Tag Archives: blouse

Hot Patterns 1196 | Metropolitan Urban Gypsy Blouse | Or a Tibi Knock-Off

11 Sep

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Hi, friends! I’m back with a new top, a new haircut, and some fancy professional photos for you! I’ve had this Hot Patterns Metropolitan Gypsy blouse sewn up for several months but never could coordinate photos of it. When I scheduled a photo shoot for my stepson’s casual senior (!!!) portraits, I had the photographer capture a few of my top to use on the blog. She did such a great job! Any locals looking for great wedding/family/baby/senior photographs, check out Haley Budlong.

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I was inspired by Erica Bunker’s version of this top so I just blatantly copied hers — with her permission, of course :-). This pattern is also a pretty accurate ringer for the Tibi off-the-shoulders blouse that retails for around $300. I checked one of these out in Nordstrom last month and I’m happy to report that it wasn’t constructed any better than mine.

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I cut a straight size 12 but probably could have gone with the 10. I omitted the shelf bra, although I may try it on the next version to see if it helps to keep the elastic down and prevent it from riding up on my shoulders.

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That being said, this top fits way better in the shoulders than any RTW off-the-shoudlers tops I have because I was able to select the right amount of elastic for my broad shoulders — 27″ to be exact, 3/4 of my shoulder circumference.

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I opted for the tie detail on the sleeves and next time may try the elasticated sleeve opening. I used my narrow hem foot to finish the sleeves edges and just put a dab of Fray Chek at the very tips as that was a tricky place to get neat (thanks for that suggestion, Erica!)

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My fabric was a lovely cotton French dot jacquard from Emma One Sock. I was able to get this shirt out of less than 2 yards, much less than the pattern’s recommended 2 3/4 yards.

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The pattern sewed up quickly in a single Saturday and the directions were brief but sufficient. I would definitely make this again and have a gorgeous green snake print silk set aside for just such an endeavor.

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For this photo shoot, I kept my look simple and paired my top with my crisp white slim jeans, a Kendra Scott necklace and bracelet, and some tan platform wedges. What do you think about off-the-shoulders tops? Would you wear or sew one?

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Pattern Review Sewing Bee Round 1 | 80s Inspired Floral Peplum Blouse

7 Sep

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Howdy, friends! I hope you had a nice Labor Day. While I had to go in to the office for a while today, I did get lots of sewing in this weekend. Have you heard about the Sewing Bee going on over at Pattern Review? I didn’t think I would enter but then at the last minute, I decided I would move one of my to-sew objects up the queue and enter it in the contest.

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Let’s talk pattern first. I purchased Simplicity 1425 a while back. So long ago that I bought the wrong size pattern. Since I didn’t feel like going to Hancock for this project I decided to see if I could find another pattern to help me hack the over all look. Enter Simplicity 1913. The bodice of this dress has similar princess seams and neckline as well as offers a choice of sleeve options (a requirement of the Sewing Bee).

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So first up, I made a few standard adjustments to the bodice pieces — 1″ FBA and added 3/4″ to the shoulder width. Then I graded out the peplum pieces from S1425 to a size 14 to match my bodice pieces. Next, I made a muslin and checked the fit. I needed to lower the bust point 1″ and add 1/8″ of width under the arm at the side seam tapering to nothing at the waist. I also needed to readjust the pleat placement a little bit. Other than that, the fit was good.

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Next, I used my muslin to determine how I was going to get in and out of this top. The original pattern called for just three little buttons spaced down the back of the blouse. I don’t know about you, but I am not keen on the idea of exposing my entire back and bra to the world. So I contemplated using a full button placket, side zip, center back zip, etc. I finally decided that an upside down center back zipper would be best. I started the zipper at the waist seam and extended it up 7″ (it ends a little above my bra strap). This makes it easy to get on and off over my head but still keeps the zipper pull within easy reach when trying to operate the zipper.

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Finally, I made a few style changes from the original pattern. I cut a V neckline instead of the high round neckline because I felt like I needed to break up my floral fabric. I also added some pleats to the sleeves to echo the peplum pleats and to add a little more ease to the sleeve.

For my fabric I chose a rayon satin from Sawyer Brook (P. S. it’s now on sale!). It has the most luscious feel but is a little on the flimsy side so I decided to underline it with white cotton batiste which gave it the perfect hand. I lined the entire top in white rayon Bemberg. I love the colors in this top and I have a coordinating fabric picked out for the pencil skirt that I finally got the pattern worked out on.

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While sewing this top, I was methodical about grading, clipping, and pressing my seams and that was therapeutic for me. But I think the most rewarding part of sewing this blouse was the fact that I got it fully lined (even the peplum and sleeves), completely by machine. There was no hand sewing involved. I have always machined my lining to sleeveless blouses and dresses but my Google search was coming up empty on how to machine the armscye lining seam in a sleeved garment.

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But after sleeping on it and brainstorming about it while working on the other construction of the top, I figured out a way to do it very neatly and cleanly. I can’t wait to test my method out on something with a longer sleeve to see if it will still work. If it does, I will post a tutorial.

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I am tickled pink with my top. I wore it to work today styled like the photos but I can also see myself wearing it with a black pencil skirt and heels or with jeans and booties.

Keep your fingers crossed that I will make it to the next round of the sewing bee. If I do, we’ll have a giveaway here to celebrate! 🙂

In-House Patterns | Chelsea Blouse in Blue Georgette

19 Jul

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Here we are again, on the eve of another work week, and I have another productive sewing session to tell you about. I have completed a Vogue 1353 which turned out great and I will share once I get photos. I have also made another Closet Case Files Sallie Jumpsuit trying to perfect the fit. And I made another McCall’s 7121 that just needs a hem. Spoiler alert — no crazy stripe matching in this version.

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But what I am going to share with you today is this sheer, swingy blue blouse made up with the hot-off-the-presses In-House Patterns Chelsea Blouse. It’s no secret that I love Alexandra Morgan’s skills as a designer, pattern drafter, and conveyor of streamlined and industry-style sewing techniques. You can see some of my previous In-House makes here and here (I think there is going to be another Belle Blouse in my future soon). There are others that have never made it onto the blog (my sister loves the Jenny Tee that I made and gifted to her).

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This top is trendy but basic enough that you could make it up in a crazy fabric to wear now or in a nice neutral solid to keep in your wardrobe for many years. The pattern also provides the option for color blocking or mixed media (think lace or chiffon back panel). I love the way the side seams swing forward toward the front as they head down to the hemline. I think this makes the silhouette more slimming. What do you think?

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I chose to make mine up in a royal blue polyester georgette by J. Crew ($3.50/yard), one of a few pieces in a recent Fabric Mart Fabrics acquisition. While this wasn’t the easiest fabric to work with, by taking my time getting the fabric on grain, cutting it out with a rotary cutter, and carefully pinning and stitching, I think I was able to achieve a satisfactory garment.

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Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t my best work ever. My rolled hem foot gave me fits and my neck binding refused to be stitched in the ditch so I had to resort to handstitching it. But the casual observer will never notice these things.

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For sizing I chose a large with D cup and I added 5/8″ width to each shoulder as well as making a 1/2″ forward shoulder adjustment. I chose these adjustments based on the fit of my Blossom Blouse but I feel like the width I added to the shoulders was unnecessary and makes me look even broader than I am. Based on prior experience, In-House Patterns are drafted with very little ease so I don’t try to fudge on choosing my size. But I think in this pattern I could have gone with the medium.

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As far as construction goes, I used French seams for everything, including the armscyes. As mentioned above, the French binding on the neckline was stitched down by hand with a fell stitch.

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The body and sleeves of the blouse are hemmed with the rolled hem foot on your machine. From prior experience, I knew this would be tricky but I forged ahead. I had to adjust my needle position to get the stitching to hit in the right spot. And some places aren’t rolled right but it’s not obvious from the outside. It got a little easier as I went along, though, and the sleeves aren’t too bad.

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The Chelsea Blouse from In-House patterns is another solidly drafted pattern by Alexandra Morgan. I would love to see your version if you decide to sew it up!

Megan Nielsen Eucalypt Tank | Jungle January

17 Jan

Hi, friends! I hope this post finds you well. It’s been a little more than a season since I last checked in but I hope you have had other blogs in your reader to keep you entertained. We have had a very busy few months with vacation, selling our home, moving, birth of a niece, the holidays, hospitalizations of grandparents (everyone is doing great now), husband working out of town, all that on top of the usual cold and flu season which is always hectic for a pediatrician.

But life is good and we are excited about all the changes happening. Selling our old house means we get to build a new one. We are living temporarily in a small condo but we are in the heart of our downtown so we are enjoying being close to everything and walking distance to my favorite coffee shop and BBQ joint. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of room for sewing so I have not stitched anything since before the move (pre-Thanksgiving). I am looking at purchasing a Gidget table and setting it up in my bedroom and adapting my sewing habits to be more streamlined and uncluttered.

I have also been reevaluating my wardrobe as I had gotten into a bit of a funk with dressing everyday. Since I had started sewing, I had stopped purchasing as many clothes as I used to thinking I would sew the perfect garment and that perfect garment just never materialized. Sure, I have sewn some things that I really love and am very proud of, but I have not made many daily basics that work well for my usual routines. Plus many of my clothes weren’t fitting right any more because I have been working out. So in my sewing-restricted state, I decided to do a little shopping for myself. First, I visited my favorite online spots, Nordstrom and Anthropologie, and quickly had some packages sent my way. As is usual, many things had to be returned but I ended up with some new colored skinny cords and jeans and a few basic tops and one pretty dress. Nothing that really sang to me, though.

Then, I remembered a friend telling me about Stitch Fix and I started browsing the web for more info and for similar services. Basically, they are services that take your info on size and style likes and dislikes then send you a box of garments and accessories to try on at home. You decide what to keep and what to send back. During the course of my searching, I found two other companies to be viable contenders, although different in some respects. So I signed up for a box from all three to try it out. Worst case scenario, I would only be out $20.

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All that said, today I am here to actually tell you about something I sewed (of course back when my sewing machine was still plugged in, pre Turkey Day). I will tell you in upcoming posts about my experiences with the online styling services. This top is my first-ever contribution to Jungle January. I have never been a big animal print fan but this stretch silk charmeuse was cheap at Fabric Mart and I thought it would be perfect for muslining a basic silk shell. And it was.

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Enter the Megan Nielsen Eucalypt Tank. The is a perfect canvas for so many things. I was looking for a simple top that could be worn with a skirt or pants and blazer/cardi for work or paired with jeans and a necklace for a more casual look. I also wanted a pattern that would be a good base for embellishment. I started with a straight size medium and only adjusted the pattern by raising the armholes 1/2″. I knew that ultimately I would probably want to do a bust adjustment and add a side dart for a better fit but I wanted to see what the fit was like straight out of the envelope.

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This fit was not too bad. There is a little bit of dragging under the bust in the front, but this top is definitely wearable and with the silk having a little lycra in it, it helps. In my next version, I added a 3/4″ FBA and the drag was eliminated and the tank hung evenly front and back.

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So friends, to wrap this wordy, overly gushy post up, I hope I will not be such a stranger now that things are starting to settle back down in our life. I hope that you will indulge me if I talk a little bit about ready to wear fashion and a little less about sewing and cooking while we are living in a tiny two-story box. I may even talk a little about home planning and interior design as we get further into that project.

I would love to hear in the comments how your year is starting off and if you have advice on setting up in a tiny sewing space. Have a great weekend!

Lolita Olive — Pattern Testing

22 May

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Howdy, friends! I hope your week is going well. I’m sure many of you have seen Amity‘s newest pattern by now — the Olive blouse. I was one of the lucky pattern testers and I’ve had to work hard to keep this top a secret since then!

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This blouse pattern comes with two variations — option A with a sheer panel draped across the front and option B without. As you can see, I made version B.

 

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Lolita patterns offers a nice range of sizes for this top — 2 through 24 to be exact — and I made a 10 with a 1″ FBA. I made some alterations as I went as well and I think some of them may have resulted from an error in my FBA. I somehow ended up with a bodice that was waaaay too long so I cut it off about 1.5″. Next time I will start from scratch with my FBA to see if the bodice ends up as long.

 

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Before I shortened the bodice, I also took the sides in by 1″ per seam as I had tons of extra fabric pooling above the waistband. However, once I shortened the bodice, I think I could have left a little more ease at the waist as it is a bit tight now after lunch :)-

 

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For fabric, I went with a silk crepe de chine I picked up in NYC the first time. I used a white Bemberg for the facings. My contrast waistband is made from some unidentified scrap of fabric from Hancock’s. I used a navy satin piping from G Street Fabrics for my trim.

 

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My only modifications to the pattern, other than those for fit, were to use my serger rolled hem to finish the edges. I did this to mimic the appearance of the piping. I also added a waistband facing as I didn’t want my interfacing rubbing on my skin.

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I like the style of this top more than I thought I would based on the line drawings. I am even considering making another version that isn’t so snug in the waist :)-

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Thanks again, Amity, for inviting me to test drive your cute blouse! Make sure you pick up your copy from the Lolita Patterns shop and visit the other pattern testers on the blog tour to see some other great versions:

Leila 13th
Carolyn 14th
Maria 15th
Ping 16th and 24th
Hannah 19th
Laurie 21st
Katrina 22nd
T 23rd
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Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Tee — with Sparkles!

23 Sep
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Me Made Kirsten Kimono Tee paired with reversible polka dot jeans from Nordstrom, hot pink patent Cole Haan heels, and Ray Bans.

 

Howdy, everyone! Here’s a quick and simple project for you — the Kirsten Kimono Tee from Maria Denmark. What’s even better than quick and simple? This pattern is a FREE download on Pattern Review Maria’s site just by signing up for her newsletter! It only involves taping together a few pages (and this one doesn’t require cutting — yay!) From start to finish, I spent maybe 3 hours on this project and that included assembling and cutting out the pattern.

I cut a base size M but graded out a bit at the bust and tapered it in a little at the waist. I added 1/4″ seam allowances as the pattern doesn’t include them. Next go around I may create a center back seam to address my swayback.

 

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For the fabric, I chose a white sequin knit from my local shop, Ely’s, and a basic white tee-shirt knit from Sawyer Brook for the back and neck binding. When I bought the sequin fabric, everyone seemed a little surprised that I planned to make a tee-shirt with it. But I think once they see my finished project, they may not think it was so strange after all. I purchased 3/4 of a yard at $29.95 a yard and only used about 1/3 to 1/2 of the fabric. So technically I could make another top.

 

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I used my serger for all parts of construction on this top. I finished the neckline according to this Megan Nielsen tutorial and sewed the neckline and hems with the coverstitch function on my 5-thread serger. This could have just as easily been made solely on a standard machine with a stretch or zigzag stitch and a double needle to finish the neck and hems. I will mention, though, that sewing over sequins does increase your chance of breaking a needle so use something that is sturdy but appropriate for knits and sew slowly or even drive the machine with the handwheel over parts that are two layers of sequined fabric.

Overall, I love my new top, even if it may be a tee-shirt that has to be dry cleaned! I have already worn this shirt out on the town (like in the photos), and to work tucked into navy slacks with a green cardigan and the pink shoes from these photos. If you have contemplated making a knit top, this would definitely be a great place to start as the sizing is true and the process couldn’t be simpler. And consider experimenting with unusual fabrics as this pattern’s simplicity lends itself to modifications. Happy sewing!

In-House Patterns Blossom Blouse

9 Aug

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Howdy, friends! I hope you have been busy sewing/baking/creating tons of wonderful things. I have been sewing a good deal but have recently had some minor computer issues with my 1-year-old iMac (read: failed hard drive that is requiring replacing), so blogging has been a bit difficult lately. Luckily, I had already uploaded these pics to WordPress before the screen of death descended on my computer so I do have one project to share with you.

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A little while back Alexandra of In-House Patterns (you may remember her Belle Bow Blouse I sewed up previously), contacted me to see if I would be interested in trying out her new Blossom pattern. Since we all love a freebie and I know Alexandra drafts an excellent pattern, I quickly answered in the affirmative and she sent me the pdf file.

With this pattern, she tried something a little different with the tiled pdf pages, and I must say I love it! Instead of having to fold and cut and overlap pages to make the pattern page, you simply butt the printed pages up together and tape them — no cutting or folding necessary! This is awesome in my mind since I hate cutting with scissors (I am a rotary girl). The only drawback (if you can really call it that), is that the printed lines do not extend all the way to the edges of the paper — they stop within about 1/2 inch of the edge — so you may want to fill those in before you cut. But I didn’t and everything worked out just fine.

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I pulled a fabric from my stash for this top — a luscious tan silk charmeuse with black polka dots of varying sizes. I picked up two yards of this dreamy fabric two years ago in Atlanta at Gail K’s. I can’t tell you how important it is to use a drapey fabric for this pattern. I considered using a cotton lawn but that would have been a disaster. You really want something that floats and moves around your body. And if you enjoy petting it because it feels so good, that’s an added bonus 🙂

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While the Blossom blouse is not my typical style as I go for more tailored or fitted clothes, I think Alexandra did a good job of designing this blouse to look loose and airy while not having a maternity look. Especially since there are separate pattern pieces for different bust cup sizes, you don’t get a lot of excess fabric draping out from under the bust (or the tent effect!). On a side note, our downtown has been quite the tourist attraction this summer so I thought I would join the fun for these photos and mingle amongst the shopping visitors 🙂

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As I found with the Belle Blouse, this shirt is also drafted very close to the pattern measurements. I cut the medium and it fits well overall but I could probably use a tad more room in the upper bust/shoulder area as it pulls a bit when I move my arms forward, but this isn’t a surprise as I have broad shoulders.

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Everywhere else fits great, and as usual, the directions for finishing are wonderful and even include some techniques I had not seen before.

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For example, the directions tell you to sew the sleeve hem band on right side to the wrong side of the inside of the sleeve then turn it out and fold it up then topstitch in place on the right side of the sleeve. What a professional looking sleeve!

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Alexandra also drafts the pattern without excess seam allowances so pay attention to this (she mentions it clearly in the directions). I love this since I hate trimming seams.

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The only change I would make on my next version would be to create an inner back yoke piece instead of the back facing. I just think this would look cleaner.

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I would also raise the neckline as there is no way this top would ever be decent on me without a cami underneath. Style thought: this pattern in a longer version would make a great swimsuit coverup.

So in summary, the Blossom blouse is a wonderful new pattern by independent designer In-House Patterns and I highly recommend it!