July: Project Sew My Style

This month’s project for #sewmystyle is the Valley Blouse by Cali Faye. The pattern is a billowy, long sleeve peasant blouse.  The pattern calls for a light, airy fabric such as chiffon, swiss dot, silk or my fav, rayon. I bought a mint rayon (who would have guessed) from LA Fabrics. When I hear mint, I think green more than blue but this is definitely more on the blue side.

The sizing of this shirt is strange. I made a small but the sizing dictates that I should make a large. I understand that it needs to be roomy but a large would have been entirely too big and completely unwearable. Be sure to check your measurements properly against the pattern pieces before beginning this project.

I have never completed a shirt like this so I relied heavily on the instructions. The pattern does suggest using French seams since the fabric necessary is so light.  I complied and did so on the side seams and back placket. The rest of the seams I ended up serging because I could not figure out how you’re supposed to French seam using a gathered portion of fabric as the fold over bit.

IMG_3012

One thing that super annoyed me about the instructions was that it kept telling me to “finish the edge”.  I don’t always read pattern instructions but couldn’t it at least give me a suggestion? If I serged the edge, you would see it through the light fabric so what the piss?  The only spot that it looks bad is on the back facing.  I used a zigzag stitch on the edge and a bit of fray check.  That looks like shit.  I left it but did stitch the facing down to the shirt, which you’re not instructed to do but it kept wanting to flip up and I was going to make sure that booger stayed where it belonged!

IMG_3016

The sleeve cuffs are a bit weird. You leave the end at the wrist open so it looks like a regular sleeve and cuff with a button.  I’m used to other patterns where you cut a new slit so it’s on the outside of your wrist.  This one is at the back of mine. I put the button hole stitches through both sides of the overlapping cuff pinning them together.  I knew I could slip my hand in and out so no worries on ever needing to unbutton the little button.  I also stitched the top stitches where the cuff overlapped together because they were trying to angle away from each other.  It bothered me.  No one would ever notice that I did this extra bit of stitching but it made me happy to not see the twist it was trying to achieve.

IMG_3006

The front placket and in the front shirt piece calls for a keyhole.  In every picture I looked at of completed blouses, you can not really see this feature so I said “screw you giant keyhole”.  I really didn’t want to fiddle with the little piece of fabric that was supposed to finish the cut edge.  Squirrelly rayon and a thin fabric pattern piece coming together and me being happy about it? Hell no! I did leave the front plackets split from one another so it created a noticeable keyhole. Ha! I like it and it was worth the effort because you can see it. I also added a little loop of fabric to place my button in rather than add a buttonhole.  Yes, I know that was a fiddly little bit of fabric but it would cause me a lot less grief to add than that giant keyhole.

IMG_3013

My favorite thing about this shirt? The sleeves! They’re large and you can feel the wind catch them as you walk. And yes, I kept flailing my arms about even as I walked because it’s too much fun!

IMG_3014

The blouse definitely walks a thin line of being able to be a dress.  It’s quite long. I folded the hem up a bit more than it tells you. Another fiddly bit is getting the hem to lay flat since it’s a rounded edge. Folding up that much of a fabric onto itself does not go easy.  There’s a small bit (I won’t tell you where) on my hem that has a small pleat in it because of this.  This is why I use bias tape on rounded hems because it will move around the curves appropriately.

IMG_3010

I believe July’s garment is a success.  There’s small things that I would change about it for next time like the neckline seems really open but this shirt is not a style I would normally wear so maybe I’m not used to it.  I have to say when I did wear it out I didn’t fidget with it as much as I imagined I would. The length is a bit too long and I need to figure out a better way to deal with that back facing.  I’m curious to see how other sewists finished it off.

We’re now over halfway through the yearlong sewalong!  You can still check out all the details at Bluebird Fabrics.  Keep your eyes peeled for discounts on the patterns.  It seems that shortly after the month is finished a discount will pop up. As always, you can check out the finished garments from me and other lovely sewists on Instagram using the #sewmystyle hashtag.

Orla

Instagram brings a lot of things to my attention.  The two latest are the free download of The Orla Dress by French Navy Patterns which has a dress challenge and the maxi sewalong both for the month of July.  I was planning on making a maxi dress with the ridiculous amount of fabric I scored for $7.50 from Walmart. (15 yards of knits) Maxi fabric check! The Orla Dress happened to be what I was envisioning for my maxi. Dress pattern check! The sewing gods are encouraging.

The Olra dress is designed as a short sleeved, knee skimming dress. It has darts in the front and back, gathered waist and zip up the center back. The dress challenge does encourage you to “hack” the dress pattern. (BTW, totally hate that word “hack”. It makes me think of spitting a giant ball of phlegm.) I’m not scared about changing up a pattern so no problem! I decided to lengthen the sleeves, omit the zip, change knee-skimming to maxi, add pockets and tighten up the neckline.


As I was cutting my fabric I re-worked 1 pattern piece in particular. The front piece of the pattern was too wide at the shoulders. As I mentioned, I was going to tighten the neckline. It’s a lower scoop neckline and I wanted more of a t-shirt style. I raised the front by 1″ and redrew the curve. I also had to move in the shoulders. I honestly can’t remembered how much I took it in but it was a lot. The pattern piece looks a bit like Frankenstein now. I did taper both bodice pieces (front & back) by a bit toward the waist to make it more fitted.


When I was sewing the bodice I had a bit of an issue with the darts. I’ve never sewn darts coming up from the waist like this. I wasn’t sure where they were supposed to stop and should they look like they are at the center of my boobs or what? I winged it. I had to do the first one a few times before it looked right. I moved them both more towards the center compared to what was on the original but I guess that makes sense considering all the damage I did to the original piece. What was nice about this bodice is that I didn’t have to shorten or lengthen it!


I added clear elastic into the waist. It’s a lot of fabric that needs to be gathered and I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t stretch out and lose its shape. Plus it nips it in just a tidbit. 



What you end up with is a boring, grey maxi. And I love it! I don’t normally make plain Jane kind of stuff. I love prints but having something boring that I can accessorize is a nice change.

You can check out more about the Orla Dress Month Challenge and Maxi Sewalong by clicking the images below.orlamonthbanner

No Stowe

Part of my #makenine2017 was to make a bag similar to the Stowe Bag by Grainline Studio. If you’re not aware of this little tote, you have to check out all the different versions.  It’s too adorable!

I do have a tendency to make my own pattern for any bags that I make. I studied the Stowe bag and I liked the size. I started there with my measurements. The bottom should measure about 5″ x 9.5″. That’s a nice sized handbag. I couldn’t decide how I would incorporate the handles and the fabric that I wanted. And this is where any resemblance to the Stowe bag disappeared.


What I ended up with is an alternating fabric using my suede-like fabric along with Daleks fabric. This is super similar to the makeup bag that I made the bestie for xmas. I loved that little bag so it’s not really surprising that I’m making this so similar. The construction is even about the same.  Did that statement just take out all of the air of this blog post.  Well I don’t care! I’m excited about my own ‘little can of hate’ bag!


I did add a little bit of Dalek on the inside of the bag.  It’s cute and happy yellow gingham but I stitched in “exterminate” around on the bottom.  It was almost 2 am and it sounded like a good idea.  It did not strike me that I will only see this when I’m desperately digging through my bag hunting down something that I swear is in there. It might not amuse me as much as it did stitching it during my late night sewing session.


The measurements came out to what I was intending for the base.  I put this bag together thinking of not closing the top completely. I only wanted a flap I could secure to keep things from falling out or other people digging in.  Not connecting the flap on the sides of the bag kept it from keeping the boxy shape that I liked.  I did some quick stitching and attached a few points on the flap to the bag’s body to help pull in the wandering sides.
After using the bag for a week or so, I realized the handles could be about an inch or so longer. I could have also dropped the flap down about an inch into the bag instead of putting it right at the top like I did. It’s a little flimsy even though I used interfacing on the gingham. A stronger interfacing would have fixed this.

Super short little post for an angry little bag. 🙂

3 items left on my list! Sewaholic Thurlows, Burda Flares and rainbow belt. A little over 5 months left and I have everything I need to make them. If I can’t complete this, I have a serious case of the “lazies”.

IMG_2925

Scrappy Floral Garden

Have you ever gone into your fabric stash and come out with an accidental project? You feel the immediate need to complete it A) because you have the fabric in hand B) there’s a pattern that is dying to be made from this sad little remnant.  That’s where this shirt began.  Lying in a little neat folded pile amongst other fabrics waiting for their turn to be beautiful.

I have a See & Sew pattern B5632 (out of print) that I haven’t used for a very long time.  I think it may be the first pattern I bought when I decided I would try to make my own clothes.  it touted that it would be “Sew Easy”! I had a hard time with it. I chalked it up to being a beginner and thinking I could slap something together without needing to fit it.  Well I’m much wiser at this point and realize that’s not how sewing goes, at least most of the time  anyway. The pattern is a dress but I figured I had enough to squeeze out a shirt. Simple enough!

IMG_2871

The top patterns pieces for this are cut in duplicate; one innie and one outtie. I have some very thin cream jersey that I figured would work for the innie and the outtie is the floral rayon scrap.  The package told me that I should cut a size 14. I knew it was wrong but I cut it anyways. Trimming down is easier than trying to magically make fabric grow. When all was said an done, I should have cut the size 8 which I figured but hey, I was trusting the creator.

IMG_2872

I have to say for such an easy pattern, I had a hell of a time with it.  Partially because of cutting the wrong size and the other because the pleats and overlapping is quite fiddly in the front. The pleats do not make for a nice rounded cup. It does weird things and I couldn’t get the fabric to lay flat against my bosom. So piss on that. I kept changing the position of the straps because putting the strap where instructed caused the fabric to flare out at the side.

IMG_2870

Talk about barely squeezing this out! I had to use the selvedge!

After wrestling with this “sew easy” project over a few days and many strong curses had been had, I completed a simple tank top.  All that for just a tank.  It should have been something more astonishing and marvelous but sometimes you take what you can get.

IMG_2877

For the hot, hot weather we’ve been having, this top is perfect. The rayon makes it light and it feels like I’m not wearing a top at all! Which did cause me to touch the hem a few times to make sure it hadn’t flown up or magically disappeared.

IMG_2880

I still think I need to come up with a much better way to construct the main pieces of this pattern because it is adorable and I can see me using it again. That can happen another time, when I have lots of patience and alcohol.

Sorbetto Explosion!

This will be a long post. It contains five Colette Sorbettos. YES FIVE! I’m a mad woman. Someone cue the music and the cackling shall commence.

Let’s start with the first of many. I’ve been wanting to make a Sorbetto dress for a while. I bought a rayon fabric (surprising right?) from SAS Fabrics. I thought about this dress a lot. A simple tank dress would be too simple. I wanted pockets but not in-seam pockets. I love the pockets on the Farrow dress. Diagonal and big! I decided I was going to make diagonal single welt pockets. Have I ever made single welt pockets? Nope! I’m feeling fearless people!


The pattern is for a top so lots of extending had to happen and widening. Excessive widening to accommodate the tush! I looked up several tutorials on single welts but I could not even say what one I used because I kind of winged it in the end. No pattern pieces or anything! Reckless I tell you! After I was finished with them, they looked glorious but sad.


Since rayon is so light weight they drooped. To make it work, I added little tabs and buttons. That added more weight that makes for even more sag but I was ready. I added snaps! Sag no more little pockets.
Left over fabric from my disastrous Pocket Skirt was used as bias tape and a small band on the bottom. The band was only added because the dress still felt boring I think it looks like a muumuu. It’s super comfy and I can fill the pockets with all kinds of stuff! I forgive the dress’s weirdness because of its usefulness. Is that a strange reason?

The next four were super fast. My bestie’s bday was coming up and I wanted to make her a shirt from one of my fav patterns. The stars aligned and the Sorbetto was chosen. I picked up some fabric at Jo-Ann’s. Wonder Woman, Batgirl and Supergirl fabric was a perfect find. Then Hubby spotted an excellent fabric… it was pink and covered in llamas! I bought both fabrics. One for me and one for her. Totally not the plan but I couldn’t help myself. Llamas! I freaking love llamas!
I did my typical changes to the pattern. Extend the length, curved the hem, remove the pleat and flare out the sides 1″ at the bottom creating an a-line style. By the way, this is the old Sorbetto pattern.  I’m not a fan of the new one.


The bestie has the same chest measurements so it made this so easy. Girl Super Power!
I did finish the edges a bit different than I have before. I used a strip of fabric around the neckline and topstitched. The arms and hem were folded over once and stitched. I even broke out the walking foot on Katherine. It was my first time using it! It’s so awesome! It kept the knits from stretching as I sewed.

Now you’re asking yourself where’s 4 & 5 because you can clearly count and we’ve only gotten to 3. We started out lengthening the Sorbetto so why not end this post by shortening it?


I had just enough fabric to squeeze out two crop tops. One in llamas for bestie and one in super fabric for me. But Jamie you say, you hate anything cropped. I know! But…I can wear it as workout wear or around the house or as sleepy wear. This I find acceptable.

IMG_2885

To figure out the proper length, I cut them as long as I could with the little fabric I had.  Then I popped them on and cut to the length needed.

IMG_2883

The interesting bit about these is that they are so not wide enough.  Luckily the fabric stretches and the tops ended up looking like a razor back. Great for workout wear!

IMG_2902

I did finish the arms and neck the same way on these. With the extra fabric and a bit of top stitching.  I did add a bit of elastic on the bottom of the llamas because it didn’t have the same snap that the super heroes fabric did.  It was flaring out weird making it so not cute.

IMG_2898

That’s all of them guys! 5 Sorbettos in just a few weeks. I’m not sure how many Sorbettos this brings me up to but it’s a lot.  I can’t help myself. When I can’t figure out what to do with a bit of fabric my first thought is Sorbetto.  Do you have any patterns that you obsess over?