This week marks the sun’s Big Debut here in Portland. We’re expecting a weekend sizzler with temperatures over 100 degrees! Panic! We are wimps, so a forecast like that can cause a bit of freak out around here. We faint at the mere idea of a hot day, and if you throw humidity into the mix, trust me. The streets of our fair city will be deserted. Everyone will be holed up in their air- conditioned houses with fans humming.
I, on the other hand, will be feeling fresh as a daisy, dressed in summer’s perfect fabric – – linen!
In anticipation of the heat, I crafted a new frock for my Thursday Top – – a three-hour wonder with an a-line shape that’s sure to please. I had great fun making this easy piece. I used three fabrics (3!!); two prints and a solid, making this project a Stash Busting Gem.
Pattern: I used Simplicity 1693. It’s a top with length, sleeve and waist variations. It was simple to sew and the instructions were clear.
If there was a Best Top for Any Figure competition, I’d have to nominate this one for the title. It’s simple, to be sure, an A-line that’s fitted at the yoke and slightly flared at the bottom. What’s not to like about that? This top accentuates the good parts of our figures, while forgiving the not-so-good parts.
Yoke: Because I wanted to use some remnants in my stash, I cut the one-piece bodice into two pieces – a yoke and lower bodice. To do this, I made a cut across the bodice, eight inches from the neck, remembering to add 5/8 “ on both pieces for the seam allowances.
Front stripe: To make the front stripe of fabric, I cut a 4″wide piece of fabric the length of the center front. I turned under the edges and edge stitched it before sewing it to the Center Front of the garment (An easy way to mark the stripe’s placement is to press in the center fold, and use that line as your guide when applying the stripe).
Fabric: The bodice and sleeves are linen, purchased at Fabric Depot, the yoke and stripe are japanese cotton, purchased at the sewing expo. All of it breathes and is super comfortable to wear.
So, bring it on, Mr. Sun! I am ready!
What’s your favorite style of pattern to sew with linen? What’s your favorite shape for your figure?
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.
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?
Today’s tee is color blocked. The truth is, I love a good color blocked garment and probably will until I’m pushing up daisies. As trends go, it has a lot to offer, as well-placed blocks of color can shape your figure so that it looks like you wish it did! Subtle combos look classic. More dramatic ones can attract attention.
But for those of us who sew, color blocking has an even deeper purpose. It gives you an opportunity to use all of those random pieces of fabric in your stash that are too boring to use alone! You know the ones -those small remnants of solids in safe colors like black and taupe and gray (sigh). I have so many, I could swear they’re reproducing.
Since I’m a bit color-block-obsessed, I was thrilled to see the trend featured in a few designer collections this Spring. Some used big swaths of bold, bright color. I love these pieces by Roksanda Ilincic. The color combinations are unexpected, but really cool.
She is the queen of color blocking, no?
Top Shop played with the trend here; sporty and effective.
Even J. Crew paired colors in interesting ways.
Okay. After looking at these exciting, edgy pieces, my color blocking moment looks a bit dull in comparison (LOL) But, hey, it’s a start, right?
When I experiment with color blocking, I like to keep it simple by applying some loose rules. I pick three colors, and often keep them in the same color family. (But after seeing the color blocking examples I posted here, I doubt I’ll stick to this rule in the future. Bravery has its rewards. Am I right?) When it comes to design, I choose simple patterns so that the color combination is what the eye sees.
The pattern I used for this tee is McCalls’ 7093, a top/tunic that’s semi-fitted with front seam detail that makes it ideal for color blocking. I chose version B, a short sleeved tee with low pockets in the front.
Keeping with my cautious design aesthetic (in other words, I’m a chicken), I used three colors; black, brown and white for accent. The black and brown fabric is woven rayon, purchased at Fabric Depot but the white is the last piece of linen knit I bought in Capri a little over a year ago (wish I’d bought more!).
The pattern was fun and easy to sew, but the best part was that buzz you get when you play around with fabric combinations, using up a bit of your unwieldy stash in the process! I sewed the pattern as designed with a few slight modifications:
I cut the sleeves a bit longer by adding a inch in the length.
I added a 1” sleeve band to the sleeve for finish.
This was a fun project and I will likely make this pattern again. Next time though, I’ll make it a little shorter. And I swear, my color blocked version will be a bit more adventuresome too. No more ‘safe’ choices for me!(?)
What about you? Do you like to experiment with color blocking? What patterns/colors have you tried?