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!
DSC03295
 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.
DSC03304
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.
images-2
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.
DSC03037 (2)
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.
DSC03039
DSC03037
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)

DSC03263
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!
DSC03257 (1)
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.
Version 2
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.
1694
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.
DSC03266
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.

Thursday Tee: A season-flexible piece with swirls

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.

DSC02976

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.
B6134B6134 (1)
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.
IMG_1188
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.
DSC02979
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?

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.
MAR_0651
Another from Thakoon that could live in my closet if it wanted to.
503702568_1_topcropfront
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.
DSC02697
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.
DSC02694
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.
DSC02700
 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?