A Kalle Shirtdress Becomes a Coat

This week, I marked the beginning of Fall by completing my first cold-weather sewing project. My new denim walking coat was just the kind of project I needed to cope with ‘post vacation blues’. It’s a topstitching extravaganza, just the therapy I needed. Some sewists find topstitching to be stressful, but for me, the focus required is actually a relief that my brain craves when I’m down. 

My inspiration for this coat was a denim coat, designed by Madewell. I saw Cobie Smulders wear it on the already cancelled show, “Friends from College.” It’s a loose-fitting coat, made of mid-weight denim with a hidden placket and a tie belt. 

Although Colbie wore it as a dress on the show, I saw it as a long coat for Fall. Many of my knit dresses (here and here) are below my knees, so this coat will accomodate that length easily.

Pattern: To make the coat, I modified a tried and true pattern, the Kalle Shirt Dress. This pattern has so many options, I recommend it highly.

I chose this pattern because the fit is great, but loose and classic. To make it coat length, I added six inches to the bodice. To create the back vent, I eliminated the back pleat and added a seam instead, open at the bottom. Otherwise, I left the pattern pretty much as is.

 The orginal pattern has short sleeves, but I purchased the long sleeve extension from the Closet Case website. Instead of the classic french cuffs suggested by them, I eliminated the closure on the cuffs, and just folded them back.

Fabric: I used a medium weight denim from my stash for the with a darker denim for the collar, cuffs and pockets. The Kalle has one pocket, but I drafted three more. I used double topstitching on the pockets to make them pop.

I always love using a tried and true pattern in an unexpected way. As a coat, the Kalle does not disappoint! With this make, I’m officially accepting that Fall is here. It’s time to pull out the knits and wools from my stash and sew cozy

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

Italy: My Favorite Linen Travel Dress

Hi All! I had a wonderful trip to Italy and am now easing back into real life. I’m still battling the effects of the 9 hour time difference, but last night I slept through the night so things are looking up!

Although the weather here in Portland is a bit on the cool side, I wanted to share the dress I wore the most in Italy – – a linen dress that I finished the day we left, LOL!!! As usual, I decided at the last minute to add a dress to my travel wardrobe.

These photos were taken in the Villa Cimbrone Garden in Ravello Italy, a breath taking town perched on a cliff high above the Amalfi coast.

This linen dress was my go-to garment on the trip because the weather was warmer than expected. I thought I’d wear this dress with a tee shirt under it to protect my upper arms from the sun, but it was hot so the tee shirt stayed in the suitcase. I chose to stand in the shade often and managed to avoid a sunburn.

Dress Construction – To sew this dress, I modified my favorite loose fitting top pattern, the Grainline Hadley. The cut of this top is so flattering on everyone I think, with two neck options to choose from.

For the dress bodice, I used the sleeveless Hadley without the back pleat and lengthened the Hadley bodice by 6 inches. This became the A-line shaped bodice of the dress, complete with high – low hem.

The back button placket is a non-functional add on, just for looks. To make it, I sewed together two long strips of fabric then added buttons. After the placket was in place, I focussed on drafting the skirt. I cut two huge rectangles, that were 1 and a half times the bottom width of the Hadley. These I sewed together, then gathered and attached them to the bottom of the bodice. That’s all there was to it.

Fabric – Linen was the perfect fabric for Italy. It made me comfortable no matter what the weather. Personally, I could care less about the wrinkles. For this dress, I used a solid blue linen from my stash, purchased last season at the Mill End Store. The striped linen is from Joann’s.

This dress is so fun to wear!

Swinging wasn’t in my vacation plans, but when you’re on the Amalfi coast, why not? I enjoyed wearing linen so much on my trip, I’m determined to find ways to sew with it year round! Any thoughts on this idea?

Sewing plans – As the travel fog lifts and I put away my summer clothes, I know I’ll be inspired to sew a few fall things. I hope there will be a new trench coat, maybe a short wool coat too so watch for those posts.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

 

 

 

Making a Wiksten Haori from a Mid-Century Modern Curtain

This Wiksten Haori was once a curtain in someone’s house.

IMG_1847.jpegThe leaf design on this fabric is typical of the mid-century modern style. It was all about the exotic, so tropical themes were big. Vintage drapes can cost as much as $200 per panel on Ebay. One Saturday afternoon, I got lucky.  I found mine at a estate sale for $10.

Estate sales can be such a great place to find vintage fabric and notions. My interest in them grew after I participated in the  #tableclothrefashion challenge on Instagram. I made a couple of tops from vintage tablecloths (here and Here) and had so much fun, I started exploring other vintage fabrics as well. I do love taking something old and making it new. Now, I can’t pass by an estate sale without taking a look.

IMG_1743.jpegThere was only one drapery panel at the sale so I didn’t have alot of this fabric to work with. This drape wasn’t lined, which meant it was ready for my project right away. The trickiest part of the make was figuring out how to best place my pattern pieces to let the leaf design take center stage.

This is the second Wiksten Haori I’ve made (first is here) so this make was pretty easy for me. I do love how the pattern is drafted so that the jacket is reversible.

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IMG_1719.jpegThis is the short verion of the Haori, lined with soft Chambray, the perfect fabric mate for my drapery barkcloth. Although I could reverse my Haori and wear it blue side out, I doubt I will – – I love the barkcloth side too much!

IMG_1820.jpegAs in my other version, this Haori has a lovely feel, in part because the barkcloth is soft but heavy.  That’s one of the reasons I love to wear this one so much. It feels substantial, but not too stiff. In my opinion, a medium weight fabric lined with a sleek lightweight fabric makes the perfect Haori.IMG_1847.jpeg I love the boxy shape of this jacket and the casual feel of the fabric. I know I’ll wear it again and again. Honestly, there’s a reason this is one of the most popular patterns around. It’s so fun to sew and wear. I can’t wait to make another!!  Now, if I could only find more vintage fabric….Sources anyone?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

My ‘go-to’ outfit: wide leg pants and a safari style top

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

Linen Tablecoth Top for #scarfrefashion and #so50vintage

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I have a love/hate relationship with Instagram, I must admit. I love seeing everyone’s makes but I find the limitations imposed by the IG algorithm to be so frustrating. Sometimes, my feed is so edited by Instagram, I don’t see the content I choose. Nevertheless, as you all know, I do love a good sewing challenge and Instagram is full of them! So, I will stop complaining and get on with it….:)

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This linen top (a bit wrinkled having just been worn) was inspired by two sewing challenges on Instagram: the #scarfrefashion challenge (includes tablecloths too) sponsored by @sewstoney and @sewdalaridada, and the #so50vintagechallenge. I happened upon a vintage linen tablecoth with beautiful cut work and mitred corners at a estate sale. I’ve made tops from tablecloths before (here and here) so I knew this one was perfect for a top. I couldn’t resist giving the challenge a whirl.

With a little over a yard of fabric to work with, my style options were a bit limited. After perusing my extensive (!!) pattern stash, I came upon Simplicity 8090, a pattern from 2016 that has all sorts of possibilities.

I chose view C because it doesn’t take alot of fabric and it’s cropped, which allowed me to use the finished edges of the tablecloth as the hem for the top.

The pattern was so easy to sew. The sleeves went in perfectly. The front placket was really easy because I used the finished edge of the tablecloth for that. I only made one modification – I added a collar stand.

I do love the french darts on this top. They look so crisp in linen.

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This top has a seam down the back so I positioned the bodice pieces so that the tablecloth’s cut detailing would be on either side of the seam. I cut the sleeves to use the tablecloth detailing and hem too.

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The inside of the shirt looks fabulous because the hem of the tablecloth finished all the seams for me, LOL!!

All in all, it was a fun project, and I’m pleased with how it turned out. The biggest challenge was the laying out the pattern properly, of course, but the extra time involved was worth it.  I do love the boxy cut of this top and know I’ll use this pattern again. Vintage linen is so lovely to work with, I’ll never be able to resist an old tablecoth again!

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Are you taking on any sewing challenges this summer? Let me know so I don’t miss it! I love seeing everyone’s makes….

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

New Pattern Release: Sew Over It Bonnie Top/Dress

IMG_1008 3Hi All – – When I saw the sketches of the new Bonnie Top from Sew over It London I was thrilled. If you’re like me, you have a closet full of high waisted pants/skirts, but no tops to go with. I knew that this lovely ‘cropped’ top would fill a hole in my wardrobe. Not only that, but the Bonnie top has pleats! IMG_1005 2The Bonnie has a 1940s vibe with its defined waist, button up front and vertical pleats. It has a cute flat collar and short sleeves with little turn-up cuffs, a design detail that is subtle but effective. I like that the button placket is concealed – – it makes it a bit more polisihed – – a top that can go to a dress up event. There’s a dress version as well that has a knee length gathered skirt and a comfortable elastic waist.  I do love the pleats, but if you want a faster make, there’s a version of the Bonnie without pleats too. I know there will be a version of that view in my future.

I used a lightweight rayon for my version of the Bonnie, and it worked perfectly. Sew Over It recommends rayon/viscose, lightweight crepes, georgette, chiffon or very fine cotton voiles, in other words anything soft and drapey. I’d warn against anything heavier like a stiff cotton. The pleats wouldn’t have a chance to shine. If you are making the pleated version, the wider the fabric the better, as you need lots of room to lay out the front bodice as the pleats make it fairly wide.

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Fit and sizing – – I made my size according to my measurements and it fit nicely, without adjustment. I spent a bit of time fussing about the fit of the waistband, but I shouldn’t have bothered. The buttons don’t extend there so the waistband falls open ever so slightly…the fit isn’t tricky at all.

Construction– -When it comes to the pleats, I found the trick was to carefully mark them on my fabric. From there, construction was simple…. All I had to do is fold, press and sew!  Thankfully, the Bonnie  has very clear markings. I transferred them using a chaco marker. Once I’d accomplished that, pleat constructions was easy and fast. The concealed front placket was pretty simple too  once I had the markings transferred.

IMG_0998.jpegI love my new Bonnie top and plan to wear it with my high waisted skirts (the skirt I’m wearing is blogged here), pants, perhaps even with jeans. I can imagine an even dressier version out of silk or chiffon, and the dress version is on my ‘must-make’ list. Really, the Bonnie is one of my favorite Sew Over It patterns! Thanks to the Sew Over It London team for giving me the opportunity to make this lovely pattern!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

As a Sew Over It Pattern Insider, I received a download of this pattern for free, but the opinions expressed here are my own. 

An Easy Burda Dress You Can Sew in Two Hours

IMG_1018This dress was a spur of the moment project. I decided the morning of an event that I wanted a new dress to wear that afternoon. There’s nothing like waiting  until the last minute, eh?! It’s too bad that #Jiffyjune is over because, honestly, this project has jiffy written all over it. It took less than two hours from start to finish.

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Fortunately, I had the perfect pattern for a last minute sew waiting in my stash.

This Burda pattern (6345) is a real keeper. I understand from the Burda Style website that it was featured in the magazine in 2016 (6/2016/101). I didn’t subscribe back then, so missed it, but it was instant love when I saw it in the Burda pattern book this summer.

This dress is so easy, yet the design is so visually interesting. The sleeves are part of the yoke, which makes sewing so simple.

IMG_1026I used a medium weight jersey that I had in my stash (yeah, a stash buster).  The pattern suggests using stripes because the design is such a perfect canvas for ‘stripe play’. I love how changing the direction of the stripes on the yoke really makes this dress pop! There isn’t a zipper to install…the dress just slips over your head. The neck is simply finished with a gand cut on the bias – so easy!

Because this pattern is made for knits, fit issues for me were next to none. I cut my usual size, and it fit without adjustments. I finsihed the seams with my serger, so even though this was a quick sew,  the inside of the dress looks great.

IMG_1020I’m so pleased with my spur of the moment dress! It will likely be my garment of choice tomorrow for the Fourth of July; Independence Day here in the states, since red, white and blue are the colors of the day.

 

I do love a quick, jiffy sew (am I the only one who sews a garment 2 hours before a party?). I have a bin in my pattern stash that’s marked ‘jiffy and some of my favorite patterns live there (hmmm, might be a future post?). It’s so nice to add this lovely new pattern to my  bin.  Thanks, Burda!!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!      

The Last Sewing Blogger to Make the Burnside Bibs

IMG_0889.jpegI’m very late to the party here.

I bought the Burnside Bibs pattern by Sew House Seven when it first came out. I had big plans to make them ASAP.  Well, that was three years ago and, YIKES, I’m just now getting around to trying them. I hesitated to be honest. I really loved the style, but had so many issues floating around in my head. As a member of the #SewOver50 community, was I too old for the style? Would they look okay on my short waisted figure? Would I be comfortable wearing them?

IMG_0887 2.jpegWell, all of the angsty thoughts and questions completely disappeared when I began the construction process. Honestly, it was so fun! This project ticked all the boxes for me – – topstitching galore, interesting construction details like belt loops, pockets, and a self faced bib. Then there was the fabric…I used a lovely blue linen from the Mill End store, that is absolute heaven. So, I threw caution to the wind and went for it.

 

 

Burnside_Bibs_front_cover_website_1024x1024@2x.jpgConstructing these bibs was a bit time consuming.  I cut them one evening and then sewed them the next day in a marathon session. I love pushing through a project like this…you can get completely absorbed in it! The instruction booklet from Sew House Seven was really wonderful – – lots of illustrations that made it fairly easy to understand.

 

IMG_0746 2.jpegChallenges – – well, the biggest one was figuring out what size to cut. I perused Pattern Review, several blogs and Instagram to see what my fellow sewists had to say about this topic. On their advice, I made view 1 which is the more fitted version with the invisible zipper on the side. I used my measurements to select a size and it turned out to fit well in the crouch and waist, but was a bit baggy in the hips so I tapered down a size there. This is a common adjustment for me in patterns, and I’m happy with the result.

 

 

The construction of these bibs is a bit out of the ordinary, so I didn’t/couldn’t binge watch TV while I made these, LOL. Small price to pay though. They are so fun to wear. I love how the tie ends criss cross in the back and slip through the belt loops. As you pull them to tie them, the waist area cinchs a bit more, which makes the fit really nice. I chose to tie them at the side but you can tie them at the front or back as you prefer.

IMG_0757.jpegI cropped them a bit more than the pattern suggested as I really want to be able to enjoy these in steamy Italy when I travel there later this summer. When I wear them, I’m really comfortable!!  I don’t think twice about the age appropriate issue anymore because, well, I love them and we all deserve to dress as we wish, don’t you think?

IMG_0765 3.jpegIf you’ve hesitated to make the Burnside Bibs as I did, my advice is…go for it. It’s such a pleasurable journey.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!