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!

DIY Cropped Pants and an Easy Top

img_7842Hi All! What are these? Cropped pants? Wide shorts? Culottes? Tell me, please. Whatever they are, they’re strangely reminscent of a poppy skirt I bought in junior high. Yes, it has been that long since I had anything in my wardrobe that was poppy! Can’t tell you why I’ve waited this long because the color is so fabulous. In fact, when you think of all the colors you can wear with it (black, navy, white, denim, maybe even army green?), you could almost call it a neutral.

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I’ve wanted a pair of wide shorts/cropped pants since I saw Mimi G rocking them on her website. Yes, I could have purchased one of her excellent patterns to make these, but I felt sure a shorts pattern I had in my stash would work just fine. But after I made them, I realized didn’t have quite the right top to go with them. You know how it goes. One thing leads to another….

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The cropped pants are a long version of Vogue 9008, a shorts pattern that is so versatile. You can make a flat front or pleated front version. I chose the pleats, but then I sewed them down to give the front a smooth finish. To get the full leg look I wanted, I lengthened the shorts by six inches, keeping the line of the shorts wide at the bottom. I love the effect. The shorts are snug at the top, but they flare out like a skirt at the bottom.

The pattern is pretty straightforward. It has a mock fly zipper, which is easy to insert, and you can add pockets if you want. The instructions were clear. It wasn’t hard, but with belt loops and a back yoke (which I love) this pattern is a bit time consuming.

I made them from poppy linen, purchased at Fabric Depot. It is midweight and I planned on lining the shorts with silk, but ended up taking the lining out because it made the legs too full and bunchy.  Yes, I wanted them to be full, but I did not want them to look like clown pants.

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The top is made from a cotton-linen blend that’s the color of denim. I love this fabric and wish I could remember where I got it because I’d love to have more. The pattern is Vogue, 8906.

It has front pleats that form the shape of the bodice, eliminating the need for darts. There’s a zipper in back. To make the sleeves a little more boxy, I added a sleeve band that is 5″ wide. It makes the sleeves look more ‘finished’ to me, and adds a bit of a retro vibe, I think. I also added a v-neck, and adjusted the facings accordingly. This pattern is super easy! I plan on making several more versions including one with buttons down the front. The fit was spot on for me. I didn’t even have to adjust for my narrow shoulders. Nice!

img_7846I’m not sure if Poppy is a fall color, but I’m going to be wearing this outfit now, because linen is so perfect at this time of year. I’m not sure if I’ll really wear this top with the shorts though. Together they might be too much flare for me. Maybe I should wear them with a top that fits snuggly, or maybe something tucked in? Opinions welcome!

I hope your sewing projects are going well. Fall is my favorite time to sew, because the new fabrics are so fabulous. Enjoy!

McCall’s 7243 – A holiday look that shimmers

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There’s nothing like a little glitter and glamour to deliver a festive mood when you need one! Holiday parties are just around the corner…a needed diversion from the cold and gray days of December, and they provide a great opportunity to dress up. Ready to wear offers a host of options of course, but most all of them are sleeveless. Hello? ‘Baby, it’s cold out there!’

This is another reason I’m glad I love to sew. With a bit of glitzy fabric and a favorite sewing pattern, we aren’t limited to those goose-bumpy options, are we? When I needed a dressy long sleeve top to conquer a wintery holiday event, my fabric stash came to the rescue.

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I chose McCall’s 7243 for this shimmering top.  It’s a close-fitting pullover top/dress with an interesting collar and a deep v-neck. There’s something glamorous about a v-neck, don’t you think? Very vintage Hollywood!

The reason I chose this particular pattern is that it had an unusual neckline for a knit top, a v-neck with a wide wrapped collar that gave it a bit of drama.

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I wondered if that would make this top a sewing nightmare, but the only difficulty I encountered was in the attachment of the collar and the mock wrap of the bodice. The diagrams were pretty limited. I had to study them and re-read the instructions several times to get it right (no, I was not watching Game of Thrones). The key for me was paying extra attention to the right and wrong sides of the fabric as marked on the diagrams as well as keeping the tissue pattern pieces close at hand for reference.

The fabric I used for this top is a glittery, furry moderate stretch knit that I found at Mill End (By the way, choosing a moderate stretch is the key to the fit of this top I think. Also,if your fabric has too much stretch, the collar might be limp). Although it’s hard to see the sparkle and color in the photos, it’s a deep aubergine, one of my favorite colors this fall.

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The collar is great and it adds a bit of interest to the back too. I especially like the way the collar fans out over the shoulders, giving the top a bit of drama. If you want to make the sleeveless version, the collar provides a cap to the shoulder, which could be really flattering. I plan to try that version when the weather improves.

Now that December is here, are you readying your wardrobe for festive events? I really love reading everyone’s blog posts at this time of year since there are so many sources of inspiration. I’ve seen a few velvet dresses this year – -might have to try my hand at one soon!

Happy 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…