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.

IMG_2967.jpeg

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.

107_large.jpg

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!

IMG_2897.jpeg

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

IMG_2448 2

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!

IMG_2366

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!

8841.jpg

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.

IMG_2442.jpeg

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.

IMG_2441.jpeg

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.

IMG_2435

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.

images

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.

IMG_2246 2

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!

 

Kobe Top in Embroidered Linen

I know many of you have started your Fall sewing, but I’m still enjoying working through my stash of linen and cotton. It’s just hard for me to switch gears when the weather is still so warm.

Linen is my absolute favorite fabric to wear in the spring and summer, and if it’s soft and a teeny bit worn, I’m in heaven! So, I love to pick up bits of linen (tablecloths, napkins etc) at garage sales, antique stores, anywhere I can find them. I was thrilled at a recent collectible market to find a large embroidered table-cloth that showed no visible damage or stains.

IMG_6128

I knew immediately that I wanted to sew a Kobe top by Papercut patterns, a pattern I’ve been interested in making for a while.

KobeLD_large

I was attracted to the Kobe because of the interesting back.  I love the way the pleat falls across the back neck opening.

IMG_6107

When I bought the pattern, I dreamed of making it from a sheer fabric but then, I saw this linen.  I knew it would be perfect. Actually, now that I’ve made the Kobe, I can imagine a whole host of fabric options for it! Sheer silk, chiffon, rayon challis, sheer lace, anything with flow and movement should work well.

IMG_6550

 

The challenge of course was pattern placement. I wanted the embroidered details to take center stage. Because the Kobe is simple with only a few main pattern pieces, this wasn’t as hard as I expected.  I centered the largest part of the embroidered pattern on the front center of the bodice and did the same with the back. The trickiest part was figuring out how to do the hem, as I wanted to utilize the lovely embroidered edge. In the end, I did a muslin version to make sure I understood where the length of the front and back would fall on me. I’m really glad I did this because the Kobe is likely designed for someone who is quite a bit taller than me (5’4”). So I did a mid bodice adjustment of an inch. This really brought it up to a reasonable length.   

IMG_6568

On the sleeves, I used the same strategy – -I centered the pattern, and used the scalloped edges as a hem. This did make this a fast project – – no hemming needed!

I love my new summer top. Yes, it wrinkles, but hey, linen is worth it. And I’m happy to say, I don’t feel like I’m wearing a old table-cloth when I wear this, LOL. Have you ever made anything from an old table-cloth?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

                   

Vacation Countdown: Skirt and Vintage Wrap Top

IMG_5670

It’s vacation countdown time at my house and I’m sewing like a mad woman as I plan my travel wardrobe. These new ‘makes’ scored high in the versatility category, so I’m sure they’ll both find a place in my suitcase.

IMG_5699

When I first saw this Simplicity top, I was taken with the vintage look; the peplum detail, the wrap at the waist and the oversized cut in sleeves. Must haves!! When I wear this, I love the bright blue of course, but I feel a bit like I’m channeling Kate (Hepburn, of course)…. never a bad thing!!

This wrap top is Simplicity 8593 and the construction is so intriguing. There aren’t any side seams.

simplicity-vintage-blouse-1940s-miss-pattern-8593-front-back-view

simplicity-vintage-blouse-1940s-miss-pattern-8593-envelope-front

Instead, the ties on the inside and the wrap belt keeps everything together. Not only is the style unusual, but it’s so easy to sew. I love the tropical print on the envelope version. If I find that fabric, there will be another of these in my future!

 

IMG_5669

This top is so comfortable to wear and, even without side seams, the coverage feels secure. I made the smallest size, and it was still very roomy. Even though the top looks unstructured, there are two darts in the back and front, giving it some needed shape. There’s nothing hard about this pattern at all. If you can gather and sew a seam, you’re good to go. For my version, I used a batik rayon (Fabric depot) and I think it’s the perfect weight and drape for this design.

The skirt is definitely a winner too as it seems to go with everything in my wardrobe! IMG_5837

Here, I’m wearing it with a tee top (simplicity pattern to be blogged), a ruffled shirt I made last summer (see it here), and a linen shirt I made but never blogged.

Butterick 6326 has two versions, a high waisted skirt and a gathered waist option.

I’m such a fan of anything high waisted, so this was an easy choice for me. I used a stretchy denim (Mill End Store) that is perfect for this pattern. It has just enough weight to hold everything in, yet it’s stretchy enough for comfort. According to the pattern measurements, I chose a size 8 and it fit perfectly without adjustments. There’s a zipper in the back, but other than that, this is a quick and easy pattern! I topstitched with black thread, but it would look really great to stitch with a contrasting thread which I will likely do if I make it again.

With these makes, I’m feeling more confident about my travel wardrobe, which is great because I have less than four weeks (!!) to get my act together. This skirt will be easy to mix and match with short and long sleeve tops, making it an multi-season item.

IMG_5665

I think for this trip, I will pack more separates that I can mix and match, and only a dress or two. In the past, I’ve leaned toward dresses, but I’m not sure they have as much mileage as a good skirt or a pair of pants. Opinions appreciated!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

DIY Street Fair Kimono and a Cold Shoulder Tee

IMG_1202

Summer is winding down, but there are still plenty of opportunities to attend street fairs, farmer’s markets and wine festivals. Since Street Fairs are great places to get your inner bo-ho on, I’ve taken to wearing kimonos over my standard jeans and tees on my excursions.

IMG_1204

A kimono is such a great wardrobe soldier. When you toss one on, you immediately add style to any outfit!  But the best part about kimonos is that they are so fun to sew. You can use just about any fabric with a good drape to make a show stopping topper. And, because kimonos have front bands and sleeve bands, you can play around with contrasting fabrics to make the look your own.

For my kimono, I used a tried and true pattern, Simplicity 1318, view C with a great high low hem. Lightweight fabrics work best for this look, so I used a sheer cotton lawn I purchased last year in that fabulous fabric store I found in Budapest (see this post). It has a fun geometic print that I took some care in placing on the pattern.

IMG_1215

I love this kimono pattern so much, this is my third make (I’ve made it twice before, here and here). The only modification I made this time was to lengthen it by three inches so it would be long and flowy.

 

 

 

 

 

Because I am committed to reducing the number of wardrobe orphans in my closet, I also made Simplicty 8337, a cold shoulder knit top to go with it.

IMG_1234

This pattern is fabulous! It has several different views, all with a look of their own. I love the cut of the bodice. It’s slightly loose but not too blousy. The v-neck is a winner too.

IMG_1228

 

Some notes on this pattern:

  • I used a lovely rayon knit with two way stretch that I found at Fabric Depot. You need a good amount of stretch for the cold shoulder sleeve to hug your arm and not sag.
  • The pattern is generously sized. I was able to cut a XS and had room to spare.
  • Also, please note, there is a seam down the front, which is a bit unexpected in a tee. It’s was likely added to the pattern to accomodate the ruffle version and the v-neck version. It doesn’t bother me on my solid color tee, but you could elimnate that front seam pretty easily if you wanted to.

Both patterns are keepers, if you ask me!

IMG_1208

Now that I’ve made this kimono pattern three times, I think it should enter a special category in my pattern stash;  the pattern Hall of Fame, don’t you think? Hmmm, I might have to put together a special post to honor that category :).

Do you have any three-time winners in your pattern stash? I’d love to check them out!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

A New Top and A New Rule

I have a new rule for separates. When I add a new make to my wardrobe, it must coordinate with two or more of my other me-mades.

IMG_0073

IMG_9626

 

Ha! Take that, all you orphans in my closet! I have too many tops and bottoms in my closet that have no friends. When you live in an older home with very few closets, this is a crisis. And friends, I’m counting on you all to keep me honest 🙂 Either that, or I’m going to have to move, LOL!! Anyway, the inspiration for this make is that I need more tops to go with my poppy culottes and my ruffled denim skirt.

 

Enter NewLook 6212.6212

I am always surprised at how much I enjoy sewing with New Look patterns. For some reason, I only reach for the New Look book after perusing the other pattern companies offerings first. I think it’s because their illustrations are pretty simple, maybe a bit boring? But more and more, I’m finding interesting designs when I look carefully.

IMG_9716

This shirt is no exception. New Look 6212 includes some interesting details that give you lots of opportunity to embellish.  I love the collar variations, the length variations and the pockets, the option to cut out the back. It even has a fun version with tucks across the front. Although I was really interested in the tuck detail, I realized the pattern of my linen would hide those lovely tucks. So I chose view C, a simple straight hem version with a standup collar, cap sleeves and two pockets.

IMG_0061

The instructions were great, and I love how the inside of the sleeves are finished with binding. It looks so neat and tidy!

IMG_0154 I find New Look patterns to be generously sized but on this one, I didn’t have any issues and I cut my usual size. I put the two pockets on, although they’re almost lost in the print of the linen. Linen (purchased at Joann’s) is the perfect fabric for this shirt because it has a bit of body. I can also imagine it from Rayon or silk, or cotton shirting. It’s a great shirt for summer, that I’ll wear a lot with shorts, my ruffled skirt and jeans.IMG_0073What do you think of my new rule? Yes, it’s a bit hilarious given my interest in sewing without a plan. Time will tell if I can stick with it!!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

Tencel Love

IMG_5861

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!

IMG_5822

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

IMG_5846

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.

IMG_5817

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!

McCall’s 7542 times two: Bubble and Tulip Sleeves

Hi all! I meant to post this earlier this week, but a horrid stomach virus took me out of action. According to my doc, it’s extremely contagious, but the good news? You can’t catch it by reading my blog :).

Spring hasn’t exactly sprung here, but I continue to sew as if it has! These two versions of McCalls 7542 are my attempt to lighten the mood in my closet by adding some more statement sleeves. It is one of the hottest trends around, probably because they are pretty fun to wear! You just have to believe warm weather is on it’s way when you’re wearing something this fun.

Bubble sleeves are how version one is described.IMG_5297Okay, I’d never heard this term, so I googled it, and was amazed at the varied interpretations of the word, ‘bubble’. The bubble look is made by simple gathering. After you’ve gathered the sleeve, it’s turned up to the outside to make the little ruffle where it attaches to the elbow of the main sleeve. It isn’t hard at all, and it’s a great way to take an ordinary sleeve to something special.

 

IMG_5324For fabric, I used a cotton shirting from Fabric Depot, and a remnant of rayon that I found on the sale rack there. Of course I love them both because they’re blue :), but they are also dreamy to sew with. The cotton shirting is crisp, but not too heavy, and feels as good as silk to wear! I wish I’d bought more of this!

My second version is with tulip sleeves.IMG_5386I made this version out of cotton double gauze from Fabric Depot and I love the way it drapes. The tulip sleeves are created by two pieces that overlap before you insert the sleeves into the bodice. It isn’t tricky or hard. These sleeves need to hang softly, so a cotton that was stiff or heavy probably wouldn’t work. I could imagine these sleeves would be fabulous out of rayon or silk or crepe. In fact, I just might have to try this again out of one of those yummy fabrics!

McCalls 7542 was easy and fun to sew.

The instructions are great, and I was happy that it fit without any modifications. I just made the size that I usually do in McCalls patterns. I made the longer version both times. I’m short waisted, but the cropped version was even a bit too short for me, and I wanted to be able to tuck them into my ruffled wrap skirt.  This pattern is a pretty quick sew because it doesn’t have a back zipper. The back opening is just finished with a hook/eye. I made it in a Saturday afternoon!

Both versions are part of my capsule wardrobe.

 

M7542 is going to be a TNT pattern for me, and I love how many options you get with this one purchase. I’m definitely a fan of the statement sleeve trend, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t end up making all of these options!

My only ‘issue’ with these ‘makes’ is that on my second version, the tulip sleeves fall open all the time.  Even though the pattern instructions don’t tell you to stitch the two overlapping pieces of the sleeve together, I’m tempted. But then, the drape-y look might be ruined…What to do? Opinions welcome…

McCalls Pattern Company is having a #M7542 Contest to see who can make the best version of this pattern! How fun is that? There are even prizes. I just might have to enter:).

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Butterick 6456- A Boho Top with Statement Sleeves

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

IMG_3260

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

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

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

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

IMG_3252

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

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

Happy Sewing and thanks for stopping by!