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


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


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).


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!




4 years & the Matthew Williamson Kaftan

Probably closer to 4.5 years.

After moving here to Florida, I needed lighter weight clothes – more of them at least!  Pattern Vault had a link to the free pattern for the Matthew Williamson Kaftan, I loved the styling so started. And stopped, and started, and stopped.  Part of it was fabric choice, part of it was the instructions.

Make your Own Mathew Williamson Kaftan
From the Guardian.

I had this really cool double silk georgette in my stash that was perfect for it.  I can’t remember where I bought it.  I am almost certain it was Gorgeous Fabrics – it would have been one of my first on-line purchases.  But it could well have been Emma One Sock.  Doesn’t matter now, as it was purchased in 2010.  In the beginning, I was a little afraid of this fabric – silk? georgette?  But it turned out to be an easy fabric, for the silk family.

Word of warning!  If you choose this pattern, it’s pdf, which I can’t stand.  But to make matters worse, each tile is its own pdf!  I think I spent the first summer just doing that (kidding).

I found the directions from The Guardian to be less than helpful.  The writer suggests French Seams throughout, and has a general order of completion, but I think that’s pretty intuitive if you’ve sewn many things before.  However, the yoke is self-lined (on the pdf and you can see it in the photos of the mockup) but no mention of attaching it.  I looked at some other patterns with self-lined yokes, and determined what I was going to do (which evolved).

Trouble is, I can’t remember what I did!  Looking at it, I did use French Seams in most places, but not all.  Here’s what I think I did:

  1. Made the triangles (with the hypotenuse in French seams) for the insets and set them aside.
  2. Gathered as instructed for the front (under the inset) and in the back. I did this by hand, but not well.
  3. Attached the yoke to the back, using a 3/8 inch seam (at this point, I wanted it a bit larger – and there is no size on the pattern).
  4. Attached the yoke to the front in a 3/8 inch seam.
  5. Attached my triangles, but again, I did them differently as pictured, doing only a slight overlap in front.  I also did not use a french seam here, but serged the raw edges.
  6. Attached the yoke facing to the top at the neckline, stitching only from where the insets join the yoke, around the back to the other side.  Understitched by hand.
  7. Carefully pressed under the yoke back, front, and side edge seam allowances, then slip-stitched in place.
  8. I then attached the sleeves, using a French seam (not so great an idea, I got puckers).  Because I changed the seams in steps 4/5, I had extra fabric, so I created an inverted box pleat at the shoulder.
  9. Sewed the arm and side seams in one, again French seam.
  10. Narrow machine hemmed the sleeves and shirt.

At this point I was done.  Last summer. But it didn’t really look finished to me.  Something was missing.

Ooh.  Wrinkly.  And missing something.

I looked at the original picture from the Guardian and decided that I liked the black trim (which may have been panels).  So I ordered some silk satin 3/8 inch ribbon from Britex, last summer.  Last week, I finally attached it by hand, using a running stitch.

I like it, despite the flaws.  I wore it last Saturday to the pool party we had. Lots of pictures:


Summer melon/cheese/prosciutto board from the party.

Carolyn Pajamas for my niece

I sew in snippets, usually for an hour after my son goes to bed.  Sometimes I lose interest in a project before I finish because I feel like I’ve been working on it forever.  I dream of having a day where I can do nothing but sew.  We have had upper respiratory illnesses since Thanksgiving, so my gift sewing wasn’t happening at all (too tired nights).  I took yesterday off to sew my niece her gift.  All day sewing – yay!

Or not.   I was exhausted by four in the afternoon.  The longer I sewed, the more mistakes I made.  The grass isn’t always greener… perhaps having longer occasional sewing sessions would be nice, but not an all day sewing session, to hit a deadline, to mail the gift away.

Carolyn Pajamas Pattern // Pajama bottom + long sleeved pajama top // Closet Case Patterns
From the Closet Case website.

In any case, I made my niece the Carolyn Pajamas (Closet Case) for Christmas, using Harry Potter “Marauder’s Map” cotton and matching mottled red quilting cotton from JoAnns.  I started a pair of these pjs for myself back in the early spring, but never finished them. Not an issue with the pattern, so much as repeated operator error on the serger (I cut the shorts out three times).  For my niece, I went with the shorts and long sleeved shirt, with piping.

She’s still a little girl at heart, but nearly grown up at 12. Her measurements put her at the size 0, barely.  I have a feeling  it will be too big, and the button on the shirt will be too low.  On the other hand, she should be having a pretty big growth spurt soon.

The Carolyn pjs from Closet Case are pretty popular, and have been reviewed all over the place, so I won’t go into too many details.  Rather, I thought I’d give my impressions as someone who usually sews the big 4.

  1. The instruction booklet is very detailed.  It’s almost overwhelming.
  2. The instructions have little tiny errors every where, mostly in the artwork.  For example, on the shirt pocket, you are instructed to top-stitch above the piping, and the first picture shows this, but in the next step, the top stitching seems to be on the bottom.
  3. The wrong side of the fabric is shaded in the artwork, while the right side is white. This is opposite companies like Vogue, and took some getting used to.
  4. The instructors are definitely written for people who hate to hand-sew.  But you’d get better results if you basted, by hand.  For example, I sewed the facing on one lapel three times before it went in properly.  The next facing I basted and got it right on the first try. I basted often, actually: with almost all of the piping, the collar, and every place you were secure something with stitching-in-the-ditch (cuffs on shirt, short, waistband, collar).  Since I had already done the short for myself, I knew I’d get better results with basting.
  5. A recommendation for the piping on the shirt pocket:  open up the piping and trim the piping to the seam/foldline on the side of the pocket.  I didn’t, the instructions did not suggest it.  And as I was topstitching that pocket into place, I regretted it.  It puckers slightly at the edges, and is bulky.  Lesson learned.

In general, I’m very pleased with how they turned out.  I didn’t buy enough of the Harry Potter fabric – I bought enough for the short sleeved version.  And the pattern is very busy.  I knew, even with a single-layer layout, I would not be able to match the pattern.  As a result, I focused on pattern placement and aligning the pattern horizontally as much as possible.

For contrast, I made my own piping with the mottled red quilting cotton.  I had intended to do the lapel/collar in contrast as well, but the red faded to a brighter color than the red in the main fabric when I pre-washed.  Therefore, I used the contrast only where it helped with pattern matching – the top of the pocket on the shirt, the pockets in the shorts, and the under-collar.  When it made sense I used red thread, but mostly used the lighter colored thread.

Hope she likes them!



In with the new… The Portside Travel Set


Somewhere along the line, I developed an aversion to checking my luggage when I fly.  This was after 9-11, but before all the tacked-on fees.  I just hate waiting forever at the luggage carousel at the end of a trip. I ditched my nice luggage in favor of a Nike gym bag.  That gym bag is sturdy and has traveled to three continents over 20 years. It is still serviceable if unattractive.  An upcoming vacation pushed me to upgrade. The Portside Travel Set had been on my to do list since seeing Lladybird’s version and Rhonda Buss’s Sew-Along for Sew News.

Grainline Studio’s Portside Travel Set has been around a while, so I won’t go into too many details on construction.  It comes as a paper or a pdf pattern.

Fabric: A sturdy fabric is necessary, unless you want your unmentionables on the jetway.  I finally settled on three fabrics.  The black cotton canvas duck and the Hudson 43 postscript cotton blend home decor fabric are from JoAnns.  I originally purchased solar outdoor fabric in black – but you can’t press it without melting it, so I went with the duck. I lined all three pieces with some cream cotton broadcloth in my stash from Gorgeous Fabrics.

Notions:  This is where you’ll spend your money.  I used a denim needle, size 18, plus heavy duty thread from Coats and Clark (and a longer stitch).  The metal zippers and nylon webbing came from JoAnn, while the D-rings and swivel hooks are from Pacific Trimming.  I used a lightweight interfacing (pro-sheer elegance medium) from Fashion Sewing Supply.  I chose a light webbing for the strap from JoAnns after ordering a very heavy one from Pacific Trimming.  I wouldn’t be able to sew the heavy one with my machine, but the one from JoAnn is too light.  If I can find a better webbing, I’ll replace the shoulder strap.

What I did differently and cautions:  I didn’t do that many things differently.  I mostly followed the Sew Along and adopted the changes there.  I did underline the pouch, so it would be lined like the dopp and duffel. I also edge stitched everywhere – to add extra strength to the seam lines, though my edge stitching leaves much to be desired.   I did as Rhonda did in the Sew Along – I fused the interfacing to my lining pieces rather than my shell fabric.  The shell fabric was rather firm, so I wanted to give the lining some body to hold up.

Cautions:  when choosing fabric, keep in mind thickness.  This is important so that you can machine-stitch through the layers (think jeans).  It’s also important for turn of the cloth.  The directions (which are very good) clearly note the zipper openings should be 1/2 inch wide. If you don’t pay attention, you won’t get things to line up properly. (Also remember to use 1/2 inch seams.)

Looking forward to traveling with my new stylish bag.  It’s bigger than my old one, but should still fit in the overhead.  BTW, the front pocket won’t hold an iPad – at least not a newer generation.


Repeat: Paco Peralta’s 8-gore skirt


I love the fit and flattery of the ivory wool skirt that I made last January from Paco Peralta’s 8 gore-skirt pattern so much, I made another one in linen.  This skirt is so easy, and I always receive so many compliments.  I wore this version yesterday to a ladies’ luncheon and it was a hit.  I took the selfies after the luncheon, so please excuse my wrinkled self.

The fabric is from Marcy Tilton – the dogwood linen.  This a beautiful and easy to work with fabric.  I lined it with white cotton batiste.  The only difference from the previous version is that I moved the zip to the left side, and used a hand-applied lapped zipper.

The very wrinkled top is Vogue 9187, blogged here.

PS: Marcy Tilton is having a sale, that ends tomorrow night (5/11/2018), and of this moment, this fabric is still available!

Just realized I took this in front of the dogwood.
Dogwood linen, in front of the dogwood tree.

Another Mandy Boat Tee

The Mandy Boat Tee is a free sewing pattern from Tessuti Fabrics in Australia.  It’s the first pattern I made with my serger, and I reach for that top regularly.  I needed a top with sleeves to go north next week, so I made this in the red rayon doubleknit leftover from a failed Butterick top last fall. The fabric has body, so works well with this top.

This is very easy, doable in an evening. I made no changes from the previous top, though next time I think I’ll lengthen it a couple of inches.IMG_0005

A wee blurry, and after being worn.


Paco Peralta 8-gore skirt in ivory wool.

I love skirts.   I love wearing them and making them.  An even though I likely have a dozen gored skirt patterns, I had to buy another one. I wanted to try out Paco Peralta’s patterns from Etsy.


They are on amazing paper – not thick printer paper, not that easy to destroy super-thin tissue the Big 4 use.  I know, it’s just paper, but it really elevated the experience.  There isn’t much to this pattern – a gore you use 8 times, a one inch fold over waistband, plus lining pieces (cut four).

The patterns don’t come with instructions – but again, this is a simple skirt, so you don’t really need them.  He does have a few pointers on his blog, especially if you are using the godets.

Doesn’t fit the dress form well (it’s not a great dress form), and a bit wrinkled from handling…

Here’s what I did:


  1. Made a muslin, because I wasn’t sure of fit/ease.  I’m wearing a 14 in the big 4 these days, and the large had very little ease (I made the large).  The benefit of making the muslin was that I now had additional pattern pieces to cut the skirt.
  2. I sewed four gores together (from the bottom up) to form the front, and four gores (bottom up) for the back, leaving room for a center back invisible zipper.  I then sewed the front and back together.
  3. Paco mentions that you can change the drape depending on how you finish the seams.  If you press them open, you’ll get more flare.  If you press them to one side, you’ll get more of a pleat (though I don’t think that’s the right word).  I pressed them open.
  4. After inserting the invisible zipper, I attached the waistband, but used Susan Khalje’s instructions from Linen and Cotton.  This required the use of petersham. First, staystitch the waist seamline. Second, snip the waist band to the stay stitching.  She points out that the pattern continues to narrow above the waistline, but the waistline is the most narrow part.  Therefore, snipping is necessary for any waistband that sits at the waist.  Trimming the seams, as instructed in most patterns, will likely leave a hard ridge.  Then attach the waistband, foldover, and finish.
  5. Before I folded over to finish, I basted the lining to the stay-stitching.  I also extended the waistband when I cut it out by one inch to allow an underlap, which will have hooks/eyes and a snap.  Susan Khalje suggests that the underlap has a cleaner finish and is more comfortable to wear.
  6. Finally, the hems: instead of the hem allowance he suggests, I hemmed both the skirt and the lining with a narrow machine hem using Claire Schaeffer’s method.  I attached the hem to the skirt with french tacks.




I LOVE this style skirt, very classic, and this one comes to the center of the knee on me. I will make this again, and I feel my closet is bare without a couple of swishy skirts.  The next one will likely have a side zipper, for which I will use the lapped zipper technique.

About the fabric:  This is an amazing very lightweight ivory wool suiting from Emma One Sock, that is Helmut Lang/Theory.  It would make incredible wide legged pants, but you definitely need to line it.  Last I checked, she still had some available.  This wool is well made and a treat to work with.  I lined it with a matching silk crepe de chine, also from Emma One Sock.