A Ruffle Skirt and Cold Shoulder Top

IMG_3737 2If you told me a year ago that I would be sewing a ruffle wrap skirt in denim for Spring, I would have laughed out loud. Ruffles have never been my thing. But if you show me enough of a trend, I am usually happy to hop on board!

Such is the case with this skirt.  I couldn’t resist modifying a simple skirt pattern to mimic some of the ready to wear ruffled gems I’ve been seeing around town.

IMG_3751In this photo, I am noticing that my bootie is unzipped. So ridiculous (!), but I had to include this shot because the ruffles on the front of the skirt are so easy to see. Honestly, this modification was easy. I measured the front edge of the right front of the skirt. I made my ruffle 1 and a half times that length (to allow for gathering), and 6″wide. I love how a simple modification can completely change the look of a pattern.

This skirt is Simplicity 1322. It’s meant to be a mock wrap with a front and back yoke and back zipper. But I made it into a real wrap skirt be eliminating the yokes and cutting a waistband and tie instead. I used  a lightweight denim; a cotton/linen blend. It’s been in my stash for so long, I have no idea where I bought it.

IMG_3771I’m happy with this skirt, but I’m not sure about the length. I might need to shorten it a couple of inches? Opinions? I won’t wear this with tights when it warms up around here and it might look more Springy if it’s a bit shorter?

This cold shoulder top (another trend I have happily embraced) is my first Style Arc Pattern. I wanted a basic top I could wear with anything, so I chose black ponte knit with moderate stretch and lots of body. This fabric was perfect to support the shape of the cut out shoulders.

IMG_3747I’d heard that Style Arc patterns are challenging because there are very few instructions. In the case of this pattern, the instructions were sparse (less than one page), but the instructions were enough to get the job done. There aren’t any facings to deal with on this top. The neck is finished with a turned edge as are the shoulder cut outs, so there just isn’t that much to say! It fit perfectly without modification, a rarity for me, so I’m fairly impressed with this pattern!

 

I’m more comfortable wearing ruffles when they’re paired with something that is simple and not so fussy, like this top. So, I imagine I’ll wear this skirt with simple knit tops most of the time.

IMG_3741I’m pretty happy with this make, and it was a stash buster too. What do you think of the ruffle trend? Thumbs up or down? And do you have any Style Arc Tried and True’s that I should try?

I hope it’s warm and sunny where you are, because it definitely isn’t here, which is not great for my Spring Sew-Jo. Nevertheless, there is a silver lining to the weather. Rain is a perfect excuse to ignore my yard and sew…. Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

McCall’s 7501: Two versions

Hi all! I’m back with two versions of a McCall’s 7501, both made with fabrics from my stash (YAY!). When I first saw this pattern, I knew it had to be mine. I love the drama of a wide collar. It has a vintage vibe I love.

 

My  first version is made from a textured sweater knit with moderate stretch. Unfortunately, I didn’t have quite enough for a dress, but this sweater knit has a loose weave that’s probably better suited for a tunic top anyway.

img_2756The collar is designed so that it fits very neatly on your shoulder, which makes this so comfortable to wear. On me, it’s a teeny bit off the shoulder, which I love! Because the sweater knit is an open weave, I’m wearing it here with a tee under it because, baby it’s cold outside. When the weather warms up though, this will be the perfect spring sweater.

Version two is a Little Black Dress, made from ponte knit. I have a special ‘dress-up’ event coming up this weekend, so I couldn’t resist making a version out of a dressy ponte knit I had in my stash. It’s really thick and yummy, embossed with a design that looks like velvet.

 

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It’s so hard to take photos of a black dress, so I hope you can see the cool design on this knit. Even though this dress is close fitting, this stretchy knit makes it comfortable to wear. If my husband wanted to dance (ha), I could! There aren’t any darts, and the sleeves are raglan, so this is an easy sew. Even though the pattern doesn’t call for lining, I did line my dress with a lightweight black stretch satin so that it won’t cling when I walk. The collar is supposed to be faced, but my knit was so thick I just turned the edges under of a single layer of fabric.

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I think the body and weight of this fabric is perfect for this dress, so I’d definitely recommend chosing a similiar ponte knit. It has nice crosswise stretch, which helps the collar to cup over the shoulder. I don’t think a ponte without some give would work as well.

I love my new top and dress. They’re both comfortable, but fitted, which is a great combination.

I’ve become such a fan of making two versions of the same pattern one right after the other. It’s such an efficient way to go, because the second time is so easy and fast. I wonder why I don’t do that all the time (?), especially when I find a pattern I love. Of course, it’s a bit of an assembly-line approach to sewing, but that didn’t seem to diminish the fun factor for me. Maybe some of you are wondering why I just came to this method because you’ve been sewing this way for years! Would love to hear any and all opinions.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

DIY: Philip Lim Inspired Top

 

img_2016Hi all! The inspiration for this stash-busting top was a Philip Lim creation I saw at the San Francisco Saks a couple of weeks ago. It’s so fun to wander around in that amazing store, a real treat for me since we don’t have a Saks here anymore (wah!). But when I saw this top it was instant ‘love’. The bold plaid, the color blocked side panels, the contrast trim and stitching, I wanted it all. But alas, the price tag….

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So, I set about making my own version. The good news? I used left over remnants from my recent Day Dress, and another plaid from a top I made years ago. So no new money was spent in the making of this top.

img_2040The pattern I used for this make is a tried and true: Vogue 9054.

It’s out-of-print but still available on their website and on Etsy. The design detail that makes this pattern the perfect choice for my Philip Lim top is that it has a front panel. So, that’s where I placed my cotton plaid. I used a contrasting off white knit for the side panels. Even though this pattern is designed for knits, my inspiration top combined knits and wovens, so I went out on a limb and did the same thing. I think the loose design of this top made that combination less risky than it otherwise would have been. The fit really didn’t change. I also added a contrast band to the collar and cuffs.

img_2020A detail I love on the inspiration top was the stitching on the front and back panel seams. To get that look, I top stitched those seams with a decorative stitch. I wanted to use the flat lock stitch on my serger, but alas, it just wouldn’t behave. My substitute stitch isn’t quite as stunning, but I still like it.

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I especially like the way Vogue designed the hemline of this top. There’s a bit of a high-low thing going on there that’s fun.

img_2002Well, I think my top will work as a reasonable substitute for the Philip Lim top, and wearing my DIY  version will save me from spending hundreds of dollars I don’t have. I rarely think that sewing saves money, but when it comes to designer fashions, it has a very strong edge. Thanks to Philip for the inspiration! The colors of this top make it a seasonal transition item, I think, and I feel almost Springy as we persevere through another ice storm with freezing rain. Ugh!

I’m glad I used some fabric from my stash here, because my goal this year is to reduce the size of  my stash (yes, I used bold font so I won’t forget, LOL). Lately, I’ve been feeling like I have to ‘sew to my stash’, if you know what I mean. I often buy fabric with a project in mind, but by the time I get to it, my enthusiasm for it has waned or the inspiration is gone. That means my stash is huge, and it means my sewing is often motivated by the guilt that comes with excess. It overwhelms and confuses my creative urges (yes, I’m a junkie). So, my goal is to sew some of it ASAP and give some to friends or charity so that it doesn’t weigh me down. What do you think, fellow fabric junkies? Will this strategy work? 

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

A Tale of Two Toaster Sweaters

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Hi all – – My photos were taken indoors again because of this!img_1525-2Yes, that’s about a foot of snow. In Oregon, this much snow is an event! No one tries to drive and many of my neighbors just shut themselves in. Some folks freak out, and long for it all to end. But, I love this weather. It’s perfect for skiing around the neighborhood, baking cookies and sewing Toaster Sweaters.img_1768-2The Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater pattern comes with two versions,

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Version #1 screamed color blocking to me. The sleeve bands, collar and lower band are great details that make using contrasting fabrics so simple.

img_1652 I cut the sleeves from leftover ponte from my day dress (Day and Night Dress challenge) as well as the collar and hem band. It’s my plan this year to use leftover fabric right away.The bodice was cut from a remnant I picked up at Fabric Depot, a cozy thick cotton knit.

Version #1 went together nicely. The cropped  length is just about right for me, but I’m only 5’4″. If you’re taller, you might want to add a few inches in the length. I made one modification to the pattern. I shortened the collar by 1. I’m really glad I did because otherwise, that collar would have hit me at the chin which would have annoyed me to no end.

img_1704It’s a pretty easy sew and the instructions are great. My ponte knit had very little stretch though, and the pattern calls for 20% stretch. Next time I make it (and there will be a next time…), I’ll use a knit with a bit more give. That way the bottom band won’t be quite so snug. I love this cozy look, and can imagine making it again out of a furry knit, like the one on the pattern envelope.

Version #2 went together in less than two hours…(almost) instant gratification! The sweater knit came from the Mill End Store.

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I like the boxy shape of this top, and the easy look of the high low hem. It’s pretty fitted through the shoulders and in the sleeves, so it doesn’t overwhelm my small frame like some boxy shapes do. I like how it widens gradually to the hem, giving it a swingy shape. It has a funnel neck, mitered side vents and a hi-low hem.

img_1792This is an easy sweater to sew. Honestly, you can do this while you’re binge watching Game of Thrones. The funnel neck is actually cut as part of the bodice, so there’s nothing too tricky there. One warning though; This top is the perfect length for me (a shrimp) so if you’re worried about the top being too cropped, you might want to add a few inches. Next time, I might make it a bit longer so that I can wear it over leggings.

I think this pattern is destined for tried and true status. I plan on making more – a longer version of #2 and a cozier knit for version #1. This is my first Sew House Seven pattern, and I must say, I was impressed. Have you tried their patterns before? Any recommendations?

In spite of the snow, my winter sewing is starting to taper off now, making room for Spring projects. How about you?

Happy Sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

McCall’s 7430- A sweater dress

 

img_9604As you all know, I am a big fan of sweater knits, so much so I tend to stash/horde every one I find. Yes, I have quite a few squirreled away in my sewing nook, so (fair warning here) this is only the beginning of my annual sweater knit obsession.

Here is why I love them so, so much.  Most sweater knits are easy to sew (even without a fancy serger, just use a zigzag stitch) and wonderful to wear. I’m talking about those moderate stretch wonders with just the right amount of lycra with a dense, cozy weave. This houndstooth sweater knit is a perfect example of why I’m obsessed. It’s the perfect mix of stretch and cozy…destined to become a fall/winter wardrobe staple.

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McCall’s 7430 is the perfect sweater dress.

I love the side panels, the neckline variations, and the front and back yoke. I also love the sleeve caps. You could really have fun with contrast and color blocking here. There’s so much you can do with this pattern to make it your own.

The only modifications I made to the dress were to add front patch pockets, each 6 inches by five inches (gotta keep those pinkies warm!). I added contrast sleeve bands to finish the cuffs as well, but this is so optional. You could easily hem them with your machine as the pattern suggests.

One note about fit. The side panels eliminate the usual side seams so it’s a bit harder to use them to modify fit. Yes, I’m a big fan of taking a dress in at the sides, and I hate making muslins on a knit pattern.  It’s not impossible to adjust this pattern that way. It’s just a bit more time consuming, and if you adjust those panels too much, you run the risk of changing the look of your lovely dress. So, I’m glad the sizing is pretty true on this pattern because I didn’t need to make any adjustments at all. Phew!

img_9581I guess my obsession with sweater knits isn’t likely to end in the near future :). I’ll probably make another dress from this pattern, out of a solid knit with a contrast, since it’s so comfy and versatile. I think it’s one of those patterns you can dress up or down, maybe even make as a tunic length to wear over leggings. Love these inspiring versions from Vince Camuto…

 

Hmmmm, so mamy options, so little time to sew! Curious if you all are as obsessed with sweater knits as I am? Pretty sure there’s a color blocked version of this dress in my very near future!

Happy 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!

 

 

 

Vogue 9166: A sleek and sporty basic

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When I saw the new Vogue patterns for Spring, I could hardly believe my luck. Those lovely designers read my mind!!  I’ve been looking for a dress pattern with two-piece sleeves since the sporty trend began last Spring. Even though no one has ever described me as athletic, I sure like to look like I am! Racer details, vertical stripes, anything that gives an outfit a sporty edge and I’m all in.

There’s nothing like a knit sleeve that’s color blocked to make you feel like you can get to the finish line fast. My favorite design element of this dress is definitely the sleeves.The good news is, they aren’t just sporty. They’re easy to sew too.

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This dress is a breeze to make. From cut to hem, it only took about three hours.Vogue 9166 includes a dress and a top version as well as pants. All are made from knits.

Not only are the sleeves and yoke details cool, but the high low hem is fun too.  Because my knit had moderate stretch, I used my overlock stitch on my Bernina to finish the seams and hemmed with a twin needle.

Here’s a close up of the knit. It’s sort of unusual, I think, a Ponte from my stash (Yay!) with a silver design printed on it.

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Black is so hard to photograph! The silvery design printed on the knit dresses it up a bit, don’t you think?

The construction of this dress is really simple and straightforward, so if you’re new to knits, give it a try. I made my usual size and made a slight adjustment for my narrow shoulders. To give the style a bit of structure, I’d recommend a medium weight knit, something that isn’t too flimsy, or the dress won’t hang well. The cut is simple so the dress is easy to wear. It’s the sort of dress that you can move around in, a ‘throw on and go’ dress, my favorite! I’m sure I’ll wear it a lot.IMG_8316

I like the pattern and can imagine making it again, maybe a top, or another dress with a two bright colored knits (blue, anyone?). It would be a good piece to include in a capsule wardrobe. I’m suggesting that, not because I’m planning one, but because I should. I also noticed there’s a capsule wardrobe contest this Spring hosted by Pattern Review that provides great motivation to plan one. Will I? Probably not (?!?) but I’m looking forward to seeing what others put together as I continue to mull over the concept. Anyway, it seems to me that this dress, with its timeless style and high degree of wearability would be perfect for such a wardrobe, don’t you think?

Do you plan your wardrobe around the capsule concept, or are you a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ person like me? Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!