DIY: Philip Lim Inspired Top

 

img_2016Hi all! The inspiration for this stash-busting top was a Philip Lim creation I saw at the San Francisco Saks a couple of weeks ago. It’s so fun to wander around in that amazing store, a real treat for me since we don’t have a Saks here anymore (wah!). But when I saw this top it was instant ‘love’. The bold plaid, the color blocked side panels, the contrast trim and stitching, I wanted it all. But alas, the price tag….

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So, I set about making my own version. The good news? I used left over remnants from my recent Day Dress, and another plaid from a top I made years ago. So no new money was spent in the making of this top.

img_2040The pattern I used for this make is a tried and true: Vogue 9054.

It’s out-of-print but still available on their website and on Etsy. The design detail that makes this pattern the perfect choice for my Philip Lim top is that it has a front panel. So, that’s where I placed my cotton plaid. I used a contrasting off white knit for the side panels. Even though this pattern is designed for knits, my inspiration top combined knits and wovens, so I went out on a limb and did the same thing. I think the loose design of this top made that combination less risky than it otherwise would have been. The fit really didn’t change. I also added a contrast band to the collar and cuffs.

img_2020A detail I love on the inspiration top was the stitching on the front and back panel seams. To get that look, I top stitched those seams with a decorative stitch. I wanted to use the flat lock stitch on my serger, but alas, it just wouldn’t behave. My substitute stitch isn’t quite as stunning, but I still like it.

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I especially like the way Vogue designed the hemline of this top. There’s a bit of a high-low thing going on there that’s fun.

img_2002Well, I think my top will work as a reasonable substitute for the Philip Lim top, and wearing my DIY  version will save me from spending hundreds of dollars I don’t have. I rarely think that sewing saves money, but when it comes to designer fashions, it has a very strong edge. Thanks to Philip for the inspiration! The colors of this top make it a seasonal transition item, I think, and I feel almost Springy as we persevere through another ice storm with freezing rain. Ugh!

I’m glad I used some fabric from my stash here, because my goal this year is to reduce the size of  my stash (yes, I used bold font so I won’t forget, LOL). Lately, I’ve been feeling like I have to ‘sew to my stash’, if you know what I mean. I often buy fabric with a project in mind, but by the time I get to it, my enthusiasm for it has waned or the inspiration is gone. That means my stash is huge, and it means my sewing is often motivated by the guilt that comes with excess. It overwhelms and confuses my creative urges (yes, I’m a junkie). So, my goal is to sew some of it ASAP and give some to friends or charity so that it doesn’t weigh me down. What do you think, fellow fabric junkies? Will this strategy work? 

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

A Cardigan for Early Spring:McCalls 6802

img_1938Yes, I know the title of this post is optimistic. Sure, there are several months of cold weather between me and Spring, but I can dream, can’t I?

This knit fabric is so soft, I knew at first sight I had to make a sweater-y wrap from it. This new cardigan is a perfect seasonal transition piece: it’s as cozy as a coat, but as soft and light as a sweater. I’ve had this knit in my stash for several years (!!). You know how it goes..sometimes you love a fabric so much, you can’t bear to cut into it.I’m glad I finally settled on this cardigan though, becuase I’ve worn it constantly since I finished it.img_1876I am a big fan of any garment that has a hood. They’re so useful when battling the elements of course, but also just to keep the chill off my neck. So the fact that McCall’s 6802 had one was a big selling point for me.

m6802_aThis loose-fitting cardigan could not be easier to make! It isn’t lined and the sleeves are cut as part of the bodice. So easy! I was able to finish it in about 3 hours. I did make one modification though. The pattern is designed to have an unlined hood with the wrong side showing. Although I like both sides of this fabric, I wanted the inside of the hood to provide contrast, so I cut a duplicate  of the hood and the front band pieces to use as a facing.

img_1968Not only does the lining provide contrast, but the facing makes the hood  warmer too. The sizing on this pattern is generous.  I cut a size 8 (the smallest size), but it was still too big, so I had to take in the seams until it fit. Also, the pattern doesn’t call for a front closure and, although I love the oversized look of it when worn open, I’ll likely wear it with a belt to keep it from becoming a parachute in the wind. If that gets tiresome, I’ll probably just add a couple of buttons down the front.

img_1900Because the cardigan is unlined, I finished the seams with my serger.A note about the sleeves: I like rolling them up a bit when I wear them, and I forgot to take photos of them unrolled. So, just so you know, they are loose and about three-quarter length, cut ‘kimono’ style. img_1947My style is pretty casual these days, so I think this cardigan will be a great addition to my wardrobe. I like the weight of this knit. It’s not too heavy, but warm, so it should be great to wear outside when the weather improves just a little. This fabric is a cat hair magnet though! Hmmm, a certain feline is going to have to stay away from me when I wear it. The colors are great though – -Not only do they blend with Dustin’s fur, but the earthy tones have just a pop of warmth that makes me feel cozy when I wear them.

Even though there’s alot of cold weather ahead, I’m feeling the urge to sew with Spring fabrics…crisp cottons and linens, maybe even some silk. But do I have anything planned? Not so much. I seem to be enjoying ‘sewing on a whim’ these days, and working through my stash. When do you transition into Spring sewing? Is now the time, or am I too early?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Toaster Sweaters

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Hi all – – My photos were taken indoors again because of this!img_1525-2Yes, that’s about a foot of snow. In Oregon, this much snow is an event! No one tries to drive and many of my neighbors just shut themselves in. Some folks freak out, and long for it all to end. But, I love this weather. It’s perfect for skiing around the neighborhood, baking cookies and sewing Toaster Sweaters.img_1768-2The Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater pattern comes with two versions,

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Version #1 screamed color blocking to me. The sleeve bands, collar and lower band are great details that make using contrasting fabrics so simple.

img_1652 I cut the sleeves from leftover ponte from my day dress (Day and Night Dress challenge) as well as the collar and hem band. It’s my plan this year to use leftover fabric right away.The bodice was cut from a remnant I picked up at Fabric Depot, a cozy thick cotton knit.

Version #1 went together nicely. The cropped  length is just about right for me, but I’m only 5’4″. If you’re taller, you might want to add a few inches in the length. I made one modification to the pattern. I shortened the collar by 1. I’m really glad I did because otherwise, that collar would have hit me at the chin which would have annoyed me to no end.

img_1704It’s a pretty easy sew and the instructions are great. My ponte knit had very little stretch though, and the pattern calls for 20% stretch. Next time I make it (and there will be a next time…), I’ll use a knit with a bit more give. That way the bottom band won’t be quite so snug. I love this cozy look, and can imagine making it again out of a furry knit, like the one on the pattern envelope.

Version #2 went together in less than two hours…(almost) instant gratification! The sweater knit came from the Mill End Store.

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I like the boxy shape of this top, and the easy look of the high low hem. It’s pretty fitted through the shoulders and in the sleeves, so it doesn’t overwhelm my small frame like some boxy shapes do. I like how it widens gradually to the hem, giving it a swingy shape. It has a funnel neck, mitered side vents and a hi-low hem.

img_1792This is an easy sweater to sew. Honestly, you can do this while you’re binge watching Game of Thrones. The funnel neck is actually cut as part of the bodice, so there’s nothing too tricky there. One warning though; This top is the perfect length for me (a shrimp) so if you’re worried about the top being too cropped, you might want to add a few inches. Next time, I might make it a bit longer so that I can wear it over leggings.

I think this pattern is destined for tried and true status. I plan on making more – a longer version of #2 and a cozier knit for version #1. This is my first Sew House Seven pattern, and I must say, I was impressed. Have you tried their patterns before? Any recommendations?

In spite of the snow, my winter sewing is starting to taper off now, making room for Spring projects. How about you?

Happy Sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

The Reveal: Day and Night Dress Challenge

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img_1209Hi all – – I’m pleased to be showing you my dresses as part of the Day and Night Dress Challenge Blog tour. Thanks to Elizabeth of Elizabeth Made This for this challenge. What better way to jump-start our sewing after the holidays! There’s a blog tour and a community challenge so check it out for some inspiration. You’ll find a list of the bloggers that are participating and links to their sites at the end of this post.

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My Day Dress: 

img_1004I’d wear dresses every day if I had enough of them! Dresses are perfect for everything a day can dish out: running errands, a business meeting, or (!!) happy hour. But to me, a day dress just has to have pockets. I feel weird if I don’t have somewhere to stick my hands! That’s why I picked McCalls’ 7464 for this make. It has curved pockets, a design element that mimics the line of the curved inset.The pockets were lined, but very easy to sew. The challenge was cutting and placing them on my plaid woven cotton. There’s nothing like a plaid matching challenge to test your determination!

img_1027I love how the curved insets add shape at the waist. I used a solid ponte knit for the insets and the sleeves so that it would provide a calming contrast to the busy plaid. The ponte knit, although stable, has a teeny bit of give, and since it’s placed at the waist, this means this dress is really comfy.

McCall’s 7464 is a pretty easy pattern to put together, yet it has a lot of fun detail.

 I modified the design only slightly. I added a short knit collar to give my dress a more casual look, and finished the sleeves with a narrow knit cuff too. I know I’ll wear this dress a lot.

My Night Look

img_1196I’m crazy about lace (as if y’all didn’t know that!), and when I saw this black lace at the Mill End Store, it was love at first sight. For the challenge, our night dress needed to be black, so I knew I’d use the lace as part of that look.  I decided to make a simple, unfussy dress so the lace could shine.

img_1184I paired the lace with black velvet, because, well…it’s velvet! To make the dress, I lengthened one of my favorite top patterns, Vogue 8952.

I like the Raglan sleeves on the top, and thought they’d look interesting in lace.img_1177 I love Swing-y dresses when I go out, because they have a dressy-vibe, without being fussy. To get the swing look of this dress, I extended the a-line of the top pattern by 8″. Then, I added an 8″ border of lace to the hem. I didn’t line the lace border, because I like the see through quality of the lace. With black hose/tights, I hope it’s not too revealing, just dramatic?  I know this LBD will get a lot of use.

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The Day and Night Dress Challenge blog tour is a great way to visit some new blogs and find some inspiration for your own makes. Thanks to Elizabeth for putting this together for us all to enjoy! There’s a community challenge too, with cool prizes and great sponsers. You can find the details on Elizabeth’s blog, Elizabeth Made This.

THE DAY AND NIGHT DRESS CHALLENGE BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:

Sunday, Jan 8th: Elizabeth of Elizabeth Made This, Brittany of Brittany J Jones

Monday, Jan 9th:  Maria of How Good is That?,  Tonya of Sew So Petite

Tuesday, Jan 10th: Je’Tua of Robertswife, Meg of Cookin’ and Craftin’, Melanie of Its Melanie Darling

Wednesday, Jan 11th:  Linda of Elle Gee Makes, Tee of Maggie Elaine

Thursday, Jan 12th: Bianca of Thanks I Made Them, Daniela of On the Cutting Floor

Friday, Jan 13th:  Melissa of Mahlicadesigns, Rachel of Sew Redy, Renata of Runnningnstyle, Sonja of Sewing ala Carte

Saturday, Jan 14th: Doja of Elewa blog, Judith of Judith Dee’s World, Tanya of Mrs. Hughes

Check them out! If you decide to make a dress, I’d love to know so that I can feature your dress (s)  in a post here.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

Vogue 8952 and the Day and Night Dress Challenge

img_0890Hi all! It’s 20 degrees here in Portland, indoor photo weather of course, but also the perfect weather for sewing. There’s nothing like a cold day to drive you to your sewing room.

Sometimes, after the intensity of the holiday season, I find it challenging to re-focus my energies and to get my sew-jo going. But this year, The Day and Night Dress Challenge, hosted by Elizabeth Made This, has given my sewing a ‘jump-start’. The challenge is to sew two dresses; a day dress and a Little Black Dress for evening wear. There’s a blog tour, (I’ll be hosting here on Wednesday January 11), and a community challenge with prizes and cool sponsers.

This lace top is the first stage of my ‘night dress’ planning.

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My concept for my night dress is an a-line ‘swing’ dress of black velvet and lace, using this pattern as the base by lengthening it to dress length.

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Vogue 8952 is a fun easy sew, with ragan sleeves, my favorite. For this trial version, I used  white lacey knit from Joann’s. I think the shape will be fine for my dress, so I’ll lengthen the bodice by about eight inches before cutting my velvet, then I’ll use black lace for the sleeves and at the hem.

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My day dress will be more fitted, but casual, sewn out of cotton and ponte knit. img_0855I’m making McCalls 7464, using a large plaid for the body of the dress, accenting the sides and sleeves with solid knit.  Both dresses will be finished and posted on Wednesday (fingers crossed). I haven’t tried my ‘day dress’ pattern before, so I hope it will work! Nothing like living dangerously.

The Day and Night Dress Challenge is a great way to start the new year. The community challenge has prizes and cool sponsors too. Come join us! There’s a fun group of bloggers participating in the blog tour, so check them out. The fun starts on Saturday, January 8th and I’ll be posting Wednesday, January 11th, here. For more details on how you can participate, check out the Elizabeth’s fabulous blog, Elizabeth Made This. She’s the brains behind this fun event, and her makes are always a source of inspiration for me.

I hope your new year is off to a great start with lots of sewing time. Will you be making dresses with us this January? I’d love to hear your plans!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

2016: Top Five Hits

1Hi All! It’s almost time to ring in the new year, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to review my top five makes of 2016.

Looking back at my sewing projects always makes me a little nervous, because I can’t bear to face the facts. Sometimes the makes that are the most fun to finish or the most time consuming, are not the ones I love to wear (sigh). They hang in my closet, lonely and ignored. Huh. But without further analysis, here they are….my top five of 2016.

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  1. This little coat:  This topper makes it into the top five because I wore it more than any other make this year! It was so versatile, more than I expected. I wore it constantly. The sewing pattern is great too….Butterick 5927, a new favorite.

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2. The linen and lace dress – – Well, of course I love it. It’s blue, it has statement sleeves and lace trim. This dress made me a fan of clothes with simple lines. I love to wear it.img_8499

3. This coat: OMG, it’s so warm! The stretch wool…the quilted collar…love. To make things even better, when I step into Anthropologie wearing it, the girls that work there swoon, the ultimate compliment. It was supposed to inspire me to rake leaves, but that didn’t happen.

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4. This blouse: Well, because it’s blue. Need I say more?

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5. This poncho: Okay, it had to make the list because wearing it makes me so happy. Yes, fringing it was a nightmare, but the end result made this poncho such a wardrobe stand- out. I have a ‘boho’ moment every time I put it on, something I sorely need.

Honorable mentions:

I was obsessed with denim this year too, so I just have to mention these ‘makes ‘. I didn’t wear them quite as much as I expected though (not sure why?), so I won’t give them ‘top five’ status.

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1. This button up denim skirt: What fun this was to make! The top stitching, the ‘jeans’ buttons up the front…my favorite things.

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2. This denim shirt dress: I love a good shirt dress, and I felt so great when I finished this one! I also learned about snaps. They look great, and you also get to pound them in…If you haven’t tried it, do!

There were a few misses in 2016, but who wants to talk about those? Overall, I had alot of fun at my sewing machine, which is the true test of success for me. I even made my first pair of jeans.

But the best part of 2016 was meeting all of you. I love our community and our conversations. You and your makes are a constant source of inspiration and joy for me. I want to thank you for visiting here and for being a part of my life.

Here’s to an even better 2017! And thanks to Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow for encouraging us to celebrate a fabulous year with our Top Five Makes.

Happy New Year, and thanks for stopping by!

A Missoni Inspired Boho Poncho

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Hi all! The weather outside is frightful but wearing a poncho is so delightful! With this cozy new make, I’m well prepared for the possiblity (fingers crossed…) of a white Christmas.

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Will it happen? I doubt it, but I’m glad I made this easy poncho. I loved laying out the pattern pieces so that the fabric’s cool weave would shine. What I didn’t like about this project? The Blanket Fringe. Yes, it looks easy, but OMG! The process went on forever. It took so many hours, I blew through my usual ‘sewing’ diet of old movies and binge worthy television series. So what did I watch? Old episodes of the Gilmore Girls. Remember that show? Such a  blast from the past, a show full of the optimism that comes from a fictional but perfect small town world. In spite of that cheery back drop, I was pretty cranky by the time this fringe was done. Still, I do love the look!

The inspiration for my poncho was a Missoni original that I’ve worshipped from afar. That makes my poncho worthy of Designin’ December, don’t you think?

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Besides the cool fringe, I love the Missoni version’s hood and contrast trim. In rainy Oregon, hoods are not optional, so I was quite pleased to add one.

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I trimmed my hood with fleece binding, and used wool yarn for the blanket fringe. Blanket fringe is pretty easy to do. There are lots of U-tube tutorials, but here’s a quick summary. You poke a hole in your fabric then you pull doubled strands of yarn through the hole with a crochet hook. It’s a breeze, really, but I truly underestimated how much time and yarn it would take to fringe this poncho (Slow death by fringe).

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The pattern I used is Butterick 5715, View D. The pattern is out of print, but available on Etsy.

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I used a wool blend from my stash. I thought the front yoke detail might make this pattern complicated, but it went together quickly. I trimmed the front opening with contrasting fleece, but left off the buttons, opting for a looser, less structured look to mimic the Missoni version.

img_0776I love my new poncho so much, we’re destined to be inseparable! This is the way I like to dress- – in warm layers that are comfortable, easy, but that have ‘a look’.  And I have to confess. I think the fringe makes it. So maybe it was worth the crazy hours I spent on it? Hmmm….but there must be an easier way. Have you fringed anything? Did you do it the way I did? Was it torture?

I love looking to the designer runways for inpiration, which is why I love Designin’ December. For more about it, visit Linda’s fabulous blog – –Nice Dress, Thanks I made it. And join in!

I hope your holidays are joyful! Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

A Velvet Kimono for the holidays

img_0670Hi All – -During, the holiday season, a sewing project has to meet certain critieria to make it onto my lengthy to-do list. It must be  1. easy and quick with little chance for frustration.  2. Gorgeous fabric must be involved. 3. It must provide a healthy dose of instant gratification. This festive kimono definitely earned high marks on all fronts.

Most holiday occassions here call for ‘casual holiday’ attire; something dress-y you can wear with pants/jeans. That’s because the weather has been less than cooperative with snow and freezing rain, which has left sidewalks and parking lots difficult to navigate in high heels and dresses. Given that scenario, I decided (the day before an event, ha!) to add a fun piece to my wardrobe that I could layer to dress things up a bit. Nothing like a last minute project in the midst of the holiday craze! Luckily, I had this lovely piece of ‘burn-out’ velvet in my stash, perfect for my project.

img_0543I love this drapey and shimmery velvet. To make the fabric texture more noticeable,  I decided to use black velvet for the contrasting sleeve bands and ruffle.

If I’d chosen a pattern that I’d made before, the project would have been an easy success. But, of course, I couldn’t make things simple. I had to try a new pattern…and that’s where the trouble started. Enter Simplicity 8172.

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I was attracted to this pattern because I was in a hurry and LOVED that the  sleeves are cut as part of the main bodice…so fast and easy!

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What I didn’t notice was that there isn’t a front band to finish the opening. Instead, the pattern has you finish it with seam binding.  My drapey, flimsy velvet did not like this at all. It wanted to roll constantly. Well, I could not wear it like that so I self-drafted a 4″ front band (thank goodness I had a bit of fabric left over), and stiffened it up with fusible interfacing. Yes, this complication added quite a bit to my simple project, but now, the front opening lies as it should. I am so much happier!

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Overall, I think I like this project. The pattern is fun and easy, and, because you don’t have to set in sleeves, it’s a quick and easy sew. I like the fit on this pattern and the options for adding a flounce. However, the pattern envelope recommends silky fabrics and velvet. As is, I don’t think those fabrics are the best choice for this pattern, since it lacks a front band, relying on seam binding for finish. To me, that works best with a crisper fabric with bit of body so that the seam binding can do its job. Still, I will likely make view C of this pattern in the near future because it allows you to mix patterns and fabrics. And, I’ll make just about anything if it has a high-lo hem!

img_0689Have you sewn with velvet? Did it have a tendency to roll? What did you use to stablize it?

I hope you’re enjoying the festive season and can still find a bit of time for some sewing fun. Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

McCall’s 7476 (#2) in textured wool

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Hi All – – I’m back with another cardigan, this time in a nubby sweater knit. This fabulous wool came from the remnant section of Fabric Depot, a fabric I had longed for from afar, but didn’t purchase since it was really expensive. Then, one day, Lady Luck looked my way. When I was there to buy a zipper, I perused the remnant rack and found two small pieces of this wool for 50% off! How could I resist?

Okay, there was a small problem though. My two pieces were a scant yard and a half. This is where being a small person comes in handy. No, I cannot see the dirt on the top of the refrigerator, but I can make something out of two little remnants.

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Well, it took me an about an hour and a half to figure out how to cut this sleeveless cardigan out of my little pieces of fabric (LOL). It’s a good thing I was determined because it was not easy! This cardigan is my second version of my new favorite pattern, McCalls 7476.

I made another version here. The only change I made this time was to leave off the sleeves and to raise the front opening by two inches. I also used three buttons to fasten it instead of one as the pattern suggests. I LOVE this pattern. It’s easy but stylish and you can cut and sew it in only a couple of hours, (two episodes of my new binge watching obsession, The Crown). My nubby knit is a very loose weave though so  I did use my serger to finish the seams since the fabric wanted to fray with very little encouragement. Still I love this fabric. It’s warm and the texture makes it so unusual.

I was able to find a moment when it wasn’t raining to take a quick outdoor shot. This was a true test of this wool, and it held up to the brisk temperature.

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I’d say the only thing I’m a bit worried about with this sweater knit is snagging it. Not sure what to do if that happens? I know some of you would find fixing a snag an easy challenge, so please sure any tips you have, as I’m sure it will happen.

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My winter sewing plans are in full swing. I’m finishing a velvet and lace swing dress which I will post soon, and have plans for a cape and a coat. Yes, that’s a lot to take on when I also want to bake holiday cookies and shop for presents and sing in a few holiday concerts. I’ll be fine IF I stick to easy, simple projects  with tried and true patterns that don’t add unneeded stress to life. Then sewing is fast and fun without alot of unpicking to do.

I hope your holiday sewing is progressing nicely, and that you’re enjoying the season. Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.

Butterick 5789, Cropped Drape Front Jacket

 

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Hi All! ‘Tis the season for indoor photos here in Oregon. It’s also the season to sew a few layering pieces, wearables that you can wrap yourself up in when it’s damp and cold (most days here). That’s why this cropped drape front jacket grabbed my attention. The style is so versatile – you can wear it closed, or open.

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My inspiration for this cropped jacket was a Ellie Tahari drape front sweater I saw on a recent ready-to-wear shopping trip. I loved the drape front, but hated the price tag. Honestly, it was several hundreds of dollars, and when you compare that to the cost of a sewn garment, me-made wins easily!

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Nevertheless, it is a gorgeous sweater. It almost made me want to learn to knit (ha).

For my version, I used a sweater knit, a wool blend I picked up at Mill End Store. It has a moderate amount of cross wise stretch, just enough for a drapey jacket.My pattern is Butterick 5789.

This is a drape front vest or jacket and the front extends into the back collar. I made view D and cropped it significantly (six inches all the way around). In order to make the front closure, I added a  button hole at the bottom corner of the drape front, then put a button on the opposite shoulder so that I could pull the ends up, criss-cross style.

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It’s such a wearable jacket, I know I’ll put it to good use right away. Honestly, this was so easy too. From cut to finish it only took two hours. Of course, part of this is because the front drape isn’t finished with a facing. That means the wrong side of your fabric shows. That’s not usually a problem with a knit though, as both sides of the fabric are usually okay to look at. I wonder which look I’ll wear the most?

 

I hope you’re finding time at this busy time of year to sew a bit. I’m contemplating a few ‘sewn’ gifts this year, but thus far have done nothing but dream about it, and of course it is alot of effort at a busy time of year, which can take some of the fun out of it. What do you think?  Are you sewing gifts this year?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!