Alice & Olivia in Silk Georgette (Vogue 1245)

I celebrated every success with this top! My “sewcation” is over and I have two things left to blog – this blouse being one of them. Both items are redos of earlier failures.

Back in early 2018, I wrote about my attempt with two soft silks. In late June, I decided I wanted to finish a UFO- this time the teal silk georgette off the shoulder blouse from Alice & Olivia. The version I had started was wonky and stretched out. I thought I had enough fabric leftover, but I was a bit short. After a couple of hours, the teal was in the trash.

But some how, I got it in my head that I really wanted this blouse. I didn’t want to order new fabric; after a search through my stash, I found this stunning silk georgette in royal blue from Gorgeous Fabrics. I think I purchased it in 2016, but it wasn’t in my spreadsheet. A single layer layout later I was ready to start.

I noticed a difference immediately between this fabric and the teal (from a discount retailer). It felt more luxurious. It didn’t shed when I cut into it.

Still, I didn’t want to ruin the fabric so I researched the options for stabilizing the fabric. I finally settled on spray starch (I did each edge right before sewing). I tested before to see what would happen- staining while working with it, but not permanent as it washed out in cold water.

I still got a little rippling and distortion, it mostly pressed out. I did have some issues with very thick french seams under the arms and keeping the edge stitching even at the top. But in general, stabilization meant this was an easy and fast make.

I love it! And it has received compliments. I have paired it here with the pattern runway white shorts.

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Summer time! (New Look 6483; Marfy 1913; Pattern Runway Sweet Scalloped Shorts)

Whew, long title.  I almost didn’t blog these four interchangeable items, but I love how the Marfy top and white shorts came out.  I had to share.  These two outfits make use of old fabrics (the tops) and new (the shorts).  And I now own three pairs of non-running shorts (all Pattern Runway). (Everything was worn and washed a few times before picture time, my pressing needs some work!)

Top: New Look 6483 View C

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I need more tops in my wardrobe, so one day while browsing at JoAnns, I picked up this New Look pattern.  It’s pretty basic, and pretty easy.  I meant to make view E, but cut out C by mistake.  The fabric is a leftover linen print (Marcy Tilton) from when I made this summer dress a couple of years ago.  When I was cleaning out my fabric closet, I found I had one more yard.  The fabric has a bit of body, but works with this loose-fitting top.

I had no problems with the instructions, and I will repeat this basic, but with modifications.  First, the neckline is higher than I expected, but you don’t need the button/loop closure (or hook/eye) in the back, at least for views C, D, and E.  Second, I don’t really find the straight hemline with split side seams a flattering look for me, so I may convert the hem to a curved shirt-tail hem next time.  Third, I suspect the boxy look will be more body conscious with a drapey fabric (recommended on the envelop).

Top: Marfy 1913 Repeat

free sewing patterns
Marfy 1913, from the website.

I loved the Marfy top the first time I made it – but I didn’t wear it often because it felt small.  I must have washed it and shrunk it.  When I compared it to the pattern pieces to make this one, it was much smaller than the pieces!

This time, though, I did add some width.  Unconventionally, I added width at the center front and center back at the fold line (shifted the pattern off the fold by 1/4 inch). I also added two inches to the length.  Once again, I didn’t gather the hemline with elastic, but left it to tuck in to shorts/pants/skirt.

The fabric is a silk cotton voile from Milly that I purchased in 2014 from Gorgeous Fabrics. It was softer and more sheer than I wanted for the original project, so was stashed.  It was still sheer and soft, of course, so I decided to line the top with an off white silk crepe de chine.  This made finishing the keyhole/slit opening in the back as well as the armholes far simpler.  I LOVE THIS TOP!  It’s pretty on, cheerful in the very, very, hot sun.  It even held up to a complete drenching when I was caught in a downpour at my son’s outdoor swim practice last week.

It looks way better on me than in these photos (but too lazy to do even a bathroom selfie):

Shorts:  Pattern Runway Sweet Scalloped Shorts Repeat

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I loved the first version of these (and still wear them). I’ve been meaning to make another pair for some time.  I made two pair.  I really love the very clear instructions, and I like the use of differing seam allowances (1/4 inch and 3/8ths inch) to eliminate trimming (which I rarely do evenly). I made a size medium (I wear 14 in big four, often larger).  I also love the flattering lines and good fit.

I didn’t do the welt pockets.  I started with the navy shorts, intending to do the welt pockets, but the fabric had too much stretch and all my stitching lines for the welts were warped and wavy (even with interfacing).  I wanted to get these done, so I carefully picked out the work and moved on.

The navy shorts are a cotton twill from Fabric Mart fabrics.  The fabric was super inexpensive, with more lycra than I would like.  I struggled at times to manage the stretch.  The fabric is what it is, and makes a fine pair of shorts.  And yes, it looks like I need to press them again (ditto for the white).

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The white shorts are amazing!  This “pique texture” white cotton from Gorgeous Fabrics was perfect for this pattern.  (I bought it early June, so I think there is still some left).  I love the Milly/Marfy top with the white shorts!  So summer!

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Comedy of Errors: Vogue 8816

When I flew recently, TSA had me remove my (oversized) shirt to go through the body-scanner.  Fortunately I had something modest on underneath or I would have been whisked away to one of their “privacy areas”.  I’m currently muslining a Guy Laroche suit (Vogue 2578 OOP).  The jacket has a flared sleeve and a zip front.  And it occurred to me:  “I should make something for underneath, just in case.  And not just for TSA, but for warm days in the car.”

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So, I searched my scrap fabrics and patterns for a shell/shell-like top for it.  I chose Vogue 8816 (OOP), a drape-neck sleeveless top and some leftover cream 3-ply silk. I’ve made the top twice before (pre-blogging days) and have been mostly happy with them. It’s an easy top, and can be made in CDC, charmeuse or lightweight jersey.

How is it that the easy projects always seem error prone?  Here is a list of just a few things that went wrong on this easy project:

  • In a previous version, I cut the tissue paper to a size 8 at the waist.  What?  I guess I was changing it to a more fitted silhouette.  I re-graded to a 12.
  • I was cutting out single layer, as I didn’t have much fabric, and I thought to myself, “this silk is more transparent than I remember.”  I compared it to the (unfinished) blouse and realized that I didn’t prep the 3-ply, but the silk CDC next to it intended for lining the jacket.
  • I was cutting the last piece out, when I realized that I laid the pattern out on the cross-grain, not the length-wise (except the upper front, which is on the bias).
  • Since I couldn’t do french seams with the overlay, I serged to finish the seams.  And serged into both shoulders (but did not cut into the seam). I have no idea how, except that I think the light fabric folded up underneath. I’ve never serged silk CDC before, and don’t plan to again!
  • I thought I kept my hands clean, but when I was doing the machine narrow hem, I saw a spot… hidden in the hem, thank goodness.

Anyway, this is a simple drape neck top.  It’s rated as easy, but definitely more interesting in light silk (the previous two were in silk jersey and cotton jersey).  I used french seams on the lower blouse and to attached the upper and lower parts.  I serged the shoulders and underarms, and used a narrow machine hem (a la Claire Schaeffer) on the lower hem and sleeves. I wasn’t thrilled with the narrow hem finishing on the sleeves, but otherwise this top is a fine piece if I take off the jacket.  Draped necklines can be fiddly, but this one is more modest than most.

While I was making this, I thought I would make another tank-style top with a bit of hammered silk CDC in chocolate brown.  In the process of looking for that fabric, I found 2 yards of chocolate brown CDC I had never logged in my spreadsheet.  I’ll use that to line the jacket.  But that led me to clean, re-organize, and re-inventory the stash.  I didn’t find any other fabrics. But now that everything is neatly sorted and folded, it’s not overflowing…  Don’t worry, I’m still going to work on sewing more than I buy.

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My camera likes to pick up every wrinkle.  And I wrinkled it getting it on the dress form.