Take Two for 2022: The crisscross tunic

Pattern: Butterick B5954

Over the last few years, I’ve not been great at keeping up with this blog. At the start of each year, I have all these intentions for how I am going to start writing again through all my projects, but it always seems tp fall off very quickly. In fact there are dozens of projects I completed in 2020 and 2021 that I have not written about at all.

All that aside, I had a good idea for my blog this year and I really want to stick to it. As we head into another seemingly challenging year, it feels like many of us are in need of a do-over. As my wardrobe expands, I myself have been looking at my past projects and noticing how I could have done better if I had the experience I have now. Therefore for this year, I’d like to focus my sewing around the remake. A take two for 2022.

My goal is to post at least 2 times a month – hopefully more. It definitely helps to reflect after a project is done before diving headfirst in the next project. Maybe this year I can focus just on the writing and not about trying to have that perfect picture or narrative.

My first project of the year had me re-visiting a pattern from one of my earliest days of sewing. I made this top from Butterick (shown below), which I actually still love, back in 2014. This was before I owned a serger, which means it still has all raw edges on the inside that I didn’t bother to finish. I know no one can see the inside, but I know it’s there and it’s not up to my current standards for garment making. The shirt has held up pretty well despite it’s age, but it was made before I understood the basic concepts about working with knits, such as using a zig-zag stitch or how to hem stretchy material.

I got the idea to try this one again when I recently saw someone wearing a similar style shirt. I wondered if this style was back in fashion or at least showing up at some clothing store. This seemed like the right time to try out this pattern again, with hopefully a more professional look.

You can sort of see the burnout pattern in the fabric here. I’m glad I found a great project for this fabric, because I really like it and was stumped as to what I would make with it.

For this new top, I used this black knit with a sort of burnout leafy design that I already had in my stash. It was definitely more stable than the sweater knit I had used before so I was able to cut and press it a lot easier. This time I used my serger for most of the seams, which not only gave it a more finished and professional look on the inside, but sewed up a lot faster than before. The front panels are hemmed and I didn’t bother serging the edges, just pressed and hemmed like normal. I did machine-baste the collar and the sleeves before I used the serger on them, to make sure everything fit and lined up right. I also did some adjusting on length – I wanted it just a little shorter so it wasn’t so much like a tunic. I like this length better. Unfortunately, I also shortened the sleeve length, which was not actually necessary. They are maybe a tad short, but it still looks good.

Attaching the collar…and it lines up with the hole!

I like this shirt a lot. Because it’s all black, I can see it getting a lot of use in my wardrobe. It’s definitely more professional looking than my first attempt and I was very pleased at how fast this was to make. The collar is not quite as drape-y as the first one, because the fabric is so much thicker with less stretch. However, the hems and the lines look really great. And it’s always a great day when you can use something from your stash. I’m liking this whole improving on a classic thing – here’s to 2022!

Sail Sleeves & Matching Diagonals: Blouses that work for work!

img_9152-1

Pattern: Butterick 6663

I have been working from home since March 2020. Even though my company has assured me we will be going back into the office at some point, its been so long that I can’t even imagine it. I miss going to the office, however being at home has its perks. The absence of commuting gives me more time in the morning, and if I don’t have any meetings, I can usually just wear whatever I had on the day before. It is sad seeing all the clothes in my closet , hanging there unworn. When I was anticipating a return to the office last summer, I stitched up a few blouses with a pattern my mom had given me as a gift.

The first one I made with this yellow seersucker (I think) fabric I had laying around. I think I had intended on making a dress with it, but I’m not sure I actually had enough to do so. The blouse ended up a bit on the big side and I’m still not sure about the sleeves. They are a lot wider than the picture led on, but maybe it all comes down to me making it a size too big. Part of the problem was the miscalculation in size, but I think also the fabric choice also contributed as well. It’s just a looser fabric and it almost has some stretch, so cutting it with the pattern probably required a little more skill and attention.

Looks like I should be singing in a choir…but I do still like the angled hem on this.

There is an invisible zipper in the back, but I don’t even need it to get it on and off. I liked the way the hem looked on this and even though I’m not usually a fan of facing on the collar, it worked okay as there were a number of seams where you could tack it down.

When I first saw this pattern, I was a big fan of the cover view that had the flattering diagonal lines, so I went out to seek some shirting with stripes in order to replicate this look. I knew it was going to take me awhile to line everything up to match all the stripes, but it was worth it. I really liked how this top came out. I made it a size smaller, but with this shirting, it felt about 4 times smaller than the other blouse. It’s funny how much fabric really makes a difference in sizing. Maybe someday I will learn. I used french seams with both tops and it worked really well for this pattern.

Maybe I should have chosen something with less lines?

I really like this top and I think it is definitely a unique style to add to my work wardrobe. I didn’t get to wear it too much last summer, but I’m hoping to get more use out of it, as I prepare myself to wear real clothes again. Better now than later right?

Continue reading “Sail Sleeves & Matching Diagonals: Blouses that work for work!”

Fleur de Fleece Pants: Making the most of 2020 cancellations

Pattern: Butterick B3314

These days, comfort is everything. As the days turn colder now, I find myself reaching often for my electric blanket. I usually need it after going for a run in this brisk weather and since running is the only way I get out of the house, I need this quite a bit. On the weekends, I love nothing more than to warm myself in these fleece pants I made – something that is obviously very simple to make, but more useful than I realized. When I cut these out, I thought these would be a fun addition on my planned road trip through Quebec. I was supposed to go on a big road trip last fall. Obviously that was cancelled, which was a bummer because I was really looking forward to traveling with my parents again and getting in touch with my roots a bit. I haven’t gone anywhere with my parents in many years and I know they were itching to get back to Montreal after their last trip got cut short due to an illness. I always love a good road trip, so I was extremely sad the borders never opened. And even though September isn’t usually too cold, I still think my pants could have come in handy on the trip.

I bought this fleece a while ago, not knowing what I was going to make with it. Fleece is not something I sew with often and there are only so many vests you can have. I had the idea to make the pants after starting the plans for my Quebec road trip. For this I used a typical pajama pants pattern, with no real surprises or challenges. I used my serger for most of the stitching and put in a run-of-the-mill elastic waist.

Continue reading “Fleur de Fleece Pants: Making the most of 2020 cancellations”

Sweater weather : Experimenting with sweater knits

Pattern: Butterick  B5954, view BIMG_3170

I can’t remember if I officially made the announcement, but I did mention this on a previous post – I bought a serger!  It was my Christmas present to myself….that I actually bought in October.  It was expensive, but so very necessary.  Finding a way to work on my mom’s just wasn’t working any more as I don’t live close enough to pop over for an hour or two.  I did however decide to buy the exact same one as her, since I had gotten so used to it.  And here it is – I feel like I need a name for it, but can’t think of anything clever.  Sergey just sounds too much like Pee-wee’s Playhouse.

IMG_3168

My main fear about this machine was threading it.   Continue reading “Sweater weather : Experimenting with sweater knits”

The baby sleep sack and the series of wrong decisions

Pattern: Butterick 5583

New skills acquired: 

  • Ribbed cuffs and collar
  • Time management?

Babybuntingpattern

There is nothing like rushing to finish a baby gift an hour before you are supposed to give it at the baby shower.  This sleep sack marked the first baby item I ever attempted.  In the end, it came out pretty good, but I did have some difficulty.

First of all, when I borrowed this pattern I started looking at all the wonderful fleece that was available (and on sale!).  I had picked out something perfect for a baby girl when I remembered that my friend was due in April.  This was a newborn sleep sack that she would not be wearing as a newborn.  WRONG!  I immediately picked out some cute cotton knit instead.

I do not have a serger at home, so this required me taking a special trip to my parent’s house in order to sew this up.   Continue reading “The baby sleep sack and the series of wrong decisions”

Featured image

Sheer Skill: beautiful inside and out

Pattern: Butterick ivy + blu B6021

Butterick B6021

I live in New England. This winter has been murder with the snow – more so than usual.  February was one big white blur and everywhere you turned, snow banks were piling up higher and higher.  Houses were buried, mailboxes were lost and ice dams were creeping onto many a roof.  People have grown a little colder as well – sick of shoveling the stuff, driving in the stuff and seeing the stuff. The waste management company for my town actually hurled my recycling bin on top of a giant snow bank where I could barely climb to reach it.   I just left it up there for four weeks. I love snow, but even I realize it has been a little much this year.  I decided, as the icy winds blew outside, to make this sheer dress even though I knew it would be a while before I could actually wear it.Sheer dress 1

I finally got around to using the birthday material my mom got me, seen in this post.  This was the first time I have worked with material so thin and sheer, but I knew french seams were the way to go.  They work so well on this type of material, plus I’ve been striving to make my garments look more professional, inside and out.

The Tale of Two Bodices

When I saw the picture on the envelope, I had a feeling the bodice on this might be a bit too big.  I generally have this problem anyway, having such small shoulders.  And look at that model – it looks like the top is just falling off her.  So I cut out a smaller size, which still seemed to match my measurements.  After I sewed up the finished seams and stitched in the lining, I tried it on.  It was so tight under my armpits, it started to leave welts.  The straps couldn’t even rest on my shoulders straight.  I was going to try to adjust and let out the seams on the arm holes, but I realized that I still had a lot of the fabric left – plenty more for a new bodice.  I was even able to squeak out a new lining, although that was a close call.  Looks are definitely deceiving with this one – the top is not as loose as it looks.

Strap on dress

Pinning it Down

This pattern was mostly easy to follow.  It has an elastic waist, so you have to create a casing and do the whole thread-the-elastic-through-the-hole thingy.  But no zipper!!  Getting the dress on and off is also surprisingly easy despite having no zipper, although figuring which was front or back took some thought (sewing a tag in would be a good idea).

The only directions I got confused by was Continue reading “Sheer Skill: beautiful inside and out”

I’m popular!

This shirt got a lot of positive response from friends and family.  Very easy to understand pattern and a very flattering result.

Pattern: Butterick B5954

Sweater knit tunicI don’t know if this is technically a sweater knit, but that is what I call it, since the top looks like a sweater.  The material is knit, but is thinner than it looks.  This pattern is for two-way stretch knits and has a few options for tunic styles.  I will definitely try this one again.