This week’s tee is another stash buster, a project inspired by a remnant of mystery fabric I found in the (always seductive) remnant section at Fabric Depot. I bought it, not because I needed it (!), but because it’s embroidered with white flowers and swirls that look almost….french. Instant love! Of course, I indulged.
When it comes to polka dots, I’m a true fan. To me, they’re a fun, easy-to-wear print; a timeless, classic look that’s fun and light.
So when I spied the polka dots on this cotton knit at Mill End, I couldn’t wait to throw that bolt of fabric in my shopping cart. Imagine my surprise when the woman standing next to me scoffed at my choice. “Polka dots!” she exclaimed. “I hate those things. They send women back to the fifties every time someone wears them.” Well, as you can see, I ignored the hater and bought those dots anyway. But she made me think even more about those innocent-looking circles of color.
Of course, one of the reasons I love polka dots is their history. Some well known vintage fashion moments included polka dots.
Marilyn Monroe made history when she wore this bikini in the fifties.
Elizabeth wore them too.
And here’s Katherine Hepburn in polka dot pajamas. I’d love to channel her when I wear my dots!
There’s no denying that those dots do have a decidedly fifty’s vibe, a time when women struggled, many without the choices we enjoy today.
But leave it to Zooey Deschanel, a successful woman who loves polka dots and full skirts and peter pan collars, to sum it up so well.
My polka dot tee is Vogue 9128, a pullover top (close-fitting through the bust) with neck binding, front seam detail, and a peplum with shaped hemline. I decided to make this pattern when I noticed it included details that are a bit unusual for a tee-top, like front seams and the fun peplum. I made the long sleeved version because I wanted a transition top, something lightweight enough for warm afternoons, but with long sleeves to protect on cool fall mornings.
As most tees are, this was quick to put together. I love the way the peplum is constructed, (attached to the center front panel). The seam lines at the bust are great too and the curve is so gradual, it isn’t tricky to sew at all. One note about fitting – – the pattern isn’t designed so that you can modify the waist length with a mid-bodice adjustment. For me, this wasn’t a problem as the waist was positioned correctly for my shape ( a minor miracle, since I almost always have to do a waist adjustment.) But if you’re long waisted, you might want to take extra care to figure out if the fit will be right for you.
Here’s a back view of the contrast.
What do I like most about this pattern? You know me – – it has options! You can mix and match fabrics by using contrasting solids or patterns or both. And it’s a great stash /remnant buster because it only takes 5/8 of a yard of fabric to make the contrasting panels.
It’s highly likely that I will make this top again, as the pattern just screams to be color-blocked. I probably won’t use polka dots again, although, to be honest, I do have another remnant in my stash (LOL). So, how do you feel about polka dots? Love, hate, or just so-so?
Happy sewing, and thanks for stopping by!
Because there was only a yard of it, I had to find a piece of coordinating fabric that would look as though it was from the same dye lot, a tall order any day. But a serious case of fabric love had me in a frenzy. In the matter of a couple of hours, I drove from one end of the Portland to the other in search of the perfect, coordinating solid. (BTW, I am spoiled. We have a half a dozen fabric stores in Portland.)
Luckily, the fabric fairy granted me my one wish, and on the very same day, I stumbled into a cool store in my neighborhood called Bolt. There, I found it, an off-white cotton knit that felt soft and yummy, and (magically) matched my mystery fabric perfectly. Given my frenzied state, you’d probably expect that I’d cut that fabric the very same day. But I didn’t. I parked both pieces on a shelf and stared at them. Sometimes, I love a fabric so much, I just have to think about for, well, months.
Butterick 6134 is the pattern I (finally) used for this off-white tee/top. It’s a fitted top with a raised neckline (which is why I bought it), front princess seams (what’s not to love about those), and a narrow hem. The pattern is designed for lightweight woven and stable knits, perfect given my fabric choices. I made view A, but lengthened the sleeves (Yes, I know it’s Spring, but this is Oregon, after all). To give the top a more polished look, I added cuffs to the sleeves, cut from the same mystery fabric.
This was an easy, fast sew because the sleeves are raglan style, so you don’t have to set them in. The raised neckline is easy too, as it’s cut as part of the bodice rather than constructed. All told, I made this top in an afternoon – Instant gratification.
I’m in love with all shades of white these days, so this top will be worn alot. The long sleeves make it perfect, not only for Spring, but for Fall too. And I still love that fabric. But because I have no idea what it’s made of, I’ll have to resist the urge to toss it in the machine. Apparently, hand-washing is the downside of giving in to a mystery.
Do you give into the lure of mystery fabric or have you been burned?