Hi, everyone. Happy week before Thanksgiving! Today I have a lovely linen blouse to share with you. This is the Fibre Mood Norma blouse.
I got this for free when Fibre Mood gave it away as part of a sewing challenge.
It took me awhile to get around to making it, but I got there in the end! Actually, this version was inspired by melt.stitches who made Norma in bone colored linen. I think I saw her version on Pinterest or the Fibre Mood site, and fell in love with this top in a pale linen.
I had read numerous blog posts by people who had gotten linen from fabrics-store.com and been happy, so when white midweight linen went on sale, I snapped some up. It was very nice when I got it, both before and after washing, and made me think of the midweight linen I had bought from Fabric Mart to make my yellow Roscoe Blouse. Cutting and sewing the fabric was great. I did find one flaw in the fabric that I didn’t notice until after I had cut everything out, but luckily it ended up on a facing, so no one but me (and all of you) will see it.
For this pattern, I made a 16 bust, 16 waist, and for the hip, I straddled the line between a 16 and 18 (this is in the US sizing). I made a note to myself to cut wide seam allowances at the hip in case I wanted to let the seams out a bit there for more room, but I think I forgot all about it when I got to cutting and sewing. I did a major broad back adjustment, as I often do on shirts, and that worked out great.
I also lengthened the sleeve cuff since I wanted them loose enough around my lower arms to be comfortable whether the sleeve was hanging down or pulled up over my elbows.
When Fibre Mood first started, you had to add seam allowances to all of their patterns. This often (though not always) seems to be the preference in European patterns. I don’t think this originally had seam allowances, but in my copy of the pattern, it does, which was nice–one less step to do!
The order and steps for sewing this were a little bit different than some patterns I have used, and I really enjoyed the change. This pattern often has you finish seam allowances before sewing pieces together. This works out great if you are going to serge or zigzag your edges.
If you plan to finish your seams together, you will need to change things around a bit, but that wouldn’t be too tricky.
After hemming, I sewed my facings down. I HATE facings that flap around. I know facings are supposed to give you a beautifully finished edge without stitching around it, however I don’t mind the look of a stitched down facing as much as I mind my facings flapping around and getting wrinkled every time they go through the wash.
I took a bit of time going back and forth over my button choices, and chose some vintage white (shell?) buttons from the collection my mother-in-law gave me.
I’m really happy with how they look. I had thought about green glass or pink plastic buttons, also from that collection, since I love distinctive details, but because I don’t have a lot of white shirts in my wardrobe, I wanted this one to be versatile and neutral.
There’s a nice tip at the end of the pattern to add some tulle into the shoulder area if you want to keep your sleeve heads extra puffy. I didn’t do that this time, but it’s a great idea.
Changes for next time and overall thoughts
If I were to make this again, I would do a few things. It’s clear to me that I need to do a forward shoulder adjustment as the top ends up shifting back as I wear it.
This doesn’t affect how it feels. It really just affects how it hangs on my body, giving it the look of a shirt with a high-low hem. It works out well for this shirt because the neckline is a little low for me (another thing I would change if I made this again), but because the shirt tends to shift to the back, it effectively raises the neckline to a point I’m comfortable with. Other than that, maybe I would lengthen it an inch or two, but I’m not really sure. That would be a good round three potential change, if I got that far with this pattern.
Otherwise, though, I love this shirt. I have been reaching for it a lot. While I don’t think I need a million of these shirts in my closet, I like this enough that I wouldn’t mind one or two more, and I would definitely consider using a midweight linen again–it’s so nice. It’s turned out to be a great (and pretty!) wardrobe workhorse as we have transitioned into the cooler weather.
Before starting, I looked back at my old post to see what changes I had made to the pattern. I used those again: a minor forward shoulder adjustment, and lengthening the top by two inches, although this time I added one of the inches to the bodice and one inch to the peplum. I made size G, and found a surprising error on the pattern. Even though the key to the sizes shows different line styles for sizes G and F, on the printed and assembled PDF, they both look the same. I just had to count up or down to my size to make sure I was on track. It’s very possible this problem has been fixed since I downloaded it, but keep an eye out just in case if your are sewing either of those two sizes.
This fabric is a little shifty to cut, so you need to be careful and go a little bit slowly. This can be an issue while sewing, too, so make sure you stay stitch the front and back neckline before getting started. It’s not a hard fabric to sew–just be aware that it can shift. Handle it carefully, and you’ll be fine.
I tested out various trim options, but in the end, I decided to keep the outside of the top plain to let the linen shine through, although I did use some fun Rifle Paper Co. rayon bias binding I made instead of the facings. After doing the forward shoulder adjustment, I didn’t really want to alter the facings when I had this pretty option I could use instead. I used my serger to finish my other seams, so the inside looks nice and neat.
When I finish a garment, unless I really hate it, I usually feel like it’s THE BEST THING EVER and MY NEW FAVORITE and so on and so forth. I loved this when I first made it–and I still do, but wearing it a few times has helped me to see not only its best qualities, but also some that I like less. The pros are that this is a great pattern in beautiful fabric, and it feels like an absolute dream to wear in the summer. It’s cool and breezy and SO GOOD. Another thing that I love is that because it is dartless, it’s also reversible. I love it both ways. Each one is a little different. The parts I like a little less are that at this size, the armholes are a little low, and show my bra. The beautiful volume that allows this to feel so light and breezy also can have a bit of a pregnancy look, especially from the side. That would be different in a drapier fabric like a silk crepe de chine or a rayon challis, but in a fabric with any amount of body, you need to be prepared for volume. In general, I like the volume, but not always.
All that being said, I really do love this top. I think it will look great as the season turns, on those days when it’s cool enough for jeans and a jacket, but still warm enough for a sleeveless or short-sleeved shirt. I had to do a lot of piecing on the peplum to get it out of the small amount of fabric I had, but I made it with only two scraps left over. Man, I love linen!
Last, but not least, guess what? Today is the nine year anniversary of this blog! Wow! It’s great to be able to look back and see how much I have grown as a sewist and craftsman, how much my focus has both narrowed to sewing, and then expanded to making garments in general with the reintroduction of knitting to my crafting skillset. Will shoes be next? Will I ever make a straw hat? Who knows?! Thanks for reading along, though. I really appreciate it. 🙂
It’s finally time to show you what I have been slowly working on since September! This was a fun project!
My husband and I were invited to a wedding at the end of October, so way back in August, I began to think about what I would make. As someone who sews primarily “every day” clothes and who is extremely casual, weddings are fun opportunities to make something a little bit fancier than what I usually wear. That typically just means a dress that I can add to my wardrobe and wear again after the wedding, but a dress is dressing up for me.
The Fibre Mood Mindy has been on my radar to make for over a year, so this was a great opportunity. I love the big sleeves and easy fit. I thought that adding a wide ruffle to the bottom would make it the perfect dress for me.
I originally thought I might make another True Bias Roscoe Blouse with it, as it’s definitely a shirt/dress weight linen. While thinking about a Roscoe and testing out some trims with it, I put this vintage trim next to the fabric, and even though the ribbon doesn’t have any kelly green in it, I loved them together. I didn’t have a lot of it, but I thought it would be best at the neckline and maybe the waist of this dress. I think the ribbon is from Brimfield many years ago, back when I first began going to the flea/antique market, and it’s been waiting for its chance to shine ever since.
Once I put these together, this fabric + trim combination was my color muse, and I began to work on all the little details that would make up the outfit. It was such a fun project. The aim wasn’t so much to stand out at the wedding, but just to put together an outfit that I really loved, filled with interesting details and color. And in the end, what I came up with really surprised me in a good way!
I’ll give you all the details on the outfit, with the sewing details*** at the end of the post for anyone else who is making this pattern.
None of the websites or links in this post are affiliate links–I just want to share where I found everything in case you need any of these types of things for projects of your own.
I found some clog-type sandals in gold on eBay for a great price. They are originally from Boden, and they were in good used condition.
Unfortunately, the straps were a bit tight over my toes. I had ordered them early, so I cleaned them up, and shoved some wooden shoe forms down in the the toes to stretch them out. After awhile, I wore them out for coffee with a friend just to see how they were doing. Good news! The stretching seemed to be working! I put the shoe forms back in, and kept stretching them and testing them out until the wedding. Phew! What a relief.
October in coastal Massachusetts can have variable weather. I remember the end of October being in the 40’s F as well as in the 70’s F, so a short-sleeved linen dress was a risk. I decided I needed some sort of shawl, and as I worked on my dress, I sometimes set it next to another bit of fabric that was teetering between light blue and mint green. It was a set of colors I never would have put together, but I loved them! That was the color I wanted my shawl to be! I looked on Amazon and ordered one, but it was too green, so I returned it. The next one was just right, though!
It was thin, but the wedding and reception were inside, so I hoped it would work!
Also in case of cold, I wanted some tights. There aren’t many tights patterns out there, and while I did find a pattern, I didn’t end up making tights for this dress. I found some in the perfect color on the We Love Color website.
I was inspired by Blair Eadie of Atlantic-Pacific, who often pairs colorful tights with her outfits. My “Color” board on Pinterest features a lot of her bright and beautiful outfits on it. Of course, now I want all the colorful tights, so sewing tights may well be in my future. Wouldn’t double brushed polyester tights be cozy?
and I also made my other undergarments. I won’t show those, but having made them and having them fit is its own win, so I wanted to at least mention them. If you are looking for some patterns to try, I recommend Megan Nielsen’s free Acacia underwear, available in two size ranges, and Orange Lingerie’s Marlborough Bra. Both are excellent.
Now for accessories! Thanks to the sister of a friend who was giving away samples from her sales job, I had a gold leather envelope clutch that was perfect. It is from russell + hazel, and the leather is so soft.
I found little gold and rhinestone earrings in my jewelry box that I have had since I was 14, but have probably never worn, since I don’t usually wear gold. They were perfect for this.
And lastly, I picked up a bottle of essie nail polish at CVS in the color “good as gold“.
I was ready!
The afternoon of the actual wedding was not too warm or too cold, so the whole outfit was perfect. I felt comfortable and colorful. The wedding was beautiful, and it was so much fun to go on a date with my husband to an actual party with friends.
Now I think it may be time for some cold-weather sewing and gift sewing!
Here are my notes on sewing the Mindy dress for anyone else who is thinking of making it.
My bust size put me at a US 16 (UK 20/EU 48) in this dress, but I cut out an 18 for a looser fit, since I could always take it in if it was too loose. I wanted to sew the dress largely as drafted, with the puffy sleeves rather than the butterfly sleeves, but with the addition of pockets and a bottom ruffle. Before cutting out my fabric, I also checked to see if I needed to change the dart height (nope!) or make a broad back adjustment (nope!). Those things noted, I added 5/8″ seam allowances everywhere except the hem, where I added a 1.25″ hem allowance. The pattern called for 2.75 yards of 55″ wide fabric. I had three yards of green linen at approximately that width, so I cut things out hoping I would have enough for my pockets and bottom ruffle. In the end, I did! I just had to cut my back facing on the cross grain. I was left with only a few narrow strips of fabric, but I got everything cut out.
This pattern has you construct the front of the dress and then the back before adding sleeves or joining the front and back together. I made sure to add my bottom ruffles as I was constructing the front and back. I checked my fit before adding the invisible zipper by pin basting the sides together. Everything was looking good, and a bit loose, so I decided that I would use slightly larger seam allowances and take things in a bit when I sewed the sides together. I guess I could have made the 16.
As for the zipper, I put it in, but I have never needed to use it. If I made this again, I think I would omit it. It’s easy to slide this dress on and off over your head. Attaching the straps came next. Everything was fine until you attach the strap + sleeve to the dress and then it got confusing. Is the strap supposed to be at an angle or perpendicular to the front? Mine ended up being more or less perpendicular. Make sure that when you get everything attached in step five and have to finish the raw edges together that you don’t trim any seam allowance off or it will impact the seam allowance when you attach the front facing.
Just before step six, which is sewing the front and back side seams together, I decided to attach my trim to the bodice and sleeve straps. I had figured things incorrectly when I was looking at the width of the sleeve straps and trim. The trim was wider than the sleeve straps, so after asking Maggie at Pintuck & Purl for her advice (she being my most advanced garment-sewing friend), I took the straps off, widened the pattern piece, and recut the sleeve straps out of scraps so I could try again. I wanted them to be just a little bit wider than my ribbon.
Then I reattached everything and very carefully, using instructions from The Vogue Sewing Book (revised edition, copyright 1975), I sewed on my trim, even mitering the corners.
After that, I only had enough ribbon left for the front of the bodice, so I sewed it on there, but when I tried it on, it looked…maternity-ish.
So, I moved the ribbon down below the underbust seam, and it made the dress look sort of wide and the seam look uneven. That was that. I took it off, and decided to just keep the trim around the neckline and shoulders.
If I sew this again, in addition to omitting the zipper, I will plan to lengthen the bodice by at least one inch. The same thing happened back when I made Simplicity 4111 in 2018. I think I have a larger and possibly lower bust than what these patterns are drafted for, so a lot of these empire waist seams end up on my bust rather than below it, which can lend a bit of a maternity look to a style that easily leans that way already. Since I don’t need a maternity dress, I would rather not look like I am wearing one.
Before sewing up the side seams completely, I added pockets. My pattern piece came from Simplicity 8689, as did the instructions I used for putting them in.
After that, it was just my hem left. I decided not to use the 1.25″ hem allowance, since I had accidentally added that to the skirt instead of the ruffle, but instead to serge my ruffle edge and then press it up twice, so I could preserve as much of the ruffle length as possible. This gave me a quarter inch hem and only took off one half inch, since I folded it up twice.
Although I don’t love the look of insides finished with a serger, generally speaking, I was soooo glad to have a serger for this project since it kept everything nice and neat inside. The only downside was having to weave in a billion serger tails. I think I will start practicing sewing over my tails when possible in the future.
Overall, this was an interesting dress to put together and a good pattern. I would consider making it again with the few changes I mentioned, and I’m really happy that I made it for this wedding. It was so much fun to have an outfit with details and colors that I loved–those are some of the best aspects of my favorite garments, and the longer I sew, the more convinced I am that colors and details are a big part of what makes a project go from good to great for me.
We pick sewing projects for different reasons–something you need in your wardrobe, putting your own spin on a designer garment you could never afford, using a favorite fabric, the desire to try an intriguing pattern. The Elizabeth Suzann Studio Clyde Work Pant was my intriguing pattern. I had heard of Elizabeth Suzann, a slow-fashion designer, because of Lauren Taylor (known as Lladybird in the sewing community), who had previously worked for her. Many in the sewing community and beyond loved this brand, and there was a lot of buzz when Elizabeth Suzann decided to close her business, but made some of her garments available as sewing patterns for free. Eventually, she wrote directions for the patterns and re-released them with a pay-what-you-can model on her website.
I kept seeing her Clyde Work Pant pattern and was curious about what it would be like to make and how I would like the huge, curving pockets on the sides. They were so different from anything else in my wardrobe, and I never would have been able to afford a pair or have a chance to try them on when they were only available as ready-to-wear. So, having no money for patterns at the time, I took her up on the pay-what-you-can offer, and grabbed a free copy of the pattern.
At the time I wanted to make these, it was August. (I made them before the gingham top I shared a few weeks back.) My husband had given me a gift of enough rust orange linen to make these pants, so I printed the pattern and cut them out. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to make my size or go up a size to make absolutely sure the waist would pull over my hips. In the end, I made a size 16 in the “regular” height, which is where my measurements put me, although I could have gone either way on the height, since I’m about 5′ 8.5″. I also wondered if the ankles would fit over my heels, but I decided to just jump in and see what happened.
The instructions were nice and clear with good illustrations. There was no specific recommendation for how to finish your seams, although if you looked closely at a few of the illustrations, it seemed like the edges were serged. Since I love the look of beautifully finished insides, especially in linen, I chose to use a combination of French and flat-felled seams. While this really did create beautiful insides with not a raw edge in sight, it turned out to be a poor choice for the fabric I was using.
I wouldn’t call my linen a loose weave, really, but after wearing these for just a short time, the stitching holes started to open up a little bit and raw edges began to pop out at stress points. This wasn’t because I didn’t do a good job of finishing–it was just that in this fabric with this pattern, the better choice would have been to serge without trimming or zigzag my seam allowances together, press them to the sides in most cases, and topstitch. That would have left my seam allowances intact or at least not super narrow and provided less of a chance for ends and edges to pop out.
I thought that I would have to start patching my new pants almost immediately, but it seems that just a wide satin stitch has, so far, taken care of the problem, while blending in pretty well. I have the most issues at stress points like the bottom corners of the pockets on the front, the tops of the front seams on the legs, and the right back calf.
The pants were a pretty quick sewing project, and were not too hard to make, which was great. The only part that was a little tricky/fiddly was the waistband. I really like the idea of how the elastic is inserted, but it can be a little tough to do it well. My advice is to go slowly. I also added a few more pins than recommended, in order to keep everything where I wanted it.
Also, the pockets really are huge. I could fit a book in there! They’re so fun.
As for fit, these pants are really interesting. They are definitely comfortable, and I have no trouble getting my waistband over my hips. The rise is really high, which I am guessing might be a way of ensuring that these pants fit many body shapes well, and also makes it possible to wear them at your natural waist or below, as you prefer.
Thankfully, I had no trouble getting the foot holes over my heels, though it’s a close fit.
Standing, these are very comfortable.
Sitting and crouching, I notice that they get more snug around the stress points I mentioned. I suppose that next time I could either size up, or adjust the lower legs to be slightly larger, or try the tall length. I still find them very comfortable, and wonder how they would be in a bottomweight cotton twill or something a bit more durable than the linen I chose.
As for the fabric…I know it didn’t work out perfectly, but…I just love it. It’s a100% midweight linen originally from Fabric Mart. I love the color so much, and it’s not usually a color I go for. It has been great pairing it with a pink linen shirt in summer and now my purple Wool & Honey sweater (pattern by Drea Renee Knits) in fall. It’s so soft and comfortable too. Is it a doomed love? Maybe. I hope these pants last, and I’m not happy that I may have to keep repairing them, but I love this fabric. These pants are agreat transitional garment between seasons.
This was a really fun pattern with wonderful instructions, and even though I made some choices that gave me a few issues, those weren’t the fault of the pattern, which is excellent. In fact, I would love to make them again, despite my poor track record for repeating patterns.
Hi, sewing friends. Today’s project is a simple top with a lot of potential depending on what view you make or what fabric you make it in.
It’s the Roscoe Blouse from True Bias, a pattern that has proven very popular in the sewing community. It also has mini dress/tunic and dress views built in.
I held out for a long time before buying this pattern as I already have a pattern in the same style, but with a different fit (New Look 6472, blogged here). Finally, during a sale at Pintuck & Purl, I saw shopowner Maggie’s silk version, and I went for it and got the pattern for myself.
It’s no secret that I love positive ease, and this pattern has lots of it. The really lovely consequences of that design choice are that it is easy to fit and looks great in a number of drapey fabric substrates. For my first version, I chose to use some midweight “designer quality” linen from Fabric Mart Fabrics that I had originally planned to make into a skirt. I really love this fabric, and it is one that they regularly carry (although the color I used is currently unavailable), so this is now my second sewing project using it. (My first project was a dress, McCall’s 7774, blogged here.) It is easy to sew, substantial without being heavy, and AMAZING to wear. An added bonus is that the only supplies required are fabric and thread–no interfacing, snaps, buttons, or elastic.
I made view A, the blouse, in a size 16, even though my hip measurement was a 16/18. I didn’t have to do a broad back adjustment or anything. Yay!!!
It’s so rare that I can just trace a single size and cut it out.
The instructions were clear and easy to read. I chose to finish my edges with French seams, which are so satisfying and beautiful.
I accidentally put my neckline binding on the wrong way, and ended up topstitching it down on the outside instead of the less visible recommended finish, but I really liked it that way, so I decided to do the same thing on my sleeve bindings.
It was love at first try-on, although I did put a few stitches in near the bottom of the neckline slit to raise it just a little higher for my own comfort and modesty. I found I liked that better than wearing a camisole underneath.
Fewer layers also preserved the glorious breeziness of this top, which I first wore on a warm and sunny fall day. I love the look of this best tucked in, and for that I would maybe consider making the shirt even longer to keep it tucked in better, but only maybe, as it’s fairly long already. It’s also very comfortable to wear untucked.
I can see what the hype is all about with this pattern. It’s a joy to make and to wear.
The Roscoe is a warm-weather dream in linen with its loose fit and roomy, slightly shortened sleeves, and I suspect that it would also be pretty nice in cooler temperatures with lengthened sleeves in a cozy cotton flannel, although that wouldn’t have the drape of a linen or a rayon. Hm… Maybe some of the drapier wool fabrics? I’d love to try the tunic and dress views as well. All in all, I’m really happy I tried this pattern, and it would be a pleasure to make more versions of it in the future.
Today is the last full day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Tomorrow, September 22 is the Autumnal Equinox, the official beginning of fall. But until then, it’s still summer!!! So let’s talk about this last summer project, a pair of elastic-waisted, deep-pocketed, SPARKLY linen/cotton shorts: Simplicity 1887.
This pattern is a good one. I would make it again, and I recommend it to you. 🙂
At some point this summer, I realized (or re-realized) that I really want easy-wearing, elastic-waisted shorts and skirts for summer. I had other projects already planned, but these shorts managed to get squeezed in right at the end. I had hoped to make them last year and didn’t, so I was determined to sew them this summer.
I made View C, the shorts, in a size 20 with no changes. I didn’t even really come up with my own fabric idea. I loved the sparkly fabric Simplicity used on the sample on the envelope, so I bought a Sand-colored linen/cotton/Lurex blend (Essex Yarn Dyed Metallic) by Robert Kaufman Fabrics from Pintuck & Purl. The sparkle is hard to photograph, but I gave it a try. ↓
This pattern ticked all the boxes I wanted: something that looked a little bit nicer so I could wear it to work, shorts that were a little longer than what I had been making previously, an elastic back waist, deep pockets, and a loose fit for those hot days.
I decided I would try out the tie on the front, knowing it would be easy to remove if I didn’t like it. It’s only stitched onto the front (not inserted into the waistband), so if I didn’t love it, I could take it off quickly and easily with my seam ripper. The good news is that so far, I like it.
I also wondered if I would like the front pleats, and I do!
The fabric was very easy to work with and while it is slightly less soft than a lot of linen/cotton is, (I think that’s because of the Lurex), it’s still very comfortable. Once I finished these, I felt the temptation to make more in other sparkly colors (there are many color options), but I’m going to wear these for the rest of the warm days to get a gauge on how they fit into my wardrobe and if I want to make further pairs next summer.
I was happy to note that the crotch curve was a good fit, further cementing my suspicion that Simplicity’s crotch curve is one that works for me. After making this view of the pattern, I would consider making the longer pants as well as the longer skirt. We’ll see what next summer holds, but I’m glad I finally tried this pattern, and I recommend it for a relatively quick and satisfying sew.
Thanks to my husband for the pictures. And if you want to read up on the shirt that I’m wearing, you can find that project here.
And now? On to projects that will transition into fall! I already have several cut out. I’ll report back soon! What are you working on for fall? What is inspiring you?
And now back to sewing! Despite the quiet blog and relatively quiet Instagram account, I’ve been sewing as much as possible. With kids home, guests, and travel, the sewing has varied in amount, but it’s still happening. I usually blog mostly in the order I make things, but this dress is jumping to the front of the line because some of my other projects have been multiple versions of single patterns and, if possible, I’d like to feature those together.
On to the dress!
This season, I’ve really felt the urge to discover some Tried ‘N True patterns. I suppose that’s an endless quest, since fashion and our own opinions about it tend to change, but I’m looking for favorites nonetheless. I decided to try out McCall’s 7774, View C to see if I liked it.
I made a 16 in the bust and a 20 in the waist and hips. The dress hits your waist somewhere in the skirt portion, so I didn’t have to grade out to the 20 until I traced the skirt piece.
When I was younger, I really favored empire waist and A-line dresses and skirts, and I’ve been wondering if I still like them. This dress has a higher, empire waist, so it seemed like a good one to try.
It features pockets (yay!) and a bodice cut that looks like it might hide undergarment straps (always a plus, in my book).
It also has some interesting seaming that would allow you to play with pattern placement (especially stripes), which you can see in the photo on the pattern envelope. I was excited about this one, and I definitely wasn’t the only one in the sewing community.
In my stash, I happened to have a really nice, midweight yellow linen from Fabric Mart that I had planned to use for a ready-to-wear-inspired top, but which seemed perfect for this dress. It was quickly reassigned to this pattern. I gave myself a slightly crazy deadline of a wedding my husband and I were going to, and got to work, no muslin/toile in sight. I was going for it with my awesome fabric!
This is one of the designer linens that Fabric Mart regularly stocks, and it is AMAZING. I think they call it a light-medium weight, and it’s pretty opaque, which I really like. It is very linty when you wash and dry it, but you only notice that when you clean the dryer’s lint trap. It was great to sew, although I did press it on the cotton setting rather than the linen setting. I can’t tell if my iron is starting to go, but that seemed to be a better setting for this fabric. Usually the fabric retails for around $25/yard, which is way out of my budget, but they often have sales, so it is totally possible to scoop this up for $9 or $10/yard. Oh! And it’s a wider width at 57″. I highly recommend it!
On to the pattern! Being now older and wiser, 😉 I’ll tell you that if you attempt this dress, you should probably muslin the bodice. I really like the pattern overall, but I did have to adjust a few things, and they seem to be common adjustments for people who tried this one. Some good news is that if you just go for it, like I did, you can make these fixes on the fly without damaging your fabric.
The darts, which are under the bust, extend pretty high. You want your dart points to end 1/2″ to 1″ below (or beside if you have side darts) the apex of the bust. I shortened these by 2″, and they may still be slightly high. Shortening darts that much gave me darts that were very wide at the bottom, which made the bust very…pointy. That’s not for me! So, then I had to narrow the darts. I narrowed them by half (so that they were half as wide). If you do this, you must take the extra length you have created out of the side/bottom of the front bodice!!!! Learn from my mistake! I knew that narrowing my darts would give me extra length in the front of the bodice, but because the skirt was gathered and could expand and because I love ease, I initially left it in.
I ended up with a pregnant-’90’s-lady jumper. If that makes no sense to you, just trust me when I say that it looked bad. Apparently you can take a love of loose clothes too far. 😉
The original dart is in marker. My modified dart is in pencil inside the original.
Below is the area I should have adjusted when I narrowed those darts.
Above: the final modified front bodice piece with narrowed, shortened dart, and excess length (from narrowing the dart) removed where the side seam and bottom of the bodice meet.
I also noticed quite a bit of gaping in the back neck area, but I realized that if I fixed that, the bodice would be tight in the shoulders, so I decided I could live with it.
All these issues aside, I think the instructions for this pattern are really good. You are on your own for seam finishing, but other than that, this was really enjoyable to make and was well-thought-out. The bodice is fully faced/lined with self fabric, and it’s a nice dress. There is quite a bit of hand-sewing involved in putting in that facing/lining, but if you know that going in, you can enjoy it, and come out with a beautiful result. Using a comfortable thimble to push my needle through the fabric and running my thread through beeswax to keep it from tangling has really helped me in the hand-sewing department.
If I made this pattern again, I would do what @artsy_tiff did and lengthen the bodice, lower the neckline a smidge, and maybe lower those dart points a bit more. I’m new to doing forward shoulder adjustments, so I’ll have to wear this a bit more to see if I think I need that. Initially I thought not, but now I think maybe I do. This dress is very comfortable to wear, especially in this fabric. Belting it really helped when I wanted a more form-fitting shape. The belt is some wide ribbon (maybe upholstery trim?) from my stash.
Here are some pictures of the dress without the belt:
Final thoughts on this project:
Fabric Mart’s designer linen: recommended!
McCall’s 7774: recommended with reservations–do your research and maybe make a muslin of the bodice.
I’d love to make this again just to see what it could be with those fitting changes, but I don’t think I will this year, so we’ll see if it happens. I considered the maxi length, but my mom and I both think it might just be too much. I need a good woven maxi pattern. There are a few contenders, but I haven’t settled on anything.
I hope you all are having a great summer. No thoughts of fall here! It’s usually warm where I live through September, so I’m sticking to summer sewing. Yay!
Thanks to my wonderful husband for helping me out with some of the pictures in this post!
I really like hats and, for the past few summers, have been thinking I’d like a white summer hat. After doing a little research on Panama hats, I found one that looks like the real deal (made in Montechristi, Ecuador of toquilla straw) on eBay and ordered it. I love it!
I haven’t been able to shake my summer obsession with wooden-bottom clog sandals (is it just summer love or is it true love forever??). Here is the latest pair I keep looking at by Cape Clogs. They’re pink!
On the pro side, I finally made this top well (see my first attempt, at the beginning of my serious sewing journey here). I got another chance to sew with linen, which I loved. It was easy and fast to sew (excluding all the hemming). I love the look of the fabric and the look of the shirt on the hanger…but I don’t love it on me. The cons are all personal preference, rather than some sort of problem with the pattern. I don’t feel secure and covered enough in this shirt.
I thought I would love the back, but I don’t. It feels like it will shift or blow open at any moment, leaving me feeling uncomfortably exposed. I also want to wear my normal undergarments without them showing, but you definitely can’t do this with this shirt. Seems like I conveniently forgot all this from version one. Haha!
So…I have an idea. I usually hate going back into projects once they are finished, but I’m not quite ready to give up on this yet. So, my idea is that I will cut out the back of View C, finish it and attach it as an inner layer. I have a vintage sheet that looks really nice with this linen, and I think it will be perfect. If I actually do it, I’ll report back. 🙂
So, how about some details on this project? There aren’t many, because it was a pretty quick and easy sew. The fabric was given to me by a friend because I wanted to try sewing linen, and she had some that she wasn’t using. (Thanks again!) I made a size large, and since I omitted the pocket, there were only two pattern pieces. There were no darts or fitting changes. The only long part was all the hemming, which you do along every edge. It all went well, though, and was a fun project.
I think a big part of sewing is learning the difference between what you like to look at in fashion and what you will actually wear (and hence, what is worth your sewing time). I’ve gotten a lot better at this, but I think this project definitely fell into the category of something I liked the idea of that wasn’t realistic for how I actually like to dress. So now I have a new challenge. Can I make this shirt work? We’ll see!
This shirt was really bothering me because, as I mentioned, it just felt too exposed. I decided to try to save it, and I did!
The front pattern piece is the same for all four views, so first I tried layering View C in a vintage sheet under View A. That didn’t work because the angle made by the joining of the front and back is different from View A to View C. After this first attempt, I took the original back off completely and put a new back on. I like it so much better.
It still has an interesting crossover in the back, but it’s so much more covered and wearable. I also love the juxtaposition of the two fabrics, although the sheet fabric is not as drapey as the linen.
Finally, I added a pocket in the sheet fabric to the front to pull it all together.
I really like this version. For drape factor, I wish it were all in linen, but since I didn’t have any more in my stash, I really like what I came up with. The fabrics look beautiful together, and I salvaged the shirt. It’s all set for next summer now! Hooray!
I was looking at some of my favorite Etsy shops, and was reminded why I had saved Bias Bespoke as a favorite. It has so many great tailoring and lingerie supplies as well as things like buttons and trims–a lot of things I don’t normally see. This one is worth checking out if you sew apparel, especially if you are starting to delve into complex projects and need supplies that are more specialized.
Fall has officially started (the autumnal equinox was Thursday, September 22), but I still have one more summer garment to share with you. I also have a few other projects I did during the summer, but those are great for any season, so we’ll save them for another time. Today I want to talk about these pants!
I really wanted some wide-leg linen pants for summer, and I also wanted to try sewing with linen, something I hadn’t done until I made this Datura blouse (also pictured). When trying to find a pattern for the pants I had in mind, I remembered some scrub pants I owned in college. They had a wide, straight leg and were the ultimate in comfort. Since I hadn’t been able to find a pattern I really liked among the “regular” clothing patterns, I turned to the scrub patterns, and found Simplicity 1020.
I figured I could use that and just leave off a few of the extra pockets, keeping the front and back ones. I found my fabric at Fabric.com–a Kaufman Essex Yarn Dyed Linen blend (55% linen, 45% cotton) in blue and a cotton/rayon (50% cotton, 45% rayon, 5% Lycra) knit in Indigo for the top of the pants. Other than that, I just needed elastic and thread, which I had in my stash.
I made a quick muslin out of a sheet since I’ve had to do so many fit adjustments on recent bottoms, but while these could maybe have been tweaked slightly, they were good overall, and I decided to make them without adjustments. This makes me wonder if the Simplicity pants/shorts patterns will fit me better (i.e. with fewer adjustments) than McCall’s and Butterick. I’ll have to explore that as I make more pants. The pants themselves were not too difficult to sew up, although I did prolong the process by finishing all my seams. Finishing seams used to feel like such a chore and while it still does sometimes, I didn’t want thready insides once these pants were finished and went through the wash. I used a turned-and-stitched finish (a.k.a. clean-finish) per the instructions in the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing.
The linen seemed too thick for French seams, although I’m open to hearing about other finishes people have used. I also basically did a double turned hem for all the pockets and then topstitched them on so that I wouldn’t get threads in the pockets, either. Last, but not least, I covered the seam where the main pants fabric joined the knit waist fabric with bias tape.
All of that added quite a bit of time, but I was really happy with these when they were finished. I don’t know what has happened to me, but it makes me really happy to see those beautiful insides in a project. I guess I’m “growing up” as a sewist. 😉
I think my only question on the whole thing is the hem length. If I had hemmed these at the suggested spot, they would have been long, but probably good with heels. I turned them up one more time so I could wear them with flatter shoes, and I think that is the right length for lower shoes, but sometimes, at some angles, they look a little bit like floods. (Wow. I just used Google Images to look up “flood pants”. It was a little different than I expected, but I think my statement still stands.) I didn’t actually cut my excess off the hems, so if I change my mind later, I can rehem them to be longer. I’m done with them for this year, though.
These pants are super comfortable (secret pajamas for the win!) and they wrinkle much, much less than I thought they would–maybe because of the cotton blended in? I think of cotton as pretty wrinkly, but who knows? Maybe because of the midweight? I don’t know. Whatever it is, I’m happy with them. Now it’s on to fall sewing!
Here’s one more post from Cotton + Steel about the fabric called cotton lawn. Sounds like lawn is a winner for your button up shirt needs.
I’m really impressed and intrigued by the embroidery of Tessa Perlow. This article about her has some great pictures so you can get a feel for what she does. I think I’d like to try adding embroidery to some of my garments someday…
If you are a garment sewist in fairly close proximity to Exeter, NH, you might enjoy the Pattern Review Meetup happening at Pintuck & Purl this Saturday, September 24 from 2-4pm.
Jellyfish or jelly fish? Be careful how you say it!
Hey, friends! Happy July! I can’t believe it’s July already. I feel like summer is just starting. I’m going to take the rest of the month of July off from blogging (although you can still find me on Instagram @lisa.poblenz). I’m coming off a number of complicated sewing projects (Refashioners 2016–which you’ll get to see in the not-too-distant future, bathing suit sewing, jeans, etc.), and it’s time to regroup, create some new garments, and do family stuff. I don’t know about you, but when I finish a big batch of projects, I feel a little discombobulated for a while until I figure out what direction I’m going to pursue next and get going down that road.
I’m finding that while I am most drawn to bright colors and fun prints, I need a few neutral garments to wear with the fun and crazy stuff. So, to test out this pattern, I chose the most basic view and made it up in a white linen-look fabric from Joann’s that I’ve had forever, and a khaki linen that a good friend gave me. I also took the opportunity to use some vintage buttons from my mother-in-law.
Before beginning, I measured myself to see how high the dart should sit on my body and then checked it on the flat pattern. It seemed perfect, so other than grading up a size for the waist and hip, I used the pattern as it was. There were a few tricky parts, mainly having to do with sewing together the shoulders, but once I weathered those, it was a quick sew. (I used Part 1 of this sew-along to help me out, in case you are considering making this top as well.) The only potential issue is that the neckline seems to gape just a bit, but I’m going to wash and wear the shirt a few times before I decide if I need to deal with that in any future versions. They’ve updated the pattern since I bought this one, so maybe they fixed that. I’m not sure.
Expect future versions of this, though. I want to try the one with the triangle cutouts next…and in crazy fabric. One neutral garment at a time is about all I can handle! 😉
Do you ever wish you could sew at super speed? I’ve never really had a handle on my summer wardrobe, but after sewing for a few years, and thinking seriously about what I actually wear (rather than just what I like to look at in fashion, which are often two very different things), I think I’m getting closer to the essence of how I like to dress in summer. And now I want to sew it all up!!!! I’ve been stocking up on fabric, but I can’t yet sew at lighting speed or fit garments to myself with shocking perfection. Alas, my reach exceeds my grasp (but I think they are getting closer!). Ah, sewing problems! Ha!
Well, have a great July. I look forward to more writing and talking with you in August. We’ll find out then if I spent my time sewing or not! 😉
This Piped Floral Shirt Dress from Making It Well is amazing. I’ll have to pick up some tips from Jo when I finally dive into the wonderful world of shirt dresses.
I just have to recommend The Great British Sewing Bee. As much as I love Project Runway, sometimes it’s just so…ruthless! The GBSB has a much kinder tone as well as an educational one. I’ve only watched Season/Series 1 in its entirety, but Series 4 is on now! You can look at the show’s website here.
If you are in the greater Boston area, I highly recommend the magazine edibleBOSTON. If you aren’t in greater Boston, you may have an edible magazine covering an area near you. edibleBOSTON is a fun way to learn about farmers, restaurants, small batch food makers, and other foodie things in your locale. Magazines are free from subscribing businesses and come out quarterly. You can also read issues online.
Aaannnddd…..we’re TOTALLY making this spaghetti and meatballs recipe this summer!