Trying a closer fit with the Seamwork Astoria

FrenchTerryAstoria1I really think it is a good idea to try new styles and shapes. At my age, I can really fall into a rut of styles that I wear constantly. Yes, the wardrobe architect was a helpful exercise, but golly, how hard is it to figure out I like flowy tops, slim pants, shift dresses and wear mostly blues, grays with a bit of pink thrown in?

TealTerry-seamwork-astoria-topSo the Seamwork Astoria is a fun experiment that turned out to surprisingly be a success! I really like this top, and I’ll tell you why – my other snug knit tops all get so tight around my hips and lower belly that they start rolling up and cause me to yank them down every other minute. I hate that. I hate fussing with my clothes in that way. Also, it doesn’t feel great to anyone when their clothes feel too small and their little tummy peeks out like Winnie the Pooh’s.

seamwork-astoria-back-viewSo, even though this top is cropped and I thought I would hate it, the lower band is shaped so the waistline is smaller and the bottom hem flares out a smidge, making it sit so nicely with no riding up! This is a genius innovation, IMO.

TealSeamwork-astoria1I made a size small and did a tiny forward shoulder adjustment. I also lengthened the bodice and sleeves and inch, as usual. My fabric is the world’s softest baby french terry – the stuff dreams are made of. It is a bit drapey to hold the neckline band, but who cares when it feels this yummy?

I wore it with these RTW shorts for pictures because it is too hot for anything else at this point, but it would look lovely with more volume on bottom. Perhaps a skirt or a pair of full culottes would look great. And jeans, always jeans.

seamwork-astoria-outfitJust the facts:

  • Shaped bottom band keeps the Seamwork Astoria sitting correctly, making this cropped top totally wearable
  • French terry is a delight to wear and I must find more
  • Next on my list is a full skirt or culottes to create a totally new shaped outfit for me – I’m glad I’m branching out!

Just a addendum to mention that Episode 2 of Clothes Making Mavens is out. Lauren from Lladybird had such great insights on sewing, teaching and how she’s made some money with her super popular blog. She’s so much fun to listen to!

We have submitted the podcast to iTunes and a bunch of podcast players and are waiting for approval. We’d love to make it easier for you to listen. I’ll let you all know and list our links when that is all set!

 


The Astoria with a frill

<Seamwork Astoria hack
I posted this on The Monthly Stitch last month, but it is worth sharing here because it turns out I really love this top. It was simple to make and it is easy to wear, and I’ve even been able to tuck it into my overall dress for the ultimate classic pairing of stripes and denim.
My new love is (slightly) cropped tops, but after the last 2 I whipped up I realized that I don’t have much for my bottom half with a higher waistband to go with them. That makes me sad, but don’t worry, I’ll make some new things! In the meantime, though, I want to embrace the emphasis on my waist so I added a double chiffon ruffle to the Seamwork Astoria sweater instead of the bottom band. It really changed the top and made it fun and flirty.
Chiffon ruffle added to Astoria

I guess I won’t need to provide a tutorial for how to do this one, right? Just a tedious and tiny hem on both ruffles and a slight gather at the top, then I added them to the top while I stretched it slightly so it will fit over my head. I did a nice job stripe matching across the sleeves, too, if I do say so. The side seams don’t match up exactly, but those seams are under my arms, so I can live with it. Since I serged those seams I really truly will live with it! I used the white stripe as the neckline to balance the white peplum at the bottom.
Seamwork Astoria with added ruffle

Some notes:

  • Made a size Small with an inch added to both bodice and sleeves length (standard adjustment for me)
  • My frill was about twice the width of the omitted bottom band, but 1.5 width would do fine, too.
  • It is a different shape for me, since my tops are usually looser fitting, and I got rave reviews from several people (and especially my husband).

Seamwork Astoria back view


Becoming a Cynthia Rowley fangirl with S1366

Simplicity 1366 outfitI was just in your face a week ago telling you how I loved my last dress, a Cynthia Rowley for Simplicity pattern, and here I am again with the same boring story! This time it is Simplicity 1366, which everyone else in the universe has tried and loved, so now it is my turn, damn it!

Simplicity 1366 camiThe pattern consists of a crazy skirt (would be fun to wear for an event, but not IRL so much), a spaghetti strapped bias camisole, and a perfectly cut boatneck boxy top. I dove in full throttle and made both the cami and the top, so this post is a two-fer.

Simplicity 1366 crepeFirst, the camisole is a really great basic pattern that could and should be made in every luxurious fabric you can get your hands on. My mystery fabric is some kind of crepe that flows and hugs in the most delightful way!  The bias cut just makes the fit suburb.

Simplicity 1366 rolled hemI made skinny straps that I left round like spaghetti, and finished the top edge with self binding instead of the enclosed facing pieces. The facing would probably be quicker and easier, but I only had like 3/4 yard of this lovely fabric and bias garments eat fabric like crazy. My binding was very pieced together, but I made it work. For the bottom I just used the rolled hem on my serger. A word of warning – hang the top up on your dressform over night before hemming because it did distort, even just that tiny bit of fabric!

Simplicity 1366 top with shortsThen I moved onto the top. Another mysterious piece of crepey chiffon (sorry, I thrift shop and shop the LA fashion district and nothing is marked) but this one is much sheerer. It was also quite a bit harder to sew, but I still managed to do french seams on this sides. I had to just serge the armholes, though, because after going over the side seams twice while doing those french seams and feeling the shifty dance under my sewing foot, I knew I could not set a smooth sleeve if I tried to use french seams.

Simplicity 1366 backThen, when I tried it on, I saw that the fabric had shifted quite badly in one spot while I cut it and I had to even the hem out by nearly an inch. That almost made the top too short for long torsoed me, so I preserved length by serging and flipping the bottom hem. The neckline I finished with vintage pre-made bias binding. The leftovers from my last dress, actually.

Simplicity 1366 topNot much of a story to tell, except I love this pattern and Cynthia and I must rush out and get ever one she’s ever made and sew them up immediately! There is a reason this pattern is so popular, I can assure you!

Simplicity 1366 1Quick points:

  • Bias cut camisole results in a such a beautiful fit that hugs and skims.
  • The top is deceptively simple but so well cut. I didn’t bother reading the instructions, I just finished it the way I felt was best for the fabric.
  • Here are some of my favorite iterations of this great pattern: Pippi, Elizabeth, and Lara’s sweater version.

Tessuti Kate Top is a winner, even as a muslin

Tessuti Kate Top 1I hate making muslins. I really do. If I make a muslin out of an ugly fabric while only sewing up the seams to check for fit, I never get the desired outcome. I know my skill at fitting is not advanced, so I cannot tell from those kinds of garments where to adjust, unless it is something easy and obvious, like length. But I don’t have to make a muslin to check for length, I can just hold the paper pattern up to my body or use a measureing tape. What seems to happen is I will make a pattern (not a muslin) and during the course of wearing it, the tweaks and adjustments needed make themselves known to me. Does anyone else do it this way? Continue reading


My one true love – the Camas Blouse

Thread Theory Camas blouse 1When I saw this pattern, I thought to myself “Look, Morgan read my mind! She has created the most perfect pattern. She knows my heart! We are one!”

I was right! It IS the perfect pattern for me. It has all my favorite elements…a V neck, made from a knit, a contrast yoke, soft gathers at the shoulders, a shaped hem, 3/4 sleeves. The possibilities for fabric pairing are so exciting! I can make it dressy, but it is knit, so it will still be wearable. Continue reading


My Striped Tissue Knit Athena

This is obviously the sample I made for the pattern cover, so I know that you have seen it already. But I threw it on for a few action shots so you can see how it hangs on a body.

A few notes: I did not hem this version, since tissue knits are so thin and fine that a hem doesn’t always turn out well. Not hemming was also an adjustment for my long torso, since I cut the size small without any modifications to assess the sample. I also have wider shoulders than average, so the neckline on me does not look at open as on other people.

But despite all that, it is a fun example of my new pattern and I hope you get some ideas to make your own! It is still on 20% off sale until March 21st with coupon code “FIRSTWEEK”.

AthenaTopAAthenaGrayDayPatternsAbanner1170GrayDayPatternsAthena1AthenaGrayDayPatternsBAthenaTopB

Why is it so sunny all of a sudden?

Why is it so sunny all of a sudden?

 


Just a swingin’ people tank

McCalls6751dTurns out I have a ton of the “people” fabric left over from my Suzy pants. Sometimes pants patterns call for double the length of your leg, so I bought 2.5 yards. But what I have figured out in my vast pant making experience (3 pair!) is that if the apparel fabric is 60″ wide I can always get both pant legs on one width of fabric and I will only need 1.25 – 1.5 yards (making pants very economical, no?).

Continue reading