Boucle and Denim Jacket

After making a double breasted coat dress, and covering boots to match, I still had a little bit of this wonderful green and black boucle left. I decided to use it in a jacket mixed with some black denim.

Denim is sturdy, but the boucle is soft, so I realized I’d probably be reinforcing the boucle in some way, with interfacing or lining. I decided on a jeans jacket sort of style, using the boucle for the front and back yoke and sleeves. I chose Butterick 5616 for the longer, hip length version. I wanted cuffed sleeves, so I lengthen them a bit and drafted my own cuff pattern.

I thought long and hard about pockets, but, eventually I decided to omit the pockets for a cleaner look. I added a decorative cap on the sleeves, and used bright sliver, textured buttons.

I did the topstiching according to the pattern, but the black thread disappeared against the black denim, but it still helped the jacket get crisp clean lines.

The pattern doesn’t call for lining, but that’s how I decided to handle the boucle. I used plain black poylester.

This jacket took a lot of time to make. Topstitching is always time consuming, and there’s quite a bit on this jacket. Drafting the cuff pattern, creating the little lap in the sleeve (so I can open the cuff), and adding the lining all took extra time. I planed to have the jacket ready for spring, but it wasn’t finished until recently.

Pattern Description: Unlined jackets with top stitching and pockets. Three quarter sleeves or sleeveless. Waist or hip length

Pattern Sizing: Misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Except for my design changes, yes. I used boucle for the front and back yokes and sleeves.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, the instructions were accurate and easy to understand. All the notches lined up, etc.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the longer length without the band at the bottom. I didn’t like the sleeves, but fixed that by adding my own cuffs.

Fabric Used: Black denim and a wonderful green boucle

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Lengthened the sleeve a bit and added cuffs. Added little denim sleeve caps to separate the boucle sleeves from the boucle yokes

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Would I sew it again? Maybe. If I wanted another jeans jacket -like jacket. Right now, though, it’s not on my “Must Make Another Right Away” list. Would I recommend it to others? Yes

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McCalls 7538 Knit Bandage Dress

This is a flattering, easy to make and comfortable to wear dress. With careful color choices, the bandage wrap style can make the waist look slimmer, creating an hourglass shape.

My inspiration for this dress were these two designs by Proenza Schouler. These Proenza dresses have a dramatic one bare shoulder look that I could not pull off. I knew mine would have both shoulders covered and two longish sleeves. The Proenza dresses have a peek-a-boo effect built into the wraps, my dress will provide full coverage. McCalls 7538 matched the wrap portion closely. When comparing my finished dress to the inspirational images, it looks like the wraps on the Proenza dresses are more vertical, and the ones in this pattern are a little more horizontal, but it’s not a barely noticeable difference. I copied the Proenza lettuce finish on the hem and sleeves. I think the Proenza dresses are made from a softer, less firm knit.

I chose an easy to sew rayon ponte in a middle blue. I wanted the bandages to be darker, so my waist would (in theory) look a little thinner. And I wanted an extra accent stripe. Once I settled on the middle blue and a dark blue, choosing the final strip was a lot harder. I planned to layer the thinner strips over the wide base bandage stripe, so the more layers, the thicker the bandage. Two layers of ponte, middle blue and dark blue, was already thick. Another ponte would have been too thick, so I started picking in my scraps and leftovers. I found two potential options, and settled on the striped ity knit.

This is an easy to make dress that went together quickly without fuss. But, the skirt was SHORT!! Usually I find myself cutting off inches at the hem before hemming. This time the skirt was cut just long enough, turning up anything more than an inch or so for hem would be too short. So, I borrowed from the inspiration design and used a lettuce finish on the hem and sleeves. I’ve never tried this kind of finish on a fabric as thick and firm as the ponte, but it worked.

The end result is a comfortable, flattering easy to wear dress. The rayon ponte is comfortable and wrinkle resistant, so it’s a good garment for traveling.

It’s also something that could be worn to the office under a jacket or cardigan. Take off the cardigan, and you’re ready to go out for dinner and drinks, or to the theater.

Pattern Description: Knit dress with Bandage Wrap design

Pattern Sizing: Misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except I used different color blocking

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, they were clear, notches matched up, etc

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the wrap section at the middle. I did not like the length, this skirt is SHORT. I was a little surprised at just how short it was. I like my skirts to reach the knee at least, even with a lettuce hem that takes up no extra length the skirt is barely long enough. I’m also not thrilled with the way the shoulders/sleeves fit. The only reason I can move my arms is because the fabric stretches!!! When I first tried this dress on I was afraid that would be a big problem. I wore the dress anyway. It bothered me for a minute or two, by the time the evening was over I had forgotten it was a problem.

Fabric Used: Rayon/Lycra ponte knit, with contrast polyester ponte knit and a little bit of poly ity from my scrap bin

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I used a different color blocking design and added extra strips on the “bandages”

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and yes. With careful color choices, this is a slimming style that’s comfortable to wear.

Inspiration dress one

inspiration dress two

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Simplicity 1694 – Number 3

I  like Simplicity 1694. The soft A-line is soft and airy, and helps this shirt stay cool and comfortable.

This is my latest make of this pattern. It’s a mystery print from the stash that’s been hanging around for a while. I’ve picked it up several times, but there wasn’t enough for the projects I had in mind. Then, on a whim, I tried this fabric with Simplicity 1694 and plain black rayon for contrasting pieces like the collar, the tabs and the facings.

It almost worked. Almost! In desperation, I turned the pattern pieces onto the cross grain. It worked! And, it didn’t look bad, either!

I was still short just a teeny, tiny bit, so I decided to use plain black rayon shirting as an accent and to give me just enough fabric to squeeze out this shirt.

I’ve made this pattern several times already, so this shirt went together quickly and easily. I used shiny, black, faceted buttons from my button stash.

Pattern Sizing:
Misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, but I’ve made this shirt a couple of times already, so this time I didn’t pay much attention to them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the loose, comfortable fit. It’s perfect for hot, humid weather.

Fabric Used:
A woven fabric in a floral print. I don’t remember when or where I got it. The burn test indicates that it’s a poly blend, I assume with cotton (or maybe rayon) because it’s still cool and comfortable, as well as fairly wrinkle resistant.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Used black rayon challis for contrasting collar and cuffs

 

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Hot Patterns HP1170 Blouse Back Tee, Fast & Fabulous

I love stripes, I love florals, I love mixing them in this easy, casual tee. I borrowed the idea of a contrasting front yoke from a RTW tee.

I wanted a Spring/Fall shirt, so I made the sleeves long-ish. I didn’t really measure the length because I wasn’t picky about the exact length. Anything from below the elbow to the wrist would work. Which is sort of ironic, because Hot Patterns includes an amazingly complete chart of finished garment dimensions for just about any measurement you can think of! I LOVE this feature about Hot Patterns, because the chart makes alterations super easy.

I also raise the neck in both front and back. I always raise the back neck line, I like mine higher than most RTW and sewing patterns. I raised the front neck line, because I’ve made this tee before, and I knew I wanted something a little higher for the transitional seasons.

This is a nice design, easy to wear in spring, summer or fall. I think my next version might use lace or sheer fabric as the contrast.

<b>Pattern Description: </b>
Semi-fitted, pull-on T-shirt with a relaxed silhouette featuring a contrast back, back yoke, “U” neckline and sleeves finished with self or contrast trim

<b>Pattern Sizing:</b>
Sizes 6 – 26 in one envelope

<b>Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?</b>
Yes, except for my design changes

<b>Were the instructions easy to follow?</b>
Yes. Hot Patterns instructions are always clear and their garments are easy to sew

<b>What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?</b>
The full gathered back and the WONDERFUL complete list of finished measurements

<b>Fabric Used:</b>
Polyester blend kints. The stripe is a poly/cotton ity blend from Fabric Mart. The floral is poly/spandex digital print from Ebay. Both were already in my stash when I chose them for this top.

<b>Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:</b>
I added a contrasting front yoke, made long-ish sleeves with a narrow hem, and raised the neckline. I like having a higher back neck than most RTW and patterns provide, and I wanted a less deep front neck

<b>Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?</b>
Yes and Yes! Hot Patterns are GREAT!

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Sew Retro: A Stylish History of the Sewing Revolution Book Review

Grab a cup of coffee, or tea, or cocoa. It’s time for another book review

Sew Retro – A Stylish History of the Sewing Revolution by Judi Ketteler

Sew Retro is a combination history and how-to book. Patterns for the projects are included.

DISCLAIMER: I have not actually made any of the projects using the provided pattern pieces or instructions. My pattern pieces are still sealed in the envelope bound into the rear of this hardback, spiral bound book.

The book covers roughly 150 years of history, from the 18000s to the 1980s. I guess anything newer than that is too new to be retro!

A fun timeline marches across the bottom of the pages through all the chapters, noting important sewing related events.

Each chapter begins by talking about the changing role of women, major events and circumstances that affect the United States and their impact on the home sewing industry. Biographies of key women in fashion history and interviews with contemporary women in the industry pepper this section, and advertisements from the era provide rich, intriguing illustrations. The history portion is followed by several projects that (are supposed to) reflect that time period.

Chapter One – 1800s – Victorian Pin Cushion, Elegant Shawl, Sweet Sewing Basket, Charming Needlecase

Chapter Two – 1910s; 1920s – Opera Bag, Flapper Apron, Smart Felt Hat

Chapter Three – 1930s; 1940s – Patchwork Potholders, Pinch a Penny Change Purse, Cafe Curtains, Tea Party Tablecloth, Ribbon Embellished Napkins

Chapter Four – 1950s -Hostess Apron, Mod Gathered Pillow, Pretty Little Purse, Birds of a Feather Table Runner, Handkerchief Bag

Chapter Five – 1960s; 1970s – Not So Mini Mini Skirt, Cool Coasters, Easy Elastic Headband, Groovy Patchwork Throw

Chapter Six – 1980s – Saturday Afternoon Skirt, Farmer’s Market Bag, Catch-All Caddy, Almost Effortless Scarf

Every project includes a photo of the completed item. Many of these projects are (or could be) quite useful items, for example, the Thrifty Thirties Patchwork Potholders, or the Victorian Sweet Sewing Basket. Others, like the Mid Century Modern Birds of a Feather Table Runner and Almost Effortless Scarf, are just not my taste at all. And some, like the Mid Century Modern Pretty Little Purse, are actually quite cute, but not in the fabrics and colors chosen for the examples.

All the projects are Easy or Very Easy. A few, like the Easy Elastic Headband, a fabric tube with an elastic insert, are easy enough for children. The Patchwork Potholders would be a good project to introduce kids to quilting, and the Groovy Patchwork Throw could make an easy project for a beginning quilter. Some projects, like the Cafe Curtains or the Elegant Shawl, are simple projects that an intermediate sewist could probably create on their own without the book (I know I’ve been making simple curtains like for over 30 years, often out of sheets).

Each project includes a list of needed supplies, the pattern pieces used (if any), a list of what fabric pieces to cut, and assembly steps accompanied by illustrations with a hand-drawn quality.

Will you like this book?

If you are looking for a how-to-sew book, this probably isn’t for you. It does include some sewing information, and a couple of projects could be good introductions to quilling, but the how-to information is largely limited to how-to do each project, not sewing in general.

If you are looking to recreate authentic items from a specific era of history, this book is not for you. The projects are all modern interpretations inspired by the mood and feeling of a specific era.

If you are looking for Easy or Very Easy sewing projects (including some that can be done by hand, or by children, or by hand by children) you might like this book. If you dislike the way an item looks in the project photo, do not be put off. These items can be made in different colors (or in prints or solids) and different fabric, producing different results.

If you enjoy vintage advertising, sewing history, interviews and biographies of fashion industry figures, you might like this book.

 

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McCalls 6927 Woven T

I knew it was going to be hot in Washington DC in June, and I knew I needed cool, comfortable clothing. and I wanted something dressier than the average t-shirt.Fabric Mart had some beautiful silk/cotton voiles on sale, and I already made up one piece into a peasant style top with lace accents. I used the second piece to make this woven T-shirt.

I made mine with a longer, flounced sleeve. The fabric is very light and airy, so it doesn’t get clammy, and the longer sleeve protects from the sun. Between the longer tunic length, the type of fabric, the print, and the long sleeves the end result looks more like a tunic than a t-shirt, but that’s Ok.

The pattern is easy, a front, a back, a sleeve, a neckband. I borrowed the semi circular sleeve flounce from a different pattern. It was easy to cut out and assemble, I used my serger. I finished the hem and sleeve flounce with a three thread rolled hem.

I also used a three thread rolled hem to attach the sleeve flounce to the sleeve and the neckband to the neck opening, so that the hem sits on the outside of the garment and resembles thin, thread-like seam piping.

Pattern Description: 
Simple darted woven T (or shell), in two lengths,

Three Thread Rolled Hem used as a seam

sleeveless or with long or short sleeves

Pattern Sizing:
I use RR (womens size).

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes except for the sleeve flounce I added

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, they were clear and accurate

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked that it is a simple pattern that I can tweak to my taste and then use as a base for other designs, or surface designs (like dye, paint or embroidery).

Fabric Used:
Silk/Cotton Voile from Fabric Mart

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I added semi circular flounces to the sleeves. I used a three thread rolled hem to finish the hem and sleeve flounces, and to attach the sleeve flounces to the sleeves and the neckband to the neck

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, and Yes

 

 

 

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Welcome to the Cafe

Welcome to the Cafe portion of my blog! I’ll share my prize winning cake recipe and a book review.

Rum Cake Recipe – Second Place Winner

I entered a Rum Bundt Cake in the Cuyahoga County Fair this year and won second place! I’ve won second place many times before, but it’s always a thrill to win anything. This years first place winner was a pineapple upside down cake. The year I made pineapple upside down cake, I placed second to a Red Velvet Bundt Cake with a Cream Cheese Tunnel! Maybe I need to put the Rum Cake and the Pineapple Upsidedown cake together somehow?

Here’s the recipe for Rum Cake. It came from the King Arthur Flour website. I modified it by

  1. Adding nutmeg to the Almond Flour pan coating
  2. Substituting Eggnog Flavor for the Butter Rum Flavor (Because Eggnog was what I had at hand)
  3. I omitted the rum soak, and glazed the cake with a thin glaze made of powdered sugar, milk and Eggnog flavor

At the last minute, I stopped. bought an orchid plant, snipped off a bloom, and tucked it into the center of the bundt cake.

RUM CAKE BASE

  • 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3.4-ounce box instant vanilla pudding mix (not sugar-free)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup rum, plain or spiced
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon butter-rum flavor (optional but excellent)
  • 1/4 cup pecan or almond flour, for dusting baking pan

RUM SOAKING SYRUP

  • 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup rum, light or dark, plain or spiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Place all of the cake ingredients except the rum, vanilla, and butter-rum flavor in a bowl and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Be sure to scrape down the bowl after one minute. Add the rum, vanilla, and flavor to the batter and beat at low speed for another minute.
  3. Spritz a 10- to 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle on the pecan or almond flour and turn the pan to coat evenly; shake out any excess. Set aside. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread level with a spatula.
  4. Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes. When done, the cake will test clean on a cake tester.
  5. Leave the cake in the pan to cool slightly while you make the soaking syrup.
  6. In a medium-sized saucepan combine the syrup ingredients, except vanilla. Bring to a rapid boil then reduce to a simmer and cook (without stirring) for about 5 to 8 minutes, until the syrup thickens slightly. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  7. Use a long skewer to poke holes all over the cake. Pour about 1/4 cup of the syrup over the cake (still in the pan). Allow the syrup to soak in, then repeat again and again until all the syrup is used.
  8. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and allow the cake to sit overnight at room temperature to cool completely and soak in the syrup. When ready to serve, loosen the edges of the cake and invert onto your serving plate. If the cake won’t release, place it in the oven, turn the oven to 350°F, and warm for 5 to 10 minutes, to soften the syrup. Remove from the oven, and tip the cake onto the serving plate.
  9. Serve with hot coffee or tea. The cake is very moist, fragrant and potent.
  10. Wrap securely (or place under a cake cover) and store at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage, up to 1 month.

And there it is!

Book Review  The Makers Atelier 

I bought this book for two reasons. First, I liked the name! Second, and more importantly, I was interested in the idea of creating a complete, versatile wardrobe from a handful of basic patterns.

This book sets out to offer a set of simple, easy to sew designs that can be casual or elegant, depending on the fabric, and form a complete wardrobe – and that’s exactly what this book and pattern collection does. If you like fitted designs and lots of details, chances are you won’t like the patterns in this collection. But, if you like a loose, boxy fit and elastic waistbands, chances are you’ll find some (maybe all) of these patterns appealing.

Each pattern includes step by step illustrations and instructions. The designs themselves are simple, with no darts or cuffs. Disclaimer: I have not actually tried following any of the instructions step by step yet, but, I’m not sure they’ve always used the best techniques. For example, the Drape Front Top is made of jersey knit, but finished with bias tape. I wouldn’t do that, I’d cut a self binding or facing.

Book Index/Chapter headings

Introduction
Choosing and Using Fabrics
Measuring, Making a Toile, and Fitting a Garment
Pattern One – Stretch Skirt
Pattern Two – Drape Front Top
Pattern Three – Cigarette Pants
Pattern Four – Tie Neck Blouse
Pattern Five – The Book Bag
Pattern Six – Raw Edge Coat
Pattern Seven – Wrap Skirt
Pattern Eight – Oversize T
Resources and Acknowledgements
Index

PaperBack or HardBound?

Heavy paper cover, almost like a hardbound but not quite. It has a flap that folds over the front and locks the book closed. When the book is opened, the right side is a tied paper envelope containing the pattern pieces. The contents of the book are on the left side. The last page of the index is printed on the inside of the front cover. I’ve never seen a book assembled like this one, it’s a little hard to describe.

Does this book have clear illustrations or photographs?

Yes, it has clear photos of each project, tech specs on the patterns (line drawings, sizing, etc) and assembly instructions. Disclaimer, I have not actually followed any of the instructions yet. They seem complete and correct, but not necessarily the technique I’d use.

Would you recommend this book as a MUST HAVE?

No, not a “must have” unless you love these styles or want this collection.

The Makers Atelier, The Essential Collection is primarily a collection of eight patterns that together form a complete wardrobe, including a bag.

The book section has an introduction to the idea behind this collection, that is, a set of patterns that create a wardrobe. The styles are simple but versatile, and examples of many variations are included in the photos. There’s a few pages on selecting fabrics and a sizing chart. No sewing instructions are included here, all that is in the pattern section.

Each pattern section begins with a little background on the style. I’ll use the Stretch Pencil Skirt as an example. It begins with a section called “Developing the”, in this example, Developing the Pencil Skirt. It talks about the history of the pencil skirt, a discussion of the stretch version included in this collection, how the author/designer likes her skirt to fit, and mentions the many different looks that are possible from this simple skirt (the author has 25 versions of this skirt). Next is a “How to Wear” section, with 4 photos each showing a different version and a brief description of the skirt and top shown in the photo. This is followed by the Technical Information, including Sizing, Fabric Requirements, Notions, Sewing Notes, Cutting Guide, and assembly instructions. Finishing up the pattern chapter is a Making More of section, which explains how to add seam details and four different hemming methods.

The styles themselves are simple and clean. The Stretch Pencil Skirt, for example, is just two pattern pieces and an elastic waist.

The Drape Front Top is a simple two piece, sleeveless, dartless T with a slight cowl neck, finished with bias binding. Variations include a gathered neck, a self lined version, and a woven bias variation.

The Cigarette Pants are pull on stretch pants with a slightly tapered leg, faced waist and side zip. Variations include top-stitched tucks and capri length pants with vents at the hem.

The Tie-Front blouse is a button front, dartless shirt with long, cuffless sleeves and a slim tie neckband. Variations include wider ties and contrasting ties.

The Book Bag is a nice tote that can be used as a tote bag or purse, and one variation includes instructions on how to make a compact fold up version for easy storage. The Book Bag is the pattern I’m most likely to use from this collection.

The Raw Edge Coat is a dartless, shirt-like jacket with long, two piece cuffless sleeves and optional pockets. When I saw the technical drawing I thought “Lab Coat”. Although no laboratory coat versions are suggested, the raw edge coat is shown in two lengths. One variation includes finished edges, another is made of leather and includes instructions for working with leather.

The Wrap Skirt is a straight skirt with an overlapping asymmetrical front panel, the top edge of the waistband on the overlap panel descends from the waist to the hip across the front, and the hem drops along with it. variations include a stripe emphasising the front panel and a lining.

The Oversized T-Shirt is exactly that: An oversized, dartless T with a large jewel neck. Variations include short, elbow length or long sleeves, two different lengths, and neckline embellishments

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McCalls 7358 Wrap Top Make #1 and Make #2

First, a pink button front version

I needed a summer wardrobe of cool and comfortable tops to wear on vacation. The inspiration for my first make on McCall’s 7358 was an asymmetrical button front shirt from a catalog. I couldn’t find a pattern exactly like the inspiration shirt, but this McCall’s pattern came close enough.

I chose a pink rayon for my shirt, and large cream colored plastic buttons from my stash.

I used a normal shirt collar instead of the pattern collar. On the pattern, the front panel is squared off at the wrap point. I extended the slant all the way out to a point, and added buttons and buttonholes. It was actually quite tricky to get the buttons in the right place! I pinned and repined, pinned and repinned to get them correctly placed. I added a few extra buttons (but not buttonholes) on the front panel below the point at the side. I also made tabs for the sleeves.

Which way to put the buttonholes? Normally, front button shirts have vertical buttonholes. But, the placket on this shirt is diagonal. Vertical buttonholes might look weird. I thought about putting them diagonally along the placket, but I worried that might be tricky and might not hold the shirt shut. I settled on horizontal buttonholes.

The end result is not an exact duplicate of the inspiration top, but it’s really close. The inspiration shirt has a slim line, mine has a fuller line (for a fuller body). I have extra buttons on the lower section, and the collar sits a little differently.

Pattern Description: Wrap shirt with belt

Pattern Sizing: Misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? No, it isn’t supposed to.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, the instructions were clear and notches lined up.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the wrap front and the comfortable, relaxed fit. I did not like the shape of the lower front facings.

Fabric Used: Rayon challis

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Added a shirt collar and tabs to the sleeves. Extended the front panel all the way to a point, added buttons and buttonholes

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I would sew this again. In fact, I already have! I liked it so much that I made a second version, below, even before I completely finished this version. Yes, I’d recommend it, but I’d point out that the front panel does not extend all the way across the front, it does not reach the side seam. Also, the lower front facing pieces are a little funny

Then, a blue floral version

I liked this top so much that I decided to make another right away. This time, I used a blue floral rayon print, with a solid blue rayon for accent. I tried to make the shawl collar into more of a double ruffle collar, but that didn’t work quite as I hoped. I also added double flounces to the sleeves.

The body, upper collar, upper sleeve, upper sleeve flounce and one side of the tie belt are blue floral print rayon challie. The undercollar, lower sleeve flounce, front facings, other side of the tie belt, and hem facing are solid blue. The neck and sleeve flounces, both solid blue and floral print, are finished with a three thread rolled hem.

I like this shirt! I feel a little bit like Carmen Miranda when I wear it. But, the event I planned to wear it to didn’t happen, so here is a photo of me wearing the shirt on my back deck

Pattern Description: Wrap blouse

Pattern Sizing: Misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? This time it came pretty close, except for the doubled up collar and sleeve flounce

Were the instructions easy to follow? Because this make is closer to the pattern with fewer design changes than the first make, and because this is my second time making it, everything went together a lot easier.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The lower front facing was a little funny, for this make I used a wide strip of blue bias. Also, the top panel does not wrap all the way around to the side seam, it stops about 3/4 of the way across the front

Fabric Used: Rayon challis

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Tried to make the shawl collar more of a ruffle or flounce, but it didn’t work quite as I expected. I doubled the collar and sleeve flounce, and faced the hem with solid blue.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I’d recommend this pattern. Will I make it again? Maybe.

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Simplicity 1694 – A casual rayon shirt

I like this button front shirt. The A-line shape is comfortable, easy to wear, and somewhat flattering on my figure.

We planned a vacation in Washington DC in June, when the weather is hot and sticky. I needed some tops and shirts that looked nice and would be comfortable both indoors in air conditioning and outdoors in the summer sun. I chose rayon challis in a soft army green shade.

I’ve made this shirt before, and it went together easily. Until I reached the buttonhole step. I was confused, and made the buttonholes down the front horizontal instead of vertical. I used buttons from my stash, and they’re a bit larger than the pattern suggests, so it’s probably for the best that I made the buttonholes horizontal. If I had put them vertically, they might have looked a little too crowded.

Pattern Description: Button front A-line shirt with collar stand, collar, jii-low hem and sleeve tabs

Pattern Sizing: Misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except my buttonholes are horizontal

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes the instructions were clear, but the notches on the collar didn’t quite line up right for me.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the A-line shape and hi-low hem

Fabric Used: Rayon challis in soft army green

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Omitted the pockets, and tipped the buttonholes sideways

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I think I’ll sew this one again. And yes, I recommend it. It isn’t too hard, even a beginner could manage it.

Horizontal Button Holes

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Butterick 5030 Wrap Dress

I don’t remember when or where I got this blue/grey hydrangea print in stretch cotton, but when I rediscovered it in my stash I just had to make something with it. I decided on a summer wrap dress.

Wrap dresses can be tricky. The front often gapes, even when the bust fits nicely, and the front opening can be quite low. I usually have to do FBAs. But oddly, the FBA on this dress gave me almost too much room in front. Another issue is that wrap dresses tend to fit figures with a narrow waist much better than figures like mine, with a straighter line, but that isn’t a problem with this dress.

The pattern was not hard to assemble. I extended the band from the bodice down through the skirt.

Pattern Description: Wrap dress

Pattern Sizing: Misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it does.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, the instructions were clear. Notches lined up and pieces fit together

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Fabric Used:  Stretch cotton in a wonderful blue floral print

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  I finished the skirt panels with a band like the neck and bodice

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?Yes, I recommend this dress, it’s an ideal basic wrap dress pattern.

 

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