spring mini-capsule wardrobe

There’s snow on the ground, but I’ve been slowly making some inroads into some much needed Spring sewing.  After The Day and Night Dress Challenge, my family and I all came down with a really nasty fever, hence my absence here.  Getting back to health and strength has taken some time, but here are my pink jeans and ivory tee that’s part of my Spring mini-capsule wardrobe.

Spring Mini-Capsule Wardrobe: pink jeans and ivory tee

spring mini-capsule wardrobe

I never really intend to go about sewing capsule wardrobes.  Projects that sound interesting to me, or fabrics that are exciting to work with will always take priority in my work over embracing the minimalist nature of a capsule.  When I’ve made capsules in the past, even after meticulously working out all of the various combinations, everything ends up feeling like varying shades of same.

That being said, I always try to make sure that any separates that I’m making don’t end up as wardrobe orphans.  This combination is a good example of that.


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Pink jeans

spring mini-capsule wardrobe

Unadorned jeans are not usually how I roll.  After a frustrating round of fitting with the Otsu jeans, I just wanted to make a pair of jeans that fit.  I turned to my trusty Ottobre 5-2014-19 skinny jeans pattern.

All of my jeans are wearing out.  My two most heavily worn pairs, the giraffe sateen skinny jeans and my side buttoned Jalie 2908s are literally on their last legs.  It was good to make up a quick pair from one of my favorite patterns in this peachy pink stretch cotton from Colorado Fabrics.  The fit is pretty lived in and not perfect, but sewing up a fast pair of jeans was definitely more important to me than getting ultra picky about every last little wrinkle, especially given how much this cotton wrinkles all on its own volition.

Back gap

I’m starting to believe that most women have to deal with back gap in their jeans.  I don’t have no sway back and genetics has dealt me a rather flat-ish backside, and still there’s always a back gap.  Given the 7M hits you get when you Google “jeans back waist gap”, I don’t think I’m alone on this one.

For conquering the gap, I love a good contoured waistband.  For years, I’ve been using a contoured waistband from a Burda pattern that fit me really well and taking it with me to every other pants pattern I use.  This particular stretch cotton had more stretch than I anticipated.  As such, I still had a back gap even with my altered, much loved contoured waistband.  Maybe it’s time to reevaluate that one…

Darts, smoke and mirrors

To fix the back waist gap, I added two 1/2″ darts when my gappiness tends to hang out–about 4″ on either side of CB.  To disguise the darts, I centered a belt loop right over the darts.  It’s not a perfect solution, but I never wear belts or tuck in my tops.  For the added comfort of a pant that’s not drifting forever downwards, I will take that little bit of messiness that 0% of people will see.

Fringe makes it better, especially if it’s lazy fringe

spring mini-capsule wardrobe

My only real embellishment on this pair of jeans is some fringe trim under the edges of the pockets.  I call it lazy fringe because it’s actually the selvage which had a nice little fringed edge to it.  No needles and pulling threads were required here as in other fringed projects like this dress or this cardigan.  I cut 1/2″ strips of the selvage and fused them to the underside of the pocket with Steam-a-Seam before topstitching the pockets down.

A fun clothespin print makes up the fly shield and pocket bags because it went so well with the pink.

spring mini-capsule wardrobe

Ivory top: Valentine & Stitch Cassandra dress hack

spring mini-capsule wardrobe

This ivory top was my muslin for my coffee dress.  I wanted to work out the back keyhole and also the width of the sleeve flounce.

On this version, I cut the sleeve flounce 1.5″ wide.  I think it’s a good scale for a top, but I widened it on my coffee dress for a little more drama.  I got this ivory cotton yarn stripe knit from Cali Fabrics store in San Francisco a couple years back.  It’s plain to be sure, but it’s soft and a great fabric for Spring as it adds a little warmth in long sleeves but doesn’t trap in heat either.  I love layering tees like this.

spring mini-capsule wardrobe

Creating a cohesive wardrobe with color

spring mini-capsule wardrobe

Color just might be the best weapon in creating a wardrobe that works.  You’d be amazed at how seemingly disparate silhouettes and styles can suddenly make sense together when they employ a similar color palette.

spring mini-capsule wardrobe

I’m utterly determined to pair my faux fur motorcycle vest with everything in my closet.  The contrast of the aqua against the peachy pink is totally my style. The matching hat was definitely a bonus on this cold, windy first day of Spring when I took these pictures.

spring mini-capsule wardrobe

One of the things I love about using a color palette is being able to go way back in time in my closet and find some older makes to pair with some of my newer projects.  I’m starting to think that this might be a good way for me to challenge myself with Me Made May this year.  This gold rose cardigan made a comeback in this outfit.  I’m pretty sure I had forgotten all about it which is a shame because I’ve always enjoyed wearing it!

How about you?  Are you a capsule wardrobe believer, or do you approach outfit making more casually?

faux fur motorcycle vest

When I was making my dresses for The Day and Night Dress Challenge, I decided that a little jacket would be a great accessory piece to go with them.  Since my coffee dress has lovely little sleeve flounces,  I wanted to be able to show them off.  The style solution that came to mind was a vest.  This faux fur motorcycle vest has been a great little layering piece!

Faux fur motorcyle vest

faux fur motorcycle vest


Vests of all kinds are de rigeur in Colorado.  The wind picks up, and a chill comes in the air, and people here pull out their puffers, fleeces, quilted, faux furs and everything in between.  To be honest, I’ve eschewed the idea of a vest for years.  How is taking off the sleeves on a jacket keeping you warm?  Also, I kind of hate how wintery vests can be pretty boxy.

As I was thinking about making my own vest, I kept two things in mind: 1) It’s gotta be warm and 2)let’s reign in the poof. 

Fabric: not quite minky, definitely Muppet-like but with crop circles

faux fur motorcycle vest

For my faux fur motorcycle vest, I chose this pale aqua faux fur.  To say it’s my favorite color is an understatement!  I’ve used it before as accents on this cardigan, and as this hat.  It’s very warm, but it’s kind of hard to classify.  Upon feeling it, you’d think it felt a bit like minky, a bit like a super soft chenille, yet it has a good 1/2″ raised pile.  Picture someone’s head shaved with designs in it.

There’s a little bit of stretch in the fur, so I treated it as a knit, but for the most part, it’s rather stable.  To go with it, I added a matching rib knit from a thrifted sweater.  I previously used the body of the sweater for my colorblocked Lisbon cardigan.  There was ample ribbing leftover and it’s a good color match for the fur.

Pattern:  Ottobre 5-2014-3 knit motorcycle jacket

faux fur motorcycle vest


In keeping with my requirement that my vest be warm, I chose this knit motorcycle jacket from Ottobre.  I’ve made it before as this quilted jacket, and to date, it’s my most worn jacket.  It might be the only jacket that I’ve made an officially worn out.  The motorcycle style adds a tremendous amount of warmth to this jacket.  This is because the hood crosses over center front, thereby shielding your neck from the wind in a way that a standard hoodie does not.

I brought in the sides a bit so they’re more fitted.  It’s still boxier than a tailored jacket would be, but it’s a level of comfort I’m happy with.

Collar vs. hood

faux fur motorcycle vest

Because I wanted to incorporate the ribbing and did not have enough to make a full hood, I opted for a collar instead.  The collar is a simple rectangle the width of the ribbing that I had.  On the original sweater, it formed a huge cowl neck.

The ribbing also finishes the bottom of the jacket and the armholes since I took off the sleeves.

faux fur motorcycle vest

One thing I really like about this collar is that you can drape the ribbing for a slightly different scarf-like effect.

Hidden welts

faux fur motorcycle vest


There really are welt pockets in this vest though the fur obscures them!  Jackets without pockets are virtually unusable, so even though I was initially intimidated with putting in welt pockets in fur, I was going to do it to get the added functionality.

In the end, the welts went in really easily.  To make the welts more manageable, I did a couple things:

  • I added interfacing to the welts themselves.
  • There is interfacing in the pocket area with the rectangle to be sewn marked with a sharpie.  You should ALWAYS interface behind welt pockets, but the drawn rectangle is really helpful when working with a fabric that’s hard to see on like the fur.
  • I worked from the wrong side of the fur for better visibility.  The sharpie helped a lot, but the wrong side of the fabric was even better.

These went in so drama-free that I’m a little disappointed that the pile of the fur makes them hard to see.  Oh well.  I’ll enjoy the added warmth and place to stash my keys.

Separating zipper in faux fur


A separating zipper in theory could be the toughest part of this little jacket because of the fur.  There’s no good marking tool that will show up against the high pile, and there’s not a good way to baste the zipper in place.

To help with this, I drew a line on the backside of the fur and ran a simple line of basting right on the line.  Then, working from the right side, I lined up the edge of the zipper tape with the basting line.  You could remove the basting line if you wanted to, but I left it because it was invisible.  I finished the edge of the zipper tape with a tiny bit of the sweater knit.

Quick lining

faux fur motorcycle vest

Before I added the collar and the ribbing trim on the armholes, I made a quick lining from the same ivory sweater fleece I used for my yarn embroidered coat.  The combination of the fleece and the fur is extremely warm with little weight.  For a clean finish, I sandwiched the hem ribbing between the hem edge of the fur and the fleece.  The front edges are then stitched and turned towards the inside.

After that, I added the collar and the ribbing around the arms.

Lightning fast

All total, I spent about 2.5 hours on the whole jacket.  For a lined jacket with a zipper and welt pockets, I’m pretty pleased with that.  Who knew that sleeves took up so much extra time?

My new favorite wardrobe companion

faux fur motorcycle vest

This little vest has been changing my mind about vests in general.  It’s been nice to discover that with vests you get all the advantages of the warmth of a jacket, but with the added mobility that comes from the sleeveless style.  Around the house, I’m almost always wrapped in scarves in winter.  This is sometimes really a bad idea like when I’m cooking.  I may or may not have lit the fringe ends of my favorite cashmere scarf on fire on our gas stove!  Thank goodness wool is self-extinguishing!

With the vest, I can go sans scarf in the house and cook without lighting myself on fire.  I’ll go out on a limb and say that that’s a positive thing in any garment!


So what about you?  Are you pro-vest, or do you reach for the sweaters instead in the cold?


faux fur lined hoodie

Happy Cyber Monday! This is the faux fur lined hoodie that I wanted to make way back in January of this year!  When the contests for Patternreview were announced in January, I had intended to make this hoodie for the Upcycle Contest.  I thought this faux fur lined hoodie would be a great full circle project.  The first lined jacket that I made was a refashion of a pillow sham for my son when he was a toddler!  My plans changed once that contest came into being, and I instead made the rain jacket from that questionable caftan.  Still, I had this jacket stewing in the back of my mind.


Have you ever found yourself inspired by childrens’ clothing?

I’ve been on a bit a spree lately sewing these sleeveless shoulder frill tops for my daughter.  This particular one is Ottobre 3-2017-2.  Ottobre must love the little shoulder frills too because there’s a variant of the same style in every size range in this issue.

After the 3rd one, I could stand the cuteness no longer.  I had to make my own version!

Ottobre 3-2017-2

Pattern details

In addition to the frill on the shoulder, there’s a back yoke with pleats/gathers.  To be honest, I didn’t look at the specific directions.  On the rayon challis version I used gathers. The turquoise blue floral rayon has pleats, and I used a mix of pleats and gathers in the beach print.

Everything about this top is built for efficient sewing.  There’s no double layer on the yoke to finish the inside and the lack of a collar make for an ultra fast sew.  The directions want you to do a narrow hem on the frills, but I chose the even easier serger rolled hem.  Don’t say I didn’t tell you you’ll want to make a million of these.

Self bias vs. packaged binding

The front placket has 4 buttons and the armholes and neck are finished with bias strips.  This is one thing I love about Ottobre patterns.  Bias cut straight from the fabric you’re working with is so much nicer than packaged bias binding.  It always matches and there’s no hand change between the binding and the fashion fabric.  For sensitive baby skin this is a plus, and visually it’s a clean finish.

Rayon challis

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I did do a double layer yoke on the rayon challis.  It really needs the extra support because of it’s light weight and slippery hand.  Also, even though I love the fabric, rayon challis just might not be the best choice for an active toddler.  The heavy duty laundry treatment that kids’ clothes require are not coinciding with the more delicate cool water and ironing needs of the rayon.  I have some stains to attend to on this top at the moment!

Turquoise blue rayon?

This fabric is from my San Francisco fabric haul (from Fabric Outlet), and I will be ordering more.  I’m crossing my fingers that there’s still more at the store.  I’ve already used mine for a dress that I pattern tested for Designer Stitch this last week.

This fabric is a dream for kids and adults.  It doesn’t wrinkle (perhaps it’s a rayon/poly blend?), it has a beautiful drape, and it has enough weight to not require a lining.  The pleats were a little slippery, but I could easily finish the insides with my serger.  The bias was fiddly to deal with on the arms as it wanted to roll all over the place.   Hand basting kept things neat and it made for faster sewing.  Also, the edges of the frills look wonderfully crisp with the serger rolled hem.

Beachy print rayon

This beachy print is one of the remnants I found at Fabrix.  They had tons of fabric meant for board shorts, and I’m pretty sure that’s what this is.  It has that kind of stiff finish that board shorts have.  The base is definitely cotton.  By far, this fabric was the easiest to sew of the lot.  It pressed well and I didn’t have to pin or baste the bias at the armholes.

I love the combination of the bright orange and pink leaves with the blue stripes.  After this one, I dropped everything to make my own version.

Shoulder frill pattern hack

This is hardly a hack it’s so simple.  I started with DG Patterns’ Olvie Top as my base because it’s what I had on my table.  Any woven sleeveless tank would work for this.

  1. Measure 3″ from the shoulder seam along the armscye on the front and the back and make a mark.
  2. Cut two 3″x9″ rectangles on the bias for the shoulder frills.  It’s important that they are on the bias because they will make for a frill that drapes better.
  3. Mark the center of each frill.  Finish the short edges and one of the long edges with a serger rolled hem or a narrow hem.
  4. Run a basting stitch along the edges of the frills and pull the bobbin threads to gather.
  5. Match the frill center to the shoulder seam.  Distribute the gathers so that the ends stop at the marks you made in step one.
  6. Put right sides together and stitch the edge of the frill to the armhole.
  7. Finish each armhole with bias tape.  The frill will be sandwiched between the bias tape and the right side of the top.

There you go.  Super easy.  I will say that I closed up the back darts and made a back yoke as well as adding some fulness in back pleats.  It’s not necessary, but it makes it a little bit more like my daughter’s top.

I made mine from leftover fabric I salvaged from a really nice 100% cotton shower curtain.  I bought it a few years ago to make an apron.  It caught my eye because it’s one of my purples and it had a beautiful hand that’s way nicer than any shower curtain has the business of being.

DG Patterns’ Olvie Top

I have the sleeved version of this top on my table right now, and really, it needs to have the sleeve.  100% of sleeveless armholes need to be adjusted for me for proper side coverage.  In my petite state, I’m extra short between my shoulder and base of my armscye.  I usually don’t have a problem once a sleeve is popped into the armscye, but sleeveless styles are chief among my fitting nemeses.

To fix this one, I’m going to have to open up the side seams and make a vertical dart basically that takes the bulk out at the armhole and tapers to nothing where the bust dart is.  This will narrow the overall circumference, but there’s more than enough since this is a loose fitting style.

Back neck closure

There’s a center back seam on the pattern, but there’s no directions for a zipper.  The neck is very close fitting, so you really need to have some sort of back closure.  I ripped my muslin in the neck at CF in the process of getting it over my big noggin.  An invisible zipper would work well, or you could fold back the seam allowances to finish them at the top 4″ or so and add a loop and button.  I chose to add an exposed zipper with one of the zippers I found in San Francisco.

Here’s for some more subtle versions of Mommy and Me,


raglan button down


Periodically, I make a round of button-downs for my boys.  I always use the same patterns in whatever size they happen to need for the moment, and I cut a lot of them and I sew them as quickly as I can.  This year I needed to change up my pattern as they’ve outgrown all of their previous patterns.  For my older boys, I went with Ottobre 3-2017-25 which is a raglan button down pattern.  It’s the cover pattern on the last Ottobre.

My younger guy gets Ottobre 1-2017-6.  It’s a typical button down with pleats in the sleeves/vents/cuffs.


There’s not a lot to be said about the crocodile shirt, but the raglan button down is a little bit of a twist on a typical shirt.  Do you ever feel like there’s so very little variation in boys’ patterns?  Ottobre does a great job mixing things up in general, and the raglan button down is a great example of their creativity.  That being said, construction is a little hairy!  Let’s break it down.

Pattern sizing

The raglan button down is for 116-158cm (size 6-16) and the standard button down is for 74-104 cm (size 12 months-5T).  I sewed a 128, 116, and 98 respectively.


raglan button down

All the fabric I bought from Fabric Mart recently.  Good quality shirtings are on of those things that should fly into your shopping cart! The navy and the multi plaid are both Japanese cottons, and the yellow stripe is from a rtw designer.

The plaids were a good challenge for matching.  I was particularly proud of my matching on the multi-plaid.


Pattern Features

The biggest feature of the raglan button down is of course the raglan sleeves.  I haven’t seen too many raglan sleeved shirts that weren’t knit.  Ottobre says they were going for a 60s look.  Here’s an old Butterick from that era with a similar look:

raglan button down

I can only assume that because he’s got a pipe, raglan shirts are what you wear when you’re relaxing by the BBQ in the summer!

The other big thing is topstitching down the center of the raglan sleeve which is a 2 piece sleeve.  I love 2 piece raglans because you get a nice smooth look over the shoulder.  Sometimes in 1 piece sleeves, they’ll put in a dart at the shoulder to curve over the shoulder.  The 2 piece eliminates the dart.

raglan button down

Fitting/pattern changes

raglan button down

I didn’t change anything for the raglan button downs, but I did shorten the sleeves for the navy plaid shirt.

Lessons I learned (i.e. where things got hairy)

The raglan shirt is pretty simple to put together EXCEPT for the facing/collar situation.  Ottobre does not hold your hand through this part.  You sew the neck edge of the facing to the neck edge of one side of the collar.  The front edges of the collar are left unstitched at this point.  The pattern markings for where this attachment is supposed to happen are pretty lacking.  The notch on the collar does correspond to the corner of the facing, but there’s nothing to help you on the facing.  Just mark your notch well.  After this, the facing gets flipped to the other side and you sew the facing and unstitched front of the collar in one go.  Clip into the corner well, and you get a nice collar.  It reminded me a little of a notched collar, but mostly, it took some trial and error to puzzle it through:

 Why you should make this shirt

There is so little variation in boys’ patterns, so when you find one, jump on it.  A raglan button down is still pretty tame, but this one fits really well, and in the right fabric, they can be light and cool for summer.  Just watch out for the collar!

Coffee Dates with Your Seam Ripper Required:

If you mark your collar notch well, you and your seam ripper might not need any quality time together.  As for me, this pattern was a 3 date affair.

raglan button down

What’s your favorite pattern company for boys’ patterns?

Here’s to happy sewing and fewer coffe dates with your seam ripper,

diy lion hoodie

This diy lion hoodie and Very Shannon Sally dress are two of the projects I’ve made for my kids of late.  The dress was for Easter, though I’m just getting around to writing it up now, and the lion hoodie is the result of a challenge a sewing friend gave me.

DIY Lion Hoodie

One of the women that I sew with monthly had this beautiful brown knit jacket.  It’s by a better knitwear designer that you’d buy at Nordstrom, so I’m going to venture a guess that she originally spent a fair amount on it.  It features this elaborate wool yarn trim on the collar and the cuffs.  J is in the process of a home remodel and in need of downsizing her closet.  She remembered this jacket and challenged me to make a lion costume out of it for my kids.  My boys generally go around the house roaring at people, so it seemed a natural project for me.

Ottobre 6-2009-8 Zipped hoodie

I pulled out an old Ottobre and found a basic hoodie pattern to start my refashion.  This is 6-2009-8.  It’s a basic zipped, lined hoodie.  The biggest size was a 92, and my son needed a 98, so I graded it up.  I was able to save the old zipper.

diy lion hoodie

Creative cutting

One of the things I really enjoy about refashion projects is that they force you to be creative with your materials.  The collar became the tail, and all the outer jacket pieces were easily cut from the original jacket.  The zipper facing became a neck seam binding, and I used scraps from the sleeve to make the fringe on the tail.  To make the jacket a little more wearable and a little less costumey, I opted to line it with a patterned knit.  I found a nice turmeric striped XL rtw tee while thrifting.  Just the sleeves were used for the hood because I wanted to have enough leftover to make this tank.

diy lion hoodie

Faux fur?

I lucked out in trying to find the right faux fur to line the inside of the jacket.  A golden wheat minky blanket found its way to me on the same thrift trip that produced the striped tee.  I say minky because I’m not really sure what it is.  It’s not precisely faux fur, it’s not really minky, but it is soft and cuddly and very warm.  I bagged the jacket, but I left the sleeves unlined.

Knitwear hem and squirrel pockets

The jacket is knitted, so it has a machine finished edge.  Because I was dealing with heavier materials, I kept this edge as the bottom of the jacket and hand sewed the lining rather than turn up a hem.  I couldn’t resist adding some fun to the welt pockets in the way of squirrels on the inside.

diy lion hoodie

Lion trim

The trim for the mane was sewn onto the original jacket with little hand overcast stitches, so it was really easy to deconstruct.  The used all of the trim from the collar on the top of the hood, centering the trim with the CB of the hood.   Zigzag stitches hold it down flat.  I also made ears for the top of the hoodie from the blanket.  The ears are sandwiched between the lion trim and the hood seam.  Rather than disassemble the trim for the sleeves, I treated them as cuffs.  They’re not as fitted as a normal sleeve would be, but they were much easier to deal with.

Very Shannon Sally Dress

This was the first year that I got to make an Easter dress for my daughter!  She has a little friend who’s just a month younger than her whose mom gifted me with Very Shannon’s Sally Dress.  She had hoped to make it for her daughter, and it was really sweet of her to think of me.  I sewed mine up in some bits of Cotton + Steel fabrics I had from Hawthorne Fabrics.  The skirt piece was too big for my narrower fabric, so I added a panel of white/yellow voile on the sides.

very shannon sally dress

Square neckline

This pattern has got some really cute features.  There’s big pockets on the sides of the gathered skirt and there’s a sweet square neckline.  The smallest size is a 2T, so I graded it down a size.  I do have an issue with the neckline.  The front is the same as the back, so it doesn’t fit on the shoulders the greatest.  Also, the shoulder seam comes to a weird point at the neckline edge.  You can see that weird point on some of the modeled photos on the Very Shannon site.

A good pattern for beginners

Weird neckline point aside, this is a good pattern for beginners.  There’s clear instructions that are unbelievably detailed.  You can’t mess this one up.  I know my friend is anxious about having to sew zippers or buttons.  She was excited to find a pattern that just fits over baby’s head without fuss.  It’ll be a great pattern for her.

very shannon sally dress

Plus, the overall cute factor of this dress makes up for my annoyance over the fit.  I had a good time adding some extra embroidery too.  I won’t be sewing it again, but my daughter loves it, so it’s a win.


Pleated Trim Tunic

I’m wrapping up my Wardrobe Sudoku makes, and I’m saving the best for last.  Today, let me introduce you to this Pleated Trim Tunic Dress.

If you remember one of my #2017makenine was this shirtdress/tunic from MyImage.  Well, I did a muslin of that pattern, and it was an utter disaster.  Somebody commented on my Instagram that her experience with MyImage is that they’re drafted for tall Dutch people.  Being neither tall nor Dutch, all I can say is that the armpit was halfway down my torso.  So I scrapped that in favor of something that I knew would work, namely Ottobre.  With a base pattern in place, I knew it would be easy to grab the style details from the MyImage tunic.

Pleated Trim Tunic Dress

Ottobre 05-2007-15

If you remember one of my #2017makenine was this shirtdress/tunic from MyImage.

Well, I did a muslin of that pattern, and it was an utter disaster.  Somebody commented on my Instagram that her experience with MyImage is that they’re drafted for tall Dutch people.  Being neither tall nor Dutch, all I can say is that the armpit was halfway down my torso.  I looked like a little girl wearing her Daddy’s shirt.  So I scrapped that in favor of something that I knew would work, namely Ottobre.  With a base pattern in place, I knew it would be easy to grab the style details from the MyImage tunic.

Ottobre 5-2007-15 is a longer version of Ottobre 5-2007-2 shirt that I’ve made multiple times in various forms.  It’s meant to be worn as a unstructured jacket, so I did a little (or a lot) of monkeying about to make it into a shirtdress.

Pleated Trim Tunic

Pattern changes

  • Back: I rotated out the shoulder darts and converted them into a back yoke. I think yokes look way better and they make for a cleaner inside finish.  Because of my limited fabric, the yokes and collar stands are cut on the crossgrain.
  • Fronts: The original pattern has a wide facing, but I opted for just button bands. I knew I’d be adding a collar stand, so there was no need for a facing that extended up into the shoulder. This was also a much needed fabric saver solution.
  • Darts: The shirt as is too boxy for me in the waist, so I draped out vertical darts in the front and the back. I really wish that the original pattern had these included in them. You could borrow the darts from the tops except that they sit a little too low.
  • Sleeves: I added cuffs with pleats in the sleeve bottom.
  • Collar: I never really liked the collar without a stand on the original top. I altered a collar stand from another pattern that didn’t work out for me to fit the neckline of this pattern.

Pleated Trim Tunic

Styling additions

  • Pockets: I added pockets on the fronts. The fabric for the cuffs, pockets, and trim comes from scraps of the embroidered voile leftover from this skirt.  My hope was to break up the print a little with the voile.  The shape of the pocket I borrowed from another Ottobre pattern in the same issue.
  • Button tabs:  The MyImage tunic has button tabs that hide under the full length of the sleeve.  When you go to cuff the tunic, the tabs wrap around the cuff and fasten with a button above it.  You really don’t need any kind of a pattern piece for this.  Just cut a rectangle 2.5″ wide by however long you want.  Interface half of it lengthwise, bring WST and stitch around 1 short end and the long side, turn and topstitch.  Finish it with a buttonhole and sew it on the wrong side of the sleeve where you want it to fasten.  The exact placement you’ll probably have to fiddle around with a little.  The square shank buttons I used along the placket were too bulky for the sleeve tabs (I had buttons growing out of my arms!), so I opted for flatter plain shirt buttons on the button tabs.

The pleated trim–my favorite part!

Pleated Trim Tunic

The collar, right front and cuffs are trimmed with pleated trim I made from the unembroidered selvedge edges of the voile. (there was just over 6″ of plain fabric on both sides of the selvedge).  I saw a random Facebook video showing the technique and immediately knew I’d incorporate the trim into this top (I’m not sure where I saw the video, but there’s tons of YouTube videos on fork pleating and also web tutorials).  A small cocktail fork became my measuring device for the pleats. With limited fabric, I went for the cocktail fork over a larger fork because it makes shorter pleats.  I also made pleated trim for the cuffs from the cotton lawn.

The trim is basted into place between the seams just like you would do for piping.  Rounding the corners with the pleats is the only tricky part.  The length of the pleats made for some not so pretty corners on the collars.  After a lot of unpicking, I folded in pleats just to round the corner.  It’s not perfect, but I’m happy with the end result.  I am happy that the trim running down the center is just right.  That strong vertical line that I was hoping to create with the trim is right where I wanted it to be.

Stay tuned tomorrow for my denim jacket!  It’s been a project that got shelved for a long time, and I’m glad I finally made the time to sew it up.

Pleated Trim Tunic


Ottobre makes

Are you an Ottobre fan?  Do you sew often for your little one?

I’m in the literal middle of some serious reverse applique work on a Jalie drop pocket cardigan.  While there’s bits of embroidery thread all over my house, I’m popping in to write a quick post about what I’ve made the past few weeks from my Ottobre subscription that my husband so thoughtfully got me for Christmas.  Here are my January-February Ottobre makes.

When I had my baby girl last year, I knew that Ottobre would be high on my wish list of pattern subscriptions.  It’s true that Ottobre does better than the vast majority of pattern companies out there in providing cute patterns for boys, but you guys, the baby girl cuteness is absurd.  I may never be as prolific as Katie is in her Ottobre devotion, but I kind of am seeing how quick and fast it can be to make Ottobre items en masse.  Kids clothes take so little fabric, and their pattern pieces are equally small.  A little tracing paper and a half an hour and you can practically be ready to cut out a wardrobe for your little one.

***These jeans are featured in the Nov/Dec 2015/Jan 2016 issue of Altered Couture Magazine.***

Deconstructed Silk Scarf Jeans: Elizabeth Made This

I’m always looking for new ways to make a pair of jeans special.  Since my first pair, I’ve been utterly ruined by the process, and I’m sure that I’ve boldly declared Scarlett O’Hara style that I’d never buy plain jeans again.  High on my list of must try techniques has been applique.

I’ve sewn cotton on denim, never really liking how the cotton would dominate and the denim disappear in the patch area.  I’ve messed around with reverse applique on denim, but I hadn’t found anything that I really liked until I threw a random piece of silk on top of denim and started sewing.  The silk blended into the denim, but its sheerness allowed the denim to be unchanged by the applique.  I knew I wanted to try this on a larger scale.

Enter this vintage silk blend scarf.

Deconstructed Silk Scarf Jeans

Deconstructed Silk Scarf Jeans