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!

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

Butterick 6456- A Boho Top with Statement Sleeves

IMG_3187Do you ever get obsessed with a trend? I’ve been known to go overboard with a new look, and in my case, statement sleeves are my new ‘thing’. This Spring, it seems they are everywhere, and I am clearly jumping on the band wagon! Sure, I like the look (flow-y, care free, maybe even a bit boho), but I also like the challenge of a new sleeve shape. Each pattern is a new adventure in sleeve construction with new techniques to learn.

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I was attracted to Butterick 6456 because of the sleeve options but also because of the v-neck and front pleat, both a rarity in my wardrobe. I also like the flow-y boho look of this top, which is a little different from the structured statement sleeve tops/dresses I’ve made in the past.

I chose a printed rayon from the Mill End Store . I wanted a lightweight fabric with drape, and this fit the bill.

IMG_3248 2The pattern when together nicely. The v-neck, the front pleat, the bell sleeves were all explained well and fairly easy to execute. The challenge was in the fit (that is an understatement). I cut the smallest size, but the v-neck was still pretty large. I mean, we are talking cleavage exposure here folks, and that was just not where I wanted to go with this top (LOL). So, I did a bit of modifying. There is a back seam as you can see from the line art.

B6456So, my strategy was to take that seam in by about an inch. I also eliminated the neckline opening in the back and just sewed the seam closed. That seemed to do the trick.  The neck opening is large enough that the top just slips over my head!

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I love my new top, but wearing it will limit my activities. I cannot imagine cooking or performing cleaning duties of any kind while wearing it. Oh, darn. Hopefully, those sleeves will not get into my dinner, as this is clearly a Date Night top that will see a restaurant or two.  I’m glad I figured out how to modify the neck because I love the fabric. I’m sure this top will get lots of wear from early Spring through Summer. The flow-y rayon was a good choice for this pattern and I can imagine trying it again with silk. I’m not sure a crisp cotton would work well, although I do think a linen with soft hand would be good.

This was a fun make, but I don’t think I’m done with statement sleeves yet.  Next up, a McCall’s pattern from my stash that has five (!!) different sleeve options. So much to learn! Can’t wait to try that next. I’d love to know where you stand on statement sleeves? Also curious if any of you have run into problems with v-necks and fit and how you’ve modified them?

Happy Sewing and thanks for stopping by!

DIY: Philip Lim Inspired Top

 

img_2016Hi all! The inspiration for this stash-busting top was a Philip Lim creation I saw at the San Francisco Saks a couple of weeks ago. It’s so fun to wander around in that amazing store, a real treat for me since we don’t have a Saks here anymore (wah!). But when I saw this top it was instant ‘love’. The bold plaid, the color blocked side panels, the contrast trim and stitching, I wanted it all. But alas, the price tag….

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So, I set about making my own version. The good news? I used left over remnants from my recent Day Dress, and another plaid from a top I made years ago. So no new money was spent in the making of this top.

img_2040The pattern I used for this make is a tried and true: Vogue 9054.

It’s out-of-print but still available on their website and on Etsy. The design detail that makes this pattern the perfect choice for my Philip Lim top is that it has a front panel. So, that’s where I placed my cotton plaid. I used a contrasting off white knit for the side panels. Even though this pattern is designed for knits, my inspiration top combined knits and wovens, so I went out on a limb and did the same thing. I think the loose design of this top made that combination less risky than it otherwise would have been. The fit really didn’t change. I also added a contrast band to the collar and cuffs.

img_2020A detail I love on the inspiration top was the stitching on the front and back panel seams. To get that look, I top stitched those seams with a decorative stitch. I wanted to use the flat lock stitch on my serger, but alas, it just wouldn’t behave. My substitute stitch isn’t quite as stunning, but I still like it.

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I especially like the way Vogue designed the hemline of this top. There’s a bit of a high-low thing going on there that’s fun.

img_2002Well, I think my top will work as a reasonable substitute for the Philip Lim top, and wearing my DIY  version will save me from spending hundreds of dollars I don’t have. I rarely think that sewing saves money, but when it comes to designer fashions, it has a very strong edge. Thanks to Philip for the inspiration! The colors of this top make it a seasonal transition item, I think, and I feel almost Springy as we persevere through another ice storm with freezing rain. Ugh!

I’m glad I used some fabric from my stash here, because my goal this year is to reduce the size of  my stash (yes, I used bold font so I won’t forget, LOL). Lately, I’ve been feeling like I have to ‘sew to my stash’, if you know what I mean. I often buy fabric with a project in mind, but by the time I get to it, my enthusiasm for it has waned or the inspiration is gone. That means my stash is huge, and it means my sewing is often motivated by the guilt that comes with excess. It overwhelms and confuses my creative urges (yes, I’m a junkie). So, my goal is to sew some of it ASAP and give some to friends or charity so that it doesn’t weigh me down. What do you think, fellow fabric junkies? Will this strategy work? 

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!

 

 

 

Butterick 6057-Chambray and Floral Top

IMG_4012Hi All! It’s hot here in Oregon, so there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy my vacation wardrobe even though I’m back at home. Might as well keep those vacation vibes going as long as possible, don’t you think? This top was one of my favorites on my summer vacation, completed only a day before I left. In fact, it almost didn’t make the wardrobe ‘cut’. But I threw it into my suitcase at the last minute and I’m so glad I did. It was worth the space it took because it went with everything; skirts or shorts.   IMG_4001 (1)

The contrast print makes this shirt, if you ask me. It’s a Liberty remnant I picked up at a small shop here in Portland, Josephine’s Dry Goods. I love Liberty floral prints, but I can’t always imagine wearing something that’s all floral. But using a bit for contrast is something I can easily get into. I used the Liberty on the sleeves, the pockets and the back button band. I love these colors so much, I might just start calling them my color ‘palate’; blue, black, rust, green, colors that are perfect for fall too. That makes this top ‘transitional’, don’t you think?

This pattern, Butterick 6057, is genius. The buttons and button band down the back just give it that extra something. Oh, and I love the tabs on the sleeves too. I used a solid black for those to try to make that Liberty print stand out even more. This pattern is now, officially, a ‘tried and true’ for me.I made it before here. It’s easy to sew  and the cut is comfortable, but not ‘baggy’ and the high low hem is fun.B6057Here’s the top in ‘action’. This is Nuremburg, Germany,our last stop on the Danube. I’m posing here in chambray with my friend, Suzanne who is wearing a beautiful linen dress.  She bought a bit of fabric on this trip too :). Her shoes are cute, mine not so much. What can I say? My feet had minds of their own that day!!IMG_5747

I hope you’re enjoying the dog days of summer and are finding time to sew a few transitional wardrobe pieces for yourself! Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

New to Me: Kanerva Button Back Shirt

 

I just might be the last blogger in the world to sew the Kanerva top! And better late than never.  This top is truly unique with buttons down the back, a pleated waist, and a split peplum. And as you all know, I’m a sucker for a peplum! True love!

IMG_2348 I’ve wanted to sew something by Named clothing for awhile. I was prompted to finally do so by the Monthly Stitch. It’s Indie Pattern Month over there, and this week we’re sewing a pattern that’s New to Me. This is my first make of the Kanerva blouse, and I am so taken with the design details! Both versions are fitted with two sets of front darts, a pleated waist and a gentle peplum.

To accentuate the fabulous design details of this blouse, I decided to use two different fabrics; A embroidered cotton and a hankerchief linen. I used the cotton for the bodice, the self-drafted pockets and sleeve bands.  I used hankerchief linen for the sleeves and peplum.

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Yes, linen loves to wrinkle, but it wears like pajamas, so all is forgiven. It does tend to fray though, so I finished all the seams with my serger. Of course, the back is where it’s really happening on this shirt!

IMG_2279I used vintage pearl buttons. They’re fairly flat so they won’t poke me when I lean against a hard backed chair. The placket is easy, just a few folds that you stitch down, then you add your buttons and button holes. I added self drafted pockets to the front just because I thought they would look cool and finished the neck with binding.

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All in all, this was a fun, straightforward make. The scariest part for me was transferring the pattern markings. I tested both tracing paper and chalk on my white fabric and both stained, so I had to use thread and pins to mark. Ugh! Not sure what a better choice would be….Recommendations are appreciated! The instructions were easy to follow though and it was about a four hour sew from cut to finish. And, I think I finished this top just in time. It’s (finally!) heating up here, with temperatures expected to be in the high nineties tomorrow. IMG_2367Although I usually choose Big Four patterns (they’re so easy to find and always on sale), I do love the fact that there’s a month dedicated to some of the alternatives available through Indie companies. There are so many choices these days, that you can always find something fun to sew. If you haven’t checked out the Monthly Stitch collective, give it a try!

The trickiest part of this project was transferring the pattern markings. Have you had problems with staining of fabrics with tracing paper? Do you know products that work better for marking?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

McCalls 7314: Burberry knock-off

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As you all know, I’ve got a thing for Burberry’s classic designs, and the Spring 2016 collection was one of the best. Being peplum obsessed, I couldn’t help but fall in love with this cute shirt.

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Okay, as Burberry prices go, the tag on this one wasn’t totally ridiculous…only $350. Yes, it’s a lot, but I could probably justify a splurge like that if  (1.) I didn’t have a fabric stash worth a small fortune (2.) I didn’t have an expensive shoe thing that is almost as bad as my Burberry obsession and (3.) I could commit to never buying another RTW, or piece of fabric for the rest of the year (ha, we all know that’s not going to happen!)

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So, a knock off it is!

The fabric: A plaid cotton gauze from Mill End Store. (They take phone orders, BTW. Although there isn’t much of this fabric left I noticed.)

The pattern: McCall’s 7314, a shirt dress pattern with a gathered skirt, elastic waist and sleeve options.

Modifications: I shortened the skirt by twelve inches. I cut my usual size, but made a small adjustment for my narrow shoulders. Other than that, no adjustments. were necessary. The sleeves are shorter on me than they are in the photo, by the way. Be forewarned…if you have long arms, and want 3/4 sleeves, cut them a bit longer.

The skirt on this dress isn’t fitted at all. You add a bit of elastic to the back to make the dress taper at the waist. You can cut the elastic as you wish, so that it’s as fitted (or not) as you want. This makes this top/dress so comfortable!!!

Challenges: Plaid matching! OMG, a nightmare!  I did okay, but I’m not happy with the sleeves. IMG_1421

I wanted them to match perfectly, but they’re a little off. I’d like to blame this on the gauze-y texture of this cotton, rather than on me, but we all know the TRUTH. The cotton is amazing to wear, well worth the effort it took to keep it straight. I have a bit of fabric left over, and might try to recut the sleeves, since I notice this mistake (LOL, you all know how this is!!) I should’ve used more pins and weights to keep it still. The skirt was impossible to line up, a fact I obsessed about until I realized, the Burberry one didn’t look much better. Still, I obsessed. Not perfect, but that’s how it goes.

This shirt is so comfortable! And I love the wide plaid. The cost: This shirt cost me less than $20 to make, since the pattern was on sale at Joann’s, and the fabric was purchased during a 25% off sale at Mill End. Yes, you have to figure in your time, but still….this is a good deal, right? Of course, the Burberry fabric is to die for….if only…

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I’d love to have more wide plaids in my stash because I love the look, but can’t seem to find many in the fabric stores. If you have a source, let me know. Another question..should I recut those sleeves? Opinions welcome!

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!

Florals, Cut-Out Shoulders and Pants

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This summer, I’m going to be vacationing in Europe during the hottest days of July. Of course, this means a bit of wardrobe planning, a task I take on willingly! A quick review of my closet revealed the truth. I have very few summery tops, and I could use a few light weight skirts and pants too. So, let the sewing marathon begin!

My top was inspired by a recent visit to Anthropologie. Cut-out shoulders are everywhere this Spring and I love the cool, summery vibe. Butterick 6057 is a great pattern that replicates that look, a loose fitting pullover top with cut-out shoulders and a high-low hem.

There are lots of cool details on this top – – sleeve bands, tabs on the sleeves, a stitched down back pleat with button detailing. The pattern is marked fast and easy, but I doubted that was the case when I saw the details, but it is! Even the the sleeve cut out is simple.

The finished look is accomplished by sewing a long skinny facing piece to the cut-out’s curve, then turning the facing to the inside. Nothing tricky about it! And I love how the sleeve tabs are enhanced with a button. These easy details combine to give the top a unique look.

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I made this top out of cotton shirting (a remnant in my stash), and the sleeve and sleeve bands are both from cotton lawn. Both fabrics are a dream to sew and I love the easy fit of this top.

In fact, it was such a success I decided to…. (Drum roll….) make a pair of pants to go with the top. Yes, pants do intimidate me, but I’m taking a ‘jeans’ class and have just enough knowledge now to be dangerous (LOL). I used  a linen/cotton blend with a touch of lycra for that I purchased at Fabric Depot. It’s light weight but crisp, perfect for traveling.

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The pattern?  Butterick 6327, new this Spring from Katherine Tilton.

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The pattern instructions are well written, making the construction easy. As usual, the challenge is in the fit, and, as usual, I’m not entirely pleased with the result. Gaping at the knees! A ‘smile’ line at the crotch.  Argh! That being said,  I think these issues are more about my ability to tailor a pattern to fit my body shape than with the design of the pattern itself.

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Maybe I can adjust the leg side seams at the knee to tighten things up a bit? Not sure how to fix the smile lines? I do like how the pants taper at the ankle. Personal preference, but I think pants that come in a bit at the ankle are more flattering. Of the two projects, I’m guessing the top will get more wear than the pants, but we’ll see. These projects reminded me of one thing…I do so love sewing with crisp, cool cotton. It’s one of the best things about Spring!

The Monthly Stitch is having a Floral challenge this month, inspiring me to use two different florals for the sleeves and sleeve bands on my top. Pop on over there to see all the wonderful makes! It’s such a great community…so much there to explore.

I hope your Spring sewing projects are pleasing you! I’d love to hear what you’re doing. Any advice on how to get rid of the baggy knees and smile lines on my pants is appreciated. Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!