Rayon

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

June: Project Sew My Style

I’ve had this garment of the year long #sewmystyle project done for over a month. I mistakenly made it last month thinking it was May’s project but that was the doomed Pocket Skirt by CaliFaye. This month’s make is way better! It’s the Briar Sweater & Tee by Megan Nielsen. You may have seen that I wore this shirt twice during #mmm17. It’s pretty awesome!


I bought an fantastic rayon knit from Girl Charlee. It’s two shades of blue; electric and navy. It’s soft and really light. Perfect for a summer tee. I chose the full length shirt over the cropped version. As I’ve said many times before, I’m not a cropped kind of girl but I was concerned about the length on the tail of the full length version. I like a good butt flap but an extreme tail might not be cute.


The shirt is super fast and easy. Fast to cut out and just as fast to stitch. All done in one sitting. I normally don’t do that. I have to think different aspects through before I continue on.  Nothing to think through. It’s a t-shirt! Front, back and sleeves. Simplicity at its finest. Check out that stripe matching!


I did have a mishap. I snipped the sleeve! I was trimming out extra fabric on the sleeve hem. The fabric is so light that I didn’t realize I had more than a single layer and SNIP! Crap! I tried to fix it by sewing the little flap I had dangling to cover the hole. Kind of healing itself. That did not wash well at all. I used a bit of cotton fabric the same navy color and put behind the hole and stitched around it. I think this will work so much better.
Nothing else to really say about this one. I enjoy wearing it. The butt flap is a little much. It gets caught on my booty. I would like to try out the cropped version in a sweater. It would look cute for layering.That’s all folks!  Have you made the Briar tee? What are your thoughts?

May: Project Sew My Style

It’s time for the latest installment of #sewmystyle.  Heads up guys, Jamie not happy!

This month’s make comes from CaliFaye.  It’s a simple skirt, simply named Pocket Skirt.  It is simple set of 6 rectangles and a 2 large pockets.  Simple right?  Are you starting to see my theme? Sometimes things aren’t as “simple” as they sound.

I knew immediately I wanted to make a grey version of this skirt.  Pretty much straight ripping off the picture on the site.  I figured it would go with a lot of the items I wear already and would be great for work.  I can fill those pockets to the brim when necessary.  I scored my fabric from Jo-Ann’s.  It’s a linen and rayon blend.  It so had me at the word “rayon”.  I’ve noticed when buying fabric that grey seems to be a 1 tone and you’re done kind of thing.  I usually want a darker shade but to no avail.  So much for there being 50 shades of it…

I put the pdf together quite quickly.  As I mentioned, there’s 6 rectangles and 2 of those are 1 pattern piece cut in duplicate.  I always cut the largest size first and then start determining what size I actually need.  With my measurements, it’s smaller on the top grading to larger for my behind. The measurements for this are whacky. I would be a medium in the waist (normal for me) and then a super duper large on the bottom.  Yowza… not normal.  My next thing to do is to look at the finished garment sizes… nope. Not understanding how you end up with those sizes when comparing to the measurements above.  Lastly, when I’m still unsure, I measure the pattern pieces themselves and do a bit of math.  Measure, remove seam allowances…. how the hell is this supposed to fit around anyone’s waist!?!?! I’m making the largest size and then chopping the hell out of it as I go.

Then being a good little sewist, I read the directions. Well sorta… I read the first 3 paragraphs twice didn’t understand, looked the pictures and said “Nope!”.  What the frick is going on here!?! This skirt looks so simple and everything is complicated as hell.  Oh and the kicker.  Totally didn’t notice that the skirt calls for not only elastic at the back (I was super excited about this. Comfy like sweatpants but not actually wearing sweatpants out and about) but it needs a zipper too.  Why oh why would you want to put those two together in a skirt? This seems like over kill.  Well, since I’m going to do whatever I feel like I’m negating that stupid zipper.  All this and I haven’t even cut any fabric. We’re starting off well.

I cut the largest size out. I knew the extra fabric was going to be gathered so when I slipped it on, the whole Weight Watchers “I’ve lost this much weight. Wow!” kind of thing was acceptable.  I put in some thread to gather the fabric.  Linen is a tough fabric and it doesn’t like to gather and by the time I end up gathering all of it, the skirt is going to be extremely poofy and poofy in areas I don’t need poof.  I automatically come with enough poof thank you very much.  Plus, when it was all gathered there was no way that my booty was going to be big enough to hold that up. i.e. I couldn’t get it to gather small enough.

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Front with a twin rows of stitching

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Back with a ridiculous amount of gathering. *sigh*

Long story short. I’ve ripped apart the skirt 4 times. I even had elastic sewed in the band so it didn’t flip and flop on me.  I’ll give myself a hand at this point and I took notes the whole time on how much of the fabric I ended up cutting off the skirt sides. I even made new, longer waistband pieces and hacked at them a bit too.  I’m going to take all that mess and make new pattern pieces. I don’t really know why I’m going to go to all the trouble now that I think about it.  I’m not sure if I’m ever going to make this pattern again.

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But, OH, the pockets!  I love pockets and these are huge!

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All in all the skirt came out okay.  (I think my face tells a different story) I’m not pleasantly surprised like some of my sews go.  It looks really dark and grim, then an amazing something happens and it’s sunshine and rainbows.  Nope. Not here.  I gave myself two evenings to finish this; after work and before my early bedtime.  That should have been ample time.  BUT NO! I had to work on it Saturday morning.  Finished, promptly folded it and put it to the side. Done…

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Doesn’t it look like I have on baggy boxers?  Oh the horror!  I swear my butt is nowhere close to eating the fabric.  It just lays something awful. I’m thinking about ripping it apart again… I obviously didn’t even care to iron the thing.

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Not bad from the front and sides though right? I feel this is my contemplation face. I did take more pics but let’s just not put ourselves through that.

I’m a little worried guys. Another CaliFaye pattern is on the #sewmystyle list.  I think it’s only a few months away.  I’m really hoping to not have the same bad sewing experience.  I sew for fun not because I “have to” and man did this one feel like a “have to”.

Giant Man-Eating Flowers

Rayon, the soft, super drapey fabric that for some reason I can’t resist. I can find you blindly in the large remnant bin at Jo-Ann’s. “Oh, this fabric feels nice”. Guess what it is? Rayon. Will I buy it? Yup. Even if it has giant man-eating flowers all over it? Yup! I didn’t even like the floral pattern on this fabric but it was enough to squeeze out a shirt and I paid just over a dollar for it. That’s reason enough to buy it. Did I mention it was rayon and I might slightly have a fetish for it? One pattern I’ve been meaning to get back to was Simone by Victory Patterns. I’ve made it twice now. The first time the bust was a bit tight and the second the armholes were a bit stretchy but that was my own fault in my choice of fabric for bias tape.

The more I looked at my bit of fabric, the more I thought I could squeeze out a dress if I added a plain chunk of another fabric at the bottom for length. I rummaged through my odds and ends I have hidden in a basket. I found yellow piping.  There was quite a length of it so I thought I would give it a go and add it to my dress. The pattern gives an option of this adornment so even though it was my first time using piping I had instructions to guide me through.


I find the bib the most difficult part of this pattern. The little tab, the amount of pleats and the pivot point at the bottom are my painful spots. I started with the back pieces first. *insert big goofy grin here* I added the bit of piping on the main back piece. I used my zipper foot to attach it. The stitching was not close enough to the piping so I had to move the needle over a smidge and do it again. That was the only issue. Dude piping is easy! *new sewing technique unlocked*  If you ever compare my version of Simone to the pattern, I do make the center wider. I want to make sure my bra is covered.


I took my time doing the front. Only because last time I sewed the placket in wrong and it’s a pain to fix. Check out my lovely yellow piping!


Actually, the hardest part was sewing in the small pleats that line the bottom of the bib. Rayon is shifty. When I stitched in a few of the pleats they went at a diagonal instead of north and south. I pulled them out and judged based on its neighboring pleats how it should go back in.


When I cut the pieces, I didn’t realize the fabric wasn’t perfectly lined up so the bottom was all kinds of crazy. Trying to even it up on the floor was not easy! I think this is one of those times I wish I had a dress form. I didn’t have a lot of the black fabric left. I used it on my last Simone too. I was able to squeeze out a band of just over 3″. I wanted to use the piping again and I knew I didn’t have enough. I had to make about 8″ worth. I have yellow bias tape just a shade or two off. If I center it on the back, no one should notice. I do not have the proper cording for the guts, so I used four strands of what cording I do have and twisted it while I sewed it into the tape. The join between the two pieces doesn’t look the best up close but from a normal distance it isn’t noticeable. I can’t even find it in the pic above!


You’ll notice the bottom of the dress has a bit of volume. The black fabric is not as light and floaty as the rayon. It’s ok with me because it is symmetrical on the sides. It gives it nice movement when I swish around. On a side note, when I originally tried my dress on, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong and why my arm holes were so big. I forgot to put in the bust darts. I’m a dork.

I feel the dress turned out a little mod. It’s a smidge short but not uncomfortably so. The yellow piping was a nice pop of color.

This dress helps complete one of my #2017makenine. 8 more squares to complete!