Three Versions – Simplicity Waist-Tie Top

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Packing for a trip always points out the flaws in your wardrobe, don’t you think? A planned visit to the already muggy east coast made me realize – I have very few easy-to- wear, easy-to-pack tops that are humidity friendly.

Enter Simplicity 8601 – – An ‘easy-to-sew’ top with lots of variations.

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Version 1; Rayon

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This lovely batik rayon was purchased last Spring (Millendstore). I used some of it for this dress last spring. This rayon has a lovely, soft drape, so even though I was short a quarter of a yard, I worked hard to squeeze this 3/4 sleeve top from it. I was really lucky it worked because the drape of rayon is so perfect for this style!

One thing to note about this pattern – – It has a seam down the front, a necessity because of the tie at the waist. Stripes, plaids etc need to be positioned strategically. Even though this rayon has a polka dot print, it’s a batik with a noticeable pattern to it so I had to do some strategic matching around that front seam.

I loved this top right away! Encouraged by the immediate gratification this pattern offered, I pressed on and sewed a few more…..

Version two: Medium weight cotton

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This is View A with bell sleeves, the perfect shape for layering under sweaters.  I was a bit concerned that the stiffness of this Cotton and Steel print would be a bit much for the waist tie…but it worked! Not only is this medium weight cotton great  in humid weather, it supports the shape of these sleeves.

Version 3; Cotton Double GauzeIMG_1337

When the weather is a bit sticky, double gauze always makes me feel great, so I just had to use a cotton gauze remnant in my stash for version B. I am so glad I did! There’s a reason people use double gauze for baby blankets – it’s so soft.  Wearing this top is like wearing pajamas, which makes me wonder…..Why don’t I make everything out of double gauze?

I’m pleased with all three versions so Simplicity 8601 so it gets a big thumbs up from me. I have plans to make View D as well (flutter sleeves) and who knows what else I might whip up.  From start to finish each version of this top took only two hours to sew – – a perfect saturday or evening project. The instructions are great and the fabric options that work with this pattern are endless. I have some linen I will use for a flutter sleeve version. I will likely make a flannel version in the fall.

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I was pleased to see several similar RTW tops at Anthropologie last week with a waist tie, so give this look a try. What version do you like best? Have you ever made a top from double gauze?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

A Remant Busting Top X 3

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I think I’ve found a new tried and true top pattern to add to my go-to collection. This one is a favorite because it’s perfect for knit remnants! As you all know, I can’t bear to part with sweater knit pieces, no matter what the size or shape, so I have quite the collection of lovely bits. It’s so great to find a pattern that accomodates my need to save them!

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My preferred wardrobe choice at this time of year is pants and a top, so cute options are always on my to-sew list. I really love the curvy raglan sleeves on this pattern! It’s the sort of detail that takes this top from ordinary to something I’ll reach for again and again.

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On this version, I added a large cuff to the sleeve just for fun. I love this fabric, and am so glad I saved this lovely remnant. I didn’t have enough fabric to do the entire shirt so the back is a solid black.

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This top is made from remnants of two different sweaters and I added narrow cuffs to the sleeves to make it look a bit more polished.

This Melissa Watson design is McCalls 7574.

It’s an easy sew, the perfect diversion from a more demanding project (my night dress for the Day/Night Dress challenge, soon to be revealed.). I was pleased that this top fit me right out of the envelope with no adjustments. It has two options on the neckline, either a narrow band or a collar. I used the collar option twice and the neckband on the bright floral version. Both were really easy to sew and are so comfortable to wear. I think the dress version of this pattern would be great to try.

I love the efficiency of sewing several versions of a pattern back to back. By the time I was sewing version three, I was able to complete the top in less than an hour, LOL!

It’s nice to have some fresh options in my closet to go with jeans. If I had to choose a favorite, it would probably be this one. The textured wool knit is so colorful and I love the bold print. Which do you prefer?

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Do you save bits of knit or am I the only one who can’t bear to let them go? Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

A Textured Knit Cardigan For Spring

 

IMG_7399 3When I saw this textured knit last winter at Britex, it was love at first sight. I was so taken with the open weave, the natural color, the texture that was remiscent of eyelash knit, that I didn’t bother to check how much stretch it had, or to think about what I might sew with it. I just bought it!

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When it was time to sew, I was pretty surprised to discover my lovely knit had absolutely no stretch at all. Ha, that will teach me. My gut told me it was perfect for a cardigan, but most patterns require two-way stretch. I did find one in my stash though that was more like a jacket than a sweater, a style that would be compatible with a stable knit.

McCalls 6708 is an out-of-print pattern I’ve used before here. I love the Chanel Jacket look, and the structure the front and neck bands add. I think you could get a similar look using a collar-less jacket pattern, adding patch pockets and front bands.

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Challenges: This pattern required inserting buttonholes into a very loosely woven knit. I tried a few with remnants of the fabric and discovered my machine just wanted to eat it. So I fused little pieces of interfacing to the back of the band to put a protective layer between feeddogs and fabric. The buttonholes were a success, but this changed this project from easy to requires patience.

This knit, even though stable, has a tendency to stretch, a less than ideal characteristic when it comes to patch pockets. So, to help the pockets keep their shape, I interfaced the entire pocket. Because the fabric unravel easily, I serged the seams.

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I think it looks a little bit retro, don’t you? This sweater will be perfect for Spring. Even though this knit wasn’t ideal for this project, I do love how it turned out and I’m so glad it came home with me! Have you started your Spring sewing?

In other sewing news, I’ve started my night dress for the Day and Night Dress challenge. I can’t wait to show it to you. I’m also gathering fabric and patterns to participate in the Pattern Review Wardrobe Challenge. I’m not sure I’ll be able to get them all sewn before the deadline, but I’m going to have fun trying. It’s stripe month over on the Sewcialists too…so much inspiration right now in our community!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Two Cozy Knit Dresses for January

This Butterick pattern has shown up on alot of blogs since it was introduced in 2016 and I can see why. It’s fun to sew and to play around with! Since committing to the 2018 Ready-To-Wear Fast, I’ve also been committed to filling some significant holes in my wardrobe. Casual dresses to wear when it’s chilly and damp have topped the list.

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This sweater knit (fabricdepot.com) is perfect for this dress because it’s fairly dense and textured with a moderate crosswise stretch.

In contrast, this stretch terry is also cozy, but it behaves differently since it has less body and no texture, and a bit more stretch.IMG_7218

It’s always interesting to see how different knits can change the look and feel of a pattern! The side seams are an interesting detail of this design and I like how they show up with the contrasting fabric.

I was attracted to Butterick 6388 because of the cozy collar, the side seam detail and the in seam pockets.

 

It also has a shaped collar that overlaps and a back yoke. To give my striped version a bit of an athletic look, I added a contrasting sleeve band at the dropped shoulder seam before attaching the lower sleeve.

 

As far as sewing challenges, there were very few with this pattern. After comparing my measurements to the pattern, I concluded I needed a size small and the fit was pretty spot on. I did my usual narrow shoulder adjustment. The in seam pockets were easy to insert and I love how they’re given some definition with top stitching. There’s top stitching at the collar and back yoke too which makes the dress look polished. To insert the curvy back yoke, you do need to do a bit of stretching so making sure your fabric has some cross wise stretch. I also clipped the seams to make this easier. To make sure the collar isn’t floppy, a knit with some body and stability is important. This dress was really a fun, speedy make. I was able to cut and sew it in an afternoon, a plus if you ask me!

 

Both of these knits were so nice to work with! High quality knits are always worth the extra money in my opinion, because they’re easy to handle and wear.

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I’m not sure which version I like best, but when I wore the textured knit version out last weekend, my friends gave it a big  thumbs up. Which one is your favorite?

The athletic/leisure look is so popular right now, and this dress makes me feel like I’m following the trend, LOL! Obviously, I have a new favorite pattern here. Might have to make the shorter top version too. Do you have a favorite knit dress pattern? Please share!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

A Bomber Jacket Inspired by Philip Lim

 

IMG_6389I thought I was over bomber jackets until I saw this plaid version by Philip Lim.screenshot

When I found McCall’s 7636  by Beaute’ J’Adore, I knew it was the perfect match for my designer inspiration. There’s alot about this pattern that sets it apart from the bomber jacket patterns that are available.

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My favorite detail is the statement sleeves. As you can see from the line drawing, the shape is created by pleats that are gathered into a ribbed cuff. Then, to make the sleeves pop, there’s piping added before you insert the sleeve into the bodice. I think that really makes this jacket unique.

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The jacket is fully lined, a plus at this time of year! To make cozy and warm,  I used red checked flannel from Fabric Depot.

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Some tips about the fit of this jacket… It is cut very generously, so be prepared to adjust.

  • The sleeves are pretty long. I don’t usually need to shorten sleeves, but it was a must here and I’m glad I took the time to figure that out because the sleeves are quite poufy. If they were too long, they would be pretty annoying to wear.
  • Also, I took my usual narrow shoulder adjustment but increased it by 5/8″ and I think I could have even done more! My guess is that this broad shoulder look is what the designer is going for, but it’s a bit overdone if you have a small frame.
  • The jacket bodice is cut pretty long. I’m 5’4″ and I shortened it by a full inch.

Even with those adjustments though, I’m in love with this pattern. The sleeves look tricky to sew, but they really aren’t – -they are simple pleats that easily fit into the ribbed cuff. The instructions are thoughtful and there’s alot of attention to detail that makes sewing this jacket a breeze. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I might make another version this Spring from denim.

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Because this was a designer original inspired make, I’m going to tag it for Designin’ December, a fun competition created by Linda of Nice Dress, Thanks I Made It. Visit her website for more inspiration!  There’s alot to enjoy there!

December is a busy month and it’s hard to find a spare minute to sew, but I’m completing a couple of gifts and decorating projects that are using up my huge stash of remnants. I’ll be posting about those this week.

I love that this make has red as the dominant color. It makes this jacket feel, well… festive! Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.

A Fall Top with Linen and Stripes

IMG_4458We’re in full-on Halloween mode over here (skulls, ravens, you know….the usual). In a typical year, this would mean the season for linen tops would be long past. But in Oregon, our Fall has been extraordinarily warm, a fact that has kept me from moving my summer fabrics into storage.  This top is another remnant make – linen and striped cotton from my stash.   IMG_4489

 

This top is a modified version of Simplicity 8295, a dress or tunic that has alot of options for creating different looks. It has a front panel insert, and you can even add grommets and ties if you’d like.

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I love the shirt details of this top/dress pattern. The long sleeves have cuffs.

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I also like the yoke and back pleat.IMG_4485

Since I used the striped fabric for the insert, I decided to make the sleeves a combination of striped and solid fabric to carry through my theme, and also to make my fabric go further. I also modified the front neck opening. As designed it was cut even lower than my version…I actually raised it by a couple of inches to make it work. I also shortened the tunic length by 3″ .

It’s a really comfortable shirt that makes me feel put together because of the crisp shirt details. Now, I want to try this pattern in the dress length with contrast pockets I think.

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I love wearing this top…maybe linen isn’t just for summer? Medium weight linen has a nice softness that makes it feel almost…cozy. Do you sew with linen all year around?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Maisa by Named in 3 Denims

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Finally, I can cross ‘denim jacket’ off my sewing bucket list! This amazing pattern is part of the Named SS17 collection, the Maisa jacket and I’ve had my eye on it since it was released.

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The photo on the pattern envelope is made from recycled jeans, and I orginally planned to do the same with mine, but I couldn’t find enough denim in the color palette I had in mind, so I used a few denim remnants instead, purchased at Mill End.

Here are a couple of the runway versions that inspired me to take on this project – the first is Dior. The second is Dolce and Gabana…love the patchwork.

I looked at several patterns – including the Style Arc Stacy, but ended up with the Maisa because of the oversized feeling it has. Also, it has two piece sleeves, and I love how the front of the jacket looks pieced.

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The instructions did not disappoint, but I did face a few challenges. 1. Sizing: According to the envelope, I was a size 6, but a when I placed the pattern pieces on my dress form, it was so big, that I cut a four instead. It’s great in the shoulders, but even the smaller size was way too big in the arms. I had to do some fancy maneuvering to get the two piece sleeves fit.

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2. Topstitching. There is alot, (which I love). Instead of topstitching thread I used double thread and my machine (Bernina) performed better. But the seams were so thick in some places, it couldn’t cope and the stitches were uneven. I posted a question on instagram and (Thanks remakeremodelrecycle and fauxgetaboutit) I received a couple of tips I will pass on. Pound the seams with a hammer and they will flatten, making stitching easier. Also, you could use a thinner fabric for the underside of the pocket flaps, cuffs to reduce bulk. I tried both and it worked – smooth sailing all the way.

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Be forewarned, there are no handpockets on the Maisa, a fact I should have noticed, but didn’t until I was done. I’m a big fan of pockets, since it’s pretty crisp around here in the fall. I wish I’d added some.

One of my favorite parts of this project – – Hammering in the buttons!

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In terms of sewing satisfaction, the Maisa project was a huge winner. It was time consuming, (probably clocked in at about fifteen hours with the buttons) but worth it, and I do love the intricacy of this pattern! I wear this jacket with jeans, dresses, and skirts, and the proportions make it perfect with them all.

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Another winner from Named patterns. What do you think of their new collection? Will it be on your wish list?

Happy sewing, thanks for stopping by!

Black and White Polka Dots…so french!

IMG_9046 2I’ve been obsessed with shirt dresses this Spring because as dresses go, they have so many advantages! For one thing, the front opening makes them ideal to let in air on a hot day.

IMG_8872 2Also, they’re so versatile. You can add a pair of leggings /pants under them for a completely different look.

 

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My latest shirt dress is made from a lightweight rayon that drapes beautifully. I fell hard for it…a black batik print with little white dots on it (Fabric Depot). The batik process makes the dots uneven in places which gives the look a bit of an edge. And what’s not to like about black and white polka dots? They’re so french!

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I used my new favorite shirt dress pattern for this make, McCall’s 7351, also made here. I’m a big fan of the design details of this pattern including the high low hem, the french darts and the forward shoulder seams. I made a few modifications to this version; 

  • I eliminated the collar and added a v-neck opening, then drafted a facing for the neck.
  • The sleeves are ruched with a three inch piece of elastic.
  • I made a long tie from the fabric that is long enough to wrap twice around my waist. I prefer to wear a single wrap tie belt most of the time with really long ends. But on a busy day, the long tie can get in the way. In that case, I can double wrap the belt which make the ends shorter.

 

I think I’ll wear this dress alot, as it’s easy to dress up or down. I know when the temperatures drop again, I can slip it over leggings too, even though I might get a few strange looks when I do. What about you? Are you a fan of shirt dresses over pants/leggings?

I’m back from my trip and what a fabulous trip it was!! I found beautiful fabric stores in Lisbon, Evora, Porto and Barcelona. If only I’d had a bigger suitcase (and budget, LOL). I purchased a few lovely fabrics, most of them in Barcelona; some japanese cotton,rayon challis, tencel, double sided gingham gauze, an embrodiered cotton, and a lovely plaid linen.

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Yes, I love to travel, but it is good to be back to my sewing machine. Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

M7546 – Happiness is florals and shaped darts

IMG_5423My first outdoor photo of the Spring! Yes, it’s warmed up around here, and today, the sun was out, so I tried to take photos in the side yard. For a moment, the light was good, then hazy clouds came so I had to move back inside. Never the less, I remain optimistic about our Spring, and this new shirt makes me feel as though sunny days are coming our way!

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I love this cotton lawn. Of course, it is blue, but the Cotton and Steel print is what really drew me to it (Fabric.com last summer). I call this print a ‘floral’, but maybe botanical is a better word? There are lots of colorful ferns mixed in with the flowers which is kind of unique.

When I saw McCalls 7546 it was instant love… I’m such a fan of  attached sash/ties and shaped darts. Together, they make me feel like I have a waist! IMG_5550

The pattern is McCalls 7546, a fitted shirt that has shaped darts and a cold shoulder variation. Yes, I do like the cold shoulder look (and have a couple of cold shoulder tops in my closet), but the day I cut out this shirt, it was really cold and wet, so I wasn’t in the mood to expose any part of my body to the elements.

I made view D, but cut it to the length of B. I like the long look. I just didn’t have enough fabric. Maybe next time…

I cut my usual size and didn’t have to make any adjustments to fit. McCall’s describes this shirt as ‘close-fitting’ and I would have to agree. It tapers nicely at the waist, and the attached tie gives the waist even more shape. The shaped darts looked challenging to sew, but they really weren’t. The trick was marking them carefully so that the sewing was easy. The front button placket is covered which is nice because if you don’t have a great buttonhole attachment on your machine, well, the evidence is nicely hidden.The self tie is easy -the tie just inserts into the back seam…easy! My only complaint is that the tie itself isn’t double faced, so if you don’t tie carefully the wrong side of your fabric will show.

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I plan to wear this top with jeans, shorts, skirts, everything in my closet basically. It’s a pretty versatile print I think, that will go with lots of colors.

Next up for me, will likely be another pair of jeans. At least that’s what’s in my sewing queue. My queue has been pretty fluid lately. I usually match patterns and fabrics right after I make a purchase, but I’ve ignored my ‘system’ this Spring. Whenever something inspires me, I shift everything around to accomodate my new obsession. It’s fun, I suppose, to sort of go with the flow, but it does slow down my creativity a bit to always be shifting gears. And it’s a bit chaotic in my sewing room.  I used to keep my projects (fabric and patterns) each in their own individual plastic bins and lined them up on my sewing table. But that was a HUGE mess and it took up too much room. Not sure what the answer is…How do you manage your sewing queue? Would love ideas on how to get organized…

Speaking of florals, here’s the real deal…Wild flowers at Catherine Creek in the Columbia Gorge. Happy Sewing and thanks for stopping by!

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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!