Printed Silk Tank Top

I felt the itch to sew up something quick and easy to wear, so I made up this little silk top using Simplicity 1253 pattern and some lovely Derek Lam printed silk/lycra fabric:

Simplicity 1253 top in Derek Lam printed silk

Simplicity 1253 top in Derek Lam printed silk

Simplicity 1253 in Derek Lam designer silk

Simplicity 1253 in Derek Lam designer silk

This little top pattern took just a couple of days of on and off sewing time and under 2 yards of fabric. It features a pleated front, hi/low hem and a neck band.

Front neck pleat detail

Front neck pleat detail

The neck band took a little time to sew on, as I chose to sew the inside enclosing seam by hand instead of the stitch in the ditch method that the pattern has you do. This method NEVER turns out well for me, so I just take out my needle, thread and thimble and get to work hand sewing:

Slip stitching the inside of the neck band by hand

Slip stitching the inside of the neck band by hand

There is a little keyhole opening in the back with a loop and button closure which is a nice little feature:

back of top with loop and button closure

back of top with loop and button closure

I like to layer these little silk tops under jackets and cardigans or on their own:

My new top layered under a jacket

My new top layered under a jacket

I almost always have inspiration styles after which I try to model my sewing projects:

Joie "Corette" printed silk tank $158

Joie “Corette” printed silk tank $158

Joie printed silk tank top

Joie printed silk tank top

Tie Neck Silk Blouse-Coral Pink Charmeuse

OK, maybe these tie neck or “pussy bow” style tops are old school, maybe they are haute couture. I don’t know for sure. All I know is I love them. And, I know that I will make them over and over again, until I cannot bare to make any more:

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This beauty I made for my stunning brunette friend (you know how you are 🙂 ) as a gift. I have had this pinky/coral colored lustrous silk charmeuse for about two years now, keeping Her in mind to make a top for. I finally had her body measurements (I measured them for her on Thanksgiving 2014 before dinner), and figured she would look really nice in a lower cut, tie neck blouse, in a favorite color that she loves, not to mention looks really pretty on her.

I used Simplicity 1784 pattern, view A,  to make this blouse.

Simplicity 1784                                                   1784_fbvSimplicity

 

I ran out to Button Emporium to find some pretty , unique, and special buttons to use for this top. I found some lovely German Word War II-era pink glass buttons and grabbed up enough, plus extra, to button up this beauty.

Antique German glass buttons

Buttoned barrel sleeve cuff

 

Front buttons of blouse

Front buttons of blouse

I attempted to make this top as nicely as I could. I used French seams for the side, sleeve and armhole sleeves, plus hand stitched the interior of the cuff and neckline seams. Next time I make this top, or any top like this, I will not use fusible interfacing, at least not in the neck facing, because it left the facing a little warpy and stiff, plus it shows a little. I will try a silk organza, or the self material, for any interfacing parts the next time.

I have seen, and Pinned, several tops and blouses lately, that were an inspiration for this creation:

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I hope that She loves and enjoys this top and can wear it for many years to come. Who knows, maybe she will commission me to make her more of these, or similar ones, to add to her wardrobe and wear for the future. I would LOVE to do that! For Her, or anyone else who would like that. And who can afford me too 😉

back of silk blouse

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Silk Crepe Blouson Top New Look 6303

 

 

 

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I just completed this lovely purple silk crepe crossover blouson top from New Look 6303 pattern.  I just love the style of this top as I have seen on Pinterest several times and have pinned a few to my “Sew Love-Tops” board:

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This was a fast and fairly easy sewing reject, after I lengthened the sleeves 3″ and left out the neck binding. I also did not tack the center front edges, but may go back and do this to keep the top closed, or add the neck binding. as included in the pattern, or make up another version of a binding.

I made the side, shoulder, arm and armhole seams all French seams to prevent fraying and to make it pretty on the inside too.

The top features a nice center back pleat and a longer back hem:

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This top even looks nice on the dress form:

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I love my new top, especially the color!

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If I make it again, which will be likely (although it takes up a whopping 3 1/4 yards 45″ wide fabric (2 1/4 60″ wide!), I will probably also make a change to the neckline and make it just a straight angle from the shoulder, or add the binding and make a tie closure.

Either way, this is a great pattern and I even like the sleeveless version view D as well.

 

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 think this was actually a neoprene fabric) 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!

Update: Here I am wearing my outfit at a fashion show in October 2014. I got tons of compliments on this dress, and was asked if I have a line of clothing! I think I’d better get on that request and start designing for real!

Posing with some of my fashion friends at FashioNXT fashion show in POrtland Oregon

Posing with some of my fashion friends at the 2014 FashioNXT fashion show in Portland Oregon

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

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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

LWD Sewing Contest Dress

On Patternreview.com, the LWD Sewing Contest is in full swing, with only 8 days left to enter my version of a little white dress. I have decided, after debating over about 4 fitted sheath dress commercial sewing patterns, to sew New Look 6123, making view C with no sleeve flounce or any other drape, sleeve or added style details:

New Look 6123                          6123_fbv

If this dress is successful, I will use this pattern again and possibly use some of the other included design details such as the little tab sleeve, the short, cap sleeve, the crossover bodice, and possibly the draped skirt (just the pleated part though, no extra hip and thigh attention is needed on this body). Plus, it would be a great dress for a client.

Some of my inspiration LWD dresses are the following silhouettes on these lovely ladies:

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I am using a white stretch cotton lycra blend woven material, sort of like a stretch sateen minus the sheen, for the outer dress, and a poly/rayon/lycra (at least I think that is the blend) lining material.

As the pattern does not come with instructions for a lining for this dress, and the tight white dress with no lining will surely be too hideous by revealing all my awesome saddlebag cellulite and flabby little tummy pooch, I am going to make my own lining from the pattern pieces of the dress. Hopefully the stretch lining material from Mill End Store in Beaverton, OR I chose will help to smooth out and suck in my icky areas!

Too many of these nice dress patterns come with no lining instructions, or instructions for only lining the bodice. I find that so frustrating! But oh well. I suppose that is one of the many reasons why I have taken the time and spent the money to take sewing, pattern making, draping and apparel construction classes from various sources, conduct research online, and acquire sewing books that will teach me what I need to know about sewing. I plan to take the time to design my own patterns, be more creative, and fulfill my dreams of being a great sewer and designer. For now, I use commercial sewing patterns (I own more than 450 of them. Wow!), and I love every minute of sewing!

So, back to my dress creation. I have decided on a simple silhouette for a LWD as too much fuss on a LWD can just look, well, wrong. The bodice is sleeveless, high boatneck, with waist and bust darts. The skirt is a simple, darted, pegged-in, strait pencil skirt. Very basic, nothing crazy, kind of boring actually. But I want to keep it clean and streamlined. I may install the invisible zipper as the pattern calls for, or possibly the silver metal fashion zipper I bought at Joann Fabrics on clearance for $9, exposing the metal zip teeth for a design edge. I have not decided on that element yet.

The only pattern changes I made were to cut the skirt in size 14 (the bodice I cut the size 12) and taper the skirt waist to a 12 on the front and back top edges, and also to taper the hem of the skirt to be more of a pegged, pencil skirt. Both of these were done using my hip curve design ruler. I know I could get more creative with this simple sheath by moving darts, adding seams, adding a beading or embroidered design and such. Next time.

I am actually using this pattern as a test dress for fit, and if I like it, to use as a base for many style, color and fabrication versions.  White is not very forgiving, nor is it usually slimming, and my weirdly shaped, aging body, is not getting much skinnier! But white is a great, cool color to wear, and has so many outfit options. So, a great fit in a nice fabric, made well, are the only true tools I have for this kind of sheath dress to be a winner and for the most flattering outcome. I hope it fits!

Plus, this is the first time I am using my new, wonderful Babylock Imagine serger in a project! So far, I used it to overlock all of the inside edges of my fabric cut out dress and lining pattern pieces for this dress to prevent fraying and to have nicely finished interior seams. So wonderful!

I will post my finished LWD (cross your fingers for a good one!) as soon as I am finished and follow up with more sewing and fitting notes!

Saturday 2/8/14

I worked on my LWD today for several hours. I basted it together and got it fitted by my husband. I found the upper part of the back too wide, as usual, but the rest of the dress fit well. I made adjustments to the pattern for future reference, and marked and re-serged the back edges of the dress as well as to the lining, creating a new center back seam allowance.

Here is the dress, basted together, and on my dress form. Also a shot of the back side of the dress with the silver metal fashion zipper pinned into the center back seam:

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So far, so good! It looks a little “nurse-y”, but that can  happen with LWD’s, so that’s to be expected.

I went on to sew the entire lining exactly the same as the outer dress leaving out the zipper. Here are the twin dresses. The outer dress (right dress) and lining (left dress), all ready to be sewn together and joined at the neckline and sleeve openings:

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I decided to not do the silver zipper as it may limit the style in a way, so I chose the invisible zip as the instructions with the pattern include. Here is my progress so far with hand basting in the invisible zip:

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Next up:

  • Finishing installing the invisible zip
  • Sewing in my Love, Stephanie label to the lining
  • Sewing the lining to the dress
  • Pressing well
  • Understitching the lining to the seam allowance
  • Stitching the lining to the zipper opening either by hand or machine
  • Figuring out how to do the back vent split with the lining
  • The hem

Update Thursday 2/13/14

Well I got a good ways on my LWD over the weekend, especially since we had a snow storm and the entire city shut down for 4 days, so I got a lot of good sewing done while cooped up in the house.

I followed a great zipper installation video tutorial on Craftsy.com to install my invisible zipper with the lining. It came out really nice! However, after the zipper was in, it was impossible to figure out how to sew and finish off the armholes and the bottom hem of the dress on the sewing machine, so I think I’ll have to resort to doing this by hand. I began pinning the armholes in preparation to slip stitch the lining to the outer material, but had to stop here and begin a new project right away, a black dress for a funeral. See the next post for this adventure.

Meanwhile, here is my LWD nearly done and laying on my table waiting with high hopes to be finished in two days to enter into the LWD contest:

LWD on table

July 31 2014 Update:

I finally completed my LWD! Needless to say, I did not make it in time to enter my LWD into the contest, but I did finish it in time for mid-summer wardrobe opportunities. I really should have finished this dress sooner as it’s a great little wardrobe staple, especially for summer!

I am very pleased with the fit of this dress and will go back to this pattern for more versions of it. It actually make a nice sloper to use for other dress designs. I have some other nice stretch woven materials in my stash, including some solids and a nice Ikat print, that would work very well made up in this pattern.

Also, I have enrolled in and have been watching the Craftsy online class Patternmaking and Design: Creative Darts and Seamlines with Suzy Furrer. In this classes, Suzy takes a basic sloper and shows how to add creative darts and seamlines to make a more interesting garment. I want to try some of the methods to create a more interesting twist beginning with a basic design, and this pattern is the perfect base to begin with.

Apologies for the blurry photos. My in-house photographer/Dear Husband is out of town on a business trip so I had to use the self timer on my camera to take photos today (does that count as a selfie???).

Little white dress

LWD completed

little white sheath dress New Look 6123

Sheath dress in white stretch sateen

back view of New Look 6123

Back view of completed LWD