Category Archives: Closet

these are my finished projects

Missoni zigzag shirt

Love lacy fabric? Try it with a lining (maybe a contrasting shade?) to make a terrific summer top!

Here’s my sleeveless blouse using a very open weave Missoni knit. I put in a thin, tricot (stretchy) lining in muted blue. The colour picks up the steely tones of the zigzag design.

Missoni knit shirt

The lining is so comfortable because the outer shell alone would have felt flimsy and was kind of sheer.

Begin by Tracing a pattern on bristol board

Use a top I that fits well, that way there is minimal adjusting. I just laid an old shirt down and traced two pieces: a front and back and added my 5/8″ seam allowances all around.

Cut a front and back of the lining, and an identical front and back of the Missoni fabric with the same cardboard pattern.

Simply sew up the left and right sides of the lining, leaving shoulders open. Do the same with the front and back of the outside fabric.

Now insert the assembled outside, into the assembled lining (which is inside-out). Be sure the side seams face away from each other. They will face each other when you turn the blouse right-side out. And snip the curves so everything will lay flat.

sew lining to outside

Baste and then stitch: along the back neck edge, along the front neck edge, and under the arms to within 5″ of the shoulders. Hold off sewing up the shoulder seams.

add lining to top

 

Sew the shoulder seams in a continuous path

 

Open the fabric at the shoulders and pin the lining and the outer shell all in one continuous path. Now a single shoulder seam can be turned and finished by hand.

 

Missoni Top front and back

 

Amount fabric required size 14:  

 

  • Outer fashion fabric – 1 1/8 yd
  • Inner lining: 1 1/8 yd
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Sleeveless lined blouse

polkadot blouseRayon had the perfect drape for this sleeveless blouse with flounce; just one of the five co-ordinating wardrobe items you get in Butterick B5965. The blouse is lined, adding substance to a fine summer fabric. I found a mauve tricot knit to match my polka dot print. Alternately, you can make a dress from Butterick’s pattern, which is as simple as extending the flounce to a knee length. Continue reading

Mock Knit Fabric Blouse

This isn’t just a flat print of a knit. This material actually has a raised profile; it has the illusion of knitted ribbon!

shirt collar

Here is the Butterick B5218 blouse. I used solid black broadcloth on the collar to accent the main, mock-knit fabric.

Interesting, but a real challenge to send through my sewing machine. Consequently, I ended up hand-sewing some bits, such as pockets and sleeve hems. I just didn’t like the deep impression the machine stitches left on the material’s delightful terrain.

Once satisfied that the fabric would not fray, I left the seams unfinished (no worries). Unfortunately, the needle jammed and skipped, so I placed stiff, tearaway tissue on both top (against presser foot) and bottom (against feed dogs) and that sent it through smoothly.

pattern marks in coloured tape

It was impossible to chalk in pattern marks on such bumpy fabric. I ended up cutting shapes from painter’s tape instead.

In places where I did choose to hand-sew, for instance the sleeve hems, I marked a very straight path with pins, 5/8″ from edge, and followed that with close, even stitches. The pockets were also hand sewn in place. That was a longer path than the shoulders, but required less precision and the stitch length was longer. (Unless you plan to keep sand in your pockets, the seams need not be finished to micro-perfection.)

alter pattern shoulder

I narrowed the drop shoulders by cutting both front and back pieces diagonally from shoulder notch down to the armhole notch. Then I lapped the slice at shoulder.

In the end, I like the drape of my final blouse. All-season suitable, it combines a wintry, knitted look, minus the bulk.

Amount of fabric required for short-sleeve Butterick B5218: one and a half yards main colour, and 1/3 yard of contrasting black broadcloth for collar.

Amount of fabric required for short-sleeve Butterick B5218: one and a half yards main colour, and 1/3 yard of contrasting black broadcloth for collar.

Easy Sleeveless Blouse with Facings

A great way to welcome spring is to make something in a floral print. Hello colour, so long snow! I found a red, green & blue cotton/linen blend for this sweet sleeveless blouse that sews up in four, easy pieces. Front, back and facings for both.blouse outdoor_w_hoseFacings are usually just a couple of inches wide and sit inside the garment along the neckline and armholes to make the edges neat and sturdy.
Normally they are a mirror image of the pattern contours they line, as in the photo below.blouse_with_facingsOne thing I like about good old burda patterns is they fit without too much pattern tweaking. Here’s how burda 8109 sews up in 6 simple steps.

  1. Sew darts in front.
  2. Join front and back together at left side.
  3. Install a separating zipper up the right side.
  4. Sew the front facing to the back facing at side.
    Install the facing by sewing along neck edge and along both armholes. Even if you have to adjust the seam allowance width here, be sure to keep all four un stitched shoulder edges (2 fronts and two backs) a consistent width because you must mate these up to make smooth armholes and neckline.
  5. Flip the facing to the inside.
  6. Sew up bottom hem.
f you modify the shape of your front or back in a pattern, remember to make the same changes to their facing pattern pieces.

If you modify the shape of your pattern front, remember to make the same changes to their facing pattern pieces.

Back in January, I determined to make a dent in my (big) stash of unopened patterns. To date, I have tackled three including this last one. Hurrah for me! So when my local fabric shop e-mailed me a 3-for-1 coupon for Butterick and Vogue, I figured I earned it and added a new trio to the still-high heap.

Ah, bliss! Sew much to sew.

Amount fabric required: 
one and a half yard off a 45″ wide bolt.

McCalls M6613 Shirt with Yoke

Pattern from the heap

McCall’s M6613 sat in my heap of unopened patterns for too long. I’m glad I finally made this as it is really comfortable and easy to make.

I'll wear the short sleeves rolled up, otherwise it looks like I'm wearing a man's shirt.

I’ll wear the short sleeves rolled up, otherwise it looks like I’m wearing a man’s shirt.

Because this is really a fitted man’s shirt design, you may want to customize it a bit so it suits a woman’s wardrobe. For my shape I added front bust darts, and I probably could have narrowed the back, now that I look at it on.

Wear it alone in a crisp broadcloth, or wear it open in front over a tank top in a lightweight cotton or sheer. Definitely intended for comfort, it’s a terrific wardrobe addition for physical folks who work in shops, factories, studios, gardens etc.

Mix and match the elements you like most. I chose the curved bottom hem, which I feel is more feminine, and took time to top-stitch detail on the pockets. You get a centre pleat on the back.

Mix and match the elements you like most. I chose the curved bottom hem, which I feel is more feminine, and took time to top-stitch detail on the pockets. You get a pleat on the centre back.

I also sewed my buttons closer together up the front to prevent any gaping gaps. Not likely, however, as the shirt is roomy.

This pattern includes excellent instructions on how to achieve a neat, curved hem.

This pattern includes excellent instructions on how to achieve a neat, curved hem.

Make a tissue pattern from a fave blouse

I picked up a cute summer top at a thrift store years ago. It is too small now, so I want to use it as a template to make a roomier copy.

I liked everything about this smocked tank when I saw it in a Sally Ann shop years ago:  the simple design, the scalloped ruffled hem, the pale yellow colour and embroidered details.

I liked everything about this smocked tank when I saw it in a Sally Ann shop years ago: the simple design, the scalloped ruffled hem, the pale yellow colour and embroidered details.

Without even taking apart the seams I study the construction. I can see that it is basically a tri-panel back and a a tri-panel front. All pieces are straight rectangles. Elastic across the upper back and under the arms gives the garment shape.

Luckily I have inherited an abundance of stash material, some of which is perfect for mock-ups. I cut out two sets of pattern pieces, adding in seam allowances. One set I assemble, just with basting. I try it on and mark where it needs to be altered. I make these changes to the second cutout set, and use it to make the tissue pattern.

After trying on the first mock-up I decided to lengthen the elastic strips, and make wider shoulder straps.

After trying on the first mock-up I decided to lengthen the elastic strips, and make wider shoulder straps.

tissue pattern cutout bk

Now, if your fashion fabric is really expensive, and the changes significant, it may be wise to make a muslin. But I jumped right in and cut my final pieces. To calculate how much material you’ll need, lay out the tissue pattern pieces on any folded 45″ or 60″ wide fabric. Arrange centre panels and facings along folds, and don’t under-estimate for extras such as facings, straps, sleeve bindings, straps and plackets.

 

Do make a plan for a logical order of assembly. Every garment is different, but look at the parts of it as separate units, and shaping details of each should be completed before being joined to the other pieces.

Planning the order of construction made sewing up the final blouse a lot easier. Here is the order I followed for my smock tank: Front, Back, Straps, Assembly and Finishing Touches.

Planning the order of construction made sewing up the final blouse a lot easier. Here is the order I followed for my smock tank: Front, Back, Straps, Assembly and Finishing Touches.

Here is the order I followed for my smock tank:

  1. Assemble three front panels (flat fell seams).
  2. Sew front facing to neck.
  3. On the back centre panel, sew on elastic casings. Insert elastic.
  4. Assemble all three back panels, being sure to catch ends of elastic in seams to secure.
  5. Sew up strap seam with side ruffle.
  6. Attach shoulder straps at garment back
  7. Sew up side seams.
  8. Add bias tape facing and insert elastic under arms.
  9. Join straps at front.
  10. Add ruffle hem.