Tag Archives: Pintuck & Purl

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

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Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

Time to post my last few winter sewing projects! Today I want to talk about the Émilie (formerly Yoko) Square Roll-Neck Top from Jalie in a wool/Lycra jersey (plus a kid-sized top in cotton/Lycra!).

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

This is a free pattern for women and girls that comes with 28 sizes–pretty impressive! That is typical of Jalie’s patterns, making them a great value for money. I haven’t worn turtlenecks/roll-neck shirts in a few years, so I thought I would use this pattern to do a little scrap-busting and try the style out.

Like my last two sweaters (Engle and Wool & Honey), this pattern has a boxy/square body and fitted sleeves. Unlike those sweaters, however, this pattern has a drop-sleeve. I guess this is the year of that fun but odd silhouette for me! It’s not my favorite silhouette, but it’s interesting and comfortable. I used a green wool/Lycra jersey that I got from Fabric Mart Fabrics a number of years ago for my top and some navy and flower print cotton/Lycra jersey for a kid-sized top. I can’t remember where I got the navy, but the flower knit is an old Cotton + Steel fabric that I got from Pintuck & Purl some time ago.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

For my top, my measurements put me in size Z for the bust and BB for the waist and hip. Because this is a boxy style, I opted to make a straight size Z. For the kid shirt, I made a straight size N. I used my serger for the main seams and my sewing machine for the hems.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops
Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

The tops were pretty easy to sew. There weren’t any points where the instructions were unclear or where things got tricky, making this a nice, quick project.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

Jalie’s instructions come in French and English and are not extensive, but are clear. This free and simple pattern would be a great way to get a feel for the company if you are interested in trying their patterns. While I haven’t tried many of their patterns, I know I can turn to them when I want a reasonable cost for a LOT of sizes and professional results, especially if I want to make activewear.

Let’s get back to the tops! The hems came out much better in the cotton/Lycra than in my thin wool/Lycra jersey where I ended up with some tunneling and scrunching.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops
Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

Still, you only really see that up close, and it doesn’t affect the fit at all. The neck is a double layer of fabric, which both looks and feels good.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

These tops turned out to be nice and comfy, and while I’m sort of over the whole extreme dropped sleeve look, I’m happy I made them and tried this pattern out.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

I like how they look in the cotton better than in the wool, as this thin jersey, while comfortable, attracts lots of fuzzies, and is slightly on the pukey side of spring green. Still, it’s a great layering piece that will work in any sort of cool weather, and I do love having a few wool jersey tops in my wardrobe. I’ve made one other shirt in this fabric, which you can see here.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops
Look! It’s blue sky! (The photo shoots get silly more often than not.)

If I were to make this again, I would consider cotton/Lycra or a slightly heavier weight wool/Lycra . That’s not a “rule” of any sort, just my feelings after making this in these two different substrates.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

Interestingly enough, Tessuti has a very similar free pattern, the Monroe Turtleneck, which you could also try if you are thinking of making a top like this, although it doesn’t have the extensive size range Jalie does. It would be fun to make both and compare them. If this is a style you are into, this is a great pattern. I like it, but don’t absolutely love it, although I do really like Jalie as a pattern company, and hope to make many more of their patterns in the future.

How the Sweater Curse Ended: Cotton Soldotna Crop

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How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

Here’s something a little different–a knitting project.  In fact, it’s an unblogged sweater from 2019!  I do have some fall sewing projects to show you, but I need to take some pictures first, so instead we have a summer sweater.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

Just like so many knitters, I fell for the Soldotna Crop sweater by Boyland Knitworks when it came out.  A short-sleeved sweater is kind of a funny thing to knit, but when I saw this, I saw my opportunity to knit a sweater that was cropped and short-sleeved, requiring less yarn (and therefore less money for supplies).  It was also an opportunity to dig into another colorwork project.  After a few stranded knitting colorwork projects, I was in love.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

Before I started sewing, I knitted.  And with one very well-fitting exception, all the sweaters I made were massive.  There was a lot I didn’t know that I’m learning now.  Anyway, after taking two years to knit a sweater for my husband that was still massive after I intentionally shrunk it in the washer and dryer, I was done.  (Check out my Craft Fails if you want to see the sweater.) After hanging around Pintuck & Purl for a few years, though, I got slowly sucked back in by all the amazing knitters that I kept meeting there.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

I started thinking about color and value (i.e. darkness and lightness of each color) and tested out my ideas by tracing an image of a finished sweater, scanning it into the computer, and using it as my own little coloring page.  My goals were to use colors that I loved in a range of values similar to the original.  Having good value contrast can really make a design stand out, even more than the color can.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

Looking at the original in both color and black and white helped me figure out where I wanted to place my colors.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

Once I had that figured out, I colored my picture and redrew the pattern chart with my colors in it so I wouldn’t get confused while knitting.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

I initially chose an inexpensive synthetic yarn, Berroco Comfort DK, but the colors weren’t exactly what I wanted.  Sweaters are so expensive to knit, and I was trying to keep the cost down, but I just wasn’t happy with my purchase.  That being said, I do really like this yarn and have since used it to make a few hats.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

So, I returned what I could of the Berroco yarn and eventually got what I really wanted from Pintuck & Purl, Mirasol Pima Kuri DK Cotton Yarn.

You can see all the colors I considered, followed by a grayscale picture that helped me pick the ones I wanted based on their values.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

Part of the joy of colorwork for me is the colors and I loved these.  My choices (left to right):  Smoky Mountain, Cabernet, Lime Twist, and Adventurine.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

I made a few good-sized swatches in the round in part of the colorwork pattern and then threw a swatch in the washer and dryer, which was how I wanted to block/care for my finished sweater.  After it was done I measured it, and my husband ran the numbers through Excel so we could check what size sweater the gauge I had knitted at would give me, accounting for shrinkage after blocking.  Once I thought I had what I wanted, I cast on.  I was nervous, but I really wanted to try, so I went for it.  I cast on sometime in March 2019 and worked on it little by little over the summer.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

I knitted a size L, which turned out well.  My measurements put me in a L, except for the arms, which I should have knit in a 2XL, but I did a straight L, and it was fine.  The neck area is a bit odd and is not as open as the picture on the pattern.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

If I were to do this all over again, I would cast on closer to the start of the colorwork and just have a small roll neck.

I have noticed that my gauge tends to loosen over time, which works great for a sweater knitted from the top down, as it will naturally get a little larger near my hips.  I lengthened this a bit, since the cropped original version was just too cropped for me.  Once I had knitted down to my high hip, I finished things off.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

Below is a picture of the inside before I wove in my ends.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

I tried the sweater on after binding off and…IT FIT!!!!  Now, I won’t tell you there are no mistakes (there are), and the back of the neck it a little weird, but…I LOVE THIS SWEATER.  I had MADE a sweater, and it FIT.  I was over the moon.  For a long time, I just kept it out so I could look at it every time I walked by.  It looks good as a t-shirt, and also works as a vest-type sweater over a collared shirt.  With this sweater, I think I finally broke the curse of the too-big sweaters.  😉

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

My True Bias Roscoe Blouse in Sweet, Sweet Linen

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My True Bias Roscoe Blouse in Sweet, Sweet Linen

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.

My Roscoe Blouse in some sweet, sweet linen

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.

My Roscoe Blouse in some sweet, sweet linen
My Roscoe Blouse in some sweet, sweet linen

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.

My Roscoe Blouse in some sweet, sweet linen

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!!!

My Roscoe Blouse in some sweet, sweet linen
My Roscoe Blouse in some sweet, sweet linen
My Roscoe Blouse in some sweet, sweet linen

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.

My Roscoe Blouse in some sweet, sweet linen

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.

My Roscoe Blouse in some sweet, sweet linen

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.

My Roscoe Blouse in some sweet, sweet linen
My Roscoe Blouse in some sweet, sweet linen
Neckline detail view from inside

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.

My Roscoe Blouse in some sweet, sweet linen
My Roscoe Blouse in some sweet, sweet linen
My Roscoe Blouse in some sweet, sweet linen
My Roscoe Blouse in some sweet, sweet linen

I can see what the hype is all about with this pattern. It’s a joy to make and to wear.

My Roscoe Blouse in some sweet, sweet linen

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.

My Roscoe Blouse in some sweet, sweet linen

The Silk Party Blouse: New Look 6560

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The Silk Party Blouse:  New Look 6560

Hi, everyone!  I hope you had an enjoyable time over the holidays.  I decided to take a break from blogging and Instagram as well as whatever else I could put a pause on to rest and hang out with my family, which was nice.  Today’s project was one I made before Christmas, but didn’t get good pictures of, so I’m sharing it today.

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

This is New Look 6560, View A, a long-sleeved blouse in a beautiful chartreuse silk from Pintuck & Purl.  In fact, Maggie told me she ordered this silk for the shop with me in mind (Aww!!! So nice!).  Clearly, I gravitate toward this color.

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

The Story

A few months ago, my husband’s work sent us an invitation to a fancy holiday party.  I am not a fancy person, although this sounded like fun.  As a non-fancy person, my gut reaction was to FREAK OUT!  The party was in Boston at a swanky club and the dress was COCKTAIL DRESS.  Ack!  So I turned to Google and Pinterest to see just how much latitude I had with that and what it even meant!  I came up with a plan, and ordered a stack of fabric.  Then I looked at my fabric stack for a few days and decided that I didn’t like my plan.  I did a lot of freaking out, and finally settled on this pattern (which is everywhere in stores right now, interestingly) and this silk, which was in my stash after a sale at P & P.

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

I got a fanciness pep talk and help from people at the shop to figure out how to starch the fabric.  They also sold me one more yard because I realized I had enough for everything but one of the sleeves, and I wasn’t going for a one-sleeved look.  Wrap styles can be fabric hogs!

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

Design Choices and Cutting

OK.  Let’s talk details.  I opted to leave off the ruffle on View A.  I cut an 18 bust, and a 22 waist and hip.  Size 22 was beyond what the pattern offered, so I graded out by copying the shape and distance between the other sizes.  After looking online at others’ versions of this pattern, I decided to lengthen the shirt by two inches just under the waist mark.  Then I measured the new bottom edge to make sure it would still fit around my hips, which it did with no problem.  It didn’t look like I needed a broad back adjustment, so I crossed my fingers and cut it out.  Starching the fabric and using a rotary cutter with a sharp, new blade were really helpful.

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

Construction

I used French seams everywhere except the yoke/shoulder seam.  I sewed that seam and then did a three-step zigzag in the seam allowance and trimmed it close.  According to the book Sewing Specialty Fabrics from the Singer Sewing Reference Library, this is called a double-stitched seam.  I didn’t remember to use French seams until after I had done that one.

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

I also put in my sleeves flat, although I did still use the gathering stitches at the top of the sleeve to get the sleeve to fit to the shirt body.  It’s a wonderful thing when even your sleeves and armscyes have beautiful French seams!

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

Also, I love the flowy, puffy sleeve shape in this pattern.

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

Overall, this wasn’t too hard to sew.  It was enjoyable.  I was on one of the last steps and was cutting my buttonhole with my buttonhole chisel when disaster struck!  I thought I was being careful, but somehow part of the shirt was under the buttonhole and I cut two little slices in my shirt.  At that point, I just walked away.  There was no going back in time and it was getting late, so I put the project down until the next day.

The next day, I fused a bit of interfacing to the back side, which looked pretty good from the right side, but I had my doubts about how permanent a fix that was.  So, I applied some Fray Check.  That didn’t look so good.  It looked like a permanent wet spot.

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

With my deadline approaching and no creative ideas forthcoming, I decided to sew a patch over it and call it a day.

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

I figured the tie would mostly cover it, and it does.  Sometimes these things happen.  What can you do?

As for the rest of the process, I made sure to put a little interfacing behind my button to strengthen the fabric.  For the belt, I topstitched around the outside once I had turned it.  I used a satiny ribbon for the inner ties (although those have started to come apart from the shirt at the stitch line after being washed and dried a few times–you can see that in the second picture a bit).

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

Thankfully, I made the blouse on time, paired it with a camisole I made a long time ago (also silk, also from Pintuck & Purl), and some thrifted trousers, comfortable Dansko clog boots, and a FABULOUS faux fur jacket from Nordstrom Rack.

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

As soon as we got to the party, I breathed a sigh of relief.  People wore a wide variety of styles.  I was fine.

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

I still need to work on my fancy clothes game, but I broke the ice, and I have since worn this top to church as well as with jeans to a more casual holiday party.  Now I kind of want to make it in some hot pink stretch velvet I got for my birthday…

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

Summer Sewing: Matcha Top in Italian Voile

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Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

How about if we squeeze one more summer sewing post in?  Partly because I like to be thorough and partly because I’ll forget what I did with this pattern (and probably that I made it once it’s packed away) if I don’t.  Sad, but true!  🙂

Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

Today’s project is the sleeveless view of the Sew Liberated Matcha Top in a beautiful Italian cotton voile.  This fabric was a gift from Maggie at Pintuck & Purl, bought on a trip to Rome.  Fancy!  Therefore, it sat in my stash for awhile because I was saving it for just the right project.  I finally narrowed it down to the Matcha Top, which can be made sleeveless or with three-quarter-length sleeves.  I bought the paper pattern at Pintuck & Purl.

Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

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Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

Initially, I was a bit surprised at the sizes my measurements put me at.  I’m often one size at the bust and the next size up or thereabouts for the waist and hips.  This pattern had me at an 8 bust, 16 waist, and 22 hip, which seemed pretty different than usual.  Obviously every pattern company is unique, but this was very different.  Luckily, the pattern book gives you tips for choosing a size that will give you the intended fit, which is fairly loose everywhere but at the shoulders.  In the directions, you are told how to measure your shoulders to get a good fit and to base your size off of that.  Thanks to these directions, I made a size 10.

Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

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Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

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Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

There were only two fitting changes I made.  The first was to lower the armhole by two inches.  That meant that the armhole facings no longer matched, so I bound the armholes with bias tape, turning it inside so it wasn’t visible from the outside.

Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

The second fitting change was to take a small tuck at the top back of each shoulder since it was gaping there.  I probably need some sort of forward shoulder adjustment in the future.

I also added piping at the shoulders so the shoulder details didn’t disappear.  I love how that turned out!

Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

For seam finishes, I pressed my seams open, and then turned the seam allowances under and topstitched each down.  It makes me happy that this shirt looks almost as nice on the inside as it does on the outside; plus that seam finish will strengthen the seams.

Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

One other bit of strengthening I did was to stitch horizontally under the bottom of the v-neck after doing the sewing that the directions dictated.

Before I knew it, I was finished with this top!

Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

After completing it, I realized that I forgot to pattern match the center front seam!  I couldn’t believe it, but I wasn’t going back.  Hopefully I learned my lesson for next time, right?  😉

Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

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Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

This was a really quick and satisfying sew, and in this soft and floaty voile, it makes an ideal summer top.  The directions were well-written, and the fact that there aren’t a ton of steps means you can take your time and do a really good job.  I’d love to try the sleeved version sometime!

Summer Sewing:  Matcha Top in Italian Voile

And now…I think it’s time to sew for fall!

 

The Last Summer Project: Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

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The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

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.

The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

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.

The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

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.  ↓

The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

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The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

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The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

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.

The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

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The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

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The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

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.

The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

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The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

I also wondered if I would like the front pleats, and I do!

The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

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.

The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

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The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

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The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

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.

The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

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?

 

Grainline Studio Portside Duffle

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Grainline Studio Portside Duffle

It’s finally time to post this project.  Here is the big takeaway for me:  I love this bag.  I did not love making this bag.

I made the Portside Duffle from Grainline Studio to take on a weekend retreat, and it was perfect for that.  I finished with time to spare, and it was so much fun to have handmade luggage to take along with me.  I really love how it turned out. (I also learned that both “duffle” and “duffel” are correct ways to spell this word, so I’ll go with “duffle” for this post.)

Grainline Studio Portside Duffle

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Grainline Studio Portside Duffle

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Grainline Studio Portside Duffle

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Grainline Studio Portside Duffle

I was inspired in my color choices by this excellent bag on the Skirt As Top blog.  Mine is a little different, but the influence is pretty clear.  Her version is great!

The process of making it presented a number of challenges, however.

Materials

The first challenge for me was my inexperience with bag-making.  I decided to only make the duffle, as I was under a deadline, but because I’ve made so few bags, I was really stuck on how to choose things like interfacing and my zipper.  You know how it is when you are just starting out–you really need things spelled out.  I know how to shorten a zipper on a pair of pants or a skirt, but what if you can’t find the exact zipper length for a bag?  And do you need a separating or non-separating zipper?  Does it even matter?

As it turned out, the length specified (21 inches) is very hard to find.  What I did find out is that when you run into this situation, you can buy a longer zipper and shorten it, and a separating zipper is just fine (I’m pretty sure you can use separating or non-separating).  This may seem obvious, but it was something I didn’t know and had to learn.  Luckily I had a longer zipper in my stash, so I was able to use that.

Grainline Studio Portside Duffle

The other area that confused me was the interfacing.  I looked around online for ideas, but it was all so overwhelming!  I had no idea there were so many kinds of interfacing (and stabilizer!) or so many things you could do with the interfacing.  You can even combine interfacings!  Here is what I ended up using:  for the bottom, I bought 2/3 of a yard of 20″ wide Pellon Peltex 71F Single-Sided Fusible Ultra Firm Stabilizer.  (The bottom pattern piece of this bag is 21 5/8″ x 12 3/8″.) For the sides/top of the bag I used Pellon 809 Decor Bond (Firm Iron-on Backing with Extra Crispness).  My bottom fabric (the gold) was heavier than my top fabric (the off-white), so I used one layer of interfacing on both, but also added a layer of quilting-weight fabric to the top portion, like the way you might underline a garment.  I did not interface the striped pocket on the outside or my lining fabric.  I bought all my interfacing and stabilizer at JoAnn Fabrics.

Grainline Studio Portside Duffle

In case you also struggle with the interfacing/stabilizer question, I found some helpful information in this article on sew4home.com:  “Top Interfacing Solutions For Bags and Totes:  Fabric Depot“, as well as this one from Sew Sweetness: “All About Bag Interfacing“.  Sew Sweetness had a lot of good information for bag-makers of all experience levels.

Cost-Saving Strategies

The other area that I struggled with was the overall cost of this project.  I tend to have a pretty limited budget, so cost is always a factor.  When I started to realize how much the pattern, fabric, and hardware could cost, I decided to get creative and see where I could save money.  Here is what I did.

I decided to make my own straps all with a width of 1.5″, rather than some at 1.25″ and some at 1.5″.  This would also allow me to use the 1.5″ D-rings I had in my stash rather than buying 1.25″ D-rings which I didn’t have (and which were harder to find).  There were two books that I found really helpful as I dug into the details of this project.  The first was On-the-Go-Bags by Lindsay Conner and Janelle MacKay, which helped me see that I actually could make my own straps (something I didn’t know as a newbie to bag-making).  The other book, which was the most helpful, was The Better Bag Maker by Nicole Mallalieu, which was filled with all sorts of helpful information.  If you sewed through this book, you would come out the other side with a lot of bag-making knowledge and skills.

I also realized that since I had so many D-rings (I have no idea why I have so many!), I could use those instead of the swivel bolt snaps/hooks the pattern called for, and join them with a carabiner since we had a few little carabiners in the house.  I didn’t end up making the leather zipper pulls.  I was kind of hoping I would find something in the jewelry section of the craft store to go with my lining, but I didn’t find anything I liked, so I skipped it.

The next thing to consider was fabric.  In case you are wondering, Fabric A on the pattern is your lower fabric and Fabric B is your upper fabric.

Grainline Studio Portside Duffle

The off-white and striped fabrics came from my stash, and I ordered the gold bottom fabric from Fabric Mart when it was on sale (love that store!).  I think that 2/3 of a yard of 54″ or 57″ fabric for the bottom (Fabric A) would have been enough, although if you use a print, you may want more so that you can position it just how you want it.  The pattern calls for 1.25 yards of 54″ wide fabric.  This amount of fabric turned out to be helpful in making my straps, so I’m glad I had extra for that (I probably ordered 1.5 yards).

I also used a quilting cotton from my stash (with octopi!) for the lining, which saved me money.  I had been looking for just the right thing to use this fabric on and now I have both octopus pants and a bag with a surprise lining!  (This fabric, by Cotton + Steel, and my pattern came from Pintuck & Purl.)

Grainline Studio Portside Duffle

Construction

I’m going to share some technical details in this section, so feel free to skip it if that isn’t helpful to you.

***One important note:  I think there may be an error on pattern piece #4 (the side, bottom piece).  I would think that where it says “strap placement”, it would line up with the strap on the piece above it, but as printed, it looks like that text is on the bottom of the piece…where no strap is supposed to go.  I decided to ignore the strap placement marking and assumed that was the bottom of the piece (so that the words are right side up as printed).

Grainline Studio Portside Duffle

Also, you can skip the part in the directions about choosing your size.  This duffle only comes in one size.

In Steps 6 and 8, I used Steam-A-Seam 2, 1/4″ (double stick fusible tape) to hold things in place before sewing them down.  This wasn’t perfect because the bond was pretty light, but it was still helpful.

In Step 11, I used a zipper foot to sew the zipper in.

For Step 12, I found this blog post from Handmade By Carolyn very helpful.  She suggests leaving the last half-inch at the bottom of your sides and end panels unsewn to help with attaching the bottoms.  Press your seams toward the end panels after sewing.

In Step 13, sew the long sides first and then the short sides.

Before beginning Step 14, I think you should flip the bag so right sides are out (at least that is what I did).  The tip in the instructions about using your machine’s free arm is helpful here.  Even with that, though, this step is hard if you have heavy interfacing in the bag!  What worked for me was to sew a side, backstitch, cut the threads, and then move on to the next side.

For Step 16, as in Step 12, do not sew the bottom 1/2″ of each seam so it will be easier to attach to the bottom in the next step.

I did not do Step 18 as written.  Instead, I used Steam-A-Seam 2, 1/4″ to baste the lining to the zipper and used Wonder Clips to help hold it because the Steam-A-Seam isn’t very strong (something different would have been better, I think).  Then I basted outer fabric, zipper, and lining togewith my machine, with the lining up.  I just sort of tacked the ends because my machine didn’t love sewing over the zipper.  Then I sewed the long sides with a zipper foot and the bag’s outside facing up (in other words, I topstitched).  I tried to sew over the zipper ends, which was somewhat successful, so I also hand-tacked the lining to the zipper tape by the zipper ends.  Use a thimble for this!

In Step 19, I wasn’t able to fold the raw edges under, since the straps I had made were so thick.  I used Fray Check on both ends and then zigzagged over them before stitching them down as in the directions.  It’s not as professional as I would like, but it should work.

Grainline Studio Portside Duffle

In Step 20, I think it should say “tops of the rings” rather than “top of the top ring” in the second sentence.

Grainline Studio Portside Duffle

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Grainline Studio Portside Duffle

At this point, I used more D-rings rather than swivel clips.  I attached the D-rings to each other with mini carabiners.

Grainline Studio Portside Duffle

After Step 20, I tried to tack the lining to the bag by sewing two parallel lines across the width of the bag on the bottom and by sewing for an inch or two on top of one of my stitching lines on each strap.  The lining doesn’t look smooth inside, but at least it won’t billow out now.

Grainline Studio Portside Duffle

I didn’t do Step 21, even though I think the leather zipper pulls are a nice touch.

Random Issue

One thing that happened that was unrelated to the pattern was that when I used my yellow Chaco Liner on the off-white part of my bag, it didn’t wash off afterward (I ran it through the washer and dryer).  I saw this once before when I was at a jeans workshop and someone used yellow Chaco Liner on white denim, and it also didn’t brush off.  Normally I don’t have any problems with the yellow, and it doesn’t bother me too much in this case, but it’s something to be aware of.  (You can faintly see it in the picture below.  It’s faint, but it’s there.)

Grainline Studio Portside Duffle

So, there you go!  I hope this is helpful to someone out there.  I know I spent a lot of time hunting down blog posts about this pattern and searching the web for information and materials.  Hopefully this will save someone some time should you decide to go for it and make this bag.

Grainline Studio Portside Duffle

Recommendations

This week’s recommendations are all bag-related!

Do you have any favorite bag patterns?  I still enjoy sewing clothing the most, but I’m opening up to the idea of sewing a bag here and there.

Strathcona + Plantain=A Strathcona Henley for Me!

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Strathcona + Plantain=A Strathcona Henley for Me!

Today’s project is one I’ve wanted to make for a long time.  And I finally did it!  It’s a Strathcona Henley for me!

Strathcona + Plantain=A Strathcona Henley for Me!

I love a rugged, outdoorsy look, and part of that look for me is the henley shirt, which is a t-shirt with set-in sleeves or raglan sleeves and a partial placket in front.  I’ve long liked this style, and after making a Strathcona Henley from Thread Theory for my husband in 2016, I wanted one for myself.  I looked around and never found the right women’s pattern, so I decided to adapt this men’s pattern.  After making the Plantain T-shirt, a free pattern from Deer and Doe (coming soon to a blog near you!), I realized it would work well for the hip size that I would need to use to make the Strathcona fit me.

Strathcona + Plantain=A Strathcona Henley for Me!

Here’s what I did:  I used the top of the Strathcona Henley Variation 1 (size XL) for the shoulders, chest, waist, and length.  I used the Plantain T-shirt (size 46) for the width at the hips.  I also shortened the sleeves of the Strathcona by 3.75″, which is approximately the length of the original sleeve minus the cuff.  I basically moved the cuff up.  I also omitted the hem band, just folding the bottom edge up once and hemming.

Strathcona + Plantain=A Strathcona Henley for Me!

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Strathcona + Plantain=A Strathcona Henley for Me!

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Strathcona + Plantain=A Strathcona Henley for Me!

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Strathcona + Plantain=A Strathcona Henley for Me!

Notes on a few specific steps:  The placket was tricky.  I definitely recommend hand basting the placket in place, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to interface it.  I think Step 8 should probably say that you should be looking at the RIGHT side of the garment and placket after flipping the placket through, and Step 17 should say to close BOTH ends of the binding in the second sentence.  It’s also important to note that if you do the angle-ended neck band, the point will not match the end of the placket unless you stretch it about 5/8″ beyond the placket.  However if you leave it as is (a bit short of the end of the placket), it will form a nice V shape when the placket is buttoned.

Strathcona + Plantain=A Strathcona Henley for Me!

Fabric and pattern notes:  I bought my pattern at Pintuck & Purl back when I made my husband’s version.  All fabric for this shirt was a birthday gift from my parents.  They let me pick it out from Fabrications in Richland, MI.  The main part of the shirt is a maize wool/Lycra ponte and the cuffs, neckband, and placket are a light blue merino jersey, both of which are a washable wool (and both no longer on the website).  I can’t say enough good things about the customer service from Fabrications.  They spent a lot of time with my parents and me over the phone so I could get an idea of what they had and how it would pair with the sewing projects I had in mind.  Then I picked out some swatches using their swatch service, which they quickly mailed to me.  Once I picked the ones I liked, I sent the information to my parents, who ordered them (Yes!  Thanks, Mom and Dad!), and Fabrications sent them right out.  They also sent a handy little card that helps you calculate yardage for different widths of fabric.  I love those little touches.  Anyway, after my experience with them, I highly recommend the shop and hope to visit in person at some point in the future.

Strathcona + Plantain=A Strathcona Henley for Me!

The buttons I used were a mix of vintage and new, which is fun.  The fact that the bottom button (the new one) is a slightly different color does bug me, but I decided to let it go.  Finished is better than perfect (an important reminder when making this placket, too)!

Strathcona + Plantain=A Strathcona Henley for Me!

And that’s it!  I’m so glad to finally have a henley of my own, made by me, with the oversize fit that I wanted.  I love it.  My winter wardrobe has gotten really good after a few years of dedicated sewing time.  It’s a great feeling.

Strathcona + Plantain=A Strathcona Henley for Me!

Recommendations

  • I actually have some recommendations for you this week!  Soon after I finished this shirt, Itch to Stitch came out with the Visby Henley & Top, a women’s pattern for a raglan sleeve henley or top that also has a hood option.  This is a pattern I’m thinking of trying next year.  I’ve heard great things about this company.
  • I was running short on time a few weeks ago and needed some coffee.  Finding myself in the grocery store, I was smelling the offerings from New England Coffee and was considering the Blueberry Cobbler flavor when someone walked by and told me it was their favorite.  Sold!  I’m not going to tell you this tastes/smells 100% natural, but I will tell you I liked it.  😉
  • Well, you won’t be surprised after this post, but I really like the Plantain T-Shirt from Deer and Doe.  One of my friends kept telling me how much she liked this pattern, but I dragged my feet for a long time.  I am so glad I finally tried this FREE pattern.  It’s excellent and just what I wanted.  I’ve made two.  Hopefully you’ll see them on the blog next month.

 

Three Knitted Cowls

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Three Knitted Cowls

It’s time for a little knitting…only a very little, because these days I’m primarily a garment sewer, but before I got serious about sewing, I was serious about knitting.  Lest that give you any false impression of my skillz, let me set you straight.  I’m no expert.  I thought I had progressed pretty far, but I took about a three-year break once I really got into sewing, and in that time, not only did my skills atrophy, I started to realize how much more there was to learn.  I discovered that if I really wanted to, I could become an excellent knitter…but that’s not my goal right now.  Yes.  I just told you I am choosing mediocrity.  😉

So what do I really want out of knitting?  I want fun, small, easy- to moderately-challenging projects that I can do while talking with friends or watching a movie.  I really enjoy knitting, but I don’t want to have to pay too much attention to it or fix mistakes.  I want projects that don’t require perfect sizing, because that’s an area where I struggle, and I’m not ready to give knitting enough attention to fix that.  I want my mental energy to go toward sewing, because right now, that’s where I want to be excellent.

So!  We come to the point where I keep seeing truly gorgeous skeins of yarn.  How can I use them in a project that fits with my requirements?  Looks like it’s time to knit cowls!  Cowls are the perfect project for someone like me.  A cowl, as I’m using the word here, refers to a scarf that is a loop rather than a rectangle.  I can choose a simple cowl and I immediately have a project that is portable, fun, and doesn’t require precise sizing.  Once I figured this out, I made three cowls!  Want to see?

Cowl #1:  The Very Gifted Cowl

This pattern is from Churchmouse Yarns and was free.  It’s very simple, with a cast on, an edging row, a body in basic stockinette stitch, and a bind off.  The pattern also comes with a nice calculator so you can figure out how deep you can make the cowl with one skein of yarn depending on the weight you choose.

The Very Gifted Cowl in Hedgehog Fibres Sock Yarn Cheeky

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The Very Gifted Cowl in Hedgehog Fibres Sock Cheeky

I used sock yarn from Hedgehog Fibres held double in a color called Cheeky.  I just need to tell you that this yarn company is largely responsible for bringing me back to knitting again.  I used to follow the owner, Beata, on Instagram because I just loved her beautiful yarn, but  I had to stop because she was making me want to knit, and I wanted to focus on sewing!  In the end, though, my enabler friend Maggie at Pintuck & Purl, ordered some Hedgehog Fibres yarn for the shop, and that was it.  I had to give it a try.  I really enjoyed knitting with it, even though I normally shy away from such thin yarn.  I still have a tiny bit plus a mini skein left for some future project.

The Very Gifted Cowl in Hedgehog Fibres Sock Cheeky

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The Very Gifted Cowl in Hedgehog Fibres Sock Cheeky

Cowl #2:  Portillo Cowl

This one is by Gale Zucker and is from the book Drop-Dead Easy Knits.  It ticked all the boxes for me because it’s a cowl, it uses big yarn (which means it’s fast), and it’s also easy but still kind of interesting.  You’re just using the garter stitch, but you change color a bit, which gives the cowl a cool look.

Portillo Cowl in Yates Farm Chunky Yarn

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Portillo Cowl in Yates Farm Chunky Yarn

I used yarn from Yates Farm in Windsor, Vermont.  This yarn dates back more than a decade to my initial yarn phase.  I love it and wanted to use some of my partial skeins up.  This was just the right project, but because it’s so chunky, it knits up pretty huge.  This cowl’s going to keep me nice and warm!  I still have a ton of needles from when I started knitting, but I didn’t have circular needles long enough for this project.  In case you find yourself in the same boat, check out this economical option from Amazon.  Score!

Portillo Cowl in Yates Farm Chunky Yarn

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Portillo Cowl in Yates Farm Chunky Yarn

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Portillo Cowl in Yates Farm Chunky Yarn

This cowl is not perfect.  It’s not hard to see where I wove the yarn in or ignored a mistake, but I was going for a pleasant experience over perfection, so it is what it is.  It bugs me a little, but not enough to go back and fix it.  My friend’s and my motto for knitting is:  “Don’t be a stressed-out knitter.”  In other words, feel free to ignore your mistakes if you want to.  So I did.

Cowl #3:  Spidey’s Spiral Cowl

I’ve made this cowl before and given this pattern + yarn to knitting friends as gifts.  You can find it on Ravelry for purchase or you can buy it through your local yarn store (I got mine at Pintuck & Purl).  I really like how interesting it is, and because it uses such nice, chunky yarn, I actually don’t mind going back and fixing mistakes (once in a while).  My attempt last year in Yates Farm chunky yarn didn’t turn out the way I hoped.  It was more like a stiff neck tube, and I think it eventually made its way to the thrift store.

Spidey's Spiral Cowl in Baah Yarn Sequoia Yearling

This time I made it in Baah Yarns Sequoia in a color called Yearling.  I had plans to use a different colorway, but this pink was like cotton candy or a fluffy cloud, and when I saw it at Pintuck & Purl, I knew it had to be mine (See?  Enablers!!!).  I do think the final shape looks a little funny, but I don’t care!  This is the softest, most luscious yarn ever, and I needed to make something with it.  I even saved my tiny scraps, so I could just touch them.

Spidey's Spiral Cowl in Baah Sequoia Yearning

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Spidey's Spiral Cowl in Baah Sequoia Yearning

One thing I will say about this yarn and the Hedgehog is that they smell sort of like a perm.  Have you ever smelled that smell at a salon before?  It’s sort of weird, but I think it’s because of the dyes they have to use.  You really don’t notice it unless you are keeping your project in a plastic bag, so maybe use a cloth bag (or just don’t be surprised)?

So that’s it!  I now have all the cowls!  What on earth am I going to knit now?  Maybe another try on last year’s hat?  I would love to have a version that’s a little longer.

All the cowls and scarves!!!

Thanks to my photographers for making me laugh so much.  Now back to sewing!

Recommendations

  • I updated my blog post on McCall’s 6751 (the cross-back top).  It felt too exposed and unrealistic for my daily life, so I switched out the back piece and it’s so much better now!  You can check out the new look by scrolling to the bottom of the post.
  • Can someone make me this Color Dipped Hat from Purl Soho in these colors so I don’t have to make it for myself?  It’s a free pattern!  If you want to make it for yourself instead, that’s cool too.  😉
  • If you’ve ever wanted to make a popover shirt (I know I do, even though I haven’t done it yet), Liesl has a free popover placket and tutorial on the Oliver + S blog.  Check it out here.

McCall’s 6848 Top (Again!) in Watercolor Rayon

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McCall’s 6848 Top (Again!) in Watercolor Rayon

I feel like the title of my post makes me sound like I’m rolling my eyes because I’m sick of this pattern, when actually the opposite is true.  I love it!  This simple shirt is the meeting of this beloved pattern and the remnants of some beautiful fabric.  This is McCall’s 6848 which I also made in black silk crepe de chine, and it’s actually a pajama pattern!  In a fabric with some drape, however, like this watercolor rayon, left over from my Hannah Dress, this pattern also makes a perfect drapey shirt.

McCall's 6848 Top in Watercolor Rayon

McCall’s 6848 comes together quickly and easily with only three pattern pieces, one of which is the bias neck binding.  It’s a quick sew and a great palette cleanser after a more complicated project like the Hannah Dress or Thurlow Shorts.

McCall's 6848 Top in Watercolor Rayon

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McCall's 6848 Top in Watercolor Rayon

I didn’t do anything different on this iteration of the shirt.  Like last time, I used French seams to finish the insides and double turned hems on the bottom and armholes.  The rayon I used is a little harder to work with than the silk crepe de chine was, but it’s so soft and beautiful that it makes up for it.  It was also nice to compare the two fabric types on the same pattern.  So far, crepe de chine is my preference to work with–both are excellent to wear.

McCall's 6848 Top in Watercolor Rayon

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McCall's 6848 Top in Watercolor Rayon

This was one of my 2017 Summer Sewing projects.  I only have one more of those to blog, and then I’m all caught up with summer.  😉  It all works out, though, because I’m planning to slow down a little for fall and experiment with various areas of sewing that I’ve been interested in.  We’ll see how that all works out.

McCall's 6848 Top in Watercolor Rayon

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McCall's 6848 Top in Watercolor Rayon

I highly recommend this pattern to anyone looking for a quick and easy project that will make a great top for every day (or pajamas) in the right fabric.

McCall's 6848 Top in Watercolor Rayon

Recommendations

    • Mary of Birch Dye Works is really knocking it out of the park with all the cool yarn she has been dying lately.  Her color names are pretty great, too.
    • I was reading the Oliver + S blog and Liesl pointed out all the creative quilting influences she found in the September issue of Vogue.  Check out her post here.
    • I love cheese so much, and I have to recommend brie to you.  I tried some brie with mushrooms at Costco, which combines two foods I absolutely love. (I can’t find it on their website to link to but, trust me, it was GOOD.  I wish I had bought some…)
    • Are you thinking about sewing skinny jeans?  Judith Dee compares three patterns on her vlog.