Saturday, June 30, 2012

OOP Simplicity 9203 - Yellow/Black/White Floral Fitted & Flared Top

I just finished sewing OOP Simplicity 9203 (c) 1989--my first Sunshiny Day 6 pak piece.

I made the fitted and flared version with the button front. Here's the pattern:

Unbelievably, I got the pattern a few years ago at a thrift shop for a whopping 10 cents. It was uncut and still in factory folds. I love great finds like that!

I usually make muslins, but I didn't want to bother with one for this easy to sew style, so I simply did things a little differently.

I'm a proportioned petite and always shorten the waist length. I normally fold out the extra length at the shortening line on the pattern, and if necessary, add that length back in at the hem. But this time, I didn't want to add any length back in at the hem because I didn't want to change the flare in any way. Changing the flare would have required a muslin.

The shift and slide method was perfect for this! It's the perfect way to shorten the waist length without having to add anything back in at the hem. It preserved the original draft of the flare!

I'm happy to say that it worked out perfectly!

To take care of any other adjustments I might have to make, I cut my usual size 6, but I cut it with a 1" allowance at the side seams. I ended up sewing ALL of the extra allowance out, plus a little more. I've lost around 10 pounds recently, so I'm not sure if the loose fit was because I'm thinner, or if it was just that the pattern runs big. I will probably have to tweak it a little more at the waist. It feels comfortable, but a little too loose for this style. I feel like I should make it a little more fitted.

Bottom line--if you ever sew with this pattern, measure first. Fitted and flared styles have to fit closely, or they won't look right.

Also, the pattern is drafted to have lace at the neckline and armholes, which means the neckline is cut a little lower and that the armholes are cut in.

I didn't use lace--it's too dated for my taste. And I don't like low necklines, so I raised it by 3 inches.

I also sewed the armholes as is. The armholes 'as is' are definitely cut in (because of the allowance for the lace).

I like pairing a high neckline with cut in shoulders, so it all worked out perfectly!

Here's my new top:

The fabric that I used is a yellow-black-white cotton floral. When I first saw it, all I could see it as was a skirt. It was extremely difficult NOT seeing it as a skirt! Because I'm not in a skirt phase right now, I forced myself to find a top pattern that would work with the large print. Honestly, the style I ended up sewing is the only style that I could see it as.

It was meant to be this top! :-)

Up next is Style 2286, the only knit in my 6 pac.

Make this day a good one!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

McCalls 6435 - White Ruffled Top

I love dress and top styles with yokes--it's a classic look! Here's Hedy Lamarr in a yoked dress:

On Monday, I made a yoked top with McCalls 6435:

Both styles remind me of the elegant 40s! The sweetheart neckline and the yoke with asymmetry were mainstays of fashion back then! I guess that's why I simply loved this pattern from the first moment I saw it!

I orginally planned to make a sleeveless version of View A, but when it came time to actually cut my fabric, I went with View C instead. It was a better fit for my fabric. Next time, I'll make the version with the sweetheart neckline!

I used a solid white cotton-modal knit for the yoke--it's leftover from another top I made earlier. For the bottom portion, I used a ruffled poly. My top doesn't have a vintage look to it because I used trendy fabric, but my next one will definitely have a vintage vibe to it.

Here's my top:

You can find pre-ruffled fabric in most fabric stores. They've been around for a couple of years and are easy to sew with.

To ensure that the ruffles would line up neatly, I stay stitched them down, pinned them like I would stripes, and then stitched the side seams. It turned out well--everything lined up perfectly!

As is, the ruffles have a shine to them:

I didn't like the shine, so I turned it upside down and ended up with a matte finish. Sometimes, you have to be creative to make it work.

The pattern is drafted well--the pieces fit together perfectly and the sizing was what I expected it to be.

Note, though, that the neckline is quite high on this. What you see on the pattern envelope is what you get.

Up next is the yellow-black-white fitted and flared top from OOP Simplicity 9203--all I have left to do are the buttonholes and the facings.

Make this day a good one!

Farewell, Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron died yesterday. She was a lot of different things to a lot of people, but to most of us, she was a great writer and film maker.

You might know her from some of her movies, like When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and a whole lot of others.

She was 71. From all accounts, she lived a very full life.

She was a bright and shining star during her time here on Earth, and paved the way for women film makers and writers. Because of the difficult path she blazed, she inspired a lot of women to forge ahead and fly, even in the face of threatening head winds.

Can't live a better life than that!

I will miss her.

Thank you and farewell, Nora! Safe Journey!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

OOP Vogue 8422 - Blue & White Floral Printed Wrap Top

I love wrap tops, especially the ones with high necklines! Wrap tops with high necklines are a throwback to the elegant fashion of the 1940s!

I love Grace Kelly's high necked wrap top--she wore this in Rear Window:

The wrap top that I  made isn't sleeveless, but it does have a high neck. I used Vogue 8422, which is OOP. I got it when it was first issued and have had it since practically forever!

I love view B and made it once before out of a solid black knit. I don't really like wearing black, so the top itself wasn't a fave.

The pattern, Vogue 8422, is a fave, though! It's part of the Very Easy Vogue pattern--deservedly so! It only took me around an hour to finish all of the cutting and machine stitching. Here's the pattern:

This time around, I made it out of light blue and white floral print that's remniscent of the prints that were around back in the 1940s! That decade was before my time, but I love the elegant fashions from that era! One of the reasons I love the high surplice neckline is because that's what they wore back then! I also like high surplice necklines because they aren't too revealing! You know how wrap tops can be!

If you look at the pattern pic, you'll see that View B has what appear to be ruched sleeves. They aren't really. To get that effect, the pattern piece for the sleeve is simply drafted to be longer than your regular sleeve length. What you do to get the ruching is simply sew the sleeve to be fitted and let the extra length ruche itself when you put it on. It's a super easy way to get that effect. Here's my top:

The detail that I especially love about this wrap top is that the front side is gathered into the wrap tie--it's so elegant!!!

When you tie the top, all of those gathers form very flattering ruching across the front!

The pattern is a good one--it's drafted really well. All of the pieces go together perfectly. And the sizing was exactly what I expected it to be.

I didn't make any adjustments at all for this top. I am a proportioned petite and usually have to shorten the waist length on everything. I usually don't do it for knit wrap tops because you can adjust where the waist is by how you tie the tie.

I was originally going to use the fabric to make New Look 6071, but whenever I pulled the fabric out to cut it, I'd lose interest. Here's New Look 6071:

I'm glad I went with the wrap top instead!

Up next is McCalls 6435.

Make this day a good one!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

New Look 6107 - Adjusted to have a slightly higher neckline

When I made New Look 6107, I raised the neckline by 2 inches. I thought that would be more than enough, but when I wanted to wear it, it felt a teeny bit too low to wear comfortably.

Here's the pattern again:

I had no choice but to raise the neckline. I could have done it with a modesty panel, but it would have looked too obvious. I could have added ruffles, but it would have required a LOT of undoing and redoing of seams.

What I did instead, was to add self fabric flowers around the neckline--4 on each side! It raised the neckline by around one more inch. It's amazing what a few flowers can do! It is now perfect for me!

Here it is:

When I sew it again, I'll raise the neckline by a total of 3 inches, so I won't have to futz with it later.

Make this day a good one!

Monday, June 18, 2012

New Look 6107 - Aqua Top - Done!!!

Today, I finished New Look 6107:

What I really like about it is that it is a great basic! It might be basic in style, but the button and loop closures take the style up a notch! I also like that it has a modesty panel for the front opening.

I used a washed aqua silk shantung. I'm soo glad I washed it before sewing with it, as several flaws in the fabric became evident after it was washed and dried. Luckily, I had enough of the fabric so I could cut around the flaws.

I am petite and usually cut a size 6 with hourglass and petite adjustments. This started at an 8, so I graded it down a little. I also made my usual hourglass and petite adjustments. I took it in at the waist and took it out at the hips. I raised the waist and shortened it at the hem by 2 inches--as is, this top is pretty long. Oh, and as is, the neckline is super low! I raised it by a whopping 2 inches!!!

I used gold buttons because I like for my clothes, even my casual basics, to have a polished look.

As far as construction is concerned, instead of machine stitching the bias finishes down, I hand stitched them. Hand stitching gives it a nearly invisible finish, and I like that.

I really like this top--aqua is one of my very fave colors! I'm going to get a lot of wear out of this because it's soo basic:


Up next is that black-yellow-white print that I kept picturing as a skirt. I decided not to make the sleeveless top from New Look 6104. The pattern starts at size 10 and even if I like the style, I don't want to bother with grading it down to a 6.

Instead, I'm using an OOP pattern from my stash to make a fitted and flared top--it's the top at the very bottom of the pattern pic:

I can totally see it in my minds' eye, and can't wait to sew it!

After that, I don't know what I'll be working on. I wanted some inspiration, so I looked at

Here are two of their tops that I'm thinking about knocking off:

Make this day a good one!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Vintage McCalls 3978 - Red Eyelet Top #2 - Done!

I had planned to sew the yellow peplum top yesterday, but didn't get to it. It needs to be underlined, and I didn't have any, so it is still sitting in the queue!

I didn't waste any time, though. I used the leftover red eyelet from my last project to make a simple top. It was the logical next project, as I don't like having scraps around and really wanted to use up the leftover fabric. Besides, my serger was already threaded with red thread. :-)

I used a TNT junior pattern from the 60s/70s that I found on ebay a while ago. It is the simplest pattern to sew and only takes around a yard, or slightly less, of 44" wide fabric.

The pattern, McCalls 3978, looks like a one piece dress, but it's actually a top and a skirt:

Because the style is ultra basic, the top is timeless . . . and seasonless! It can be used in any season (with toppers in cooler weather)!

Voila! My second top:

I haven't had any red in my wardrobe in a while! And now I have TWO red tops!!! YAY!

My head is full of possibilities for my next project. Since I still have the red thread on the serger, I thought about sewing a red sarong with Vogue 2372:

And the red hibiscus fabric:

I really should sew more tops first, though, and was also thinking about sewing up the yellow-black-white print in the pic below. The only hangup is that I don't know what to make with it--it's the piece with the orange x in triplicate on it:

When I first bought it waay back when, I saw it as a skirt. I don't want to sew a skirt right now, but I am still seeing it as a skirt. If I try really hard, I can also sort of see it as the sleeveless version of New Look 6104:

What I really like about this top is that it has those wonderful pintucks on the front!

The downside of this pattern is that it starts at a size 10, which is too big for me. I really like the style, so I'm thinking that it might be worth the time it'll take to grade it down to a size 6.

As is usual with me, the hardest thing about sewing is deciding what to make with what!

Oh well, no matter what, I am going to sew something today! I might just sew the aqua silk shantung top next:

I'll be back with whatever I end up working on today!

In the meantime, make this day a good one!!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

New Look 6170 - Red Eyelet Top - Done!

After wearing almost exclusively RTW for much too long (over 6 months!!!), I was determined to sew something for myself asap! I am really looking forward to having a sewn-by-me wardrobe again.

I wanted a breezy woven summer top, so first up was New Look 6127:

I am usually a size 6 petite, but I cut a straight size 6 for this. I shortened the straps to fit. I also shortened the top's length by 2 inches.

The sizing on this pattern is true--it fits exactly how I expected it to fit.

When putting it together, I didn't follow the instructions to machine stitch the bias bindings in place. I hand sewed them down instead. The hand stitching is invisible and makes for a more polished finish.

This was super easy to sew. Even with the time it took to do the hand sewing, it only took around 3 hours to complete.

OH! Look at how cute it is!!!

I used a red eyelet and lined it with a lightweight broadcloth in a matching red.

At first, I was a little trepidatious about the loose fitting style, but my worries were for naught! I like the way this fits and looks! I'm planning to wear it with white, khaki, and jeans shorts! It is THE perfect summer top!!!!

The only thing that I don't really like about this is that the top is drafted so that the straps are sewn on sideways. When worn, it lays flat and is fine, but it just looks a little weird like that when it's on the hanger.  When I sew this again, I am going to sew the straps on the conventional way.

Other than that, I really like this and will probably make another one with some sort of summer print in a bright summer color.  :-)

Up next is a yellow peplum top from New Look 6130--peplums are all over the place and I am REALLY excited about this one!!!

I'm happily rolling along--it feels good to have the beginnings of a custom wardrobe again!

Be back soon!

Make this day a good one!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

McCalls 6308 - White Knit Empire Top

I have had McCalls 6308 in my stash for what seems like forever, and I finally sewed it:

I used a cotton/modal white knit, and shortened the pattern so I could sew it as a top.

I didn't want it to stretch in any way when I wore it, so I eliminated the elastic that the pattern calls for. Instead, I stablized the shoulders, sides, front neckline, and midriff with twill tape. I also underlined the midriff with a woven fabric:

I didn't like the wide shoulders of this style, so I altered it to have cut in shoulders. I also don't like surplice necklines that open, so I raised the neckline by 1 inch:

I'm a proportioned petite, but I took a chance and cut the bodice and midriff as is. The midriff is at my waist, and I am good with that. Because I didn't use any elastic, I added a back zipper. Without the elastic, it was much too loose. Taking it in was easy. I simply pinned it to fit at the sides and sewed it before I attached the bottom.

Since the pattern is for a dress, but I wanted a top, I converted the skirt to a peplum. The finished length of the peplum is 7 1/2 inches. I wanted the style to have a little kick, so I added flowers to the midriff.

I also didn't want to have it falling off my shoulders, which can happen when the back has a low v, so I converted the back v-neckline to a regular one--you can see it in this pic. Here's my fun Summer top:

The flowers have a lot of gathering, so perfection is not required! YAY!


Here's how to make the flowers. First, cut out 3 inch circles:

You don't need to finish the edges, so don't worry about that. To make the gathers, hand stitch across it, like this:

Pull it to gather and tie a knot. Then hand stitch the other way, like this:

Gather it, knot it, and voila--you have a flower. Place the flowers on the garment and pin them down. Pin from the top, then stitch the flowers in place from the underside of the garment.

And voila--you have a nice embellishment!

McCalls 5853 has a template for the flower:

I love my new top!

The pattern is definitely a good one! It fit the way I thought it would, and the pattern pieces fit together perfectly!

Unbelievably, it's part of the McCalls Easy Stitch and Save line! It's easy to overlook patterns in that section of the book, but definitely don't overlook this one!

Make this day a good one!