I’m having a That Seventies Show moment

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I took to heart the advice I saw in a fashion magazine recently. When it comes to fall fashion and prints,  more is more! Apparently, the old maxims about print on print should be damned.
Okay. It’s nice to know that my over-the-top shirt is on-trend, because then, perhaps I’ll have the guts to wear it! Personally, whenever I look at this shirt, all I can think of is ’That Seventies Show’.
imagesThe gang here, giving us some attitude!
I guess that isn’t a bad thing because some fashion experts insist the ‘seventies comeback’ trend in fashion is here for a second season. Okay! Bring it on because I Am Ready!
How did I end up with this print/look? Well, it’s a now familiar story. Both fabrics were in my stash, and I’ve been so In Love with the mixed print look that’s all around in RTW!
Here are some of my favorite examples. Burberry Prorsum is mixing up the prints in their Autumn 2015 RTW line.
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OMG. I need that. The seventies’ vibe is pretty obvious here with more of a folksy interpretation.   I’m going to have to find some fabric to recreate a mix and match look like this soon.
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Love the print and texture overload here, accented with bands of black.  And the fringe on that bag. Please! Can I have some!
Here’s a close up of my wild print. Sure, it’s not as cool as the Burberry print, but it cost only $12.99 a yard…Ha!
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I used one cotton print for the bodice, skirt and sleeves, and used the contrast for the front bands and the collar band. The cotton is so crisp, it sews like a dream (Fabric Depot). I think this cotton is meant to be used for quilting, but that’s never stopped me before, nor will it in the future. The fabric has just enough body to give the peplum a bit of a kick, and what’s not to love about that.
The top I made is Butterick 6097, a fitted shirt with a collar and peplum variations, princess seams and a front button band.
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I chose this pattern because I’ve made it before (here) and I like that fact that it has a bit of structure. Also, the style works with all sorts of bottoms; shorts, skirts, and jeans. To me, the peplum style has a slight retro vibe, which I always, always love. Peplums are nice for Waistless Girls like me, because they fool folks into thinking we actually HAVE them.
I made view B, a long sleeve version that I modified. My sleeves are closer to 3/4. I added a 3 inch cuff, so that I could push the sleeves up if it got too warm (rolled up here because we’ve had more than a few 100 degree days in Oregon this summer…EEK!).
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Because the pattern is so fitted, I chose to go up a size in the waist (since I don’t really have one), then cut my usual size through the hips. These adjustments are the same I made in my previous version. The pattern went together easily and it fit with just a bit of last minute seam adjustment at the sides. The peplum pleats were super easy to sew. You just have to mark them well.
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So, what do you think? Is this print just a bit too much? I’m not sure, but I think I’ll wear this top anyway. The fabric feels so good against my skin, and for me, that’s often the bottom line in terms of a garment’s wearabitliy.  I do love this Butterick pattern, so much so, I’ll be making another version of it this week (more is more?) and posting it here and on the Monthly Stitch Blog, since the August Challenge is ‘Two is the magic number’.
Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!!

McCalls 7187: A plaid transition dress for Fall

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Yes, this dress is plaid and plaid does scream back-to-school and winter skirts. But don’t let my dress fool you. I have not given up on Summer!! After all, it’s only August. Sure, in a few weeks, the kids will be back in school, the warm air will have a crisp edge and we’ll have to start heating our houses again. But summer hasn’t thrown in the towel yet.

Still, my sewing projects are starting to shift. I’m reaching into my stash for heavier fabrics (reluctantly) with darker colors. I’m easing into this, though. After all, why let go of summer before we have to?

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That’s why I decided to sew a transition dress. I won’t give up the hope that there are still warm days ahead, so the fabric is a light-weight cotton. But to make the dress fall-worthy, the colors of the plaid are dark; black, red, green and gold. And nothing shouts ‘fall’ quite as loudly as plaid. This one’s especially bold – a stand-up-and-get-noticed plaid.

The pattern I used is McCalls 7187, a new one that was included in the McCalls’ fall release.

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It’s a fit and flare style with some interesting options. You can cut the dress with a relatively simple, straight skirt, or you can add pleats or gathers to the side panels. The pattern envelope showed the dress in a plaid, a perfect option for my bold fabric.  I chose the straighter style, only because I didn’t have quite enough fabric for the gathered, fuller option and I wasn’t sure how the plaid would look on the gathered skirt.

The pattern went together like a dream. I always cut one size larger when I’m making a McCall’s pattern, since, on me, they seem to run small (at least that’s what I tell myself). This was the case with this pattern too. The fabric was so easy to work with and fabulous to sew! It’s a woven cotton that I purchased at Mill End Fabrics. It drapes nicely, which I’m guessing is a must for this dress.

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I cut the front inset on the bias as indicated, a fun option that makes the plaid pop. The inset looks tricky, since it has curved seams, which I expected to be absolute torture to get right. But the inset went in perfectly the first time. How about that?!  A shout-out to the pattern designer! Thank-you!

Other than the inset, the dress is was pretty straightforward. The pattern instructions made everything quite clear. All in all,  Actual Sewing Time on this plaid frock was about three hours (three episodes of Game of Thrones, LOL).

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My only regret is that the dress isn’t lined, so my fabric tends to cling a bit to my legs from time to time. (Also, it was a bit windy when I shot the photos for this post which made the skirt go wonky.) I suppose you could line this dress though? But maybe the skirt would make that tricky? Not sure about that….

Are you sewing transition clothes? Or are you still focussed on summer?

Happy Sewing! And thanks for stopping by.

A DIY peplum tee with handkerchief hem

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Summer clothes must be effortless. Right? We’re too busy soaking up the sun to spend time fussing with our frocks!  My daily uniform consists of a tee shirt and a pair of shorts, maybe a skirt or two. Nothing could be easier to throw on in the morning.
One of my favorite easy-to-wear tees of all time, was a peplum top with a handkerchief hem that I bought during an Anthropologie spending spree a couple of years ago. After many, many wearings and washings, it is finally time to send it to tee-shirt heaven. But of course, I want another to replace it. But as is often the case in the land of ‘ready-to-wear’, that ship has sailed. The only way to get a replacement tee is to make one of my own.
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So, I decided to replicate the look by modifying my favorite basic tee pattern, Vogue 8536, a tried and true. It has several sleeve and neck variations, and my copy of the pattern has been used so many times, it’s practically in shreds! The fabric I chose is cotton with moderate stretch, purchased at Fabric Depot.
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To make this tee top, I cut view A, a version with short sleeves and a crew neck. Then, in order to accommodate the addition of a skirt, I shortened the tee to the natural waist line. I wanted the skirt/peplum to attach right above the natural waist so by cutting it there, after the addition of a 5/8” seam, the skirt would attach at the perfect spot. Then, I drafted the peplum/skirt portion.
First I cut a rectangle, 28″ by 18″.IMG_0082
Then I measured the bottom of the tee. On the center of the rectangle’s long side, I marked that width.
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Then, for the draped handkerchief look, I marked 12″ from the bottom of my rectangle for the ‘drop’. From this 12″ mark, I drew a line to the edge of the tee shirt hem mark. On the diagram here, that’s where the ruler is placed.
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Then, I cut of the triangles created by these lines. This creates the side seams for the angled peplum.
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The finished peplum looks like this.
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You cut two of these peplums, then sew them together at the angled side seams, and attach them to the tee shirt bottom (see the marked area above.) I used a one inch hem on the bottom.
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Clear as mud? I wouldn’t be surprised! If I’ve left out anything, please let me know, and I’ll try to clarify.  There’s probably a prepared pattern somewhere that is similar to my self drafted top. But after sorting and filing my patterns this weekend, I can easily say, I Do Not need to buy another pattern. Really.  I am on a self imposed pattern purchasing hiatus. (My stash could fill a storage locker).
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I hope your summer sewing is easy and fun. Thanks for stopping by!!

Eyelet: A fabric with a higher purpose

Eyelet fabric – – Not only does it look great but when summer reaches its boiling point, eyelet has a higher purpose. Its lovely holes keep you cool!
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 A classic fabric, with a ladylike vibe, eyelet has gone through a major upgrade this season, with fresh colors and textures that give it a stylish pop! It’s the new perfect hot weather fabric, a must in Oregon, where you can never be sure your destination will be air-conditioned. So, if you don’t want to SUFFER, you wear only crisp cottons, lightweight linens, or, even, a breezy colorful eyelet.
Since it’s been hot and muggy in my neck of the woods, I’ve discovered that my wardrobe is a bit skimpy when it comes to summery tops. So, when I spotted a piece of blue (!!) eyelet in my stash, I knew immediately what I wanted to make from it: a sleeveless top.
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The fabric: This eyelet has been in my stash for awhile, so I’m not sure where it came from. The fabric is a great shade of blue, that’s not really a navy or cobalt, but somewhere between those two colors. Love!! When I first saw this fabric, I thought I’d need to underline it, but the holes are really small, so I chose not to because I wanted the top to be super light and comfortable. I don’t mind a bit of skin showing through.
Pattern: I decided to modify one of my tried and true patterns, Vogue 8815,Unknown  images-1
a top with a raised waist and sleeve variations. My favorite version is view C because the raised waist has a unique curve to it.
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It’s an easy pattern that I’ve made before (see it here). View C is supposed to be a pullover, but I added a back zipper just like view A and B. The instructions are well drafted, so this pattern would work for a beginner.
Modifications:  I made the pattern as is, but added a tie at the natural waist line to give it a different look and a bit more shape.
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To make the tie a part of the top’s design, I marked the natural waist on the pattern, then sewed the tie into the side seams at that place. This way, when the tie is pulled to the front, it adds some shape at the waist and makes the peplum fall in easy gathers.
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I think I’m going to wear this top a lot since our summer is starting off with a bang. It can be dressed up with jewelry or worn with jeans.
Last but not least, I must give a shout out to you all. Usually, I don’t sew that much in the summer, but I’ve been so inspired by the summer creations posted on my favorite blogs (visit the blogs on my list to the right to see what I’m talking about here), I’m sewing like crazy! Thanks to all of you, and Happy Summer!!

Thursday Top: A Little White Shirt (Simplicity 1694)

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By now, we’ve all heard of the LWD (Little White Dress), this Spring’s alternative to the Little Black Dress. But after a recent review of my wardrobe, I realized I needed a LWS, (Little White Shirt) in the worst way. Scary fact – – I have a million tees and more than a million dresses in my closet, but hardly any shirts. Why? Because I sew without a plan.
My sewing is inspired by many things: cool fabric, impulse buys, a great project I saw on someone else’s blog, an Ready-To-Wear item that I’m determined to ’sew for less’. But need? Never, a fact that has consequences. My wardrobe is a bit of a mash up. What to do? Sew!
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Given the fact that the temperatures are well above 90 degrees, I decided to use some very lightweight embroidered cotton in my stash to make a summer-friendly, white shirt that would work with a pair of shorts I never wear because they’re separates without a match.
I chose an embroidered, lightweight cotton from my stash that I found at Fabric Depot. As usual, when I found this fabric, I made an Impulse-Buy. So, I didn’t have quite enough to make what I really wanted, a shirt with rolled-up sleeves and tabs. Also, the fabric’s cool embroidery detail is on the fabric’s border, so laying out the pattern was a bit tricky (similar to the issue I had with my kimono), and I used more than I meant to. So, I was forced to use a different fabric for the yoke and pockets.
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I had a bit of white textured cotton, a remnant left over from another project, so I used that. In hindsight, having too little fabric might have been a good problem to have,  because the textured cotton makes the pockets stand out a bit more.
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The pattern: Simplicity 1694, a loose-fitting button down shirt with sleeve variations, collar variations and length variations. It was pretty easy to sew and the instructions were very clear.
The fabric: Lightweight cotton with a very wide embroidered border. I used vintage buttons I had in my stash.
Modifications: None! For once, it fit without any adjustments or changes. The sleeves are 3/4 length, but I rolled them up for the photos because it’s so hot outside.
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I think this pattern will become a Tried and True. I’d like to make it again, a longer version that can be tucked in, maybe in chambray with long sleeves.
Do you sew to fill a need in your wardrobe, or are you a bit random about the whole thing?
Stay Cool! Thanks for stopping by.

A shift dress that mixes it up

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How’s this for using up a bit of my stash?
As you all know, my stash reduction project is in full swing and this dress is the result of my new stash busting rule.
 During the summer, I can only buy a piece of fabric, if it replaces a piece of equal size. So, nothing comes in unless something goes out.
No doubt, keeping to my rule will be very, very hard.  Think of all of the summer clearance sales I’ll have to miss! But my stash will thank me. There are fabrics on my shelves that have lived there for over two years. They deserve a better life. They deserve to be worn.
That’s why this project made me feel a bit virtuous. To make this spring dress, I used almost two yards of fabric from my stash – – a yard and a half of floral cotton AND a half yard of a contrast cotton print for the sleeves and hem border. Two yards down!
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The pattern for this dress is McCall’s 6465, a loose fitting pullover dress with bust darts and short sleeves. The style is simple and basic, which makes this pattern a good template that’s easy to modify and embellish.
The neckline is what attracted me to this pattern initially. It’s wide enough to slip the dress over your head, but not really a scoop neck either. It’s almost a boat-neck, a shape I absolutely love. Other than shortening the bodice length a bit, I made no other adjustments to the pattern.
I love the crisp feeling of this cotton fabric, but there are alot of flowers on it (and you know how I feel about florals.) So, I decided to mix things up a bit by using a contrast print on the sleeves and hem border. It’s hard to see the details of the print in the photos, but it’s a black background that’s swirled with swooshes of gray. The sleeve hems are edged with solid black just to give it a bit of an edge.
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This was a super easy pattern that you can make in an afternoon and it doesn’t have a zipper. Since this is the perfect time of year to be outside, I spend less time sewing, choosing projects that are simple and instantly gratifying. This one was perfect. You can finish it in a few hours then head outside!
Do you have a stash busting rule of your own? What kinds of sewing projects work for you when the weather is warm? Thanks for stopping by!

Not Your Mother’s Peplum

During one of my recent jaunts into the enticing, instantly gratifying world of ready-to-wear, I heard a discussion through a thin dressing room wall (which is not really eavesdropping, right?). “You absolutely cannot wear that,” one woman said to another. “It’s a peplum and they are a fashion NO!”

It was an interesting statement, one that begged for debate, or at least, extensive internet research. So, I perused the designer collections for Spring, and discovered that there could be a bit of truth to that. The old, more extreme peplum look does seem to be gone.
But now, there’s a new peplum in town. It’s less of a waist defining shape. It seems lower, a bit looser, and a little less (dare I say), prissy than the ones that came before.
Here’s one from Marni that I fell hard for.
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Another from Thakoon that could live in my closet if it wanted to.
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Cute shorts too.
After all that research, I had to make one of my own. The pattern I used is Vogue 8815, a fitted top with a raised wast, long front darts for shaping, and a narrow hem. I chose view C because it had an interesting, less traditional look.
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I used a lightweight cotton purchased from Fabric Depot that is a dusty denim blue (I hope to some day get over my denim obsession). Not only did I buy it because it’s Blue, but because it has a dot pattern imprinted on the fabric that I love. I used a similar solid cotton for the sleeves.
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The pattern was easy to put together. Although view C is a pullover, I added a zipper in the back, just because it felt more finished that way.  I cut the smallest size (8) and adjusted the side seams for fit, since I’m usually a 6 through the back.
The peplum fit onto the bodice perfectly. On view C, it doesn’t extend to the back which makes the whole process easy and fast. The neck is finished with seam binding, also easy and fast. The hemline is lower in the back than the front, which gives it a bit of an edge. Cool, but it’s something to keep in mind when you choose the fabric though, as the wrong side shows.
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 I think I like the look of a looser peplum as it feels fresh and different. This is an easy top to wear, so comfortable you could eat Thanksgiving dinner and still be able to breathe! I’ll probably have to make another, soon.
How do you feel about peplums? Has it been done to death, or do they still have a place in your heart?

Girly Print Meets Leather

When I shop for fabric during the Spring and Summer, I’m always drawn to the colorful prints. I have a hard time giving in to their allure though, because when I wear them, I feel too sweet.

But when I saw the Cotton and Steel prints this season at Fabric Depot, I had to indulge. To balance out the look, I decided to mix things up a bit, pairing the printed shirt with an edgier skirt with leather detailing and a zipper. Wearing a bit of leather and metal keeps me from feeling too…Girly. Obviously, I have issues!
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The shirt:
The fabric I picked is a cotton lawn print, designed by Rashida Coleman Hale, her Mochifloral Teal.The colors are very ‘me’ so I nabbed a couple of yards for Simplicity 1422, a shirt with tabbed roll-up sleeves.
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Simplicity 1422 is a great shirt pattern, with interesting variations in length and style. It was super-easy to put together, in spite of the fact that it has a collar, and tabs on the sleeves. You can sew it in an afternoon for a good dose of instant gratification. The cotton lawn is a dream to work with, easy to manipulate and press.
The skirt
To give the outfit a bit of contrast, I paired it with a brown, leather- trimmed zippered skirt made from Simplicity 1322.
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It’s a mock wrap slim skirt. The fabric is a stable Ponte knit, that I bought so long ago, I have no idea where :). I modified the waist band of the skirt, narrowing it a bit since I have the stubborn (but perhaps inaccurate?) notion that narrow waist bands are more flattering on me.
For the side slit, I trimmed the opening with leather (Fabric Depot), then added a full length zipper, rather than the short one pictured on the pattern envelope. I did this, well, just because!
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This skirt pattern is super easy with many variations. I’ll use it again and again. I’ll make the shirt again too, maybe in a longer length.
All in all, a fun project and both patterns are keepers!
What do you think about Spring prints? Too sweet or you can’t live without them?