Leather inset peplum top and skirt

I made this top and skirt yesterday to wear as an usher at Fashion Week fashion show next weekend. I had some leather in my stash I got at Tandy Leather in Portland and used a mystery thick ponte knit I bought over a year ago at Mill End for the rest of the top and matching pencil skirt. I used New Look pattern 6130 for the outfit.

Leather inset peplum top and skirt                  IMAG2061                         IMAG2066                        IMAG2067

I may be a little late to the peplum party, but I have found some similar dresses online at high end retailers such as these pricey ones:

faux leather bodice peplum dress $595

\ faux leather bodice peplum dress $595

Raoul $395

Raoul $395

I can’t wait to wear this to the fashion event!


Silk Charmeuse T-shirt Top

Dipped back hem of top

Dipped back hem of top

Side view of top

Side view of top

Silk charmeuse t-shirt top

Silk charmeuse t-shirt top

I made this top in about 2 1/2 hours based on New Look 6217 pattern view B. I lowered and shaped the back pattern piece to make a lower, dipped hem that I am so fond of lately. I also cut the back piece on the fold of the fabric to eliminate the center back seam. French seams were done for the side and shoulder seams. It doesn’t get much easier than this to make a quick luxe t-shirt top!

I used a lovely silk charmeuse in black purchased at Mill End Store in Milwaukie, Oregon (one of my favorite fabric stores in Portland) as they were running a 20% off silk sale.

I have been wanting a simple black silk tee shirt for some time now and am happy that I finally made one. I am sure I will wear this top often as it can be worn casually or dressed up.

I pinned some tops on Pinterest as inspiration:


Joie “Rancher” silk top $158 on Polyvore

Traci French top in Triacetate polyester blend $95

Traci French top in Triacetate polyester blend $95

Go Me! I made this top costing about $40 in gorgeous silk. Boom.

That’s it for today!

Silk Dot Flyaway Tank Top


I saw this lovely silk georgette black, white and grey polka dot fabric at Fabric Depot and have been thinking about it for several weeks:

Silk Fabric

Silk georgette polka dot material by Milly

Last weekend as I was fabric shopping (a usual thing on weekends!), I saw it again and had a coupon, so figured I’d grab two yards and put my mind at ease in fear that it would all be sold out and gone forever! I brought it home and gently pre-washed it and discovered that the fabric is from the design house Milly by the printing on the selvedge of the fabric. Woo hoo! Love designer fabric!

So, between major sewing projects, I wanted a quick fix sewing project to make and wear for the nice weather to come. I cut out and sewed this top in a total of about 3 hours, including taking time to change the pattern back peice to a curved side hem as opposed to the short, then angular long hi/lo hem. I used my fashion curved ruler to draw in this new curve before cutting the pattern out of the tissue. Sorry, I don’t have a photo of the pattern changes made. Maybe I can manage to take some next time I take out this pattern to sew.

Simplicity 1589 pattern envelope

Simplicity 1589 pattern envelope

I am quite pleased with my new top and wore it to work Monday and received several compliments on it! It is very comfortable and I like the hi/low hem and flyaway open split to the back side of the top. One word of caution, this top has very low armholes and the flyaway feature of the back leaves the fit of the top quite loose and open, so a tank or tube top underneath is needed for coverage. Great top though and so fast and easy to make! I look forward to wearing this top in the summer with cute white capri pants or shorts :)

Front of top on me

Front of top on me

Back of top on me

Back of top on me

Back of top on dress form

Back of top on dress form


side of top on dress form


Front of top on dress form


open fly away back of top

I think I may need to run back to the fabric store and snatch up more of this lovely fabric! As you can see from the photo above, they also have a pink and a green version of this fabric that I also like. Oh boy!

Silk Georgette Blouse

Butterick 5997 in Silk Georgette

Butterick 5997 in Silk Georgette


I just finished this lovely silk georgette top using Butterick 5997 sewing pattern. It was a fairly straightforward blouse to make, the most difficult parts were the pintucks and sewing with this very delicate and lightweight fabric. I made French seams throughout and made little self covered buttons for the cuffs.



I acquired this Nanette Lepore designer silk from Fabric Depot in Portland, Oregon. They have some great silks and other fabrics there lately! This fabric has a lovely soft hand and drapey sheerness to it. It is sort of an abstract small geometric print that looks a little like an animal print, but isn’t. You can barely see the details of the top as the print of the fabric really hides them.


Close up of the fabric and pintucking

Close up of the fabric and pintucking

I’ve seen many tops like this and have a few inspirations here:

Rebecca Taylor Silk Blouse $265

Rebecca Taylor Silk Blouse $265

Joie Silk Blouse $258

Joie Silk Blouse $258

I really like my new top and can see sewing it again in other fabrics and colors. It is really comfortable and great to throw on over skinny jeans or tuck into a skirt or pant. Maybe I’ll sell one or two as well, but not quite at $250 or more!

Silk, Lace and Leather Racer Back Tank Top


Silk, lace and leather racer back tank top.

I made this fun and pretty racer back tank top from McCalls 6359 pattern. 


Loose fitting tank top pattern with various neckline and hem design options.

I started this top a few months ago and never completed it. That seems to happen all too often!

I thought about binding the neckline and armholes with some of the silk, but then I though it would be fin to give it a little edge and trim it in leather. I bought a 12 yards of 3/8″ wide light weight double fold lambskin leather trim from Wallace Textiles through eBay. This stuff is really nice! The leather is thin and soft and quite pliable, perfect for a little binding or trim.

Leather binding trim around neckline and armholes.  Racer back of tank top inset with lace trimmed with leather binding




I am very happy with this top and can envision it with a colored underling under the lace. I think that will really make the lace stand out. Next time I make it, I will make it a little larger under the armholes and across the chest as it did fit a bit tightly here for me. I think this top could lead to a lot more design ideas….

Silk Hi/Low Hem Tank Top


S1693blackfront          S1693         S1693blackback        S1693blackbackdetail

I finally got to making this black silk tank top for my niece that I promised her nearly a year ago. Bad Auntie!

I made it from Simplicity 1693 pattern, which I have made for myself before, also in silk. I used the back side of the silk charmeuse so that it is not as shiny as the face of the fabric is, but it is still quite luxurious and soft to wear. I made the bias binding strips, using the shiny side of the fabric as the side that will show for around the neckline and armholes. I made French seams throughout and sewed a lovely faceted glass button from Button Emporium on for the back closure opening with a thread chain loop.

It is hard to see from the photos and in this inky black color the luxuriousness of this blouse and the bust dart, but trust me, it’s really nice! I have another identical one already cut out and ready to sew for myself, or to sell to someone if the opportunity arises. I have other nice silk materials that I could whip up into this top as well. It is a very simple style, but I think it will look great with skinny jeans, tucked into a pencil skirt, under a jacket or cardigan over it, and a with nice necklace or scarf around the neck. It is a great basic tank in a luxe, soft silk with a little updated style twist. Gotta have it!

I found similar silk tanks online from high-end retailers going for $129 to $179, so it makes me very happy to know that I can make this blouse in a few hours using a little over a yard of fabric costing about $30-$40 using really nice silk and a nice button, or other closure options (a nice lightweight little zipper would look cute here too). Other design options could develop from this pattern such as insets of other materials such as leather, mesh or lace, trim such as embellishments, beading, or bindings. I have so many ideas swarming around in my head!

Here are some images I gathered of comparable silk tanks going for at least $138 at Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus:

Joie Walton silk tank $138       Joie "Loriann" silk tank $178        Eileen Fisher Long Silk Tank $148

I am sending the tank top off to my lovely niece in Amsterdam, Holland today. I hope she likes it!

Classic and classy silk blouse

I’ve been slowly working on this silk crepe de chine blouse from McCall’s 6606 sewing pattern. It is a lovely, classically cut, set-in sleeve, button front blouse with a front yoke pleat, a back self-lined yoke, long sleeves, sleeve cuffs and a pointed stand collar. I’ve done hand stitching where needed, and sewn and pressed it with great care. Although not complete, the blouse is already hanging beautifully and softly and the deep red color is gorgeous.

McCalls 6606 in Silk Crepe

Red silk crepe blouse in progress of sewing, floe to finish

IMAG1882 IMAG1886

I just need to complete the hand slip stitching inside of the collar stand, make the self-covered buttons (first time for doing this!), make the buttonholes down the front placket and  on the cuffs, then sew on the buttons, and it will be done.

Here is a photo of hand basting in progress attaching the collar band to the collar stand. I used a silk thread for ease of sewing and removing later, which I really like to do as a technique for basting.

Hand basting with silk thread

Basting stitches by hand with silk thread.

I can’t wait to wear this blouse! I have tried it on several times for fit and feel, and so far, it feels amazing to wear! So soft, luxe and a beautiful color. Plus the back hem dips down a few inches which is very nice for coverage on the backside. I most likely will be wearing this with skinny pants or jeans, or tucked in to a pencil skirt. The hem line is perfect for either of these fashion situations.

I am actually considering putting this up for sale before I wear it and make it my own :) I think I could get a nice amount for this blouse, or make one in another size, color or print as a client desires. I think I should always have a silk top in the works, and finish some that I have already started. They are so nice and feel wonderful to wear, and people want them! So many things to sew…..

4/18/14 Update: I finally finished this blouse and I love it, but I am wearing it, so it is sadly not for sale :(  Oh well, I’ll just have to make more!

Oliver has approved it too as he looks on at the “photo shoot”.

M6606a M6606b M6606c M6606d