My good friend Tracy sent me a few links to some patterns the other day, and this wrap dress from So Sew Easy really caught my eye. I immediately thought to myself “What if I can turn that dress into a top? It can’t be that hard!” I downloaded the pattern, and got to work cutting and taping pieces together. I had planned to use the yard and a half of yellow burnout fabric I bought that I was on the fence about in case it didn’t turn out, but it turned out great!
The first thing I did after cutting the pattern pieces was measure myself from my armpit down my side to where I wanted the top to end up at. Then I marked out the extension of fabric with my pins and started cutting. This pattern has numerous pleats in it for shaping, which I left in the same places, and just extended the one on the left front out to the edge of the fabric. My first try on alerted me that the top was going to be much too big, but I believe that was due to user error when taping the pattern together.
I took it in a it at the side seams, tried on again, and adjusted from there. I left it a little on the loose side, though when (Not if, definitely when) I make this as a dress I will adjust for a snugger fit. The other change I made to this design was I added bias binding to the sleeve ends and the neckline- I used a contrasting medium grey and I think it really gives the top a more finished look. I tacked a few stitches onto where the binding criss-crossed in the center front as this fabric does not have great recovery and I didn’t want it gaping by the end of the day.
If I made this as a top again I might add more pleats into the right side. There are four now, but they only run about half of the distance from top edge to bottom hem. I’m not entirely positive on the best way to do that, but the internet offers a host of information and how-to’s on pretty much everything so pretty sure I can sort it out easily enough.
If you like my creation, pop on by Deby’s site and get the pattern for yourself! Make it as a top or as a dress!
Back in October, I sewed View B from Kwik Sew 1425 out of a wild pink and black knit that I loved. I decided this Wednesday evening to sew up View C, which is identical except for having a cross-cross detail on the back. I did make a few minor changes to the pattern, and I will list them off.
- I added a band to the bottom hemline. I laid my pieces out and planned to make the shirt a few inches longer when cutting, then I spaced out and cut it as is. The band was added to the bottom hem to both add length, and I first ran elastic through it, which I ended up pulling out because I just didn’t like it.
- I hemmed the neckline and sleeves edges rather than use the binding method suggested by the pattern. This was due to finding that the fabric I used, while stretchy, was not stretchy enough to make use of the binding strips as I cut them. Instead of re-cutting them a few inches longer, I just hemmed the raw edges instead.
- I added 6 criss-cross bands instead of just the required 2 pieces. I may have gotten a little crazy there but I think it was a fun add-on and super easy.
Other than those two things, I followed the directions as they were. Yes, this is a traffic cone orange t-shirt. Its super, super bright, but the light pointelle jersey is so super airy and breathable and so comfortable to wear I can forgive its ridiculously bright color.
When talking to Tracy last night, I noted I am wearing a lot more bright colors than I ever have. A few years ago there is no way I would have worn a top like this, or some of the other brighter colors I’ve sewn things up in. My Kelly green half circle skirt? No way! My white birds t-shirt? Nope. I didn’t wear white, ever.
Another thing I did yesterday was fix the quick strap I made to pull my bra strap down a bit for those tops and dresses with low backs. You’ve probably seen the fix on Pinterest in a dozen places, and while I made my own hardware clip to put on the elastic, the effect is the same, just cheaper.
Sorry about the great view of my fat! I’ve lost a lot of weight but still have a ways to go! Anyway, this fix would probably work better on someone thinner, because as we get smaller, our narrowest waist point tends to be lower, and that’s where the elastic ends up- at your narrowest point. I’m heavier and my natural wait is higher so this doesn;t make a big dramatic change n my bra strap location, but it does pull it down just enough.
First off, let me say I love this blouse! However, that said, I learned a few things form it about choosing the wrong fabric. This is a really cute blouse with a rounded collar and a giant bow in the front. I think this blouse would be equally cute (and someone suggested almost Asian) if finished without the collar and bow. I fully intent to make two other versions of this blouse, one with neither collar or bow, and one without the bow.
I chose a polyester charmeuse for this blouse, mainly on account of it being pretty, but that turned out to be a bad call. The fabric was so set on unraveling that after I finished it and put it on, the seams just started shredding apart. Eek! I ended up taking some bias tape and binding the seams which seems to have solved the problem.
I hadn’t finished the armholes when I took this pic of the back, but the only changes I made were adding a hook and eye to close the back neck rather than a button and loop as called for.
I love how this blouse turned out, but there is very little ease in this pattern and if you’re between sizes, definitely go up a size! I really should have cut a 20 instead of an 18 because of my large bust. Next time I sew it, I’ll be adding to the seam allowances just a bit to give myself enough room to finish this with French seams and not be quite so snug.
You might remember if you’ve been reading for long that I sewed up View E of this dress a while back. I sewed it out of an inexpensive green stretch velvet for a friend’s prom-themed birthday party and it turned out almost perfect. I realized a few days ago I have never had a maxi dress in my life- the only long dresses of any sort I’ve had have been at least semi-formal. I decided to fix that.
This pattern was not the one I first had picked out for this fabric. The one I initially bought it for is not bra strap friendly, and as an F cup, I need to be wearing a bra. This is my fabric, all ready to cut. Its more turquoise than blue in person. I wish I had the room for a huge cutting table so I wouldn’t have to fold my yardage back on itself when pinning and cutting, but I make do with the space I have.
View C is the full-length version without sleeves.
Its got the twisted back with that lovely opening, and a knotted center front. When I sewed View E of this dress, it was really easy, so I expected this view to be easy too. In a way it was. If I had followed the directions properly and not skipped a step (if this pattern says baste, for the love of all that’s holy, BASTE!) it would have gone together smoothly and easily. Instead I skipped a tiny step, and spent ages undoing my work to go back and do it because the issue could not resolved otherwise.
All told, I spent about 3 hours on this dress. I did have a break when we went out for beer and dinner, buut did the hemming when we got back and my head cleared a bit.
I LOVE how it turned out! So comfortable and the fit is fabulous!
The only thing I did not like was the back is just low enough I had to rig up some elastic to pull my bra strap down so it doesn’t show. Otherwise, a wonderful dress and pattern, and I love it!
My latest 4 quilt blocks. Still lots more purple fabric pieces to stitch together, and I still have one yard of another purple I’ve not cut at all. Maybe use it for solid fabric squares?
I did wear something me-made every day of May, and I didn’t start having repeats until the last few days. Unfortunately, somewhere in the last 10 days I stopped taking pics, forgot what I wore in the days before, and in general made a mess of keeping track. Anyway, here’s the pics I did take.
Here’s a short run down on the pics. Me Made May 2014!
1. Blue flannel shorts
2. Kwik Sew 1980′s pink top
3. White mini skirt & gold lame’ top
4. White birds t-shirt
5. Fruity flounced skirt
6. Flannel pants
7. Yellow halter top
8. Red floral tank top
9. Blue knit tank top
10. Leopard print dress
11. Brown knit tank top and red and white polka dot circle skirt
12. Leopard print leggings and turquoise mini-dress
13. Orange crochet lace top
14. Cherries dress
15. Navy & yellow striped t-shirt
16. Tan knit tank top and poppy half circle skirt
17. Skulls & roses dress
18. Tan leggings
19. Reversible pink half-circle skirt
20. Blue polka dot peplum top
21. Animal print top and maroon workout leggings
22. Orange striped bare-shoulder top & grey button down skirt
23. Tan tank top and red workout leggings
24. Animal print top (again)
25. Red workout legings
I honestly can’t remember what I wore for the last few days, and I think there were a few skipped days in the pics at the end, but I did do what I set out to do for the month of May! I did fail miserably on the wearing some sort of jewelry I’d made daily as well- I don’t think I do much as put earrings on once the entire month.
As you’ve seen, I’ve sewn McCalls 6173 a few times, both the pants view (twice) and the leggings view (once). I was disappointed with the leggings view as they just weren’t tight, but now I see it wasn’t the pattern’s fault but rather my fabric choice. I purchased some of this fancy athletic fabric to make some workout clothes, and while I had to make two orders to get the stuff (it sells out fast!) I was able to get cuts enough for two tank tops and two pairs of leggings. Well, I’m still waiting on one cut for a tank as the wrong item was sent out in its place last week, but I have confidence it will arrive soon.
Anyway, after I got the fabric, I was really pleased with how truly breathable it is, as advertised, and the really nice drape and stretch of the fabric. Its pretty much exactly as I had hoped, and better than I had expected. I made this tank right away and quickly cut the pieces for my leggings. The actual sewing for these takes about twenty minutes- they go together super fast!
As you can see, with no modifications except for cropping the length, they fit like leggings! I could maybe take them in a little around the knee but the fit is nearly spot-on on these now that I apparently have the right fabric. That was a super happy surprise to see. Of course when I cut them I forgot that I would want to add a few inches to the back waist because as another blogger said, us girls with some junk in the trunk need some more fabric back there. There is a slightly higher cut to the waist in the back than the front, but its hard to figure out which is which when you’re about to get dressed. I solved the guessing game by stitching a small rectangle into the waistband in the back so I can see at a glance which side is which. If I were cutting these again, I’d definitely add a few inches to the back waist but otherwise, still a favorite pattern for me right now.
I told myself I was not going to get way behind on my sewing again and actually going to make the mock-ups I’ve created and keep my fabric stash flowing. If I buy more fabric, I need to use fabric I already have first, and I need to recheck my closet and see if there is any clothes I just don’t wear that I can part with. The reality is I do not have unlimited space for clothes, and it’s also rather silly to keep clothing I never wear, or stuff that doesn’t fit quite right when I have so many better options at hand.
Anyway, long story short, I pulled 2 dresses I never wear and listed them on my eBay and made myself two new shirts this afternoon. Ive got a half dozen clothing items up for grabs right now, and I will entertain offers on all of it. Seriously, just ask. Chances are I will accept it or something close to it. You can see my eBay items here. (http://www.ebay.com/sch/kittyloafdesigns/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_ipg=&_from=&rt=nc&_dmd=2) There are also sewing patterns, handcrafted jewelry, accessories, and fabrics listed besides the clothing.
Okay, let’s get back on track. The first thing I sewed today was Kwik Sew 3740 View B. I’ve sewn this one before, in dark blue, and I love the fit. Its just a basic tan top, but it offers more coverage in the back- the shoulders and shoulder blades are fully covered. This time I used a tan fabric that is an athletic fabrics, and its supposed to help keep you dry. I’m not sure how good its moisture-wicking qualities are, but the stretch and drape are really nice, and it was super easy to work with. I have more of this fabric type coming in the mail tomorrow to make other workout clothes from. At left is a close-up of the weave o the fabric- as you can see, its pretty airy looking.
The only thing I do not like about this pattern is the stitch in the ditch parts for doing the neck and armhole binding, which I complained about last time as well. And because I never fail to royally screw up if I use matchy-matchy threads, I used a contrasting color on this. The stitching is not as hidden as it should be around the neckline and armholes, its actually very visible, but despite my sloppy stitching there, the fit is good and its very comfortable.
So, score 1 for a great fitting and easy to wear top that will hopefully have excellent properties as well.
The next thing I sewed today was Simplicity 6816 View C. I’ve sewn one of the other views before in a polka dot fabric, but really want to do them all as its a nice basic wardrobe builder with a nice fit and they’re super easy to put together.
The fabric is navy blue and a pale yellow, and I feel pretty good about almost getting the stripes perfectly straight across the top. I don’t have a photo of the back, but my stripe matching on the center back seam was about as successful. Its not dead on, but its also not super off either.
I made one change to this top as I was sewing, and that was to add 4″ to the length of it as when I sewed the other view I did, it’s really only long enough if I am wearing something quite high-waisted- otherwise its almost a midi top. This way the bottom hem falls just about at my hip and the fit is still good. I’m finally beginning to remember the things I need to do to make things fit the way I want them to as I sew, and not seeing so much “should haves” in hindsight.
I may work on another view of this pattern tomorrow and use another piece of fabric I have destined for it- I’ve still got my orange eyelet fabric and the yellow burnout fabric to use. I’m leaning towards using the yellow burnout fabric first.
Since my order I put in to fabric.com finally came in on Monday, I washed and dried my new fabrics this morning and got to work printing, cutting, and taping the pieces for this free pattern at Be My Goth. I’ve had this pattern bookmarked for ages but was on the fence about actually making it. When I saw the fiery red-orange crochet lace on clearance I knew that was going to be what I made it with. I already had a yard of dark grey rib knit in my stash from another project I’d bought for, so that was set.
The pattern has three pieces- front, back, and the sleeve cuffs, but I made a few changes to it as I went. I cut the largest size, but did not add the seam allowances as instructed. My crochet lace has quite a bit of stretch, and I’m not sure her pattern was designed for a fabric with stretch in it. She doesn’t mention stretch in it anyway. I tried it on and found the neckline to be too wide, causing it to fall off of my shoulders, so I gently rounded over the corners at the edges of the neckline form the shoulders and brought it in about 3″ total. That helped with that issue, but I still felt it was a bit too open at the neck.
I went ahead and cut a piece of rib knit a few inches smaller than the neckline measurement, and stitched that in place. I really liked how it looked, so I did the same for the bottom hemline. Because the crochet knit is so open, its pretty much impossible to finish the edges neatly, which was my other reason for applying the rib knit to the other raw edges, and while you can still see the raw edges on the seam lines, the end result is much neater and cleaner than it would have been just hemming them. The original instructions call for a rolled hem on this, but I’m not sure if that would have worked with this lace anyway.
Squares 21 to 24.
The back hemline is quite a bit lower than the front one, which was an element of the original design, though Be My Goth’s original version was more of a cropped top. I’ve got enough of a full bust that most tops I make I need to add a few inches to, and this being designed to be short there was no way I wasn’t going to add some length to it. I think I used just over a yard and a half of the lace for this top, and probably would have been a yard and a half even had I not added the length to it. The amount of rib knit used barely put a dent in the yard I had. I’m not really sure what I will wear this with besides my black tank top, but I really hope I can come up with a few options because I am very pleased with it.
I also was able to stitch up 4 more squares for my quilt a few days before as well, and these ones are done using all squares instead of strips. I’d like to say I’m making a dent in my scraps but really I’m not. Its insane how many cotton scraps I have already cut and still more not readied for use.
The square making is going slower than planned but eventually I will get them done. I’m looking forward to that day when I can start arranging the squares and start stitching them together.
I promised myself some new workout clothes next month, and I set aside $50 in my budget to buy and try some new athletics fabrics I found on Fabric.com. Of course while I was there, I ended up finding some neat stuff on clearance, so got a little more then intended there, and not as much of the athletics fabrics as I had planned. But hey! I stayed under my budget!
Simplicity 6816 View B I’ve sewn in a blue and blue polka dot fabric, and View C I just sewed the other day out of that white birds fabric.I think View A is the same as View B but with hemmed sleeves instead of bound and gathered. I’m not sure if I got the yellow burn out fabric or not- I went back to it right after I placed my order and it was sold out, so hoping I bought the last of it and I did get it. The orange fabric has an eyelet lace detailing in it, which I love.
I also want to do either View A or a free pattern I found online in this cool red crochet lace I found. I am leaning towards the free pattern, but I’m not sure how much fabric it takes so we’ll see.
The tank top and cropped pants will be my new workout clothes. The pants are just the leggings pattern I’ve sewn a few times but shortened, and the tank top I’ve actually sewn twice before- once as is, and once with a cowl neck.
I’m trying really hard to sew things now that I can actually wear every day, not fancy stuff I will wear once or twice and that’s about it. What I really need are a few pairs of jeans but I’m terrified to start on them. Maybe I’ll get to that this month though. If I just start by cutting the pattern, hopefully it will follow from there. I actually have two cuts of stretch denim, and a cut of red corduroy, all of which I want to make pants out of. Maybe next month?