather, and I’ll pack a portable clothing steamer for a quick touch up when needed. I still plan to sew more items for the trip, but time is running out……fingers crossed that I persevere!!  Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

My ‘go-to’ outfit: wide leg pants and a safari style top

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Each season, there’s one me-made outfit that seems to rise above the rest. This one is it! A pair of cropped, wide-legged pants and a linen Fringe top – -nothing unusual or particularly earth shattering about these makes. Yet,  I find myself reaching for them over and over again.

Honestly, these pants are the best thing I’ve made in a long while!

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Like every other sewing blogger, I have fallen in love with wide legged pants.  They have the double appeal of being stylish and easy-to-wear.  The fact that these were an easy ‘sew’ is the icing on the cake!

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Simplicity 8841 is an easy-to-sew pattern with a elastic waist and huge pockets. There’s a straightlegged version and a wide legged version, cropped or full length. I went for the wide-legged cropped version, a look I’ve really grown to love.

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I chose lightweight cotton chambray for this version. The fabric is so soft, these pants qualify as secret pajamas for sure! There are belt loops and a belt as well, so if I want to tuck something in, the elastic waist is well hidden.

This modified Fringe top is the perfect mate for these pants.

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If you aren’t familiar with Chalk and Notch’s Fringe blouse/dress pattern, I can highly recommend it! It was the darling of Instagram for a while, and I fell in love with the many variations I saw there. Search the #fringedresspattern hastag on Instagram and you’ll see what I mean!

To make my top, I modified View A to give it a bit more of a Safari vibe. I left the upper bodice and neckline as designed (and they fit like a dream!).  Then, instead of gathering the bottom bodice panel,  I cut it to fit the measurement of the upper bodice lower seam, plus a seam allowance. I also drafted darts on the lower bodice to mimic those on the upper bodice. The pattern suggests you insert the ties in the side seams or in the back bodice darts. I chose to put them in the back darts, and I think that’s part of the reason the bodice fits so well. I love the sleeve cuffs and the button tabs.

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The appeal of this pattern for me is the lovely v-neck and spot on fit of the bodice. I’ve already cut a dress version, and am interested in another top, likely another modified version. Yes, I was late to the Fringe dress party, but better late than never. This pattern will be a tried and true that will take me into Fall as well.

Fall sewing is on my mind, as well as a few added wardrobe items for a trip to Italy in September. My sewing machine is fired up and ready for a marathon of projects this month, so watch for more blog posts. There will be a few….:) Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

#sewjapaneseinjuly meets #tableclothrefashion

July was a big month for sewing challenges. There were so many on Instagram, I coudn’t keep track of them all. For me, two challenges stood out above the rest: #sewjapaneseinjuly and #scarfrefashion, which also includes tablecloths. Yes, my last post was about a tablecloth refashion, but as you all know, one thing always leads to another for me, and that project was so fun. I guess it isn’t too surprising that I had to do another revashion before July was done.

But first, my #japeneseinjuly make…

IMG_2306 This is the Summer Jacket from the Nano Iro sewing studio book.

 

Nano Iro is a watercolor artist who creates beautiful textiles. Her designs are transferred to cotton and linen, which are perfect for clothing. Not only does she create beautiful textiles but she is an author. On a recent shopping trip to Bolt fabric here in Portland, I discovered that her recent book has been translated to English! Of course, I couldn’t resist….this is the summer jacket from that book.

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To me, Japanese sewing books are great because the styles are simpler and cleaner which allows the fabric to take center stage. That’s why, for this jacket, I reached deep into my stash for one of my favorite pieces of linen.

 

IMG_2318My linen has the tiniest bit of sheen which makes the denim color really pop.

IMG_2241I love the classic lines and the shawl collar of this summer jacket. The construction is basic but clever…the shawl collar is supported by a back neck facing that keeps the neck from rolling.  The pockets are patched onto the jacket, which gives it a utility jacket feel, so on-trend! It’s unlined so construction is a breeze. If you can set in a sleeve and attach a basic collar, you’re good to go! Use a medium weight fabric for this project with a bit of drape.  IMG_2305This style works with everything in my closet – – I suspect this jacket will be in my suitcase when I go to Italy this September!

On to the  tablecloth refashion…

IMG_2284This is the Basic Blouse, cut from a circular vintage table cloth purchased at an estate sale. I wish you could see from these photos that the cut detailing is embroidered with blue thread – – Love!!

 

Construction of this top was simple..The sleeves are cut into the bodice so there’s nothing much to it. The trick was in the layout….I had to place the cut detailing appropriately. I used the scalloped edge of the tablecloth as the hem and the center of the tablecloth as the yoke of the bodice. The sleeves are highlighted with more cut detailing, and after some tricky maneuvering I managed to get the sleeves to mirror each other. IMG_2287I added a back slit at the neckline and finished it with bias binding.

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I love my new outfit…and to think both pieces were inspired by sewing challenges! What challenges are you inspired by?

IMG_2190 Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Linen Tablecoth Top for #scarfrefashion and #so50vintage

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I have a love/hate relationship with Instagram, I must admit. I love seeing everyone’s makes but I find the limitations imposed by the IG algorithm to be so frustrating. Sometimes, my feed is so edited by Instagram, I don’t see the content I choose. Nevertheless, as you all know, I do love a good sewing challenge and Instagram is full of them! So, I will stop complaining and get on with it….:)

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This linen top (a bit wrinkled having just been worn) was inspired by two sewing challenges on Instagram: the #scarfrefashion challenge (includes tablecloths too) sponsored by @sewstoney and @sewdalaridada, and the #so50vintagechallenge. I happened upon a vintage linen tablecoth with beautiful cut work and mitred corners at a estate sale. I’ve made tops from tablecloths before (here and here) so I knew this one was perfect for a top. I couldn’t resist giving the challenge a whirl.

With a little over a yard of fabric to work with, my style options were a bit limited. After perusing my extensive (!!) pattern stash, I came upon Simplicity 8090, a pattern from 2016 that has all sorts of possibilities.

I chose view C because it doesn’t take alot of fabric and it’s cropped, which allowed me to use the finished edges of the tablecloth as the hem for the top.

The pattern was so easy to sew. The sleeves went in perfectly. The front placket was really easy because I used the finished edge of the tablecloth for that. I only made one modification – I added a collar stand.

I do love the french darts on this top. They look so crisp in linen.

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This top has a seam down the back so I positioned the bodice pieces so that the tablecloth’s cut detailing would be on either side of the seam. I cut the sleeves to use the tablecloth detailing and hem too.

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The inside of the shirt looks fabulous because the hem of the tablecloth finished all the seams for me, LOL!!

All in all, it was a fun project, and I’m pleased with how it turned out. The biggest challenge was the laying out the pattern properly, of course, but the extra time involved was worth it.  I do love the boxy cut of this top and know I’ll use this pattern again. Vintage linen is so lovely to work with, I’ll never be able to resist an old tablecoth again!

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Are you taking on any sewing challenges this summer? Let me know so I don’t miss it! I love seeing everyone’s makes….

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

Butterick 6592 Three Ways

Me Made May has been so revealing! My pledge this year was to wear the me-mades that were taking up valuable closet space, but weren’t getting much use. That lead to some ‘aha’ moments. 1. I prefer tops made of rayon, jersey knit, cotton lawn or linen (I hate stiff cottons!). 2. I love wearing skirts, pants but dresses…? Not so much (but I love to sew them!) 3. I do not enjoy wearing sleeveless tops or dresses not matter how hot it is. Yes, I have a few, but I never wear them! I’ve always had a thing about my arms, that less is more, LOL. 

That last conclusion led to one of this post’s projects. I pulled all of my sleeveless tops from my closet, determined to add sleeves. Easier said than done.  As you all know, that remedy relies on a stash of remnants that includes pieces of fabric from past projects. I used to have buckets of remnants, but that was before my commitment to ‘tidy up’. I was convinced those remnants weren’t giving me joy, so I discarded/donated most  of them a month ago! What I wouldn’t give to have them back again!!

The good news…I was able to locate enough fabric to add sleeves to this first version of my new favorite pattern, Butterick 6592. Yes, the sleeves are tiny, but I do love this top now.

I used Butterick 6592 for the three tops in this post, and it has alot to offer.  

The bodice can be made with or without a peplum, and there are three sleeve options, which makes the pattern a good value if you ask me. It’s a simple pattern to complete. The bodice is shaped by darts and the neck opening is finished with a zipper. Fit on this one is easy. I cut my usual size according to my measurements and it fits like a dream without tricky modifications.

This is view A, and for this version, I used a vintage linen table cloth that I picked up at a estate sale. The trick here was to place the cut out details in the right place on the bodice and sleeves. I used the scalloped edges of the table cloth as the finish for the sleeves. this is the second top I’ve made from a tablecloth, and it was so fun to sew!

The loose fit makes this top really comfortable and cool. Yes, it wrinkles easily, but that’s linen for you! I know this will be one of my favorite tops this summer.

This last version of B6592 is made from a remnant of silk I found last summer in the bin at the Mill End store here in Portland. It doesn’t photograph that well, but the blue is really lovely, with contrast bits of gray and off-white.

This is view B, the peplum bodice with a modified sleeve (no ruffle). Silk is so fabulous to wear – – I don’t know why I don’t treat myself to its luxury more often. I like this peplum because it isn’t too flouncy. For this version, I shortened the waist by 5/8 of an inch because the peplum is supposed to hit above the waist.

It’s always so fun to see how a single pattern can be used to create different looks. Any pattern that provides so many fun options, gets a big thumbs up from me! Besides that, it only takes a couple of hours to complete — Make it this weekend! I searched Instagram and Pattern Review for other versions of this pattern, but didn’t find much. I’m not sure why it isn’t popular, as I can see more versions of this in my future.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!