How to Craft your Perfect Sewing Goals

What is more fun and inspiring than seeing so many recaps and goals popping up these last few weeks? Nothing, except writing your own personal and motivating goals that will help push and guide you throughout the upcoming creative year! I know that I am ready for that challenge, but when I sat down with a pen and paper I wondered what I wanted to accomplish.

Now sewing is a hobby, and I am personally trying to avoid indulging in my tendency to push, effort and strive in everything, because I can exhaust myself by doing that with every aspect of my life. But I do love sewing and I know that goals are very fun! I also adore crossing things off my list!

So how do we choose our goals? There are a couple things I thought of to consider.

  1. Wardrobe gaps – I know sometimes I like to sew the next shiny new pattern that catches my eye, and sewing basics isn’t the most glamorous, but when you can have taken a look at your wardrobe and realized that a white button down shirt will pull together so many of your other beloved handmade items, the value becomes clear and that sewing goal becomes very valuable.
  2. Community sewalongs or challenges – The lonely nature of solo sewing makes these events such a celebration, especially of inspiritation and support. I have made many friends during these kinds of events. They have the added bonus of a deadline to keep you on track!
  3. Reaching for the next level in your sewing journey – Tried and true patterns are wonderful, and as a sewist it is great to have an arsenal of projects and patterns you know you will love to make and wear, but there is always something new to learn in sewing. We don’t have to take on a couture gown, but you can widen your sewing repertoire by a technique or 2 that stretches you. Or break into a new category of sewing that you haven’t tried, like lingerie.
  4. Emulate another or try a new style- Our community is filled with so many amazing seamstresses. I am constantly amazed. The best part of getting inspired by another sewist is that we can usually get details on pattern and fabric choices that can help you recreate it! And the diversity of women’s sizes, ages, coloring and styles mean you can get inspired by an actual person, not just a skinny young model.
  5. Make time for a big project – some projects we look forward to but avoid because of the huge commitment of the time our hobby takes up. Something that requires quilting or topstitching, or a lot of handsewing or fitting are intimidating, but so worth it. When that goal is completed, it feels especially great.
  6. Control your stash – Sometimes it is possible for our stuff to overwhelm us, and sewing supplies are so easy to collect. My fabric stash brings me great joy, but it can also crowd my space and my mental energy to just remember it all. And there is also the important fact that I want to see those beautiful fabrics sewn up and worn, where they can be admired and enjoyed even more! But some people may be in a different situation where they want to grow their stash, or only add sustainable fabrics.
  7. Sustainability – this can mean so many different things to different people, but the main idea that I’ve seen and would like to adopt is consciousness. The goal is don’t just make as much as you can with whatever fabrics you buy, buy, buy. By taking time to set goals in a thoughtful way you can raise your consciousness about what you are consuming, even though we all are sewing for fun and have such a passion for it!


With these things in mind, I am ready to make my goals for the year. Here goes nothin’!

The Ready to Wear Fast – this will make me focus on wardrobe gaps and try my hand at sewing basics, which I’ve never been drawn to and I may, in fact, hate. But over the years I have made some T-shirts and jeans, and it may be just the thing to get the fabric, fit and quality just right. Or I may end up over complicating every garment I make as usual.

Make every single one of my top 10 patterns – I have already made 2! I will blog the second soon.

Possible French jacket fabrics

Possible French jacket fabrics

The French jacket – Imma really gonna do it this year, guys! I really think I would wear it, too. I’d love to make a big beautiful coat, but I don’t really need one. I fact, I miss my coats that hang forlornly in the closet now, worn so seldom. But a light tweed jacket? It would go so well with all my jeans! This is really the year for it – I hope I am patient enough finally.

Swimwear – we just installed a pool in our backyard and I need new suits! I honestly have swimsuits from before I was married. The truth is, while living in chilly Washington, a swimsuit would get so little use that they would last for years and years. But I have already seen that start to change since moving here and swimming so much more. The old standby suits are getting worn out and I can see I’ll need several more for all the different water related stuff we love to do here in California. We swim at my pool, we water ski at the lake and we go to the beach. It is worth investing time into these swimsuits! Water related activities are some of our favorite family time.

Morgan jeans and pleated pants – I’ve been wearing skinny jeans/pants for years, and I’m looking forward to loosening up that silouhoutte and feeling less stuffed into my pants! Haha!

Lingerie – I am so displeased with all the molded foam bras that dominate the lingerie departments, so I would really like to try to make customized bras. Lingerie sewing is such a new skill that it should be a fun!

Stash reduction – keeping it simple. 2 yards out = 1 yard in.

Sew a Stitch a Day – As mentioned in my last post, I made this goal to prod me into keeping moving, even when I feel stuck. I also want to reduce my UFOs and my mountain of mending/alterations.

cropped-ClothesMakingMavens_Logo_SquarePodcast more and Blog more – There are lots of topics I’d like to talk about or write about that aren’t only finished garments. I’m sure some readers will skip over my wordy posts, but I feel the need for some variety, and I have a lot to say! And if you aren’t subscribed to the Clothes Making Mavens podcast, what are you waiting for? It is available on all the usual podcast collecting streams. If it isn’t available on your favorite, please let me know so I can submit it ASAP.

I’ll be taking part in several challenges and sewalongs, too. I can’t wait for those!

I’ve been devouring everyone’s goal lists and #makenine images. Does anyone else have goal considerations I didn’t think of? Maybe I need to add more goals… it is so motivating!

My Weekly Thread #1 – goals and stuff

This is going to be a place I spill my thoughts on the threads running through my life and the sewing community.

I love New Year’s Day! I love the fresh start and I love to make goals and resolutions. I actually make goals all through the year, and have recently become a convert to the concept of 90 day goal setting. It is already working better for me. But the New Year is a special time of reflection and goal setting, especially since everyone else is talking about it, too. I love reading everyone’s re-sew-lutions and #2018MakeNine goals!

I really love Elise Joy’s Daily Goal tracker to keep track of my little steps. I think you need to sign up for her newsletter to get it, but they are great to see on one page how you are doing. Maybe I am going overboard by printing 9 of them, and I may drop some of those daily steps later, but I wanted to start the year off with high hopes.

The pertinent one I will mention here (you don’t want to hear about my flossing habits) is “Sew a Stitch”. I put this on the daily tracker to remind myself to take a little step, even when I’m feeling unsure of the next step or discouraged that the project isn’t turning out exactly as envisioned. Also, I have a huge pile of mending/alterations that I can pick up at any moment to work on if I’m not up for working my current project.

Now I know that this daily step will not be totally consistent. There will be days that I don’t make it into the sewing room, or I will be out of town, or lots of other things. But the goal is to keep pressing forward a little at a time and these trackers of Elise Joy’s motivate me to do that.

And a great reason to push forward is that I (foolishly?) signed up for the Ready to Wear fast this year, organized by Sarah from Goodbye Valentino. When Lori, my podcast partner, mentioned she was signing up, I thought ok, she’s crazy, but maybe I’ll join in…I could not have guessed that 1027 other people besides us two would also join! Wow! Lori and I aren’t the only crazies out there! I’m sure it is going to be fun, and we will certainly see lots of creativity as a result.

And that leads me to another process I’ll be going through this year, The Curated Closet book by Anuschka Rees. Yes, I got this for Christmas last year, and I read it, but didn’t apply the concepts and certainly didn’t apply it to my sewing since I lacked sewing mojo for so much of 2017. The RTW fast and my new sewing room redo is ramping up my enthusiasm for sewing again, and this book can help make sure that I am making the best garments for my wardrobe and my personal style.

The first step the book suggests is to take pics of my outfits that I wear and think critically about what I like and don’t about each one. I planned on beginning this week, but all progress on many, many of my goals has been halted by getting sick for the second time in a month. I was sick the week before Christmas, too! Unfair!

Old Sewing Room

Old Sewing Room

Current Mess but new TV hung!

Current Mess but new TV hung!

I am in the middle of a big rearranging, organizing and decorating project of my sewing room/office. It has been so much fun and each piece is so exciting – like my husband hung the new TV last week! It is on a swivel so I’ll be able to see it from nearly every vantage point. But my room is so big and stuffed full of stuff that the process is slow and piecemeal. I have to clear a wall, paint it (from old yellow to crisp white), move those things back, then go to another section. And now that I’m sick, progress has come to a halt. Grrrrr. My new pink futon couch is hanging out in our foyer waiting for me to paint the left wall. So frustrating!

I hope that pink couch will be a good place to record some videos for YouTube! I have recently got obsessed with Sewing YouTubers, and I just think it is such a fun way to talk about sewing and get to know people in our community. I have enlisted the help of my 13 year old to be my video editor, since she took a class at the Apple store last summer, and I have ideas of things to talk about. BUT, I have no idea how I will come across on camera, so this idea is not a commitment to publish any videos, it is only a commitment to film some and try it out. Maybe I’ll hate it? Who knows!

Cute binder for my Sewing Planner

Cute binder for my Sewing Planner

A sewing YouTuber I enjoy is Athina Kakou , and I really loved her sewing planner idea! She gives a detailed tour here, but I really loved how she thought about the sewing community and how we can use our planners to build relationships and participate in group sewalongs and challenges. I love those challenges but often forget about them or lose focus. Her planner helps corral all those ideas and I think it is really going to help me this year!

I’ve already got quite a list of challenges I’m planning for. Pattern Review has some great contests coming up this year, and the first one seems as if it was created just for me! The Outfit to Match your Shoes was announced right after I bought these beautiful boots that I simply couldn’t resist, even knowing that I had no idea what to wear with them!

I need an outfit to match these shoes!

I need an outfit to match these shoes!

The Monthly Stitch’s theme is this month is reSEWlutions. The Sewcialists are focusing on stripes in February. Bra maker’s supply is highlighting purple this month as the new Pantone Color of the Year. My favorite Facebook group, Sewalongs and Sewing Contests, is encouraging us to sew jackets, coats, capes and cardigans. That’ll be easy, as I have a few of those planned already.

The new year welcomes the new Sew My Style and it kicked off with the Sunny dress. I am not going to purchase this pattern as I think I already own some that are similar, but I LOVE seeing the inspiration all under one hashtag. Handy! And I am looking forward to interviewing Jessica Lorraine for the Clothes Making Mavens Podcast so we can all get excited about the rest of the year!

One more challenge I am intrigued by is the BurdaStyle challenge 2018 by Saturday Night Stitch. The idea is to make up one of the patterns in each month’s issue. Now I don’t have a current subscription, but if I take the challenge to urge me to make any more of my many magazine patterns, that would be great.  I have plenty earmarked from previous issues, and the styles are still very current. Or maybe I’ll just sign up for a subscription. I do love them so!

episode16Don’t forget that we just released podcast episode #16 with Barbara Emodi from Sewing on the Edge. She has a book coming out soon and I can’t wait to read it!

Have a great week!

A totally reversible dress – Vogue 1313

Vogue 1313 both

As I mulled over my options of what to wear this New Year’s Eve, I got so excited at the prospect of wearing this super fun dress that I made for the 3rd round of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee! Then I realized I had never blogged about it, and perhaps there were some people that didn’t follow the Sewing Bee as closely as I assume, so maybe I should share it here on my blog.

Vogue 1313 dressI wrote nearly a novel explaining my methods and details, so I am just going to copy and paste the contest entry here. If you already read it, I’m sorry! I had a lot to say about this project that nearly killed me. And it didn’t even get me to the last round! But I am going to rock it tonight, velvet side out probably, with green eyeshadow and black booties. And my fur capelet I only get to wear on fancy occasions! I’ll be able to eat a ton because of the stretchy side panels, and if I spill on myself, like I usually do, I can slip into the bathroom and reverse it!

Pattern Description: Semi-fitted dress has partially lined yokes, seam detail, no side seams, side front pockets, front exposed zipper and topstitching.

Pattern Sizing: 4 – 12. I went down a size to a 12 and lengthened it, as usual for me.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Unfortunately, there were not written instructions for how to make it a reversible dress with a single side panel. Haha! Figuring that out was the Sewing Bee challenge!

Vogue 1313 reversibleWhat did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I chose this pattern for my reversible dress because of the great seamlines and exposed zipper, which makes a perfect reversible closure.

Fabric Used: This dress is designed for knits, but I modified it to incorporate my non-stretch velvet.

V1313 velvet dressThe first and biggest decision of a Sewing Bee challenge is what fabric to choose, and in this case I wanted a stand out garment and a big challenge so I paired the moss green knit of the first side with a beautiful but slippery velvet for the other. I knew that the dresses would really contrast by using such different fabrics and it would be more than just a dress with a pretty lining.

IMG_4733 (2)Of course it would be a challenge to make 2 dresses and sew them together to make a reversible dress (sewing 2 dresses in a week!) but I wanted to up the ante by taking advantage of the fact that it is reversible. The way I choose to do this is to incorporate sheer fabric, so the reversibilty would be a helpful feature of lining, and by using one fabric in a single layer for the side panels and making it work for both dresses.

IMG_4728 (2)An important detail in any dress is the facings and how those might peek out. In this case I decided to use the same moss green fabric around the neckline for both sides to make sure it was nicely finished. I then got to play with the shoulder yoke fabrics, choosing leather for the moss green side and a diamond mesh activewear fabric for the velvet side. I love the leather with the military influence of the green side and the playfulness of diamond shapes goes with the large boho flowers on the velvet side.

IMG_4711 (2)I cut the velvet carefully with my flower placement in mind, moving the green stems towards the yoke to tie in the green neckline, and with bigger seam allowances to account for the lack of stretch and the ravelly fabric. I ended up treating the darts differently and lessened my darts on the velvet side to create a looser fit but still with the same shape as the other.

On the moss side, I knew the fit would be forgiving, but I did have to topstitch quite a bit because the spongy crepe texture of the knit didn’t press well. I decided to carry that topstitching through to the leather yoke to add interest. I added the pockets from the Anza dress pattern from itch to Stitch, without the pocket flaps. I love the pleated detail and it really emphasized the overall feeling of a more tailored, serious dress. Also, those pockets are easy to wear backwards when the dress is turned with the velvet side out. It truly is reversible. Of course the velvet is luscious to wear against my skin, too!

The zipper is reversible, but because of the 2 zipper pulls, it is quite heavy. I interfaced both fabrics along the front, but wish I had interfaced the neckline too. It collapses a little when the zipper is pulled all the way up. Next time I use a reversible zipper I’ll remember that.

IMG_4724I struggled and struggled with the single side panel detail. I loved the idea of sewing both fabrics to the one side panel and showcasing that versatility, and needed the knit panel to ensure the fit of the non-stretch velvet, but it was an engineering feat! And finishing! That feature took as long as the whole rest of the dress, and I wondered several times if it was such a great idea. Well, it turned out to be such a great feature because of the way it transformed the fit! The velvet side is looser, but those stretchy side panels keep it very flattering because it doesn’t have 2 layers down my sides making me look wider. I love that. And on the green side, it ties in the black leather detail and again makes it appear so much sleeker.

IMG_4666 (2)The whole process of the crazy side panel idea mirrors the creativity process as a whole – “I have a great idea! Oh wait, this is hard, this is crap, what a horrible idea. Oh wow! Now that it is complete, I can see it was a great idea. I am brilliant!” Don’t we all go through versions of this process during sewing?

I know everyone that did this challenge had to deal with the bulky seam allowances. I sure did! I feel like I was trimming and grading seams all day! Of course I had to finish all the velvet seams, many serged and all enclosed. The yokes I could just sew together and trim carefully. Turning those fabrics together would have been a mess. I used fold over elastic under the arms. The hems were tricky with the enclosed side panels, and after a couple of tries, it looked best with the knit side trimmed and a little serged and turned hem on the velvet.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I really liked this pattern and wonder how it would look in a stretch denim. Too bad there wasn’t 3 sides to my reversible garment! I know it is out of print, but I do recommend it.

Conclusion: This was quite a challenge but I really do love both dresses. It really highlights my skills and draws attention to the fact that I don’t know what my core style is! I want to try everything and I love wearing it both ways. Am I a romantic floral dress wearer? It is so fun. Do I love a sleeker style in trendy colors and leather details? That is fun, too! Thank you, Sewing Bee, for the chance to think outside the box!

IMG_4493 (3)

True Named Love with another Inari dress

IMG_4485 (2)Yes, I’m a Named Patterns fangurl. It is just so fun making their patterns, and even more fun wearing them. Here is a complete Named outfit I made for The Monthly Stitch Indie Royalty competition. It took a while to make it onto this blog, but my blogging motivation has been low lately, I think I’ve mentioned.IMG_4498 (2)
To enter the contest I tried to quickly whip up an Inari dress. This is a great pattern and I’ve been scanning my fabric stash for possible matches since I made my beautiful linen version. This crepe is great because it has a bit of stretch and hangs with some weight. I wanted to preserve the stretch (especially around my hips), so I lined it with a lightweight jersey. It seems counter-intuitive to line a dress in this heat, but it helps to keep the back from sticking to my bum.

IMG_4504 (2)In classic Helena style, I stretched what should have been a simple 2 hour dress into a 4 hour marathon. The lining is, of course, extra work, but also the finishing of each seam seperately so I can press it flat, the stay stitching, the grading of the relevant seams. I even said to myself that I will just quickly make this simple dress to enter in this contest, just for fun, but I lied to myself. I got lost in the little details and then, before I knew it, it is the last possible minute to get my entry in and I’m begging my 8 year old to take my picture. But, the dress is really detailed and well made, and I should have modeled it inside out.

Named Inari Tee dress side

IMG_4470 (2)I especially like the pairing of the dress with my tweed Lourdes jacket. Truthfully I am not a very fancy lady, but the Inari dress is a casual shape and easy to wear, so it balances out the more formal and fancy Named Lourdes jacket. I am looking forward to wearing the jacket with jeans, too, but this outfit really is a fun one.

I don’t think I am done with the Inari pattern. Maybe I’ll just continue making a new one each summer until I have a dozen or so!

A great way to join our sewing podcast! Just record your answers.

cropped-ClothesMakingMavens_Logo_SquareLori and I have been working hard to bring you more Clothes Making Mavens podcast content for you to listen to while you sew! Our newest idea hopes to bring more diverse voices to the podcast by allowing you to record your own answers and send them along to us to share with the sewing world. We have asked some of our favorite bloggers to answer these questions, but we know there are other stories our there that we would love to hear, too!

We thought an easy and low pressure way for you to do this is to record your answers to the following questions using a free recording app on your phone such as Voice Recorder, and then send the audio file to us. My blog email is GrayDayPatterns (at) gmail (dot) com or the podcast email is ClothesMakingMavens (at) gmail (dot) com.

We always have our message system set up for you to call and record us a message at 401-64MAVEN, and we adore those. But you might be anxious at the thought of getting one shot at recording your message and leaving it there. I know I get nervous recording the podcast still!

Rest assured that you can send us a recording and Lori and I will edit it —  if you make any mistakes, we will make sure you sound terrific! And if you prefer, we can set up a time for me to ask you these questions over Skype if that would make it easier for you to answer the questions in a conversational way. We love meeting new people and we’d love to talk to you.

Here are the questions we are looking for answers for. You can answer any or all of them, but be sure and answer number 1 with at least your name so that we know who you are! I’d especially love to know why you sew and what are your future sewing plans? I love planning almost as much as I love sewing. What about you?

1. What is your name and where can people find you online (name of your blog and/or company and/or instagram account, etc.)
2. What are you doing when you’re not sewing?
3. Why do you sew?
4. What’s on your sewing table right now?
5. What are you planning to sew in future that you’re excited about?

We hope to hear from you and do comment below if anything is unclear.

And have you listened to our latest episode with Sharadha from Lori got to go to her house in person and dig through her beautiful handmades to get all the details about her inspiration.  She does such an amazing job of styling and wearing the clothes, it is very fun to see, so I recommend pulling up Sharadha’s Instagram feed while you are listening so it can feel like you are in her closet, too!

Top 10 Patterns I’m building my wardrobe with this year

I’m sure we all keep a running list of patterns to sew, at least in our head. I feel like I’m constantly adding to the list if I take a look at Instagram for only a second! Such beautiful things! But I am taking control of my list right now in an effort to tame my stash and give direction to my wardrobe. Most precious stash fabrics will work for one of these patterns, depending on weight, stretch and print. I’m planning a big sewing studio reorganization with the goal of painting my ugly beige walls and mounting my large TV, and stash categorization will also be part of that process.

In January I laid out plans for this year in this post Top 10 patterns I’m looking forward to sewing in 2016. Alas, much of this year I’ve been in a sewing rut. The only 2 I completed were the Inari T dress, twice, and a bralette that I have not blogged. The year before I enumerated the patterns I was excited about in my post Top 10 patterns I’m looking forward to sewing this year, and of those 10 I completed 1, jeans, which I am very proud of.

I am a fickle beast. But I am writing this list with a very different goal in mind than just listing interesting patterns. I think all of these can become TNTs, true favorites to make and wear lots of times. They fit into my style and are comfortable to wear. They will fill holes that I’ve been hesitating about. Most importantly, I resolve to make each of them at least twice. I don’t usually repeat patterns, but when I don’t, I feel like I don’t realize the full potential of the fit and construction. Basically, the second one is always better. And lately I am all about making my sewing better, not just getting it done.

Berlin skirt sewing pattern

  1. Berlin skirt by Oraguese patterns. I am wild about this skirt. I want every version I’ve seen and those pockets give it such a great shape. Stylish and comfy (which is the theme of this list!)
  2. Kielo wrap dress and McCall’s 6886. They go together in one fabric category – heavier knits. I suspect I’ll be comfortable in the Kielo because of the wrap, and the 6886 will be for wearing with a long cardigan or kimono.
  3. Cocoon cardigan or Carrie cardigan. Speaking of cardigans, I like how this one is shaped a little differently. Looks cozy!
  4. Bias tanks from Simplicity 1366. I have made this before in a floral challis and I love it. The bias cut makes the fit great, though it does limit some of the prints you can use, like no stripes. I need every color, obviously. I also like the Tessuti Kate tank for less cleavage, too. I have been neglecting this pattern, despite the fact that my love for my muslin has not faded. I just wore it last week, in fact.
  5. Full skirt Simplicity 1369. My sister made this skirt and I loved how it came together. For some reason, full skirts appeal to me right now. Honestly, I think I don’t want tight fabric pulling across my bum in the heat and with my lifestyle. I’ve been wearing a silver lame skirt I purchased from a rare trip to H&M so much. I also like Simplicity 1166 for the buttons.
  6. Mimi G Simplicity 8084 dress. Another dress I’m wild about. I love the fit, I love the neckline. I love all of Manju’s versons. I want some short ones and I want some maxi length. All my lightweight wovens will be made up into the dress!
  7. Grainline Hemlock, maybe with added ruffles or sleeve variations? A couple years ago I bought some XL T-shirts from the Loft, with the intention of cutting them down to fit me. But I never cut them down because it turns out I love them as is! I also wear my pink Hemlock a lot. I need more and want to play around with the pattern a bit. I know I will wear them.
  8. Casual not tight pants – Chi town chinos or Morgan boyfriend jeans are both good contenders for this category of pants that I am now craving. But I might even want pleats and tapered legs? Comment below with suggestions. I know Burdastyle always has great pants patterns so I should comb the magazine collection. Good excuse to spend an hour flipping through my favorite magazine!
  9. Hvar jacket by Itch to Stitch – This pattern came out after I made this list, so I had to bump out the ever-present french jacket that I keep resolving to make and then never do. Look at it! It is so cute, fun and practical! And it is on sale right now.
  10. Sew House Seven Toaster or Seamwork Astoria. Will it ever get cold enough to wear these snuggly tops? I have to assume it will, despite the 100 degree temperatures we’ve been “enjoying” this past week. I also am interested in finding some tops that have a tighter fit on top to balance my new interest in full skirts and relaxed pants. This is a big departure for me, but I’m looking forward to it.

I’ll be mixing these patterns into some wardrobe plans I’ve been kicking around in my head for months. This seems especially important as I introduce new shapes into my wardrobe. For example, the silver skirt I picked up at H and M to try a new style has been so fun to wear, but very difficult to style! I don’t have tops to go with it, not to mention silver lame is a little loud and I feel obligated to tone it way down with all the other elements of my outfit. All those elements, in addition to a close and careful inventory of my stash, will be part of my wardrobe planning with the above 10 (really 16) patterns. I will post about that process, too. Creating a blog post usually forces me to clarify things and I will especially welcome feedback.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on any and all of these patterns. Are any of these your favorites already, or are there any that I have missed and you know I would love? And what should I wear with a full skirt to keep it looking modern and feel like me?

Sleeves are the star of this M7564 blouse

M7564 top modified

The 2nd round of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee called for fabulous sleeves, so I had to answer! It was a great challenge that saw me starting 3 different projects, but I’m glad I finished this one and entered it and I will get back to the other projects once I’ve rested a bit.

I used this beautiful silk-cotton I have been saving for years! I have loved it and vacillated about which project to use it for it seems like dozens of times. I purchased it my first trip to the LA fashion district, and it now occurs to me that I can go get more if I feel I need to.  If not this exact print, this same texture is available at my favorite store up there. But I think it all turned out beautifully and I really will be wearing this top a lot and enjoying this fabric on my actual self! BTW, it is the same type of fabric as my Kanerva blouse of a previous .. Sewing Bee.

Silk cotton blouse with leather

I wrote a very detailed review for the contest, so I’ll copy and paste it here if you didn’t see it over there:

Pattern Description: McCall’s 7564 Very loose fitting, pullover dresses have sleeve, length and hem variations.

Pattern Sizing: XS – XL. I made a medium.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
I made many changes, including chopping it off to a top and adding quite a bit of pizzazz to the sleeves. It is a basic raglan sleeve peasant dress pattern with a neckband.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  This was definitely my own creation, and I did not use the instructions.

M7564 blouse sleeve modifiedWhat did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It has a very small neck opening. I had to discard the neckband piece.

Fabric Used: Light but crisp cotton silk. I love this kind of fabric! And I added just a bit of leather!

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I first added pintucks to the front and sleeves. As I cut I had to be sure and add width to account for the fabric taken up by the pintucks, but the pattern fit is forgiving, so I did not have to be too exact.

The flouncy sleeve was easily embroidered and pintucked. It moves the eye down to the leather detail and the huge ruffle. I used the leather as a bit of a fluffing tool. The top of the leather strip is attached to the sleeve then topstiched down, but when I attached the doubled over ruffle, I loved how the leather seam allowance assisted the ruffle to keep from collapsing, I wanted more body in the ruffle, so the two layers were the first step, but then the method of attaching to the leather was even more helpful in that regard. It feels so dramatic and full now! Yay!

I planned on a front placket as the pattern shows for the front piece, but my diagonal tucks made that impossible, I needed to keep the front open to show off the tucks, but ended up with a front center seam to straighten things out. Design feature opportunity! I added embroidery to the front to keep my seam allowance down. I ended up loving it so much and was glad to have a tie in with the sleeve detail. I also added a button because I didn’t like it open after all that. But I’m glad I got my pintucks in at least.

M6475 silk cotton topI used almost all french seams, since the fabric is so light and transparent. I did have to serge the ruffle attached to the sleeve, but it does not show through since it joins to the leather there. I used a facing to make my casing for the neckline elastic because I think that lays much nicer and and it gained some stability.

My wash off stabilizer used for the embroidery gave the fabric a rumpled appearance that emphasized the embroidery and pintucks and I’m pleased. Let’s be honest, this blouse is not going to stay wrinkle free, and it shouldn’t have to! I wanted an easy-to-wear blouse that stood out as unique! I think I achieved that and the drama of the sleeves is showstopping!

Conclusion: I feel like I can take flight in my sleeves, and yet this top can go with jeans, shorts, or a dressed up skirt and is not actually fussy. I slipped my signature leather detail in there, but I think it maintains the boho vibe of the top.

McCall's 7564 outfit