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.

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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!

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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!

Butterick 6057-Chambray and Floral Top

IMG_4012Hi All! It’s hot here in Oregon, so there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy my vacation wardrobe even though I’m back at home. Might as well keep those vacation vibes going as long as possible, don’t you think? This top was one of my favorites on my summer vacation, completed only a day before I left. In fact, it almost didn’t make the wardrobe ‘cut’. But I threw it into my suitcase at the last minute and I’m so glad I did. It was worth the space it took because it went with everything; skirts or shorts.   IMG_4001 (1)

The contrast print makes this shirt, if you ask me. It’s a Liberty remnant I picked up at a small shop here in Portland, Josephine’s Dry Goods. I love Liberty floral prints, but I can’t always imagine wearing something that’s all floral. But using a bit for contrast is something I can easily get into. I used the Liberty on the sleeves, the pockets and the back button band. I love these colors so much, I might just start calling them my color ‘palate’; blue, black, rust, green, colors that are perfect for fall too. That makes this top ‘transitional’, don’t you think?

This pattern, Butterick 6057, is genius. The buttons and button band down the back just give it that extra something. Oh, and I love the tabs on the sleeves too. I used a solid black for those to try to make that Liberty print stand out even more. This pattern is now, officially, a ‘tried and true’ for me.I made it before here. It’s easy to sew  and the cut is comfortable, but not ‘baggy’ and the high low hem is fun.B6057Here’s the top in ‘action’. This is Nuremburg, Germany,our last stop on the Danube. I’m posing here in chambray with my friend, Suzanne who is wearing a beautiful linen dress.  She bought a bit of fabric on this trip too :). Her shoes are cute, mine not so much. What can I say? My feet had minds of their own that day!!IMG_5747

I hope you’re enjoying the dog days of summer and are finding time to sew a few transitional wardrobe pieces for yourself! Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

A Dress with a Few of my Favorite Things

 

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I’m smiling because this dress has three of my favorite things: linen, lace and silk. Yes, linen wrinkles, but I’m prepared to overlook that fact because it breathes like nothing else. If the weather is muggy, no worries!  When it comes to heat, this fabric is invincible.

IMG_3568To make this dress even more humidity resistant, it’s lined in silk, a splurge I never will regret. The textured linen is so special, it deserves a great lining. Not only that, but it was such a bargain! I found two yards on the remant/sample shelves at Mill End Store last summer. I bought it immediately, of course, but then I stalled. The fabric was so wonderful, I dithered about what to do with it. A dress? A top? Or, maybe a skirt? I perused pattern books, websites, flitting from one idea to another. How typical. If I love a fabric, I become paralyzed by its perfection! No idea or pattern is good enough for it. Finally, though, I settled on this idea. It’s a good thing because this linen dress is a dream to wear. The linen hangs perfectly, but feels like nothing.

IMG_3504 My dress was inspired by several RTW versions. Here are two fabulous dresses by Derek Lam and Caroline Herrara.

The pattern I used for my dress is McCalls’ 7285. I’ve made it before as a top, but decided I wanted to convert it to a dress.

To do so, I had to modify. The top pattern as drafted is a cropped style so if I extended it to dress length’as is’, it would be too tight in the hips. So, I took my hip measurement, and, as I extended the front and back bodice, I made the shape A-line, making sure the bodice was wide enough to accommodate my own width.

To add the lace embellishment on the bodice, I cut a length of lace the width of the front and back bodices just above the bust line. I stitched the lace in place on both the front and back bodice before setting the sleeves in. That way, when I did finally sew them in, the end of the lace was hidden in the sleeve seam. To add the lace to the bell of the sleeve, I sewed the lace on the bell before sewing the bell’s center back seam so that the end of the lace would be hidden in that seam as well. Also, textured linen has a tendency to fray (this is an understatement!). So, to keep my dress from unraveling into a pile of thread, I overlocked all the seams on the dress, and the silk lining as well.

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I love my summery dress, and I think the top pattern transitioned without too much of a struggle. However, I’m certain my method could be improved upon. I feel like I should have taken fabric drape into account as I extended the top to dress length, and that I’m lucky that it turned it as well as it did!  There must be more to it than just adding a few inches, a ‘method’ with a bit more of a rationale? Have you extended a top to a dress?  Did you just add a few inches, or did you ‘draft’ an extension?

I took my dress for a test drive today, and it was so comfortable. I’m glad I splurged on silk for the lining, because it makes it extra yummy to wear. So, if you wonder if silk is worth, my answer is ‘YES’! Go for it! You deserve it.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.

 

A lace top inspired by Dolce & Gabbana

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I used to think lace was reserved for prom dresses, frilly wedding dresses and other  hyper-girlie looks. But I think I’ve given that up. I can’t resist the combination of feminine lace with the edge of denim it seems. And if the lace is blue, I’m all in!

My inspiration for this top was this tunic length top/dress from Dolce and Gabbana.

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I fully intended to go the whole way with lace on the sleeves and the longer length of the top/dress, but as luck would have it, when I ordered this lace (Fabric.com), I thought I’d ordered two yards, but ended up with one. Not sure if I pushed the wrong button or if the order was messed up at their end, but when I tried to order another yard, the lace was already gone!

I grumbled about it for awhile, then found a great sheer silk to use for the sleeves and lining. It’s so perfectly wonderful to touch and wear, I decided the mistake was a good thing after all. It forced me to use a contrast silk sleeve which is more comfortable than lace by a long shot.

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The pattern is one I’ve used before McCall’s 7285.

I made view D, and used the silk for the sleeves.

Other modifications:

  • I raised the neckline by an inch.
  • I made 3/4 length sleeves with a rolled hem.
  • The hem is cut ‘high-low’. Because my lace didn’t have a scalloped edge, I merely finished the bottom with a rolled hem.

It’s an easy pattern that’s well designed, a good template for your own creativity. The only challenge here was lining up the lace so that it was perfectly centered.

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I’m wearing this top with my recently completed Jalie Jeans and love the look! It’s comfortable but sufficiently dressy. I wore it to a party just last week.

IMG_1547I only wish I’d bought more of that lace! Honestly, I have got to get in the habit of buying more not less!  I think this top might travel with me this summer. The good thing about this lace? It doesn’t wrinkle, nor does the silk. I’m guessing this top would look dressy if I wore the right jewelry and skinny black pants?

I hope you’re enjoying all of the sewing events in the blog world right now.  I love what’s going on over at the Monthly Stitch. The McCall’s blog has been great too, with a shirt dress sew along. And Pattern Review is hosting a skirt contest. There are so many ways to find inspiration, I feel a bit spoiled. Are you participating in any of these events?

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!

Sew the look: Denim and Lace

 

 

IMG_0950My summer travel wardrobe is starting to take shape. I’m determined to pack efficiently, but this will be tricky. The trip includes a Danube River cruise and some evenings will be dress-up events. Of course, jeans are my go-to wardrobe staple, but they’re probably not ‘cruise-appropriate’ (LOL), so I’m sewing some separates that will dress-up with the right shoes and jewelry.

These two pieces; a lacy top and Denim pencil skirt will mix and match with other pieces in my wardrobe. I think both can be dressed up or down, as the mood strikes. Lace and denim are both having a fashion moment, so I love the fact that these pieces are comfy, versatile and a perhaps a bit trendy too.

IMG_0938The top is another version of McCall’s 7285, a semi-fitted pullover top that’s so easy and fast.This pattern is so well-written and designed, it’s becoming a tried and true for me.

I love the bell-sleeves and the hi-lo hem. You can make this top in an afternoon, which makes it perfect for summer sewing. This time, I used a light weight rayon from Fabric Depot for the bodice and added some black lace to the sleeves. I finished the seams with my serger. The top is so comfortable to wear, I feel like I’m in my pajamas!! I’m hoping the lace gives it a bit of a ‘dressed-up’ vibe. What do you think?

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The skirt has a simple pencil style. It’s Butterick 5760, (OOP) a 2012 lifestyle wardrobe piece that has a waist band, a back zipper and slit.

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The pattern is so simple and basic,  you could embellish it easily with pockets. I wanted to do that but didn’t have quite enough fabric (I am my own worst enemy, it seems!) and when I went back to the fabric store for more, there was none to be had. Yes, I am short, but I must learn that a skirt takes at least a YARD AND A HALF, not a yard. The fabric is a denim cotton blend with some lycra (from Fabric Depot) which makes it comfortable enough for travel.

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This photo is kind of dark, but I just had to show you how lush and green things are right now in Portland Oregon. Yes, we have a lot of rain, but this is the end result…almost worth it?!?

Both the skirt and top are so easy! As the weather improves, I am all about fast and easy sewing. What do you think? Is my top dressy enough for a cruise? Not sure about the skirt…..?

Me-Made-May is in full swing and I love seeing everyone’s posts on Instagram. Although I haven’t been very good about posting photos, I’ve been trying to wear me-made every day, but have found it difficult because I don’t have my jeans finished. I’m hemming them this weekend, and hope to have them to share with you soon. The class was so inspiring, I suspect I’ll become a jeans making machine this summer.

Happy Spring sewing and thanks for stopping by!

Checks, please!

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Is there any print that’s more all-American than gingham? It’s been associated with farms and corn fields ever since Dorothy wore her gingham pinafore in the Wizard of Oz.

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But gingham’s image and appeal doesn’t stop there. It’s even been favored by iconic fashion figures from the past. Brigitte Bardot had a wedding dress made from gingham.

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Jane Fonda wore gingham in Cat Ballou.

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Even Audrey Hepburn wore gingham a time or two.

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So, when we wear gingham these days, we’re in good company!

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This Spring, gingham staged a  comeback, making it into the collections of famous designers. Altuzarra had a simple gingham shirt dress with classic lines here.

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Bottega Veneta had a gauzy interpretation with this stunning dress.

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And now, gingham has made it into my wardrobe. This easy top features black and white checks of varying sizes.

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The pattern: Simplicity 1377 is an easy to sew top with drop shoulders and a simple crew neck.

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Modifications: I made view C but modified the split v- neck to be a true V-neck, by omaking the V wider. In order to have the big checks on the back show to the front at the shoulder, I added an inch to the back shoulder seam, and subtracted an inch from the front shoulder seam. For interest, I added twill tape to the shoulder seams, the sleeves and the neckline.

Fabric: the two gingham checks are cotton shirting, purchased at Fabric Depot. I was inspired to use gingham by the wonderful garments being posted on the Monthly Stitch for the Check it Out Challenge. If you haven’t visited that site, take a look. It’s such a great community of seamstresses.

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This top was easy and fun to sew, and since I chose a pattern with a one piece bodice, I didn’t have to struggle to match the plaids! It’s summer after all, my favorite time to sew things that are easy and fast. What about you? Does the sun give you the energy to sew more complex projects? Or do you opt for simple patterns, like me?

Happy sewing! Thanks for stopping by…