McCall’s 7542 times two: Bubble and Tulip Sleeves

Hi all! I meant to post this earlier this week, but a horrid stomach virus took me out of action. According to my doc, it’s extremely contagious, but the good news? You can’t catch it by reading my blog :).

Spring hasn’t exactly sprung here, but I continue to sew as if it has! These two versions of McCalls 7542 are my attempt to lighten the mood in my closet by adding some more statement sleeves. It is one of the hottest trends around, probably because they are pretty fun to wear! You just have to believe warm weather is on it’s way when you’re wearing something this fun.

Bubble sleeves are how version one is described.IMG_5297Okay, I’d never heard this term, so I googled it, and was amazed at the varied interpretations of the word, ‘bubble’. The bubble look is made by simple gathering. After you’ve gathered the sleeve, it’s turned up to the outside to make the little ruffle where it attaches to the elbow of the main sleeve. It isn’t hard at all, and it’s a great way to take an ordinary sleeve to something special.

 

IMG_5324For fabric, I used a cotton shirting from Fabric Depot, and a remnant of rayon that I found on the sale rack there. Of course I love them both because they’re blue :), but they are also dreamy to sew with. The cotton shirting is crisp, but not too heavy, and feels as good as silk to wear! I wish I’d bought more of this!

My second version is with tulip sleeves.IMG_5386I made this version out of cotton double gauze from Fabric Depot and I love the way it drapes. The tulip sleeves are created by two pieces that overlap before you insert the sleeves into the bodice. It isn’t tricky or hard. These sleeves need to hang softly, so a cotton that was stiff or heavy probably wouldn’t work. I could imagine these sleeves would be fabulous out of rayon or silk or crepe. In fact, I just might have to try this again out of one of those yummy fabrics!

McCalls 7542 was easy and fun to sew.

The instructions are great, and I was happy that it fit without any modifications. I just made the size that I usually do in McCalls patterns. I made the longer version both times. I’m short waisted, but the cropped version was even a bit too short for me, and I wanted to be able to tuck them into my ruffled wrap skirt.  This pattern is a pretty quick sew because it doesn’t have a back zipper. The back opening is just finished with a hook/eye. I made it in a Saturday afternoon!

Both versions are part of my capsule wardrobe.

 

M7542 is going to be a TNT pattern for me, and I love how many options you get with this one purchase. I’m definitely a fan of the statement sleeve trend, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t end up making all of these options!

My only ‘issue’ with these ‘makes’ is that on my second version, the tulip sleeves fall open all the time.  Even though the pattern instructions don’t tell you to stitch the two overlapping pieces of the sleeve together, I’m tempted. But then, the drape-y look might be ruined…What to do? Opinions welcome…

McCalls Pattern Company is having a #M7542 Contest to see who can make the best version of this pattern! How fun is that? There are even prizes. I just might have to enter:).

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Stash Buster: Simplicity 1377

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Hi all …As most of you know, one of my goals for 2017 is to reduce the size of my huge (re: out -of-control) stash. To that end, I’ve produced my own Little Black Book, a three-ring binder that holds my catalog of fabrics.

Yes, it’s a bargain basement binder, but it holds the key to my heart…a record of my glorious, but soon to be significantly reduced, supply of fabrics. My method of recording is simple…I just take a snip of the fabric, note the amount I have and whether or not the fabric is woven or stretch, and what ‘bin’ it’s located in (big plastic containers I purchased at Target). I track all fabric that is at least a yard or more. Smaller pieces make it into the notebook if they are unique (sequins, silk, feathers, LACE….!).

Some fabrics stay in their bin for a long time….the longer the stay, the more special they become! This particular fabric lived in my stash for a couple of years before my mind could find something suitable for its vibrant turquoise.

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There were two barriers to making this fabric into something special – – It’s a substantial flannel, the sort of fabric that doesn’t know what the word ‘drape’ means and — – my piece was a yard and a quarter (11/4); not enough for the usual flannel styles like a button up shirt  or a style with long sleeves. (Side note: My stash is overflowing with small pieces like this…remnants from other projects, or small pieces I picked up on sale..too little for most things, but too much to toss!)

Simplicity 1377 was the solution.

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This simple pattern is one I’ve used before. It has a front and back bodice, two neck facings, and short sleeves with drop shoulders. Because I’m only 5’4″, I don’t need much length in the bodice, so I was able to cut this top as well as a pocket and sleeve tabs from my small piece of fabric.

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Pattern Modifications (Simplicity 1377:

  • My version uses the neckline of view D and the sleeves of View E.
  • The short sleeves in view E have been lengthened by 2 inches (roll-up length).
  • I added self drafted button-up sleeve tabs.

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  • I self drafted a 5 inch square pocket to the bodice front and trimmed it with fringe from the fabric selvage.

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  • I used extra fabric to draft a tie belt.
  • I added a side vent to the hem line.

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March is a chilly month here in Oregon, and I know I’ll enjoy this warm flannel shirt with tee under it for weeks to come, and then in a few weeks (I hope) without a tee under it. Unfortunately, cozy is still an important word here, and I’ll be wearing my heavier clothes off and on for the next few months.

I love my new top!

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It’s comfy and colorful with an added bonus – – it was a Stash-Buster. I  got to pull another swatch out of my Little Black Book!

How do you manage your stash? Do you catalog it formally, or are you more relaxed about the process? And what about my fascination with collecting (hoarding) small pieces of fabric? What do you do with your one-yard wonders?

Happy Sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

DIY Date Night Dress

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After I made a swing dress for the Day and Night Dress Challenge, I knew there would be another in my future. What is it that makes a swing dress so fun to wear?!? For me, it’s the way the skirt moves. It’s not quite ‘twirl-worthy’, but fun just the same.

This dress is another attempt to fill in a hole in my wardrobe. The ‘dress up’ category is woefully lacking. So, now I have another ‘date night’ outfit and I used up some of my stash too! This fabric is so yummy; a black ponte knit that’s embellished with a  silvery rose lace pattern. I knew it was destined to be used in a garment that had simple lines so that the interesting fabric could take center stage.

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I do like to combine laces and patterns and textures from time to time just for the fun of it, so I enjoyed mixing and matching laces here. I used a very airy lace from my stash for the yoke and sleeves, then a silver embroaidered lace for one of the contrasting yoke bands. I also added a yoke band of solid velvet to add some contrast to all of the patterns and textures in the lace.

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This dress is a mash-up of a couple of different patterns, Vogue 8817 for the yoke and contrasting yoke bands, and Vogue 8952 (view B) for the swingy bodice. The reason I used two patterns is that I know that the bodice of Vogue 8817 has too much volume for my frame, so I used the bodice of 8952 to draft my a-line bodice.

I did a bit of the high-low thing on the hem to give it a bit more swing. I also lined the bodice with stretch satin so that it won’t cling to my legs. For even more contrast, I made very narrow velvet cuffs for the sleeves.

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I love the fun, flirty shape of this dress. It isn’t too serious, if you know what I mean. Lots of party dresses are a bit too fussy for me, but this one is simple enough to let me be free to party!

I’ll say one thing though. That yellow cat better not think he can lay on it. Those claws would absolutely destroy it.

img_2214Okay, I might be finished with swing dresses for a bit now :). My only concern with this dress is that I might have overdone it here a bit with the lace mash-up. I’ll probably wear it all the time anyway!

I’ve been eyeing my closet, and evaluating. I realize now that some of my makes from a couple of years ago aren’t getting worn enough to justify the space they take in my closet. Some of the fabrics are lovely though, so I might give refashioning a try, although I’ve very little experience doing this. Have you refashioned older makes to keep that fabric in your life? How have you gone about that?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

A Tale of Two Toaster Sweaters

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Hi all – – My photos were taken indoors again because of this!img_1525-2Yes, that’s about a foot of snow. In Oregon, this much snow is an event! No one tries to drive and many of my neighbors just shut themselves in. Some folks freak out, and long for it all to end. But, I love this weather. It’s perfect for skiing around the neighborhood, baking cookies and sewing Toaster Sweaters.img_1768-2The Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater pattern comes with two versions,

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Version #1 screamed color blocking to me. The sleeve bands, collar and lower band are great details that make using contrasting fabrics so simple.

img_1652 I cut the sleeves from leftover ponte from my day dress (Day and Night Dress challenge) as well as the collar and hem band. It’s my plan this year to use leftover fabric right away.The bodice was cut from a remnant I picked up at Fabric Depot, a cozy thick cotton knit.

Version #1 went together nicely. The cropped  length is just about right for me, but I’m only 5’4″. If you’re taller, you might want to add a few inches in the length. I made one modification to the pattern. I shortened the collar by 1. I’m really glad I did because otherwise, that collar would have hit me at the chin which would have annoyed me to no end.

img_1704It’s a pretty easy sew and the instructions are great. My ponte knit had very little stretch though, and the pattern calls for 20% stretch. Next time I make it (and there will be a next time…), I’ll use a knit with a bit more give. That way the bottom band won’t be quite so snug. I love this cozy look, and can imagine making it again out of a furry knit, like the one on the pattern envelope.

Version #2 went together in less than two hours…(almost) instant gratification! The sweater knit came from the Mill End Store.

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I like the boxy shape of this top, and the easy look of the high low hem. It’s pretty fitted through the shoulders and in the sleeves, so it doesn’t overwhelm my small frame like some boxy shapes do. I like how it widens gradually to the hem, giving it a swingy shape. It has a funnel neck, mitered side vents and a hi-low hem.

img_1792This is an easy sweater to sew. Honestly, you can do this while you’re binge watching Game of Thrones. The funnel neck is actually cut as part of the bodice, so there’s nothing too tricky there. One warning though; This top is the perfect length for me (a shrimp) so if you’re worried about the top being too cropped, you might want to add a few inches. Next time, I might make it a bit longer so that I can wear it over leggings.

I think this pattern is destined for tried and true status. I plan on making more – a longer version of #2 and a cozier knit for version #1. This is my first Sew House Seven pattern, and I must say, I was impressed. Have you tried their patterns before? Any recommendations?

In spite of the snow, my winter sewing is starting to taper off now, making room for Spring projects. How about you?

Happy Sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Butterick 5526- One pattern, three versions

There’s nothing like a sewing contest to inspire you to explore the long forgotten bins in your fabric stash! That’s where I found these cottons. They were perfect for my entry into Pattern Review’s ‘One Pattern, Many Ways’ contest. As I result, my stash is considerably smaller, and let me tell you, it feels great!

For my entry, I chose to make three versions of Butterick 5526, a button down shirt with variations. It’s a tried and true pattern for me (see it here).

In the past, making three frocks with button closures in four weeks would have driven me to drink. Why? Because I hate to sew buttons on by hand. Please, just shoot me instead.

Then, during a unplanned visit to Modern Domestic (Bernina and Fabric heaven, here in Portland), I discovered the Bernina button attachment (#18), a nifty gaget that does it for you in about five seconds (I am not exaggerating here). I begged Santa for it, and he delivered. Seriously, that attachment was a game changer. Bring on those buttons!

My shirt dress version was inspired by a Burberry shirt dress with a big bold plaid.

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No, I could not find that fabric anywhere, so I settled for this (Mill End Store).

img_0001To make my shirt into a dress, I just added seven inches to the length. Because the dress is very unstructured, I will wear it with a belt made from leftover pleather. I also added sleeve tabs so that I can roll up the sleeves when the weather is warm.

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Version two is a lacy top that I wanted to look a bit ‘boho’.

img_9921To make the top look less tailored and more relaxed, I eliminated the collar and cuffs, and added lace sleeves and trim. To add the lace to the bottom of the shirt, I cropped it at the waist, then added a swath of left over lace to the bottom, hemmed with a machine stitch.

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The fabric is embroidered linen (such a rare find around here), and it is so soft and comfortable to wear. I’ll likely pair this shirt this winter with a long cardi-vest. The linen was very fussy, and I was glad I had a serger to finish the frayed edges of this fabric. My only complaint about this version of the shirt is the pocket placement. It’s a bit high for me?

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My ‘kite’ version is just a straight version of view C. Nothing too challenging here, except for the linear pattern of the kites. They made the fabric layout surprisingly difficult, but they are worth it. Of course,  I LOVE this fabric. So many shades of  BLUE, and it was a joy to work with. There’s nothing like a crisp, cool cotton to make your sewing machine sing.

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So, that’s my quota of button down shirts for the next year. Because I’ve been a good girl and sewn three projects from my fabric stash, don’t you think I deserve to go fabric shopping? So far, I’m satisfied with my new stash elimination policy – – I must sew two projects from my stash for every new fabric purchase. I’m determined to make a dent in it!

I hope you’ll pop on over to Pattern Review to see all of the great makes in the contest. It’s so fun to see how you can take one pattern and make it something new. Do you have a favorite sewing pattern that you use over and over again?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

A wrap jumper or a pinafore?

 

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When I think Fall, I think, it’s ‘jumper’ weather! To me, a jumper is a sleeveless dress that’s meant to be worn over a shirt or blouse. But to my UK friends, ‘jumper’ means a sweater. Maybe, it’s less confusing to call my new make ‘a wrap dress that I am wearing over a shirt’.

This dress is one of my favorite styles because it’s wrapped. To me ‘wrap’ means comfortable, but what I really love about the style is that it’s so flattering. A wrap dress is considered to be perfect for any figure type because it defines your waist (especially nice for those of us who don’t have a waist). Wrap styles are perfect at any age, and you can wear them dressed up or dressed down.

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My sleeveless wrap dress is McCall’s 6884.

The bodice of my ‘jumper’ is view B (without the gathered front), and the sleeves are view D. I eliminated the tie and made a mock closer with three buttons, arranged assymetrically across the wrap.The fabric is black ponte knit that has moderate stretch from my stash.

Under my jumper, I’m wearing a new button-down shirt, Butterick 5526.

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This pattern in a new favorite. I made View D, but used the sleeve tabs from View A for the days when long sleeves are just too much. I chose View D because it has princess seams which makes the fit perfectly tapered. This makes the shirt easy to wear either loose, or tucked in.The fit of this pattern seems a bit snug to me through the waist, so I cut a size up from my usual.

As fitted shirts go, this pattern is pretty straightforward, and the instructions are great. But, it did take a bit of time to complete. From cut to finish, this project clocked in at four and half hours. (BTW, I finished the seams with my serger rather than constructing french seams. If you’re going to do that, add another hour (LOL).

Princess seams are my FAVORITE. Who can resist that tapered shape? The fabric I used is 100% cotton that I found in the quilting department of Joann’s. Honestly, there are bargains to be had there! I paid $5.99 a yard for this perfect pring. The colors go with everything in my closet.

A friend who is very ‘fashion forward’ wears her wrap jumper open as a long vest. Yes, I love to throw long vests over everything, so thought I’d give it a try, but I’m not sure….

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Hmmm, probably not….? 

Here’s to Fall fashion; to jumpers and skirt and coats…all my favorite things to sew! What would you call this make; a jumper, a pinafore, or a sleeveless dress?  Would you ever wear it open as a vest?

Happy sewing, and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

Butterick 6378: Two tie neck tops

IMG_6452Sometimes, you make one version of a pattern, and you love it so much, you rush have to make another.

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It wasn’t just the versatility of the pattern that inspired me to sew two (2) versions, it was envy too. When I saw these versions in ready to wear, I had to have one (or two) for myself.

Version 1 is by Sea, and version two is Chloe. You can wear either one with the tie ‘tied’, or not, depending on your mood and it still works!

 

This pattern is part of Butterick’s fall collection. It offers several options, a narrow tie collar, and a broader tie that’s incorporated into the neckline.

Because the tops slip over your head, they’re easier than some to sew. But as usual, the devil is in the details. I found the two collar options to be quite different to sew.

The bow collar on this version is part of the neck line finish. It’s only two pieces which are sewed onto the collar opening….so easy!!! It becomes the facing and the collar – – so efficient. This version is made from a very stubborn rayon, that was a bit tricky to sew, but feels great to wear.IMG_6640

The fabric was very ‘shifty’. This version is ‘as designed’ with one modification. I eliminated the elastic on the sleeves and added a self-drafted 3″ cuff.

Version two is the narrow tie option. I made this out of a yummy rayon (fabric depot.com).

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This version (shown here with my jeans skirt) was a bit trickier to sew because there is a narrow collar that is sewn on after you insert the narrow ties. Narrow ties are hard to turn, for one thing (an understatement. My finger tips will never be the same). Then, the ties have to be placed just ‘so’ before you attach the teeny-tiny collar. Sure, it’s not impossible to get it right, but you need a bit of patience :).

I love both versions and can imagine making antoher in silk with, maybe….Hmmm….bell sleeves?!? I am not done with that look yet! Anyway, I’m giving this pattern a thumbs up. It’s a great transion look, I think, a nice bridge between the seasons, and if I could find some great fabric like the Chloe or Sea versions, I’d be all over making version number three.

Long sleeves….I think that makes this a ‘Fall’ project, even though the temperature is in the mid-90s here! Have you started your Fall sewing yet?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Simplicity 1318 Kimono Love

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Hi all! I’m back from my travels, and, I’m happy to report, my travel wardrobe was put to good use. I’m now a big fan of the Danube, and my travels there were relaxing but inspirational too. So many of the communities along its shore have a rich history of handmade garments. Everywhere I looked there was something beautiful to see and enjoy.

In fact, a garment I spotted on the trip prompted the title for this week’s post: Kimono Love. This is a handmande child’s kimono from Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (if you have a chance to visit this extraordinary museum, take it.) I could have stared at this all day.

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Another favorite:

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And here’s mine. Ha, not quite in the same league, but we do what we can!

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For this kimono, I used Simplicity 1318, a tried and true pattern I’ve made before (here) that’s so easy to sew!

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Because I knew it was a sure thing, I splurged and used silk. It’s a fabulous piece I found at Fabric Depot last Spring (gone now, sigh). For the front band, I used a silk in a solid contrasting gray. This is an unlined pattern, so I finished all the seams with my serger, but it would be lovely with french seams too.

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This kimono is a breeze to sew because the pattern has very few pieces. The style is loose and unstructured, so you don’t have to fuss with fit issues. The best fabrics for this are wovens with great drape, like this silk. Last summer, I made it from a sheer cotton which worked almost as well. I think a lightweight rayon would be great too, but really! Splurge and buy some silk! It’s so fabulous to wear and you deserve it :). I did prewash this silk, by the way, on the gentle cycle with some deteregent meant for lingerie. This made the fabric less slippery, and easier to cut and sew.

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I love the shape of this kimono and the high-low hem. This pattern must be a favorite of many of you, because it was one of the best loved patterns on Pattern Review for 2015.If you have a chance, take a look at the versions posted there. There are so many beauties! You’ll be glad you did.

My trip was fabulous, a much needed break, and I enjoyed the time I spent ‘unplugged’. But I missed visiting your blogs and chatting with all of you about your makes. I’ll be perusing all of your websites, catching up on things this week. I can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.

Having a 70’s Moment: Denim Button-up Skirt

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Hi all!  In anticipation of summer travels, I’ve been sewing up a storm! I’ve also been aware of a huge gap in my me-made separates wardrobe that must be fixed before I travel. I have very few skirts and almost no pants. My recently completed jeans helped to fill the gap, but I still need skirts, and, as luck would have it, there’s a skirt competition this month at Pattern Review, the perfect motivation!

Being a fan of denim and blue, I couldn’t resist giving a jeans skirt a go. The pattern I chose was Mc Call’s 7392, a fitted skirt with a waistband, a front band, button closure, side front and back seams, and optional pockets and carriers.

I love the design of this skirt. The front and back ‘princess’ seams make ‘fit’ a breeze and the  a-line shape and front button closure are so seventies. To satisfy my craving for ‘jean skirt’, I added some additional details like front pockets and contrast topstitching.The pattern instructions were easy to follow.

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My only criticism….I disliked the way the carriers are attached. They are basted to the waistband, then sewn into the waistband seam. If you want to topstitch that waistband, you can’t because the carriers are in the way. So disappointing. Next time, I will sew the carriers on the way you do with jeans. I’ll just turn the ends under and stitch them in place outside the waistband. Because this pattern has princess seams, I found it easy to modify it to fit my shape. This gets a big ‘thumbs up’ from me, since I have a wide waist that’s out of proportion to the rest of me.

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Fabric Used: I used dark denim, so hard to find but available at Fabric Depot.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I double topstitched everything. I modified the patterns back pockets and side front pockets.

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Since I’m not a fan of side front pockets as I think they make my waist look shapeless, I used the back pockets as a template for two smaller front pockets, which I sewed in place, patch style. To get the smaller size for those pockets, I just traced the back pocket and reduced the size by 5/8 inch all around. I topstitched each pocket and added a chevron style ‘V’ for fun. I hesitated when it was time to put the back pockets on, as I wondered if four pockets on one skirt would be overkill, but the truth is, I love pockets! So I added them.

To make the topstitching look sharp, I double threaded my needle with regular thread. Some might prefer topstitching thread, but my machine doesn’t like it, so double threading gave visual dimension to the topstitch without clogging my machine. I also topstitched the carriers and the waistband seams, even though the pattern didn’t call for them. For a jeans skirt vibe, I used  jeans buttons in an antique finish that you pound in place with a hammer. So satisfying! The button holes were made using the contrast thread.

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In summary, I do like this pattern and will likely sew it again. IMG_3133 (1)

With its many seams, this pattern is easy to modify for fit, and to add your own personal touch. The cut is ‘a-line’ but not too wide at the bottom, so hard to find in a skirt pattern. It definitely satisfied my urge for a seventies style denim button-up skirt. I’ll probably try this pattern again with other dense fabrics like wool or corduroy come fall

I’m curious if others have trouble using topstitching thread? Does it clog your machine? I would love to be able to use it and know there must be a trick that I just haven’t yet discovered.

It’s still cold here, but I remain optimistic and am sewing with linens and cottons…Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.

Sew the look: Denim and Lace

 

 

IMG_0950My summer travel wardrobe is starting to take shape. I’m determined to pack efficiently, but this will be tricky. The trip includes a Danube River cruise and some evenings will be dress-up events. Of course, jeans are my go-to wardrobe staple, but they’re probably not ‘cruise-appropriate’ (LOL), so I’m sewing some separates that will dress-up with the right shoes and jewelry.

These two pieces; a lacy top and Denim pencil skirt will mix and match with other pieces in my wardrobe. I think both can be dressed up or down, as the mood strikes. Lace and denim are both having a fashion moment, so I love the fact that these pieces are comfy, versatile and a perhaps a bit trendy too.

IMG_0938The top is another version of McCall’s 7285, a semi-fitted pullover top that’s so easy and fast.This pattern is so well-written and designed, it’s becoming a tried and true for me.

I love the bell-sleeves and the hi-lo hem. You can make this top in an afternoon, which makes it perfect for summer sewing. This time, I used a light weight rayon from Fabric Depot for the bodice and added some black lace to the sleeves. I finished the seams with my serger. The top is so comfortable to wear, I feel like I’m in my pajamas!! I’m hoping the lace gives it a bit of a ‘dressed-up’ vibe. What do you think?

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The skirt has a simple pencil style. It’s Butterick 5760, (OOP) a 2012 lifestyle wardrobe piece that has a waist band, a back zipper and slit.

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The pattern is so simple and basic,  you could embellish it easily with pockets. I wanted to do that but didn’t have quite enough fabric (I am my own worst enemy, it seems!) and when I went back to the fabric store for more, there was none to be had. Yes, I am short, but I must learn that a skirt takes at least a YARD AND A HALF, not a yard. The fabric is a denim cotton blend with some lycra (from Fabric Depot) which makes it comfortable enough for travel.

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This photo is kind of dark, but I just had to show you how lush and green things are right now in Portland Oregon. Yes, we have a lot of rain, but this is the end result…almost worth it?!?

Both the skirt and top are so easy! As the weather improves, I am all about fast and easy sewing. What do you think? Is my top dressy enough for a cruise? Not sure about the skirt…..?

Me-Made-May is in full swing and I love seeing everyone’s posts on Instagram. Although I haven’t been very good about posting photos, I’ve been trying to wear me-made every day, but have found it difficult because I don’t have my jeans finished. I’m hemming them this weekend, and hope to have them to share with you soon. The class was so inspiring, I suspect I’ll become a jeans making machine this summer.

Happy Spring sewing and thanks for stopping by!