Luxe Silk Overlay Top

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I just finished sewing up this lovely top in silk georgette. It turned out gorgeous and so luxe to the touch. I can’t wait to wear it, but first, it is meant for a sample to showcase in an adorable little shop in Lake Oswego, Oregon, Nick and Figs, where I aspire to teach and instruct sewing this top in the near future.

The material is a silk georgette I bought at Mill End Store in Beaverton in a gorgeous shade of green:

teal silk georgette

the color of this fabric is more of a blue/green than this photo shows

This fabric was NOT easy to sew! It frays, it’s super slippery and figetey to work with. This fabric is lucky that I love it, otherwise, this would never be in my sewing room!

I used this new McCalls pattern 7411 to make this top:

M7411

I traced off onto separate pattern paper and cut out view C in size Small with no changes or adjustments to the pattern. The only thing I goofed up on was the side seam of the overlay. I is supposed to be split and longer in the back than the front as this line art shows:

M7411viewClineartI didn’t realize this and just cut the overlay straight across from the front to the back, so the seams match and are not split as shown. I’m fine with that, it’s just not as the pattern intended.

On one of my Pinterest boards, I had pinned some lovely tops in a similar look to keep in mind while making this top:

Hello Spring

Looks great with white jeans

Red overlay top

 

After settling in with the pattern cut and all my markings and notches were complete, things went fairly smoothly with sewing this top. Taking my time pinning each raw edge together and carefully sewing, I completed this top in a few days:

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pinning the front neckline

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making a baby (hem)

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tiny hook and eye hand sewed to the back neck edge

 

The most difficult parts of sewing this double layer top was getting the part where the two layers of the back opening at the bottom of it to come together perfectly and have a smooth finish to it. I carefully went over this area twice so not to have a gaping hole here, then gave her a good press to make it smooth and ripple free. Sorry, no photo…

Also, figuring out the last part, sewing the two layers of the shoulder seams together was a little confusing and tricky, but after some careful thought and basting seams here, I figured it out by just imagining what it should look like when finished and sort of thinking backwards (if that makes any sense). Sorry again, no photo…it wasn’t a pretty sight anyway…

 

After all that, it turned out a lovely simple yet luxe top that I hope to sew again, next time along with eager students in my intermediate sewing class at a wonderful little local creative arts school.

 

 

Happy Spring!

Cold Shoulder Project

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OMG, why is it freezing in here? Oh, right, I’m wearing a COLD SHOULDER top! Duh!

Seriously, now, I love this trend. A loose-fitting top (or a tight one) with a little skin showing at the upper arm and shoulder. What a great way to show off one of the skinny and toned (read: bony) parts of my body and a perfect spot to dab on a light perfume or scented body lotion and invite a sweet kiss there from my Boo!

I set out to sew this top using a lovely silk chiffon by Suno I purchased a few years ago from Josephine’s Dry Goods in Portland, OR. It is a wonderfully soft, airy and flowy feel to it and has a colorful navy blue, mossy green and chartreuse brush stroke-like pattern to it (I love fabrics and clothing that mimic art in case you were wondering) that happens to go great with denim:

printed silk charmeuse

I felt that this silk was a tad too sheer to prance around in and not feel too exposed while wearing this top (that open shoulder was already so daring and risqué!), so I decided to add another layer of chiffon to the front and back of the top, a lining of a sort, leaving the sleeves just one layer. I used a nice tan silk chiffon I have had in my fabric stash since who-knows-when:

tan silk chiffon

This tan layer was the perfect color and weight under the printed fabric as it looks similar to my skin tone and kept the integrity of the fashion fabric light and airy while providing the coverage desired.

cutting the tan silk chiffon front and back

 

I was going for a look like the following cold shoulder tops I have seen in stores and on Pinterest:

There are several commercial sewing patterns available now to sew and achieve this look, and I chose this one, B6457 from Butterick to try:

Butterick 6457I chose view A with the V neck and the elastic sleeve hem to make.

The sleeve pattern piece was the most interesting to me. Of course, this is the most interesting part of the design of this top. Here it is shown flat as I was cutting it out of my fabric:

sleeve pattern piece

It was a relatively easy top to make, accept for the difficult fabric I chose to use (chiffon is quite delicate, shifty and frays when you simply look at it), and that V-neck band turned out to cause me a good deal frustration and time figuring out the exact placement of the sleeve and the point of the V. UGH!

I took my time for this area, using tailors tacks in fuchsia pink thread, basting by hand before sewing on the machine and trying my hardest to carefully match the points as needed:

After all the careful sewing work, I really, really love this top! It is great for the spring weather as it is light and colorful, and the sleeves give just the right amount of coverage (accept for my poor, bony, freezing cold shoulders, HA!).

I am not sure I will sew the same pattern again, but I do plan to make other variations on the “cold shoulder” trend in the near future because it is fun and flirty.

 

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Cheers to you and Happy Spring!

Printed Silk Palazzo Pants

I’m in love with these pants! I made them in a wonderful, silk charmeuse with a big, bold swirly floral print I purchased at Mill End Store in Milwaukie, Oregon a few years ago. I originally bought this fabric to make a maxi dress, but decided that they would make great flowy pants instead.

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I made these using New Look 6271 pattern:

6271These were fast and easy to make. Using my serger to make the side, inseam and crotch seams made it go pretty fast.

I added 3″ to the leg of the pant and another 2″ to the hem. I wanted these to be long and flowy and to have a deep enough hem to weigh down the drape. I think I ended up with 2″ for a hem.

I let the pants hang for a day or two before I hemmed them so that they had time to relax and “grow” if they wanted to.

Pants hanging before hemming

Pants hanging before hemming

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I also made a couple of quick sketches just to practice and to get ideas of tops I could wear with these pants:

Sketch 1

Yup, that's me!

Yup, that’s me!

I love these pants and they are SO comfortable! It has to be a “skinny” day to wear these as they can really make the thighs, butt and waist look just as wide as the pants if you are not careful, or make sure to wear something form fitting on top to balance out the fullness of the pant.

I was going for a summery, beachy look such as these images:

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I will definitely be making more of these pants. Maybe out of linen, a soft cotton, rayon or silk again. I love them!

Adios Amigos!

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Denim Sheath Dress

Denim dress Vogue 8995

This dress was completed just in time to wear to the Pattern Review weekend retreat in Los Angeles back in April 2015. Here is a photo of me and Deepika Prakesh (who is amazing and hysterical!), the founder of PatternReview.com, at the group dinner that weekend.

With Deepika at PatternReview weekend in LA

With Deepika at PatternReview weekend in LA

I met so many wonderful sewers and connected with them in a special way. Here is my new buddy Kristin that I also met on this weekend retreat:

With Kristen G.

With Kristen G. at PatternReview weekend in LA

I used Vogue 8995 pattern to make this fitted sheath dress with interesting seams:

V8995

 

I’m always looking out to expand my creativity with commercial patterns. I really consider this denim dress sort of another muslin version, a draft, to see if I like the dress and want to “move forward” with it, creating other dresses from this as standard. So fun! And good sewing practice too!

I really enjoyed making this dress. It took some time and planning, as I originally wanted to add metal studs to the shoulder yoke part of this dress, but then decided that would make it too limiting. I may go back and add the studs though and give it a bit of an edgy look. I did use a metal-look plastic exposed zipper for this dress to give it a little back interest. The dress looks actually kind of flat and the seams are not apparent in this dark fabric. perhaps some top stitching would have been a good idea for this to really help the cool seam lines “pop”. Next time….

Seam detail of denim sheath dress

Seam detail of denim sheath dress

I made up a muslin and asked my good friend and fashion designer Rachael to help fit it for me. She was great! I definitely will be using her fitting help again in the future!

The dress is made up of a dark wash stretch denim and a stretch silk lining. I serged the fabric edges of each cut out piece of the pattern for both the outer shell of the dress as well as the lining. I use my awesome Baby Lock Imagine serger to overlock and stitch seams as often as I can. It’s a beautiful machine!

I will like to make up this pattern again, but making changes to the neckline, carving it out a bit so that it is not quite so high. Also, I will taper the skirt to more of a pencil skirt.

The opportunity came up to have a photo shoot done at The Nines Hotel, a really lovely, luxury hotel in Portland, Oregon, and I grabbed it! An acquaintance of mine, Gina, has a photography business Afar Photography and wants to expand her portfolio, so asked me if I would like to have some of the clothes that I have made in the shoot. Heck YEA!!!!

Here are some of the great shots she got of me in this dress:

At The Nines Hotel in denim dress

At The Nines Hotel in denim dress

Denim dress on bench

Denim close up against wall

Back exposed zip of denim dress

Exposed zip of denim dress

Of course, I have a little bit of fashion inspiration for this sewing project:

LBD sheath influenced by Audrey Hepburn

LBD sheath influenced by Audrey Hepburn

Red fitted sheath dress

Red fitted sheath dress

Versace sheath dress

Versace sheath dress

I love my new dress and thank my friends for helping me make this a great one!

Denim dress in doorway

Denim dress in doorway

Colorful Print BurdaStyle Tube Dress: Possible Contest Winner!

BurdaStyle.com was taking entries for making the Gathered Tube Dress pattern and the winner would be featured as the pattern model in place of the illustration:

BurdaStyle Gathered Tube Dress 04/2010 #165

I decided that this was an easy enough pattern, and I could make it up quickly with some nice fabric. It definitely was a fast and easy sewing pattern, with only a front and a back pattern piece, a measured and fabric strip for the waist elastic casing. The entire dress took only about 3 hours to make it. Downloading it from the BurdaStyle website and taping the pattern pieces together took the most time actually!

Silk Charmeuse Print Strapless Dress

I ran out to Mill End Store in Beaverton, OR and grabbed up this lovely printed silk as I felt this would be great fabric for this dress. I did need more fabric than the dress calls for because I wanted to try to match the colors of the pattern at the side seams. The lovely ladies at the fabric store helped me to decide on this fabric as they felt it was artistic and colorful and would stand out in photos.

Also, thanks to two of my super cool girlfriends, they help pick a great spot as a backdrop to take photos and snapped away! Thanks Girlfriends!

Printed silk strapless dress

Gathered Tube Dress #165

I am happy with my dress, although I should have taken a few extra minutes and measured the pattern pieces again, as I feel that the fit around my hips is a bit too tight, and I fiddled with that the whole time I was wearing it. The annoying, ill-fitting half-slip I was wearing under this didn’t help either.

I was informed today that I am actually one of the four finalist in the contest! So if I win, you might be seeing me in my dress as the model for this sewing pattern on BurdaStyle.com. Pretty cool!

Member Model? Maybe so!