blouse

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

Paisley Park

Will there ever be a time that I get tired of making Colette Sorbettos? Will there be a time that you get tired of seeing me make Sorbettos? Let’s hope that’s a no on both accounts because I love me some Sorbettos!!!


I’m still stash busting with a ton of success. I had a bit of this teal, paisley ITY jersey knit fabric. I turned it this way and that until I could figure out how to squeeze out a shirt. I had to cut the back in two pieces. I was still able to add a bit of length and create a curved hem. My two absolute musts with this pattern.


So what’s different about this version compared to all my others? The way I finished off the edges! Last year I cut up a t-shirt and made it into a tank top. I finished the edges by checking out my favorite RTW tank top. I decided to do the same finishing on this shirt. It gives a nicer edge than just folding over the edge and top stitching.


When I was cutting my pieces out, I made sure to add around 5/8″ to the neck, hem and armscye. Take the 1″ edge of the shirt. Fold that edge in half.


Fold that in half towards the front.


Stitch the edge. I did two separate rows on this shirt. On my first shirt, I used my twin needle. I think that looks better than what I ended up with on this shirt. It’s a little wonky in some areas. The fabric slipped around on me a bit.  I did pick red thread for top stitching. There’s a smidge of red on the fabric so I thought it would be a nice highlight. It’s really not noticeable. I probably should have doubled up on the thread for it to show more.

Smug Face!

Another Sorbetto completed! That makes 9? I think? I’m not even sure anymore! There’s no end in sight. I think I should try for a dress next. It keeps popping up in my head so it just means it has to happen. By the way, Colette is having a giveaway. You need to make a Sorbetto, tag it on Instagram (#colettesorbetto) and hope that you’re picked! The game is over at noon PST on Thursday, April 13. It’s a quick sew and the pattern is free!

Repeating Pattern

My sewing life has been on repeat lately. Multiple pairs of Thurlow shorts have been made over the summer. I’m currently working on my third pair of Jamie Jeans. But I don’t think there’s been another pattern that has me smitten as fast as the one in this post. What pattern is that you ask? Well if you’ve been following my blog you might think it’s Butterick 5526. I have been turning out quite a few of those. In actuality, it’s the Sorbetto pattern by Colette.

342 days ago I made my first Sorbetto. I’ve now completed my sixth. That’s the same pattern six times in less than a year. I think I may be obsessed. Take a look below at all my versions.

1 Nerdy Sorbetto, 2 Blackout Sorbetto, 3 Pillowcase Sorbetto, 4 To Be or Not To Be Sorbetto, 5 10th Anniversary Sorbetto, 6 Repeating Pattern Sorbetto

How come I love this pattern so much? It’s fast, easy, comfortable and I don’t have to make it the same way twice. Let’s talk about number 6 shall we?

This one started with “$2 for 1 yard of colorful fabric? Yes please!” I picked up 1 whole yard of fabric from Hobby Lobby in the clearance, end of bolt section. I knew immediately what to make with my tiny scrap of fabric. However, I did want to make this one different from my previous ones. I wanted to add a couple pleats to the neck line. It would make the top more airy and add a bit of visual interest.

I cut out the back bit first. Then I started on the front. Crap! The fabric isn’t wide enough to account for extra fabric for pleats. That idea went out the window. Oh well, a regular Sorbetto still makes me happy. When I say regular that means all my typical adjustments. Scooped hem, 1″ removed from the center top and then grade down from the narrower top to the bottom. Think a-line skirt.


I did have enough fabric leftover to make my own bias tape. Since the fabric is so colorful I figured making bias tape from the same fabric would be best. I haven’t had the bias tape show since my first Sorbetto so why not on this top?


The bust dart really hides well in this busy fabric. You can see the bias tape in this shot too. It doesn’t hide but I think it blends really well. How can the colors not make you happy? I think I was in major need of something colorful! I’ve been so stuck making black or grey because they go with everything.


Check out those creases. Lookin’ good! I’m sure it’s from sitting in my chair at work. But look no bra straps! Possibly another reason to like this shirt. No criss cross bra. No strapless bra. Good old regular bra friendly.


Oh by the way, did I mention this is my 6th one and I’m super stoked? Love me some Sorbettos! Is there a pattern that you love as much as I love this one?

Peppy Peplum

This peplum thing doesn’t seem to be going away. I’ve never thought I would try it because if you have hips, why would I want to acentuate that even more with a ruffle? Well everything changed when I saw Rachel at Sew Red-y in a peplum.  Her and I are about the same shape, even though she’s got 4-5″ of height on me.

I didn’t seek this top out, it just kinda happened. I popped into Hobby Lobby when they had $1 patterns. Wouldn’t you know that I picked up Simplicity 1425 which is a peplum. Then I was looking for grey denim at Fabric.com and found a cute black and red polka dot charmuese, which would be perfect for a cute peplum.  The sewing gods were telling me this needed to happen. Who am I to argue?


The pattern has 8 pieces. If I hadn’t had misunderstood part of the directions, I could have had this done in one sitting. It had princess seams in the front a darts on the back to help create that fitted shape.


The part that took the longest was the bias tape. I made my own out of some black poly I had. You’re only supposed to use it on the neckline and arms. I used it around the bottom of the peplum.  Charmuese is a little slippery and the thought of turning the bottom and stitching a hem sounded like a nightmare. Plus the tape gives the bottom a little volume. I do have to give a warning on the size.  Normally I’m around a size 8 or 10. I cut the size 12 because that’s what the envelope suggested. I’m glad I did otherwise it would have been way too small.


I did make a change to the pattern, which when I looked up reviews on the pattern, a lot of other sewist decided to do also. The pattern called for three buttons down the back as the closure. Was someone phoning it in that day or what? 3 buttons. 1 at the top, 1 in the middle and 1 at the bottom. Uhhh, are you not supposed to move when you wear this top? Is it like a mannequin Halloween costume? Who can wear this shirt with only three buttons and not feel like they’re about to bust out of it all day.? Would you know when it happened? I mean it has to be breezy anyways then with a button undone, who knows the difference? “Um, excuse me Susie, we need you to actually wear your clothes appropriately when you come to work.” Unless you work at a strip club then you need easy to remove clothing. Maybe that’s who it’s directed at. Sorry got side tracked…


Anyways, I installed a zipper in the back. The zipper separates at the bottom so it’s easy to get the top on and off. At least so I thought. I could easily zip the top up to my shoulder blades and then my arms couldn’t bend the right way to grab the zip and pull it the rest of the way up. Crap! I don’t go scuba diving or have any need for a wet suit but I’ve seen enough on tv to know that they have a pull in the back to grab to help zip yourself up. That’s pretty genius. I have some pleather that I can insert into the pull on the zip and create the same effect.


I can now get the shirt on all the way by myself. Go me! I think the top looks good on but the volume is a little distracting when I wear it. I can see it out of my perphrial vision.


It flys up like a skirt when the wind catches it. Also, sitting behind my desk, many people thought I had a dress on until I stood up. Oh well. I still feel adorable!

(Wo)Man with a Plan

I’ve been trying to go through some fabric that either is part of my stash or leftovers from another project. This top is made from leftovers from my Safari Simone. I knew I had enough left of the animal print to squeak out a shirt. While I’m working on other projects I always start thinking about the next. This one I’ve been thinking up for a while.

I figured I take the animal print and use that as the main bit. Then use the black cotton to make it ringer style. Ring for the collar and end of the sleeves. Lastly, add a stripe from the neck ring to the sleeve rings. The last thought is maybe to add a ring around the hem. Not too hard.  I had two different patterns picked out but I went with the vintage reprint of Simplicity 1692. This pattern was used before on my Granny Chic top. It’s got the different attributes I’m looking for. Tight collar, built in sleeves and relaxed fit. That’s how I make this pattern, which is nothing like what the pattern actually looks like! lol


I had to make my own collar piece because the piece is a rectangle and I wanted the ringer t-shirt look. It was honestly the worst part of the whole construction. I had to copy the curve of the neckline and add in the 1″ width and be aware of the seam allowance. I cut two pieces for the inner and outer collar.

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The arm stripe and sleeve rings were rectangles. The sleeve rings I made 2 1/2″ wide because I used a 1/4″ seam allowance and folded the piece in half. The arm stripe was 1 1/2″. Each piece was topstitched to help it all lay flat.

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Since the collar fabric is cotton with no stretch, I had to include the split in the back. The goal is to wear the clothes right?

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I used two hook and eyes on the collar to keep it shut. I also added a little decorative stitch in hot pink because I can. I figure if I do it on every garment it can be my “tag” instead of buying proper ones. So how roomy is my new shirt?

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I decided to play airplane to demonstrate.  Weeeee!!! As you can see I didn’t add a ring at the hem. It would have made it too stiff and I liked the floaty feel. The hem is actually high/low but it’s hard to see.

Normally I don’t share what other projects I have going on but I’m compelled to because it kind of gives you an idea what’s normally going on in my sewing room. In other words, chaos!


I have t-shirt bits everywhere because I’m going to start work on a t-shirt quilt. I have a bunch of shirts that I don’t wear anymore and there’s others that I can’t let go. I thought a t-shirt quilt would be interesting to try plus it will be a light bedspread for those super hot months.


I love corduroy. I don’t know when I fell in love but the fabric calls to me. I don’t want to wear it. I want to cut it into little squares and makes bags out of it. I’ve made two so far. This will be my third. I use a string bag everyday on my lunch at work. I toss in my lunch, wallet and a few other items. It let’s me be mobile and I need that because I spend half my lunch walking. The string bags I have are cheap so I’m making my own to withstand daily use.


I’ve been crocheting up a storm. Unfortunately for how much I’ve been crocheting, it doesn’t show. I’m a fast crocheter but crocheting lace is a new one for me. I’m going to use the lace to go around the bottom of a shirt and legs of shorts for a pj set. I’m going to dye the lace with coffee to match the fabric. I’ve tested on a strand and it works really well.

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So that’s what’s going on in my world. What’s happening in yours? Oh and this is a proper pic of me in my new shirt.