Warm and Snuggly in my COPPÉLIA Cardi

Coppelia cardiganRecently I purchased a pair of high-waisted jeans. Oh how I love that they suck my tummy in and I don’t have to continuously hike them up! I have been loving them so much I thought it would be great to have more tops to wear with them. The Papercut Coppelia Cardigan has been on my to-sew list for quite a while, and I decided now is the time. This silhouette is so flattering!

papercut coppelia backI never took ballet lessons, but as soon as possible I put both my daughters in dance and loved dressing them up in pink leotards, chiffon skirts and ballet wrap sweaters. This is my chance to wear that look, but, you know, appropriate for someone over the age of 10 (that’s when my oldest decided no more dance, a day that broke my heart).

papercut coppelia necklineI made a muslin of this pattern because I knew it was going to be essential to get the shoulder and neckline to fit perfectly so I could avoid gaping in the front. It is already rather low cut, so it needs to be secure. I am very glad I took that extra step because there was quite a bit of necessary adjustments. I’m not sure how much of it had to do with my small upper bodice or forward shoulders, but I ended up taking nearly an inch from the front shoulder/bodice seam, angling from the neckline and just making that front raglan curve much more exaggerated.

Papercut Coppelia sleeve detailI also did a little skimming off the sleeves to make them slimmer, but that is a usual adjustment for me. You don’t want to take too much off because the sleeves have a cool shape to preserve.

cappelia wrap cardiganI thought I could get away with shorter ties than the pattern calls for. I wanted to knot it to one side and I didn’t want too much excess flopping around and getting in the way. It turns out I needed all the tie and I had to really scramble to attach more tie in a clean manner. That was stupid of me. So I have edgestitching all the way down both ties so I could close my tube up, and that is not called for in the instructions. It didn’t end up looking too bad.

IMG_4299 (2)My fabric is a sweatshirt type with the softest nap inside and quite a bit of stretch. I don’t think you need much stretch for this pattern, because you do want it to stay secure at the neckline. You really don’t want it to stretch out of shape and fail to bounce back. I am too paranoid to wear this without a cami underneath, which is tragic since my fabric feels like an angel’s kiss and I want to snuggle right up against it. But I did notice some shifting when I wore it and I know I’d be fearfully glancing down at my chest all day if I didn’t have cami insurance.

papercut coppelia cardigan frontI wore this and took the pictures on the last gloomy day we will experience for a while, so I will have to look forward to wearing it next fall. Now it is on to making summer dresses and lots and lots of swimsuits for our new pool!


Had to try the Off-the-Shoulder trend

SImplicity4177OfftheShoulderAnd I decided I like it! This is an easy fitting top that I actually feel pretty comfortable in. This knit is so soft and hangs well in this style. And I love bright pink tops. That accent color is definitely in my color palette.

S4177ElasticOfftheShoulderBefore the end of the year I bought The Curated Closet and devoured it. It makes so much sense to work out a plan so you feel great in every outfit in your closet. And on my recent trip to the LA fashion district for fabric procurement it really kept me focused on the fabrics and colors I want to wear. Except for one piece of rather expensive peach/gold linen I bought. Not sure what came over me there! Sometimes that happens to me in fabric heaven. I am getting better, though.

Anthropologie dressing roomSince I wasn’t sure about this trend I had not purchased an actual pattern specifically in this style. I tried on this top in Anthropologie and knew I liked the idea of it, but wanted to make it myself. You can see how transparent it is, and yet what can you wear under an off-the-shoulder top for modesty?

S4177modificationsSo I took a very simple peasant top pattern with raglan sleeves (Simplicity 4177 OOP), straightened off the top and folded it over for a casing and inserted elastic. You can see I didn’t cut down the neckline much because I knew I would be folding it over an inch and a half for my casing.

S4177SleeveDetailI love 3/4 sleeves, so I shortened those and made a mini casing for some comfortable elastic there. A very simple alteration that made the top feel customized.  Long sleeves are silly here, and I knew I wanted to wear this if I could during summer. This week it reached 90 degrees, but I know the entire summer won’t be that oppressive and I’ll get to wear it. It would even look cute with shorts.

SimplicityOffshoulderblouse1Now that I decided I like this trend, I went ahead and purchased Cynthia Rowley Simplicity 8124. I don’t know how necessary that pattern is, but I pretty much buy every Cynthia Rowley pattern and I do love the little romper. And I just noticed that the sample dress on the pattern is 3/4 sleeves! Cynthia and I, we think alike!

S4177BlouseMy one regret is my obvious and distracting tank top tan lines. Ugh. Since taking these photos I’ve remembered to apply sunscreen all over my shoulders before I go running. You would laugh harder if you saw my legs! A harsh shorts line mid-thigh and a less defined but still discernible one at my ankle.

And there is my handsome and helpful photographer reflected in the window. It is fun to have him in a shot with me! Where’s Waldo (I mean, Reid)?


Black, white and neon S1072 sweatshirt

Simplicity1072Top
I did a little scrapbusting! I get one million points for this, since I have soooooo much fabric in my stash and I want to sew with all of them immediately. But I did get to use this super fun neon athletic knit I picked up at the Swap Meet, so I got to try a new and use up the old. I’m feeling very saintly!

S1072Front
I have a couple RTW sweatshirts I wear quite often. They both have unique details and they are made from drapey, lightweight knit that make them relaxed but show a bit of shape and oh so comfortable. After rolling my eyes at myself wearing them again and again, it was time to figure out why I love them so and try making more.

S1072BackThis is Simplicity 1072, a cute sweatshirt and knit pencil skirt pattern. The neon knit is cool and very thin, and I paired it with the leftover crepe from my Trapeze Dress. I had to line the crepe for modesty, so I used the softest white jersey knit, making this so comfortable!

S1072NecklinePutting those 2 very different fabrics together was not without challenges, though. Actually, working with that very fine, smooth neon knit was just challenging all around. My neckline is so sad, all floppy and twisty, even though I picked out my first try and did it over. Yes, the first try was even worse!

S1072SweatshirtI think the cool seamlines on the side of this basic sweatshirt pattern make fabric pairing so fun. You can really see how the neon color frames the black and white print and I love the effect. I did go down a size because I knew the ease would be huge, but I also wish I had shortened the sleeves – they are quite long! I will almost always be pushing them up, but it is something to note. My new true love is 3/4 sleeves, which you will see examples of in my next 3 finished tops. I LOVE CALIFORNIA, land of short (or no!) sleeves!

Simplicity1072DIY sweatshirtLast week I also made a muslin of a real underwire bra. Yep, I’m jumping on the bandwagon! I hope to have something lacy to share soon. It is fun so far, and fairly quick, too.


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