A Fall Top with Linen and Stripes

IMG_4458We’re in full-on Halloween mode over here (skulls, ravens, you know….the usual). In a typical year, this would mean the season for linen tops would be long past. But in Oregon, our Fall has been extraordinarily warm, a fact that has kept me from moving my summer fabrics into storage.  This top is another remnant make – linen and striped cotton from my stash.   IMG_4489

 

This top is a modified version of Simplicity 8295, a dress or tunic that has alot of options for creating different looks. It has a front panel insert, and you can even add grommets and ties if you’d like.

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I love the shirt details of this top/dress pattern. The long sleeves have cuffs.

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I also like the yoke and back pleat.IMG_4485

Since I used the striped fabric for the insert, I decided to make the sleeves a combination of striped and solid fabric to carry through my theme, and also to make my fabric go further. I also modified the front neck opening. As designed it was cut even lower than my version…I actually raised it by a couple of inches to make it work. I also shortened the tunic length by 3″ .

It’s a really comfortable shirt that makes me feel put together because of the crisp shirt details. Now, I want to try this pattern in the dress length with contrast pockets I think.

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I love wearing this top…maybe linen isn’t just for summer? Medium weight linen has a nice softness that makes it feel almost…cozy. Do you sew with linen all year around?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Remnant Busting Tops Inspired by Anthro

Peplum tops are still in style! I swear it’s true. Just when I thought they were ‘out’, Anthropologie added a category under ‘tops’ called ‘peplums and swing tops’. That’s where I found this inspiring photo.4112368730007_041_b2

What caught my eye was the fact that the bodice fabric did not match the peplum. In fact, it’s not even in the same color family. So easy, and cute! That photo inspired me to dig through my remnant stash.

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This one has a sweatshirt fleece bodice and a cotton jersey sleeve with a rayon jersey peplum. As luck would have it, the black dye used in those two mismatched jerseys was a close match. I used some random black ribbing in my stash for the neck. I managed to squeeze the bodice out of a little over a half yard.

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This off-white version is a ponte knit bodice with a ribbed knit skirt, cuffs and neck. I made it specifically to go under this cardigan sweater (posted here) which matches the boots I bought in Spain this summer. IMG_3682

The pattern is one I’ve made before, Vogue 9056. It’s a pretty quick make ( a couple of hours if you’re comfortable with sewing tops).  I modified it as follows – –

  • Added 4″ in length to the bodice (it’s still pretty cropped),
  • Added a 3″wide neck band at the neck.
  • Added 4 ” ribbed cuffs on the off white version.
  • Raised the neck opening by 2 inches (it was just too wide on me.) IMG_3835

It’s hard to see in all the photos, but an interesting thing happened when I stretched the ribbing to attach the skirt to the off-white ponte knit bodice. It had an interesting effect on the ribbing that makes the stripes look sort of….artsy?  It was an accident but I like how it looks, although I do think I prefer the black version.

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Remnants are something that most sewers have a philosophy about. I have rules about mine. If I have a piece that is 1/2 yard or more when I finish a project, and I really love it, I’ll keep it for one year. If it’s still around at that point, it goes to the donation bin.  I have alot of remnants right now though, so not sure if my rule is working (LOL!!). I’m curious how others manage their remnants – toss or keep?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

Jersey and Fall: Two Variations

There’s nothing like Fall to get the sew-jo going, is there? At this time of year, fabric choices are at their best for me. The color palattes tend to be richer and more intense, which works best with my personal color palatte and there are more knits to choose from too.

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This jersey knit is great to wear, but the print is a bit out of my comfort zone.  For one thing, it has alot (!!) of circles all over it, which makes layout a bit tricky around the chest, if you get my drift. And it’s sort of…busy? But I loved the colors, so in a fit of inspiration, I drove back to Fabric Depot and took the plunge. I’m glad I did, because this print goes so well with the long cardigan I made last Spring (here). This cardigan is not a closet orphan, BTW. I wear it all the time.

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The dress above is simply a lengthened version of this tunic, made from jersey. IMG_3210

This cotton jersey is so fabulous to wear! And I love this Art Gallery print (Fabric Depot).

I’m such a fan of tunics because they’re so easy to throw on with jeans or leggings. When I finished this tunic, I decided I needed another version, pronto, so I lengthened the pattern by 8 inches and made a dress . The pattern is a new favorite: New Look 6435.

I wasn’t attracted to it at first because I don’t like the way it’s made up on the envelope – I’m not a big fan of the print on the bottom/solid color on the top. Somehow though, the pattern came home with me….

The fit was great without any adjustments, always a plus for me. New Look runs a bit big, so I always cut the smallest size. The shoulders fit me perfectly, even though I’m on the narrow side. It’s a fairly loose fit, so there’s a bit of wiggle room, making this an easy-to fit style for most figures. I modified the sleeves on both my dress and tunic by adding a bell cuff.

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Although I love the dramatic look of a big bell cuff, I chose a smaller version here so that the sleeves would fit easily under a cardigan. To add the cuffs, I just cut a seven inch swath of fabric, as wide as 1 1/2 X the width of the sleeve. I seamed it to make a circle, gathered one edge, then inserted it into the sleeves, right sides together.

This was a fast and fun sew and I love a pattern than can have two identities as both a top and a dress. I think this pattern is a winner!

I love how statement sleeves change up a style. But I worry that they’ll go out of fashion quickly and my closet will feel dated. Hmmmm, what do you think of sewing to a trend? Trouble, or true love? Future plans – – I’ve been loving all the denim on the runways this fall, so I’m going to attempt a Maisa jacket (Named clothing) and a Helmi shirt dress to wear with it. Stay tuned! What’s in your queue?

Happy sewing, and thanks for stopping by!

 

Color Blocking and Statement Sleeves

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Is color blocking still a ‘thing’? I hope so, because here I go again. I suppose the good news is that, even if color blocking is clearly ‘out’, the statement sleeves on this dress are clearly ‘in’! I decided to color block this dress when I found a yard of poppy linen and navy linen in my stash, and since my goal for 2017 is to make a huge dent in said stash, I promptly decided to use it.

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This is my second make using New Look 6519 which qualifies this pattern as a true favorite (first is here).  It’s comfortable and classic, and with the addition of the wide ruffle on the sleeve, it feels modern too.

My only modification this time around was to make a very wide ruffled sleeve. I cut a wide (seven inch) piece of linen and made it as long as 11/2 times the diameter of the sleeve opening (version A). I folded it over, gathered it, then sewed it to the sleeve, so quick and easy. With this process, you can add a ruffle to just about anything!

Besides the self tie, I also love the slight v-neck on the back of this dress… so unique.IMG_1670

My only complaint about this dress is, as drafted, it’s a little short.

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I’m only 5’4″ and it’s almost too short on me, so if you’re tall, you might want to add a few inches to the length of the bodice. Other than that, this is an easy make. There are no sleeves to set in, you don’t need a back zipper, so seam it up and you’re good to go.

Does poppy qualify as a fall color? If so,this dress would be my first official Fall make. I think I love it, although I’m not really sure about the Navy/Poppy combination. I added the Navy band and ruffle to this dress to soften the bright poppy color, and I think it does that. However, I wonder if this color combo looks a bit like a uniform? I feel like I should be asking, “Do you want peanuts with your beverage? Thoughts? Would you pair poppy with navy?

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Color choices aside, this dress feels so good because of the weight of this wonderful linen. I know I’ll wear it, no matter what.

I would like to take a minute to thank all of you for the lovely, comforting comments about the loss of my furry buddy, Dustin. It’s been a rough couple of weeks, made easier by the knowledge that I have so many kindred spirits in the sewing community with whom I share much beyond sewing and creating. Thank-you for that!

I also wanted to give a quick shout out to two interesting challenges some of our sewing friends are participating in this month; the Fabric Mart Fabricistas Challenge, and the Pattern Review Sewing Bee. Check them out and cheer our friends to victory!  Also, in other news, the Sewcialist website is up again and they’re hosting a tribute month, another fabulous source of inspiration and fun.

Until next time, happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

My Mini Wardrobe with Indie Patterns

IMG_0340Hi All! Indie Pattern month is winding down over at the Monthly Stitch. The last challenge was to create a mini wardrobe from Indie patterns and I decided it was the perfect motivation to pull out the lovely Indie patterns I’ve been meaning to try, but haven’t. After looking at my patterns and my fabric stash, I decided the theme for my wardrobe would be ‘layers’ and transitions, as I wanted my mini wardrobe to take me from summer to fall.  To make my outfit, I combined the Orsola dress by By Hand London with a Modified Alder Shirtdress by Grainline Studios, and topped it all off with the Sapporo coat by Papercut Patterns.

First up the Orsola dress. I love this design!

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The dress pattern was a dream to sew. The instructions are spot on and the sizing was perfect too. Since this was my first BHL pattern, I wasn’t sure if it would be true to the displayed pattern measurements, but it was, Hooray! The bodice is lined which makes for a nice clean finish on the inside.

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I love the way it wraps in the back.

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I made it from a lightweight cotton print, and lined it with rayon. The drape is really nice in this fabric, but I can imagine it would be perfect in rayon, silk or linen (I’ve already purchased linen for another one.) If you hate darts, beware!!  This pattern has eight! But the good news is there isn’t a zipper, LOL!! One word of caution…you must commit to the length of the dress right away as the hem is faced. I love the detail of the dip in the hem. I think this style would be flattering on anyone!

Next up, is a shortened version of the Alder shirt dress in blue linen. I shortened the pattern so that it would function as a jacket or topper.

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Using the Archer pattern sleeves, I modified by adding a sleeve to the Alder without a cuff so that it would look more like a little jacket ( I rolled them up in this photo as it is so….hot here.) I left off the collar, and used only the collar band. I also took out a little of the fullness in the peplum so that it would be a little less puffy of a silhouette. I love this linen – and I know I’ll wear this new Alder constantly as a topper, or just with my jeans.

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Last, but definitely not least is the Sapporo Coat by Papercut patterns.

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I’ve been eyeing this one for awhlle and IPM was the perfect excuse to jump right in. I made it from linen and lined it with rayon. This pattern is definitely a departure from my usual style, but I love the cocoon shape, a new obsession of mine!

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It’s a very unstructured look, so there is ALOT of ease in this pattern and I do mean a lot. I cut the size XS, and ended up taking in the side seams even more to get it to fit. I love the construction of this coat – the collar is built in and the sleeves are faced so that you can roll up cuffs if you want.

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The pockets are my favorite part of the design and I love the slouchy look they give the coat. Be forewarned though. There’s isn’t a mechanism for shortening the bodice – so I tried a quick muslin to make sure it fit. If you love this style, go for it! The construction of this jacket was really pretty easy! This is my new favorite coat and I know I’ll love it for fall. I might try it again in a wool blend or cotton boucle’.

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Phew!! I’m really glad that Indie Pattern month only comes once a year!  I do a crazy amount of sewing as there is just something about seeing everyone’s makes that just inspires me to jump right in! I’m really glad I tried new patterns this year. I love By Hand London and Paper-cut Patterns and I’m loving the results and the styles. Have you tried their patterns? If so, any recommendations?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

New to Me: a Colette Moneta

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It’s Indie Pattern Month over at the Monthly Stitch, a fun month of challenges designed to acquaint us with the wonderful world of Indie pattern designers. Last week’s challenge was to make a pattern from a company that was ‘New To Me’. I picked Colette patterns, a company based in my home town, Portland, and made their popular pattern, the Moneta dress.  And lucky me, my ‘make’ qualifed me as a finalist in this week’s competition! Voting is now on the Monthly Stitch and I’d love to have your vote!

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This is a fabulous pattern, and I can see why it’s been so popular in the sewing community. I’m not sure why I never made it before….I’ll be making it again and again. I used a cotton jersey knit and added a contrast collar, sleeve bindings and pockets. It came together easily, and my full review can be found on the Monthly Stitch website. The good news about this pattern is that Colette includes lots of collar options on their website so that you can make many fun versions.  It’s really a keeper.

If you’re new to the Monthly Stitch, it’s worth checking out. It’s a great community and every month brings a new challenge. It’s a fun way to get inspired to do something new and to make sewing friends.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

Black and White Polka Dots…so french!

IMG_9046 2I’ve been obsessed with shirt dresses this Spring because as dresses go, they have so many advantages! For one thing, the front opening makes them ideal to let in air on a hot day.

IMG_8872 2Also, they’re so versatile. You can add a pair of leggings /pants under them for a completely different look.

 

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My latest shirt dress is made from a lightweight rayon that drapes beautifully. I fell hard for it…a black batik print with little white dots on it (Fabric Depot). The batik process makes the dots uneven in places which gives the look a bit of an edge. And what’s not to like about black and white polka dots? They’re so french!

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I used my new favorite shirt dress pattern for this make, McCall’s 7351, also made here. I’m a big fan of the design details of this pattern including the high low hem, the french darts and the forward shoulder seams. I made a few modifications to this version; 

  • I eliminated the collar and added a v-neck opening, then drafted a facing for the neck.
  • The sleeves are ruched with a three inch piece of elastic.
  • I made a long tie from the fabric that is long enough to wrap twice around my waist. I prefer to wear a single wrap tie belt most of the time with really long ends. But on a busy day, the long tie can get in the way. In that case, I can double wrap the belt which make the ends shorter.

 

I think I’ll wear this dress alot, as it’s easy to dress up or down. I know when the temperatures drop again, I can slip it over leggings too, even though I might get a few strange looks when I do. What about you? Are you a fan of shirt dresses over pants/leggings?

I’m back from my trip and what a fabulous trip it was!! I found beautiful fabric stores in Lisbon, Evora, Porto and Barcelona. If only I’d had a bigger suitcase (and budget, LOL). I purchased a few lovely fabrics, most of them in Barcelona; some japanese cotton,rayon challis, tencel, double sided gingham gauze, an embrodiered cotton, and a lovely plaid linen.

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Yes, I love to travel, but it is good to be back to my sewing machine. Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

Chambray, Lace and Pom-Pom Trim?

IMG_6494 3Chambray, lace and pom-pom trim… a funny combination I didn’t plan, but somehow, it happened.

If you think this new dress looks alot like the linen dress I made last spring you would be right. I loved that dress and wore it constantly until a trip to a hotel laundry shortened it to scandal level. I was so bummed! After a period of mourning, I accepted the fact that I’d have to replace it, and that’s how this dress came to be.

IMG_6385 I rarely buy fabric on-line, preferring to support the local stores, but when I saw this fabric on Fabric.com, it leaped into my shopping bag. The combination of chambray and lace would have had me, but then you add the blue….gotta have it! When the fabric arrived, I knew it was perfect for a simple shift dress, because the lace border was perfect to take center stage.

IMG_6354  Enter Mccalls 7532, a new pattern this spring that has a decidedly low key, boho vibe.

I love the swingy shape, the statement sleeves and the v-neck, a detail that begged for the pom-pom trim I had stashed away.

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The pattern went together easily, and the instructions were great, but I did make some changes. The skirt of this pattern is really swingy… and since my fabric was cotton chambray, it didn’t really have the right drape for the amount of ease in this pattern. So, I pulled in the side seams a bit to compensate. Trust me, I took out alot of that swing, and still had plenty of room, so you might want to size down. There’s alot of ease in the skirt that would likely work best with a crepe or a silk, or rayon challis, all recommended by McCalls.

I also modified the sleeves a bit. When I cut them as designed, it was clear to me that I would never be able to go out to dinner without knocking over a wine glass with that ruffle.  It’s true that my beverage of choice, white wine, doesn’t stain like red, but who wants to test that theory? To make the sleeves a bit more wearable, I shortened them by 3 inches and reduced the ruffle width by an inch and a half. That cost me a bit of ‘drama’ but I gained a dress I will wear.

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Do I love this dress more than last year’s linen/lace combo? No, but I’ve decided it’s not a comparison I have to make. This dress is cool for different reasons. It’s comfortable, the lace is gorgeous, and it will be the perfect travel companion for my trip to Spain. I love swing dresses so much, I already have another version in the works from a lighter weight fabric. It will be interesting to see how a different fabric changes the character of the dress.

I added the outside photos to this post just today, as the weather here is finally worthy of cottons, linens and silks. Yay! The only downside of beautiful weather is that I accomplish very little because I just want to play, play, play! Oh well. There’s always tomorrow when (sigh) it will probably rain.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

A Moto Jacket, part of a..capsule wardrobe?!?

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When Pattern Review announced their Wardrobe Sudoku Contest, I said, Never!  10 garments in two months that all have to coordinate with each other and shoes and accessories? Too mind-boggling for me. So I told myself I’d play along and use only fabric from my stash.

Well, the phrase, ‘never say never’ now clearly applies to me. I suppose my reluctance to join the fun had to do with the fact that I throw a hissy-fit whenever someone suggests I might sew with a plan (SWAP). I prefer to sew on a whim! But I’ve also secretly envied those who have used their sewing skills to achieve their dream capsule wardrobe too, which is basically what the Sudoku Challenge is all about.

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Here’s my completed Sudoku wardrobe.

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The grid shows ten combinations that work together, but the truth is, there are many, many more. The Mimi G jacket is one of the key pieces because it goes with everything, so it’s an accessory on the grid. I’ve wanted to sew this jacket for a long time. It’s a cool girl thing, you know? And this one is designed by Mimi G, no less! Definitely on my sewing bucket list, but it took this contest to get me to push through.

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I’ll wear it open, closed, over jeans, skirts and dresses. Here it is with other pieces in my Sudoku wardrobe.

The pattern; Simplicity 8174 is cute, but it’s not an easy make, to say the least. It’s a well designed pattern, but very complicated. It has a side zipper, back shoulder insets, epaulets, a waistband with carrier and belt detail, and inset zippered pockets, and it’s lined. There are lots of pattern pieces to manage, but once I got them labeled clearly, things started to work better. Here’s a shot of the back waistband, and the back shoulder panels. Cool details, eh?IMG_5094 2

I used brushed twill from my stash and cut my usual size, comparing my measurements to those on the envelope. It turned out to be perfect! Challenges….Construction took awhile, and required my full concentration. For me, the shoulder panels were the most frustrating part. They’re faced with another piece of fabric which gives them stiffness and makes them look cool when they’re top stitched. But, I found the instructions confusing. Mimi G’s video on U tube saved the day. In fact, I used it constantly through the process. It really helped, although I did find a few challenges even with that. She constantly says, do the same thing to the other side. That works for everything but the front bodice which has a right and left side.  In error, I applied the facings to both sides, but in reality, you have to wait on the left side until later in the process so that you can insert the front angled zipper correctly. So, I had a few stitches to rip out.

I did cheat on the belt carriers on the top epaulets and on the waist band. I could not get my thick fabric to turn, so I just winged it, making carriers without turning them.  My fingers were grateful.

This complex pattern had so many twists and turns, I had to turn off my new binge-watching obsession, Bloodline, so that I could concentrate. It was worth it though. I know this jacket will get worn alot, a key piece in my spring wardrobe.

Check out the contest over on Pattern Review.com for some great inspiration. I just love seeing how everyone puts together a wardrobe, and many are only using their stash like me. One of my favorite wardrobes is Elizabeth’s of Elizabeth Made This, so inspiring! Check out her fabulous makes on her blog.

My wardrobe is done and posted now,(my denim ruffled skirt is one item) and it feels good to have it behind me. Over the next few days, I’ll do some posts on my other makes, including two statement sleeve tops, a safari jacket, an alder shirt dress and a long blue cardigan. I stayed with blues and neutrals, which seems to be all I have in my stash these days!

Will I always sew with a plan? I doubt it….no new leaf being turned over here. How about you? Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!!

A Ruffle Skirt and Cold Shoulder Top

IMG_3737 2If you told me a year ago that I would be sewing a ruffle wrap skirt in denim for Spring, I would have laughed out loud. Ruffles have never been my thing. But if you show me enough of a trend, I am usually happy to hop on board!

Such is the case with this skirt.  I couldn’t resist modifying a simple skirt pattern to mimic some of the ready to wear ruffled gems I’ve been seeing around town.

IMG_3751In this photo, I am noticing that my bootie is unzipped. So ridiculous (!), but I had to include this shot because the ruffles on the front of the skirt are so easy to see. Honestly, this modification was easy. I measured the front edge of the right front of the skirt. I made my ruffle 1 and a half times that length (to allow for gathering), and 6″wide. I love how a simple modification can completely change the look of a pattern.

This skirt is Simplicity 1322. It’s meant to be a mock wrap with a front and back yoke and back zipper. But I made it into a real wrap skirt be eliminating the yokes and cutting a waistband and tie instead. I used  a lightweight denim; a cotton/linen blend. It’s been in my stash for so long, I have no idea where I bought it.

IMG_3771I’m happy with this skirt, but I’m not sure about the length. I might need to shorten it a couple of inches? Opinions? I won’t wear this with tights when it warms up around here and it might look more Springy if it’s a bit shorter?

This cold shoulder top (another trend I have happily embraced) is my first Style Arc Pattern. I wanted a basic top I could wear with anything, so I chose black ponte knit with moderate stretch and lots of body. This fabric was perfect to support the shape of the cut out shoulders.

IMG_3747I’d heard that Style Arc patterns are challenging because there are very few instructions. In the case of this pattern, the instructions were sparse (less than one page), but the instructions were enough to get the job done. There aren’t any facings to deal with on this top. The neck is finished with a turned edge as are the shoulder cut outs, so there just isn’t that much to say! It fit perfectly without modification, a rarity for me, so I’m fairly impressed with this pattern!

 

I’m more comfortable wearing ruffles when they’re paired with something that is simple and not so fussy, like this top. So, I imagine I’ll wear this skirt with simple knit tops most of the time.

IMG_3741I’m pretty happy with this make, and it was a stash buster too. What do you think of the ruffle trend? Thumbs up or down? And do you have any Style Arc Tried and True’s that I should try?

I hope it’s warm and sunny where you are, because it definitely isn’t here, which is not great for my Spring Sew-Jo. Nevertheless, there is a silver lining to the weather. Rain is a perfect excuse to ignore my yard and sew…. Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!