A White Shirt and Jeans: Classics Recharged

IMG_5707I’m such a fan of wearing classics – jeans, button-down shirts, tee shirts to name a few, so it’s always fun when you see an updated classic that brings something new to the game.

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When I saw this white Vince Camuto shirt in the Nordstrom catalog, I just had to make a DIY version. It’s a classic redefined with bell sleeves. I love this version except for one thing. The Vince sleeves are a bit too long for me. They’d end up in my soup. So my DIY sleeves are a little shorter.IMG_5635

For the shirt, I used a tried and true pattern, Butterick 5526 (made here) and modified the sleeves. This shirt is one of my favorites because it has princess seams and fits well. 5526

I used a linen/cotton blend from Fabric Depot. It has just the right amount of body to support my bell sleeves. To make the bell, I used the bell off of another pattern, Butterick 6456 (made here). It was just my luck that the top of the bell sleeve on that pattern fit the shirt sleeve of B5526 perfectly! If it hadn’t, I would have tapered it slightly to make it fit.

IMG_5691 My jeans were inspired by the Nordstrom catalog too. I used the  Jalie Jeans pattern for my DIY version, and used stretch denim from Modern Domestic, one of the awesome fabric stores here in Portland. This is my second pair of Jalie’s so they went together without too much struggle. I did forget how to do the front pockets though. So I referred to a great tutorial on this blog, Jillie Be Joyful. It was so helpful! I kept the design on back pocket pretty simple this time.

IMG_5722 2To make the jeans straight legged, I tapered the pattern’s legs by using a ready to wear pair that I love to guide me. For a little variety, I added some of the raw jeans salvage to the hem as a border. It’s a popular look in ready to wear so I couldn’t resist giving it a try.

I like the fit of these jeans, but I’m a bit frustrated with the knees. As I took these photos, wrinkles started to appear. Grrr. I might make a pair of legging jeans next (maybe Mimi G’s version?) to see if that works better in the knees.

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DIY jeans are fun when you’re a top stitching maniac like me. I’m determined to get a pair with perfect fit though, so I’m considering ‘rubbing’ a favorite RTW pair to copy them. Have any of you ever tried that? Does it work? How about legging jeans? Do you have a favorite pattern?

Happy Spring sewing and thanks for stopping by!

Shift dress: Then and Now

I must be watching too many Mad Men reruns, because this week, I found myself crafting my very own shift dress!

And I’m not the first person to want this look. Audrey did.AHepburn21_V_18Nov11_rex_b_426x639

Twiggy did.Twiggy-201x300

Jean Shrimpton did too.JShrimpton3_V_23jan12_pa_b_426x639

Pretty good company, if I had to say. It’s a timeless shape and the look is easily modified with a belt, or a bit of bling. The look became popular in the sixties when Audrey Hepburn wore a black one designed by Givenchy in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

This week, I made my own shift dress out of a woven fabric, a chambray that looks like light-weight denim, purchased at Fabric Depot.

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I used Vogue 8840 as the base of my design, a pattern for a drop-shoulder tunic with sleeves. I lengthened the pattern, then embellished it with pockets with buttons, and cuffs on the sleeves.

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I self drafted the pockets by cutting seven-inch squares. I added flaps that by free cutting four triangles from the fabric, then faced them by sewing them together. I added the buttons after the fact because I thought the pockets looked boring without them.

The double top stitching came to me after shopping ready to wear. I tried on a similar dress and noticed how the stitching seemed to make the details stand out. Top stitching is mindless, but satisfying, don’t you think? And it’s a easy to do while you watch old movies, a huge plus as far as I’m concerned!

Shift dresses are so easy to wear. I also could belt this and wear it over leggings in the fall. DSC02457

After all, Audrey Hepburn belted hers! And who doesn’t want to be like her?

What about you? Do you like the shift dress look? Who do you think did it better? The girls in the sixties, or us?  Do you have a favorite shift dress pattern?