Liberty of London Peter Pan Collar Top

I finished another top for the Pattern Challenge!  I’ve been having too much fun sewing clothes for myself, I’m worried I might turn into the Selfish Seamstress!!


Does anyone recognize that fabric?  It’s the ever lovely and luscious Liberty of London in Dunvina.  I purchased it when I was in London at Shaukat Fabrics (they have a humongous stock of gorgeous Liberty prints at the best prices I’ve seen, you can order them online).  I only purchased 3/4 metre, which was just enough to make the body/sleeves of this top.  I had originally envisioned the collar made out of the same fabric, but alas, I ran out.  Instead a used a beautiful cotton/sateen by Robert Kaufman.


I used the basic top and sleeve pattern from…you guessed it….Simplicity 2599 (are you guys majorly sick of this yet?) and added a self-drafted peter pan collar.  The collar is the sweetest accent and it was so much fun to make!

I used this method for attaching the peter pan collar, and it worked out perfectly!  If you do decide to use that tutorial, the one part that confused me was what width of bias tape to cut.  In the tutorial she says to use a 1.5″ folded bias strip, which I took to mean cut a strip 1.5″ and fold it in half.  This leaves you with a 3/4″ bias strip, which is fine, but when you go to sew it on you’ll need to use a about 1/4″ seam allowance in order to have enough to fold to the back and topstitch (rather than the 1/2″ seam she instructs you to use).  Other than that one point of confusion, the tutorial was great!

To give this top some shape I used elastic thread to shirr 3 rows under the bust.

I love that the inside looks as finished as the outside with serged raw edges and the bias tape cover around the neck.  It also doesn’t hurt that there really isn’t a wrong side to this fabric!

Oh my, wouldn’t this make the sweetest dress?


Pattern Challenge: For Him


PatternMcCall’s M6044
View:  E
Size:  Cut between a Medium and Large (yes, you can do that!)
Fabric:  3 yards homespun plaid from Joanns ($3.99/yard)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes, very much so!

Were the instructions easy to follow?  I actually thought the instructions and techniques were very simple to follow.  Even those tricky looking parts like the collar and cuffs turned out to be quite easy.  Usually when I make a pattern there is at least one part that I get tripped up on, but this one didn’t have that.  Every step was clearly explained and pictured, making the construction of this top a breeze.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I wasn’t too crazy with how much hand sewing there was (back of the collar, both sides of the button yoke).  The inside didn’t turn out as nice looking as the outside since I had to try to hide my seams by hand sewing the lining over them. 

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  The only change I made was to use metal snaps rather than buttons/buttonholes.  This was a huge time saver!  Plus, I wanted this shirt to have that 70s/western flair, which these “pearl”-covered snaps helped to achieve.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  I am already making plans to sew this again!  This time I’ll let my hubby pick out the fabrics (I bought this plaid fabric on a whim and thankfully, he liked it!).  I’m thinking one that’s a little bit more dressy (maybe a black on black stripe).

Conclusion:  I highly recommend this pattern!  And don’t be afraid to cut between sizes if you need to.  My hubby didn’t measure perfectly as a medium or large so I just eyeballed my cutting line right between the two sizes and it worked out perfectly.  He loved the fit so I don’t think I’ll have to do anything differently next time.  This pattern also makes it super easy to adjust for arm length and shirt length, so if your man doesn’t normally fit in RTW (ready to wear) shirts, you might consider making a muslin first to adjust for a great fit.  Remember, the sleeves pieces will seem very short, but the cuffs add a good 3″ or so to the over length of the sleeve.  

Here’s the happy customer: 





Thanks to Alicia from Posy Gets Cozy for inspiring this!!

Pattern Challenge Update!!

I’m back!! 

Oh wow, you guys, what an amazing trip!!  It is surreal to me that I am back home and that this trip is behind me.  My husband and I had such an adventure and we loved every minute of it!  Someday soon I will sit down and tell you more about it, but I need to build up the energy for that first!  I’ll tell you this:  there was much fabric shopping involved!  Although I didn’t buy much (we only brough a backpack each for the entire trip), I certainly enjoyed exploring Europe’s fabric stores and seeing what was trendy over there.  I took tons of pictures of the fabric stores and I can’t wait to share them with you!  It is good to be back!

On another note, the Pattern Challenge is going strong with 32 official members on Flickr (and 75 photos of finished garments!).  I thought it prudent to show you a sample of the amazing things we are making for this challenge!!  I am continually impressed by the talent for garmet-making that I am seeing on this group!  It has definitely given me tons of inspiration to get back to sewing now that I’m home.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading the pattern reviews and I have bookmarked several patterns that I want to try.  So, without further ado, here is a sample of some of the things you can find on the Flickr Pattern Challenge Group.  Enjoy!

Burda 7661 by Kari of Handmade Mommy.  Pattern Review here.

Coffee Date Dress by Sue Loves Sew.  Pattern Review here.

Japanese Beginner Dress and Tunic Book #18 by Liesl Made.  Pattern Review here.

Smock Top from The Galloping Horse.  Pattern Review here.

5191 McCalls from Sew Bee It.  Pattern Review here.

Simplicity 2593 by Kristie in the Clouds.  Pattern Review here.

Mendocino Sundress by Unfinished Projects.  Pattern Review here.

Amy Butler’s Cabo Halter by Smiles of a Summer Night.  Pattern Review here.

Alabama Stitchbook’s T-shirt Corset by And So I Sew.  Pattern Review here.

Simplicity 8018 by Lemon Cadet.  Pattern Review here.

Modkid’s Frida Dress by Sewing the Stress Away.  Blogged here

Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress by Piccoli Piselli.  Pattern Review here.

Simplicity 2593 by Sew Loves Sew.  Pattern Review here (the top is made from a Liberty for Target scarf!!)

So there you have it!  Are you thoroughly inspired?  I sure am!  And this is just some of the action going on in our Flickr group, so check it out!  It’s not too late the join in the fun!  Just let me know if you’re interested in joining the challenge and see the instructions here, we’d love to have you!!

Spring Ruffle Top

I just barely scraped this top out using what little of this fabric I had.  My sister originally bought the fabric for an Anthropologie knock-off top she made (maybe I can get her to send me a photo, it’s adorable!) and she gave me what she had left over.  To make it work, I had to omit the adorable pleats at the top (maybe a good idea considering my…ahem…*larger* bust size).  For the straps and chest yoke, I used a natural colored Essex linen/cotton blend.  One of my favorite fabrics to use, especially in quilting.

The pattern is, of course, Made By Rae’s Ruffle Top Tutorial.  You may remember another version I made awhile back:

Sorry for the crazy amount of clothes-making posts lately.  Am I losing all my dearly loved quilty followers?  I promise I will get back to quilting soon enough!  I’ve got one in progress right now (well, I say that but it’s been almost finished for about 5 months now, just needs binding!). 

Is anyone interested in our Europe itinerary?  I’d be happy to share, if anyone out there is curious.  3 days!!!!!

P.S.  I entered the first top above, along with these two, into Made By Rae’s Spring Top Week.  Don’t forget to Vote for your favorite starting next week!!

Gingham Top

Here’s a summery new top I made using some gingham I found for $3.99 a yard:

And guess what pattern….you’ve got it!  Simplicity 2599!  Boy do I love that pattern.

This gingham was a bit difficult to work with.  If I wasn’t very careful, it puckered with each seam.  A good amount of pressing seemed to help along the way.  I know I said I was going to skip the button closure next time I made this pattern, but I decided to keep it to add interest.  I suppose that this really is the most interesting part of the shirt.  The one thing you have to be careful of when using stripes or ginghams is matching up the seams.  It can be really noticable if you forget.  Mine turned out OK, but can you see the puckering at the bottom of the seam down the center?  Maybe my tension was off…

We leave for Europe in exactly one week.  I’m so excited!!  During the three weeks I’m gone I’ve got some SUPER awesome guest bloggers lined up to share some tutorials, tips, links and perhaps a recipe or two.  Who knows, this blog may be more happenin’ in my absence than when I’m here!!!  I’ll check in one more time before I go.

Happy Saturday!!

make it wear it

J.Crew Inspired Dress

Here is the J.Crew inspired dress that I made using Simplicity 2599.  I lengthened the shirt by about 10″ (and then shortened the hem later when it was still way too long), added the sleeve option and made the same adjustments to the pattern that I made last time. 

Wow, next time I should really iron it first, huh?  Well, here’s the dress after sitting through church on Sunday.  Imagine it with the darts and creases nicely ironed.

To make the braided neckline and belt, I just took 3 pieces of my fabric and sewed them together at one end.  Then I just braided them tightly and tacked it down every 1/2″ or so onto the neckline.  The belt is not attached so I can switch it up whenever I like. 

(My tights are from Anthro, by the way)


Thanks for all the love on the Panty Tutorial.  I’m so happy to hear that many of you are interested in trying it!  Please, please, if you do give it a shot, I would love to hear how it turned out/see pictures!  

And now, the winner of the jersey and stretch lace is……Bethany!!!  Which is TOTALLY awesome because I work with Bethany’s husband (Cameron) and she is super great and an incredibly talented baker!  Although she needs to post on her blog more…come on, Bethany, get to it!

Bethany’s comment makes me laugh because Cam is known for going to extreme lengths for our work’s “Biggest Loser” contest.  He is excellent at losing weight in a very unhealthy way.  And he knows it’s unhealthy.  So don’t bother telling him so.

Anyways, congrats to Bethany!  Some fun jersey and stretch lace are coming your way!

On another note, I finished the shift dress inspired by this J Crew beauty.  It’s adorable!  I love it!  Here’s a really crappy camera phone sneak peek:

I made it from an IKEA duvet cover (cotton sateen) that I bought awhile back with the intention of making it into a futon cover.  I like this use much better, and I still have tons of fabric leftover.  I’ll post more pictures soon.

Finally, I have to say Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband.  You are the best, babe!  And I love that you were born on St. Patty’s Day…it is so fun!

Pattern Challenge: Simplicity 2599

Simplicity 2599 is a near perfect pattern.  I just love the way this shirt turned out, it fits and looks almost exactly how I hoped it would.

Pattern Description:
Misses Tops with 6 different variations. I made view E, but skipped the bow.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing it?
Yes, it does.  The only difference I can notice is that the top fits me a bit looser than the photo on the pattern shows.  But, I am fine with this since I can just wear a belt to cinch it in.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, they were.  The most confusing part was figuring out how to cut out the pattern pieces since this is a multi-size pattern with multiple front pieces for different bust sizes.  I ended up making a muslin of the front and back pieces so I could get the fit right before cutting into my fabric.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I loved that it came with different front pieces to account for bust size.  I love that there are so many variations available to the top.  It seems like the perfect basic top pattern, which can be infinitely adapted.  I can’t really think of anything at all I didn’t like!

Fabric Used:
White eyelet (very lightweight) purchased at the LA Fashion District.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I added about 2 inches of length along the hem, skipped the bow detail, lowered the neckline by about an inch and cut the ruffle detail thinner than the pattern suggested.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes!  I am definitely going to use this pattern again.  I’m already planning on making this into a shift dress, inspired by this J Crew dress (thanks to my Aunt Carol for point it out to me!).

Next time I make it I will probably skip the button closure on the back.  I think it looks adorable, but I can get the top over my head without unbuttoning it, so it’s just not necessary (this is only because I made the neckline lower).

I highly recommend this pattern as a great wardrobe builder and an all around fun pattern to sew.


For those of you wondering about my great turquoise necklace, it came from Designs By Tahra.  Check out this beauty:

And isn’t this lovely?

Lucky me, I won these in a giveaway sponsored by Gussy, but go check out Designs By Tahra, she is wonderful!!

Pattern Challenge: Simplicity 2443

This is Part II in my Pattern Challenge series.  If you have not already, please consider joining me in a challenge to sew your way to a new wardrobe! 

Well…this one was significantly harder than I thought it would be!!!  I loved the look of the jersey dress on this Simplicity pattern by Cynthia Rowley.  Or wait…did I love the dress or just think it would make me look like the adorable model on the cover?  I think that may have been my first problem!! 

A quick word on sewing with jersey.  This stuff is tricky, really tricky.  But, it’s not impossible.  I would not have attempted this dress without having a machine that has a stretch stitch.  What is a stretch stitch?  Mine looks sort of like a zig zag that’s set on an angle (first picture below).  But, I’ve also seen it look like any of the following:

A stretch stitch is essentially what allows the fabric to stretch with the seam, so you don’t end up with puckered seams and a major headache! 

Here is what I ended up with…I know, MUCH different!!

Everything went perfectly with the dress, until it came time to attach the straps (the front and back straps and upper bodice are all one piece) to the bodice top.  I had the strap pieces constructed beautifully, but when I tried it on before attaching it to the bodice, the fit was terrible.  It was causing the back of the dress to sag horribly, while the front of the dress stayed pretty much in the right spot (coincidentally, the exact same problem I read lizziwhiz had with this dress).  I realized that the back racer back was WAY too long for my torso.  It had the waist part ending right about at my buttline…not flattering at all!  So, it was time for some major adjustments.  I decided to scrap the top strap part entirely and cut off the weird sagging racerback and adjust the front to be a soft strapless sweetheart cut.  I created a facing for the entire top front and back bodice and sewed that to the bodice, turned it to the back and topstitched it down. 

Luckily (yet with much tailoring needed) this dress fits very tight, tight enough that the strapless top stays up on its own.  Although it’s made of stretchy jersey, it still needed an invisible zipper on the side.  This proved to be somewhat challenging since the dress also has pockets right at the same line as the zipper, but I followed the pattern instructions and this went fine.  Pockets are fun, but I don’t suggest adding them when you will also have a side zipper, just another added frustration!!

All and all I am pretty darn happy with the dress.  I’m thinking about making some removable straps for practicality’s sake.

Here’s a closeup, which you can click to make even bigger, for those who are interested in the details:

I’ve posted links to the lovely participants of the Pattern Challenge in my sidebar now, so go check them out!  You can also see our Flickr page here.  If you decide to join, be sure to let me know so I can post a link to your blog!!


The winner of the giveaway is…..

Kari from Handmade Mommy who would love to pick out some Wall Art from All Modern.

Congrats, Kari!  Looks like you’ll be able to get that wall art for your home!  Kari has a super cute blog, so go check it out now while you writhe in jealousy!

Kari, I’ll send you an email in a moment so you can choose your prize up to $50.  Can’t wait to see what you get!

A quick update on the Pattern Challenge.  We now have 19 official members, so this will be fun!  I finished the Jersey Dress (#2 on my Pattern Challenge) and will post about it tomorrow.  WOW, this thing was a nightmare!  You’ll also get to see how the finished product looks nothing like the pattern!  I made a ton of modifications…but it turned out cute!