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!

New Look 6345: Sewing the Boho Look

IMG_3281Whenever I think of outdoor concerts, I think Boho, that loose, free-spirited look the cool seventies girls made famous. Think Ali McGraw, Stevie Nicks.

Ali (yes, we’re on a first name basis) had the perfect body for boho – -tall and lanky.

American actress Ali MacGraw, 8th March 1971. (Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
American actress Ali MacGraw, 8th March 1971. (Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

But Stevie DEFINED the look. Love the handkerchief hem here and those boots that made her look so tall.

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When I was invited to a concert in an outdoor venue, I looked to these girls for inspiration!

Of course, boho is one of those looks that doesn’t work for everyone. If you have curves, the flow-y dresses can make you look heavier than you are. And if you’re a short girl like me, well, most experts will tell you that loose, oversized clothes are a big no-no. They just swallow us up!

IMG_0512I guess there are worse ways to die though, right? Because I love a flow-y dress or top with a seventies vibe. Those loose clothes stand for independence! Free Spirits! Music festivals! Free love! Not to mention, the clothes are really, really comfortable.

When it came time to search for a pattern, I was surprised at how hard it was to find something with the vibe I was looking for. Finally, I found New Look 6345, a  dress/tunic with a handkerchief hem (very Stevie Nicks, don’t you think?).

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It’s a v-neck, fitted through the bust, with a loose skirt. That made it perfect for the concert, because, when I wasn’t dancing, I’d be sitting cross-legged on a lawn. I made the  length a bit shorter, because I knew I’d be wearing it over jeans.

The fabric I chose is a rayon print (blue and white, no surprise there) from Fabric Depot, with a repeating pattern that runs lengthwise. The rows in the pattern seemed like mini-border prints to me, so I couldn’t resist cutting some out to use as trim around the neck and along the bodice seam. Sounds like an easy modification, eh? Just sew a bit here and there….no problem!

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Truth be told, applying the trim to the neckline was WAY HARDER than it looked.

IMG_3215Because my fabric was a lightweight rayon, it had a freakish ability to stretch. And as I stitched my self-made trim to the neckline, I think I pulled it just enough to make the neckline gape.

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So frustrating. You can see that gape in this photo. There’s also a spider on that chair that is freaking me out, but I digress.

I probably could have prevented this problem by cutting the trim on the bias (?), but that wouldn’t have worked because the print pattern runs lengthwise. To fix the gape, I tightened the neckline by adjusting at the shoulder seams. It helped, although it still gapes when I stand in certain positions (as you can see above). The top is wearable, but maybe I should have put a stiffer bit of interfacing in the trim before adding it? Or maybe a hugely padded bra would fix the situation, but, you know, those cool seventy girls DO NOT WEAR BRAS.  Thoughts?

If I wear chunky shoes, and wear my jeans with this top, I do feel a bit like Stevie Nicks! Yes, it takes a bit of imagination, but you get my drift. Outdoor concert, here I come!IMG_3391

Happy Sewing! And thanks so much for stopping by!

Thursday tee: A gauzy top keeps its cool

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When it comes to the summer tops in my closet, not all are equal or flattering, which means there’s always a reason to try another. And another. And another.  Perhaps that’s why I never stop wanting to sew another top!
The most beloved tops in my wardrobe are the ones that are comfortable, but not shapeless, with a bit of classic styling. And if a top has a design element that’s a bit unique, that’s even better.
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Of course, it’s always easy to find a new pattern to try. The problem is finding one that you can love forever. Sometimes, I’ll think a top is perfect, only to find after wearing it a few times, its shine dims. Maybe the print is too busy or the color feels too dated. Or maybe it clings too much.
 I guess that’s why I own more than a few. And I don’t even want to count the number of patterns I’ve purchased in my quest for perfection!! Don’t make me! It would be down right embarrassing.
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So, when I thought about purchasing Simplicity 1461, I groaned as I quarreled with myself. Really? Another tunic top pattern? Will you even make this one? But I’m glad I succumbed to temptation because this pattern is a keeper.
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It’s a tunic top that has a bit of a boho look to it. It has princess seams (always flattering!), a number of neckline and sleeve variations, and trim variations. I chose to combine views, going with a short sleeve version.
The good news about the pattern for those with a narrow back, is that there’s a center back seam which makes adjustments easy. I cut the smallest size so that the fit wouldn’t be too loose. I used some textured lightweight cotton (so cool!) in cream and white from my stash. Constructing the top was super easy and fast. The challenge was in the neckline trim.
Since I’m drawn to brown and cream, I found some brown lace at my local fabric store, then played around with it a bit ( a craft project!!). I twisted the lace around, squaring it off at the bottom to create my neck trim, and discovered that the lace, when placed side by side, made sort of a zigzag pattern, an unexpected but fun detail. I used a lot of pins to hold it in place, then stitched it to the top with matching thread.
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Not a difficult top to sew at all. It’s easy to wear too and the open neck makes it cool and comfortable.  I’ll probably make this pattern again with long sleeves, maybe out of a gauze or a silk. And I’ll  play around with a new trim at the neck.  I do love a good craft project!
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Do you have tops that you’ll love forever? Or are you as fickle as I am?
Happy summer and thanks for stopping by!