Simplicity 1463 – Striped Batwing Tops

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I am not intimidated by matching stripes. It is a sewing skill that I am proud to say I have mastered. Depending on the fabric I sometimes baste my seams to make sure they don’t move while I’m sewing. Other times I might use my walking foot as well as double-sided tape to keep the stripes aligned.

Simplicity 1463

The first top I made using View A was the orange/coral stripe pictured below. The fabric was purchased from Fabric Mart a while ago.

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When I came to sew the shoulder seams I realized that I forgot to match the stripes. The sides were good but the shoulder seams were WAY off. I would never wear it looking like that. Ugh! A wadder in the making. The next day at work I shared my frustration with a co-worker who also sews. She suggested contrast bands to distract from the mismatched stripes. I had nothing to lose since it was not wearable the way it was. I dug out some ponte knit scraps and created insets as well as a contrasting neckband. I am happy with how this turned out.

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I cut out the blue/white stripe right after finishing the orange/coral. I was not going to let myself be beat by such a simple project and a rookie mistake. I needed to cleanse my sewing palette with a success.

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A few years ago I made View C from the same pattern with stretch lace and jersey.

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Simplicity 1463

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Vogue 9243 – Ruffle Sleeve Top

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I am enjoying all of the beautiful statement sleeves that are popping up everywhere this season. I hope the trend lasts for a while.

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I have been adding patterns with fun sleeves to my stash. I was attracted to Vogue 9243 not only for the sleeves but for the princess seams as well. I find princess seams very flattering. I like the length of this particular sleeve. They are comfortable to wear and do not get in the way of “everyday life”.

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The fabric is an embroidered cotton/poly blend with a nice hand. I wore the top for over and hour in the car and it barely had any creases, not even from the seat belt. I purchased this fabric at Tissus Mode De L’Orme in Granby, QC while visiting family and friends in April.

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I wore this top to the Monet exhibit at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco with my fashion photographer. We were going to take pictures of the top outside of the museum with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. So why are these pictures taken in our front yard and what does the fact I bought a new laptop bag have to do with any of this? My husband had never seen my new laptop bag and grabbed it instead of his camera bag. We were all set to take pictures outside of the museum when he reached for the tripod that is normally in the side of his bag and was baffled. I took one look at the bag and figured out what happened. Oh well, there will be other opportunities for pictures at the Legion of Honor.

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Butterick 6418 – Stretch Lace Top

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On my recent trip to Granby, QC I stocked up on fabric at Tissus Mode De L’Orme. I love, love, love that fabric store. I found this tie dyed stretch lace and matching jersey and knew they were destined to become a top of some kind.

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I found Butterick 6418 to be exactly what I was picturing for the fabric. View C  would showcase the lace but allow the jersey to be visible.

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The pattern is described a close-fitting. I made my usual size 8 and I found the top to be “comfortably” fitted, not too tight but not shapeless. I shortened the long sleeve by 3″ and narrowed the sleeve by 1/2″ tapering to nothing just below the armscye.

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I added a neck binding instead of turning in the neck edge and hemming as directed in the pattern. I chose to have the binding be on the outside of the top instead of the inside. I thought it finished off the lace nicely. I also hemmed the lace overlay. The pattern calls for leaving it unfinished.

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I paired my new top with my Jalie Eleonore jeans. These jeans are in heavy rotation in my wardrobe. The pictures were taken at a winery on the Central Coast of California. It was the perfect afternoon for a Sunday drive and a little wine with my fashion photographer.

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Sewaholic 1301 – Robson Trench Coat

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A few years ago my sewing friend Cindy bought me the Sewaholic Robson trench coat pattern. I had been contemplating buying it because I admired the coats that were popping up on the blogosphere at the time so I was pleased to have the pattern show up at my door. Soon after receiving the pattern, Mood Fabrics had this wonderful double-sided polka dot fabric that was the perfect weight for a trench coat. Both the fabric and pattern sat in my stash patiently waiting their turn at the sewing machine.

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The coat is unlined with the seams bound with bias tape (Hong Kong finish). I think it is a great opportunity for using contrast tape. The pattern is very well drafted and everything came together nicely. I sewed a size 6 tapering to a size 4 below the waist.

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Below is a line drawing from the pattern highlighting the details that don’t show up well because of my fabric. I like the classic lines of this coat.

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This coat will be in my wardrobe for a many years; I love polka dots and I love trench coats.

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McCall’s 6886 – Panel Print Knit Dress

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When I was in high school I worked at La Petite Marmite, a wonderful Swiss restaurant in my hometown of Granby, QC. My job was making salads and general kitchen help. Whenever I visited my hometown I always made a point of dining at the restaurant. The food and service were wonderful. The chef/owner was my first boss and I had fond memories of working there.  After being in business for many years the restaurant was planning on closing on April 8th.  Fortunately I had planned on being in Granby during that time. One week before my scheduled visit emails and texts were sent and we soon had 14 friends lined up for a last meal at the restaurant. This was going to be special evening.

Such an occasion required a new dress, of course. It can be tricky when it comes to weather at the beginning of April in Quebec. The dress was going to have to be appropriate for any type of weather. I didn’t have time to shop for patterns or fabric so it was going to have to be something made from my stash. A quick search yielded this ITY knit panel print purchased last summer at Tissus Mode De L’Orme in Granby.

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The fabric required a simple dress so I turned to McCall’s 6886, again.  This pattern is a work horse when it comes to knit dresses. Sleeves have become a big focus this season so I wanted to do something different with the sleeves. I liked the bell sleeve featured on McCall’s 7501 view D. The pattern has raglan sleeves so I took the shape of the sleeve and adapted it to fit McCall’s 6886. I shortened the sleeve by 3/4″.

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I lined the dress with tricot to give the dress a little body because the ITY is fairly lightweight. I normally do this when it comes to semi-fitted or fitted dresses in ITY knits.  I  cut out front and back pieces in the lining and attach the sewn front and back inside the dress at the neckline. Wearing a slip would probably have the same effect but I like the feeling of a lined dress. I think I did a good job matching my side seams 😉

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I love the challenge of working with panel prints. The length of the dress was determined by the print. Finding a good place in the print to “end” the dress is important.

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The evening was full of great food and great moments made even better by the fact that I loved my new dress.

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Style Arc – Cold-Shoulder Knit Top

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I’m digging the cold-shoulder trend and have been wanting to sew a cold-shoulder knit top for a while. I decided on Style Arc’s pattern to give this trend a try. The pattern only has three pieces and comes together quickly. For me, the most important part of sewing this top was clearly identifying the sleeve and armhole markings. Getting the sleeves aligned correctly are important for a good fit.

The fabric is a medium-light weight poly-lycra knit with some body.

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This top is fun to wear. I have a couple of woven fabrics line up try some other cold-shoulder styles.

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McCall’s 7046 – My Dress of Many Colors

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Could this ITY print have any more going on?!!! Animal print, stripes and a million different colors. I loved it as soon as I saw it at Tissus Mode de L’Orme in Granby, QC last summer. I knew it would be a dress but I was not sure what style at the time.

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The flounce and side ruching of this dress seemed perfect for the weight of the ITY knit. I was pleased that the “extra” fabric created by the ruching falls nicely across the front and back without adding any bulk or sagging.

I made the following changes to the pattern:

I shortened the sleeves by 3.5 inches. The pattern has you turn and hem the neckline. I chose to add binding instead. It is my preferred method when faced with a “turn and hem” neckline situation. I also sewed the sleeves in flat which changes the order of construction. I lined the dress with tricot because I prefer the way the dress fits with lining.

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This is a cute dress that came together without any fuss. It is pretty distinctive and I don’t need too many more dresses with flounces but I can see myself whipping up some knit tops in the future from this pattern.

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