Jade Green Silk/Linen Tunic Top

Silk/Linen tunic top

I started this tunic top at the end of Summer 2013 and got nearly finished with it until the sleeve did not fit right and the armholes were way too small, so I put it down and didn’t pick it up until this weekend. I finally finished it as I want to wear it this summer and I am trying to get through some of my UFO’s (unfinished objects) that I have started and never completed. So, I proceeded I rip out all the armhole stitches, cut the armhole opening a little deeper, and reattached the sleeve. From there, just the finishing touches of the hem was all I needed to do. Why I didn’t complete this sooner is an attest to my tendency to procrastinate and my shorter than desired attention span!

I used McCalls 6702 pattern using the sleeve of Simplicity 2339 for a tab sleeved 1/2 placket tunic. The fabric is a lovely silk/linen blend from Mill End Store in Beaverton, OR and the little silver buttons used on the sleeve tab are from Button Emporium in Portland, OR. I was going for the look of this top I pinned on Pinterest:

This is the style of top I was trying to copy.

This is the style of top I was trying to copy.

The top turned out nice, but the fit could be a lot better through the chest and the armhole. Next time, I will cut it looser in this area for ease of movement.

Sleeve taken from Simplicity 2339 view A

Sleeve taken from Simplicity 2339 view A

The arm hole and chest area are still too small, but I'm going to wear it anyway!

The arm hole and chest area are still too small, but I’m going to wear it anyway!

Detail of buttonless 1/2 front placket

Detail of buttonless 1/2 front placket

I will be wearing this tunic throughout the summer and may even attempt another one as I like the ease and wearability of this tunic style. I have some more linen, some cotton voile, and even some silk fabric in my stash that I can use that will be perfect for this look.

Jade Green Silk/Linen Tunic

 

Thanks for reading! Now, back to my sewing room for the next project awaiting completion!

Teal Silk Cowl Neck Tank Top

New Look 6181 as a top

The top that was meant to be a dress.

As much as I like how this top turned out, it was the result of a mistake that I saved.

This top was meant to be the top part of a dress made from New Look 6181 pattern view A, the short dress:

New Look 6181 pattern cover

As the line drawing  of view A illustrates, the dress has a v-neckline, loose “blouson” fitting bodice, a two-piece sleeve with an open seam, and short skirt. It also has a lovely cowl-draped back. The back is the nicest part of this pattern and really should be featured on the cover of the pattern.  The back is so nice in my opinion, that it could be worn as the front for a face-flattering draped cowl neck.

Here is the line drawing from the pattern showing the cowl back and string tie:

New Look 6181 line drawing

The short dress, view A with modifications, is the intended dress.

I was inspired by some dresses I pinned on Pinterest that I wanted to emulate the look:

DVF dress

DVF dress

Dress and outfit pinned from Polyvore

Dress and outfit pinned from Polyvore

Little blouson dress

Little blouson dress

I wanted a fast, easy, pretty and comfortable silk dress to wear, so I bought this pattern.

I had some of this lovely teal green silk charmeuse in my stash I bought at Josephine’s Dry Goods last year.

Silk fabric draped on dress form.

Silk fabric draped on dress form.

I decided to modify the front of the neckline of the pattern to a more curved shape to compliment the curved and draped cowl back neckline. I thought this would look better than a V-neck for this dress. So, as I was cutting out the pattern, using chalk and a curved ruler, I just drew a new front neckline right onto my fabric.

drawing new neckline using chalk

Drawing in new curved neckline using my chalk tool and curved ruler.

So, plugging along, I cut out all of my pattern pieces including the front bodice, the back bodice, the skirt and the sleeves. That went pretty well….

All set to cut out

All set to cut out

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The cutting out and marking process was (pleasantly) surprisingly fast! Everything was going well until I was ready to sew and realized I left out a major part: I only have the front part of the skirt! I cut one skirt piece on the fold, not realizing I need two skirt pieces! ARGH!!! I did not have enough extra fabric to cut out the rest of the skirt, so the whole dress idea had to be scrapped and re-thought.

I figured I would continue sewing the top of the dress and see how it went as just a top. I finished most of the work in about 2 hours, eliminating the back sting tie, the front neck facings and the sleeves. I cut two bias strips from the scraps of fabric for the arm holes and finished the neckline and bottom with a narrow hem.

Although I am very disappointed in myself for not thinking ahead of time and for not realizing that I did not have enough fabric for the dress I wanted to make, the top came out pretty nice! I am pleased with the neckline change and think it looks better and mirrors the curve of the back of the top. I also like it sleeveless in this case, and am happy I didn’t add the sleeves for this top. Had I thought ahead, maybe I could have just lengthened the top all together and made it a little more flattering worn loose and untucked. Or made the dress sleeveless, having enough fabric to make the both the front and back of the skirt. But, I was not thinking ahead….at all…

Front of top:

rounded front neckline of silk top.

rounded front neckline of silk top.

Side back to top showing cowl drape

Side back to top showing cowl drape

I think this top looks best tucked in:

Worn tucked in looks nice with a skirt or pant.

Worn tucked in looks nice with a skirt or pant.

New Look 6181 madde into a top

Side back view of top

New Look 6181 back

Cowl back of top

Or, the top can be reversed and the cowl worn in front:

Top turned backwards, worn with cowl drape in front.

Top turned backwards, worn with cowl drape in front.

Overall, I am pleased with my new silk top, and chalk this up to a wearable mistake and practice for the dress version!

The top has a lovely drape, can be work frontwards or backwards, and is a beautiful color

The top has a lovely drape, can be worn frontwards or backwards, and is a beautiful color of teal green.

 

Ivory Silk Crepe de Chine Pussy Bow Blouse

I decided that I need more silk blouses and tops in my wardrobe (one can never have enough of them, right!) and had a smallish piece (1.3 yards) of beautifully soft and drapey silk crepe de chine on hand that I purchased at Mill End Store in Milwaukie, Oregon. So, I decided to make Simplicity 1661 pattern again, as I really like my black silk charmeuse version that I made last year and wear it often.

I managed to fit (just barely!) all of the pattern pieces on the small fabric piece and cut them out with my sharp rotary cutter pretty quickly. I hate this part of the sewing process as it needs to be precise and can be time-consuming making all of the markings for pleats, notches and such. This top only has a few pattern pieces so it went fairly quickly and I could get to sewing faster.

The fabric and pattern pieces pinned and ready to cut out

The fabric and pattern pieces pinned and ready to cut out

Here is the finished blouse both on me and my dress form. It can be worn as a loose tie or tied in a bow, and can be worn tucked in to a pant or skirt or left untucked.

S1661a

 

S1661b

S1661e

S1661f

I can see this luxe little top sewn up in other pretty solid colors, sheers and prints, and also made in the other view of this sewing pattern without the tie.

And, of course, I have some inspiration images of similar tops that I based the look of the top on. I warn you: a couple of these are quite pricey, so hold on to your hats…

 

Lanvin_pussy_bow_blouse_$1,108

Ivory silk Pussy Bow blouse from Lanvin seen on Polyvore for $1,108

Gucci_'Infinity'_pussy_bow_blouse_$755

Gucci “Infinity” printed silk pussy bow blouse on Polyvore for $755

floppy bow sleeveless silk blouse                  ivory tie blouse

Thanks for stopping by and reading!

 

 

Threads Magazine Features My Silk Bow Blouse!!!!

Love, Stephanie silk bow blouse page 81 issue 174

My silk bow blouse on page 81 of Threads Magazine issue #174 September 2014

Cover of the September 2014 issue that features my blouse on page

Cover of the September 2014 issue that features my blouse on page 81Reader's Closet spread issue #174

My blouse and a blurb about it and me in the Reader’s Closet spread on Page 81 of Threads Magazine issue # 174

I’ve officially made it in print!!! Threads Magazine contacted me after I posted my silk bow blouse made from McCalls pattern 6650 from silk charmeuse purchased at Fabric Depot in Portland, OR on their Threads Insider membership page.

They asked if they could feature my blouse in an issue of their magazine. I was delighted of course and accepted the honor and flattery! Not to mention the publicity!!! So I sent them my blouse to their publication headquarters in Connecticut and voila! Here I am, smack dab in my favorite sewing publication, read by thousands of sewing enthusiasts, praised for my work and creation!

Here is the link to the digital edition of this issue: http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/37365/threads-magazine-issue-174-augsep-14

Time to celebrate!!!!!

neck bow detail of silk blouse

Bow detail of silk charmeuse blouse

blouse worn with skirt

Blouse worn with brocade pencil skirt Holiday 2013

McCalls 6650 blouse and Butterick 5466 skirt

Me wearing my beautiful silk charmeuse bow blouse McCalls 6650 with a brocade pencil skirt I also made from Butterick 5466

 

String Tie Maxi Dress

I just finished this maxi dress made from Simplicity 1355 pattern. It’s a halter style top with a drawstring tie closure and center front slit.

Brushstroke printed jersey knit maxi dress

Brushstroke printed jersey knit maxi dress

Add a description…maxi dress

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It was fast and easy to make and is very comfortable to wear! My serger came in very handy with making some of the seams of this dress. I think I need to make about 2 more of these dresses for summer, one in black, and maybe another one in a nice solid color and/or another print. The possibilities are endless!

Sunny Mood Dress

I sewed this dress Saturday and Sunday morning  to enter into the SewStylish Spring Fashion Challenge http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/35892/dont-miss-your-chance-to-enter-the-2014-sewstylish-spring-fashion-challenge/

Butterick 6016

Butterick 6016

I used the fabric, lining, thread and zipper I won from the Mood Designer Fabric Facebook page fabric giveaway:

Mood Fabric giveaway bundle I won.

Mood Fabric giveaway bundle I won.

I wanted to make a cute summer dress to showcase the fun fabric with a peek of the matching lining, so I chose Butterick 6016 pattern view B:

Pattern illustration for Butterick 6016 view B

Pattern illustration for Butterick 6016 view B

Line drawings for Butterick 6016

Line drawings for Butterick 6016

I cut the bodice piece on the fold instead of making a center front seam so to not break up the fabric pattern. I did this for both the outer fabric as well as the lining:

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The outcome of the dress is cute IMO, but not what I was hoping for. It is kind of plain and unexciting. I really should not have rushed to just enter something for this contest and cut it out in this pattern as it is really not all that special of a fun spring dress.

Honestly, I should have come up with my own design using this fun fabric and lining. I was envisioning a strapless dress with a short girlie skirt with a real Oscar de la Renta vibe to it. Argh! Oh well! I do like my dress and will wear it, but I am not 100% sold on my dress. It’s OK, but just OK, not worthy of this fabric :(

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Back of dress

Back of dress

 My little boo Gidget Louise likes my dress

My little boo Gidget Louise likes my dress

Floral Prom Gown

 

Prom gown custom made for Crystal.

Prom gown custom made for Crystal.

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I met Crystal’s mother in the fabric store as she was asking a sales associate if she knew anyone who could sew a dress for her daughter. I was standing there as she asked the sales clerk and said, “I can!”, and that was the introduction to a wonderful and challenging journey.

Crystal shared with me what she was looking for in a prom dress, but could not find in stores or online for a reasonable cost.

This is what she showed me:

Oscar de la Renta hi/low hem Gown

Oscar de la Renta hi/low hem Gown

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Oscar de la Renta Mitered Striped Strapless Gown

Oscar de la Renta Mitered Striped Strapless Gown

I LOVE the gowns she showed me and was immediately excited to design her a dress similar to these gowns!

Then came the hard part: finding a suitable fabric that didn’t cost a small fortune per yard to made the dress out of. We went fabric shopping a couple of times together and she came across this lovely purple tones floral printed polyester satin for $8.99 a yard (and on sale 30% off!) and it was perfect for the dress. We also found a complimentary plum-colored lining for the dress that was only $3.99 a yard (also 30% off!).

I found some commercial patterns to try to get the look she was going for including Burda 7011 as shown below. She wanted the skirt of the gown to be gathered and not flat, like the Burda pattern was like, so I drafted the skirt myself using two large rectangles 3 times wider than the waist measurement to gather into the waist. She also wanted the front of the dress hem to be higher than the back, so I carefully drew in an arc shape at the front of the dress hem and cut the shape out of the outer and lining fabric.

Burda pattern I used for the bodice.

Burda pattern I used for the bodice.

The gathering of the skirt and skirt lining proved to be one of the most challenging parts of making this dress! The fabric is heavy, slippery and frays like crazy, so I had to take my time to gather carefully and evenly all around the skirt and sew it to the bodice with precision.

Hemming the skirt was also a big challenge. At first, I wanted to make a deep, 2″ hem to give the skirt some weight and hang nicely, but as I pined and tried to sew this deep hem, it really was not working and caused major puckers and was not sitting flat against itself. So I ripped out all the stitching and just made a narrow hem at the bottom. My serger came in very handy for making this hem, and also to prevent fraying on the edges of the two fabrics.

We also decided to add a layer of tulle to the skirt to give it a little extra fullness.

Last fitting before completion

Last fitting before completion

Back of dress

After the second fitting of the dress, which we did before I inserted the boning and installed the zipper, and we decided to add bra cups into the bodice for extra support in the dress and eliminate the need for a bra. Here is the interior of the bodice of the dress including the sewn-in bra cups,  satin hanger loops and grosgrain ribbon waist stay (a belt-like support sewn into the dress to help support the weight of the skirt and keep the dress up).

interior of the dress

interior of the dress

All in all, it was a great experience working with her and her mother to create the prom dress that she envisioned. I learned a lot along the way and hope to make more custom dresses for her and other clients in the near future.