Tencel Love

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Since completing this pair of gray Jalie Jeans, I’ve been in a frenzy, sewing fun summer-y tops to go with them, hence – – this shirt!  I can tell it’s going to be a favorite because it’s made from Tencel, better known as lyocell, a fabric I grew to love when I bought a Tencel shirt at Anthropologie a few years ago. Not only is Tencel comfortable, it’s a sustainable fabric, regenerated from wood cellulose. It feels similar in hand to rayon and bamboo, both regenerated fabrics. I think I love this fabric because it has weight, yet it feels comfortable, even when it’s hot and humid. That’s because Tencel boasts the ability to absorb perspiration and quickly release it into the atmosphere, so it’s resistant to developing odors.

It sounds like the perfect ‘travel’ fabric to me! That’s why I chose it for my latest make; a button up shirt that will travel with me to Spain and Portugal this summer. It will be hot there, so I know this top will be in my suitcase!

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My pattern for this shirt is McCalls’ 7387, a pattern I had to have because of the cool back pleat.

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It’s those sort of little details that take a make from ho-hum to fabulous. This pleat is so cool. It’s a double pleat In other words you make one pleat then, fold another one over the top of it, creating this criss-cross look.

McCall’s 7387 took me about four hours to make from cut-out to hem. It probably would have taken less time if I’d resisted the urge to binge watch, “How to Get Away with Murder. “(I confess… I had to concentrate to follow the plot. The bonus for perservering though is the eye candy of Viola Davis’ wardrobe… she looks ‘chic’ but invincible. ) If you aren’t binge-watching, you could probably make this shirt in three hours.IMG_5804

Pattern Modifications: I left the flap off the front fly that covers the buttons because I wanted them to show. I visualized white buttons down the front of this shirt when I decided on this fabric, so I had to drop the flap. I added buttons to the pocket flaps too.

I also changed out the collar and replaced it with a collar band. I did this because I plan to wear this in warm weather and sometimes collars make me feel hot. To do this, I drafted a collar band by copying one from a tried and true button up shirt pattern.

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I’m smiling because I’m wearing blue Tencel!  This fabric was in the category of ‘special’, so I was a nervous when I decided to try a new pattern. I was so lucky that the pattern fit without modifications….phew!

My sewing energy is focussed on travel clothes right now. I’m trying to use the skills I gained from the Pattern Review Sudoku challenge to help me coordinate my travel wardrobe so that I can pack efficiently. Nevertheless, my efforts are a bit scattered. What will my neutral colors be? Do I pack skirts, shorts and tops, or do I just take a couple of dresses and call it good? What I do know for certain is that this shirt is going with me!

I’ve never traveled with Tencel, and one questions looms in my mind. Will it wrinkle? Have you sewn with Tencel? Thumbs up or down?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

A White Shirt and Jeans: Classics Recharged

IMG_5707I’m such a fan of wearing classics – jeans, button-down shirts, tee shirts to name a few, so it’s always fun when you see an updated classic that brings something new to the game.

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When I saw this white Vince Camuto shirt in the Nordstrom catalog, I just had to make a DIY version. It’s a classic redefined with bell sleeves. I love this version except for one thing. The Vince sleeves are a bit too long for me. They’d end up in my soup. So my DIY sleeves are a little shorter.IMG_5635

For the shirt, I used a tried and true pattern, Butterick 5526 (made here) and modified the sleeves. This shirt is one of my favorites because it has princess seams and fits well. 5526

I used a linen/cotton blend from Fabric Depot. It has just the right amount of body to support my bell sleeves. To make the bell, I used the bell off of another pattern, Butterick 6456 (made here). It was just my luck that the top of the bell sleeve on that pattern fit the shirt sleeve of B5526 perfectly! If it hadn’t, I would have tapered it slightly to make it fit.

IMG_5691 My jeans were inspired by the Nordstrom catalog too. I used the  Jalie Jeans pattern for my DIY version, and used stretch denim from Modern Domestic, one of the awesome fabric stores here in Portland. This is my second pair of Jalie’s so they went together without too much struggle. I did forget how to do the front pockets though. So I referred to a great tutorial on this blog, Jillie Be Joyful. It was so helpful! I kept the design on back pocket pretty simple this time.

IMG_5722 2To make the jeans straight legged, I tapered the pattern’s legs by using a ready to wear pair that I love to guide me. For a little variety, I added some of the raw jeans salvage to the hem as a border. It’s a popular look in ready to wear so I couldn’t resist giving it a try.

I like the fit of these jeans, but I’m a bit frustrated with the knees. As I took these photos, wrinkles started to appear. Grrr. I might make a pair of legging jeans next (maybe Mimi G’s version?) to see if that works better in the knees.

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DIY jeans are fun when you’re a top stitching maniac like me. I’m determined to get a pair with perfect fit though, so I’m considering ‘rubbing’ a favorite RTW pair to copy them. Have any of you ever tried that? Does it work? How about legging jeans? Do you have a favorite pattern?

Happy Spring 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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Stash Buster: Simplicity 1377

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Hi all …As most of you know, one of my goals for 2017 is to reduce the size of my huge (re: out -of-control) stash. To that end, I’ve produced my own Little Black Book, a three-ring binder that holds my catalog of fabrics.

Yes, it’s a bargain basement binder, but it holds the key to my heart…a record of my glorious, but soon to be significantly reduced, supply of fabrics. My method of recording is simple…I just take a snip of the fabric, note the amount I have and whether or not the fabric is woven or stretch, and what ‘bin’ it’s located in (big plastic containers I purchased at Target). I track all fabric that is at least a yard or more. Smaller pieces make it into the notebook if they are unique (sequins, silk, feathers, LACE….!).

Some fabrics stay in their bin for a long time….the longer the stay, the more special they become! This particular fabric lived in my stash for a couple of years before my mind could find something suitable for its vibrant turquoise.

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There were two barriers to making this fabric into something special – – It’s a substantial flannel, the sort of fabric that doesn’t know what the word ‘drape’ means and — – my piece was a yard and a quarter (11/4); not enough for the usual flannel styles like a button up shirt  or a style with long sleeves. (Side note: My stash is overflowing with small pieces like this…remnants from other projects, or small pieces I picked up on sale..too little for most things, but too much to toss!)

Simplicity 1377 was the solution.

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This simple pattern is one I’ve used before. It has a front and back bodice, two neck facings, and short sleeves with drop shoulders. Because I’m only 5’4″, I don’t need much length in the bodice, so I was able to cut this top as well as a pocket and sleeve tabs from my small piece of fabric.

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Pattern Modifications (Simplicity 1377:

  • My version uses the neckline of view D and the sleeves of View E.
  • The short sleeves in view E have been lengthened by 2 inches (roll-up length).
  • I added self drafted button-up sleeve tabs.

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  • I self drafted a 5 inch square pocket to the bodice front and trimmed it with fringe from the fabric selvage.

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  • I used extra fabric to draft a tie belt.
  • I added a side vent to the hem line.

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March is a chilly month here in Oregon, and I know I’ll enjoy this warm flannel shirt with tee under it for weeks to come, and then in a few weeks (I hope) without a tee under it. Unfortunately, cozy is still an important word here, and I’ll be wearing my heavier clothes off and on for the next few months.

I love my new top!

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It’s comfy and colorful with an added bonus – – it was a Stash-Buster. I  got to pull another swatch out of my Little Black Book!

How do you manage your stash? Do you catalog it formally, or are you more relaxed about the process? And what about my fascination with collecting (hoarding) small pieces of fabric? What do you do with your one-yard wonders?

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!

 

 

 

New to Me: Kanerva Button Back Shirt

 

I just might be the last blogger in the world to sew the Kanerva top! And better late than never.  This top is truly unique with buttons down the back, a pleated waist, and a split peplum. And as you all know, I’m a sucker for a peplum! True love!

IMG_2348 I’ve wanted to sew something by Named clothing for awhile. I was prompted to finally do so by the Monthly Stitch. It’s Indie Pattern Month over there, and this week we’re sewing a pattern that’s New to Me. This is my first make of the Kanerva blouse, and I am so taken with the design details! Both versions are fitted with two sets of front darts, a pleated waist and a gentle peplum.

To accentuate the fabulous design details of this blouse, I decided to use two different fabrics; A embroidered cotton and a hankerchief linen. I used the cotton for the bodice, the self-drafted pockets and sleeve bands.  I used hankerchief linen for the sleeves and peplum.

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Yes, linen loves to wrinkle, but it wears like pajamas, so all is forgiven. It does tend to fray though, so I finished all the seams with my serger. Of course, the back is where it’s really happening on this shirt!

IMG_2279I used vintage pearl buttons. They’re fairly flat so they won’t poke me when I lean against a hard backed chair. The placket is easy, just a few folds that you stitch down, then you add your buttons and button holes. I added self drafted pockets to the front just because I thought they would look cool and finished the neck with binding.

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All in all, this was a fun, straightforward make. The scariest part for me was transferring the pattern markings. I tested both tracing paper and chalk on my white fabric and both stained, so I had to use thread and pins to mark. Ugh! Not sure what a better choice would be….Recommendations are appreciated! The instructions were easy to follow though and it was about a four hour sew from cut to finish. And, I think I finished this top just in time. It’s (finally!) heating up here, with temperatures expected to be in the high nineties tomorrow. IMG_2367Although I usually choose Big Four patterns (they’re so easy to find and always on sale), I do love the fact that there’s a month dedicated to some of the alternatives available through Indie companies. There are so many choices these days, that you can always find something fun to sew. If you haven’t checked out the Monthly Stitch collective, give it a try!

The trickiest part of this project was transferring the pattern markings. Have you had problems with staining of fabrics with tracing paper? Do you know products that work better for marking?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

McCalls 7314: Burberry knock-off

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As you all know, I’ve got a thing for Burberry’s classic designs, and the Spring 2016 collection was one of the best. Being peplum obsessed, I couldn’t help but fall in love with this cute shirt.

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Okay, as Burberry prices go, the tag on this one wasn’t totally ridiculous…only $350. Yes, it’s a lot, but I could probably justify a splurge like that if  (1.) I didn’t have a fabric stash worth a small fortune (2.) I didn’t have an expensive shoe thing that is almost as bad as my Burberry obsession and (3.) I could commit to never buying another RTW, or piece of fabric for the rest of the year (ha, we all know that’s not going to happen!)

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So, a knock off it is!

The fabric: A plaid cotton gauze from Mill End Store. (They take phone orders, BTW. Although there isn’t much of this fabric left I noticed.)

The pattern: McCall’s 7314, a shirt dress pattern with a gathered skirt, elastic waist and sleeve options.

Modifications: I shortened the skirt by twelve inches. I cut my usual size, but made a small adjustment for my narrow shoulders. Other than that, no adjustments. were necessary. The sleeves are shorter on me than they are in the photo, by the way. Be forewarned…if you have long arms, and want 3/4 sleeves, cut them a bit longer.

The skirt on this dress isn’t fitted at all. You add a bit of elastic to the back to make the dress taper at the waist. You can cut the elastic as you wish, so that it’s as fitted (or not) as you want. This makes this top/dress so comfortable!!!

Challenges: Plaid matching! OMG, a nightmare!  I did okay, but I’m not happy with the sleeves. IMG_1421

I wanted them to match perfectly, but they’re a little off. I’d like to blame this on the gauze-y texture of this cotton, rather than on me, but we all know the TRUTH. The cotton is amazing to wear, well worth the effort it took to keep it straight. I have a bit of fabric left over, and might try to recut the sleeves, since I notice this mistake (LOL, you all know how this is!!) I should’ve used more pins and weights to keep it still. The skirt was impossible to line up, a fact I obsessed about until I realized, the Burberry one didn’t look much better. Still, I obsessed. Not perfect, but that’s how it goes.

This shirt is so comfortable! And I love the wide plaid. The cost: This shirt cost me less than $20 to make, since the pattern was on sale at Joann’s, and the fabric was purchased during a 25% off sale at Mill End. Yes, you have to figure in your time, but still….this is a good deal, right? Of course, the Burberry fabric is to die for….if only…

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I’d love to have more wide plaids in my stash because I love the look, but can’t seem to find many in the fabric stores. If you have a source, let me know. Another question..should I recut those sleeves? Opinions welcome!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

I’m having a blue moment…

Blue! Everything in my wardrobe is blue. Black used to be my go-to color, a drab, but safe option. But now, everything’s coming up blue.

Why am I obsessed with ‘blue’ this Spring? It could be because I’d like to see the gray of our Oregon sky replaced with a bit of blue!! Or maybe its because I need a trip to the tropics and a ‘hit’ of a warm ocean’s blue. Whatever the reason, I’m completely taken with any and all variations of blue this Spring; denim blue, sky blue, robin’s egg blue, sailor’s blue, powder blue, cobalt blue…need I continue? Perhaps, you’ve seen me. I’m the wild-eyed blonde that’s lurking in the the denim and chambray aisle of your favorite fabric store.
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I can’t tell you how many random pieces of blue fabric I’ve picked up over the last few months. My latest ‘hit’ of blue came when I spotted a gorgeous piece of linen at Fabric Depot. At first, my thoughts were reasoned. “You can’t have it,” I told myself. “Your stash is huge.” But my heart other ideas.
That’s when I remembered an important fact about linen. It breathes, which makes it the perfect choice for summer clothes! Since I’m planning a trip to the tip of Southern California in June, I’ll need tops that can handle cool coastal mornings as well as hot dry afternoons. That’s justification enough for me!
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The top I made with my lovely blue linen is Butterick 6097, a fitted shirt with a collar and peplum variations, princess seams and a front button band. I chose the pattern because it has some structure, which will make it a great companion for shorts, skirts, or jeans. Also, the has the style has a slight retro vibe, which I always, always love.
I made view B, a long sleeve version that I modified. My sleeves are closer to 3/4 and I skipped the cuff so that I could push the sleeves up if I got too warm. Also, that version had a pleated peplum, which was something I’d never tried before.
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Because the pattern is so fitted, I chose to go up a size in the waist (since I don’t really have one), then cut my usual size through the hips. I didn’t do a muslin (since I have zero patience), an approach that frequently has horrifying consequences. But this time, lucky for me, my adjustments worked! The pattern went together easily and it fit with just a bit of last minute seam adjustment at the sides.
The linen was a breeze to sew with, but it has absolutely no ‘give’, so I’m lucky my size adjustments worked!! I love any fabric that presses into a crisp, clean edge and this linen did not disappoint. However, as we all know, linen is notorious. Pressed today means wrinkles tomorrow, no matter what you do. But I love linen’s wrinkles – they’re classic and cool. The pleats were super easy to sew as long as you marked them well.
 I’ve worn the top once and it was really comfortable, even after eating a huge dessert, a ‘plus’ in my book. Now, if only my waist was as small as this woman’s…She’s a miniature version of a real woman, right?
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Do you like to sew with linen? What’s your favorite fabric to wear in summer?