Happy Friday + Drop Top!

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Happy Friday! Has it really been over four months since I posted something I made for myself?? Whoo-boy, it’s been a long time.

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Well, I’m bursting at the seams to tell you all about the Drop Top by Madeit Patterns today — I’ve already worn my Drop top multiple times and can’t wait to make more. In fact, I’ve made two versions already and they’ve been lifesavers for Thanksgiving dinner and a book event. It’s just the right blend of elevated casual with loads of comfort.

 

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The design evokes the patterns I’ve seen in the Japanese Drape Drape books. However, Olu and Anna have simplified the garment construction and I was able to make the top from about 1 1/2 yards of sweater knit fabric (60-inches wide). I cut the medium size, and made zero modifications.

droptop4Both sweater knits that I used (cannot for the life of me remember where I got them) are thin and super drapey, and this extremely technical term of “super drapey” is pretty important for this pattern, methinks.

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Due to my over-exposing in Photoshop, the lighter top looks like heather grey here, but in fact, it’s more of a taupe-y color with black specks. I love it.

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The darker charcoal version feels a little dressier — oops, sorry for that wrinkled hem. My ironing skillz have been underused these past few months. Whoa, I look tired. It’s been an intense year. Here I am, still exhausted in the lighter and slightly more preferred version (though I adore both):

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At first I was a little worried that the cascading folds would make me look lopsided or like an Asian dumpling, but I’m inclined to think that it’s quite flattering and it’s a fun detail that differentiates this top from all my other knit apparel. The best part is that this is a quick sew with very few pattern pieces. My kind of sewing. Verdict? Thumb’s up (K is making me laugh down there)!

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So! The ladies at Madeit Patterns are doing a special Friday giveaway and a 20% discount thru today (click on image to go to the shop). I have to confess I’m a little confused, but I think the second person who purchases the Drop pattern today receives the fabric?? I’m sure it’ll all work out…good luck!

 

 

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Endless Summer Tunics

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Good morning! Looky here — I sewed something! In fact, I sewed two somethings:

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This is the Endless Summer Tunic pattern by A Verb For Keeping Warm (have you seen the IG feed? Stunning). How is it that I didn’t know about this pattern?

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I made the grey linen one first — complete with pockets — and used the same fabric as this top for the yoke facing and pocket linings. I should mention that I’ve long since donated that polka dot button down because I felt sloppy and frumpola in it every time I tried it on. No regrets! Marie Kondo would be proud of me.

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Here you can see what it looks like on the inside. It’s an interesting pattern. At first glance it seems super easy and quick but in fact, I timed myself and it took me six hours to make this grey version of the tunic. Most of that was due to hand sewing the armhole bindings and facings, which is recommended though they can easily be machine-stitched. The hand sewing results in a sleeker finish, but man, I’m slow when it comes to stitching by hand. Both the front and back pieces are cut as two pieces instead of on the fold because the center line is slightly curved to provide subtle shaping. I found that this created a flattering silhouette.

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I’m a fan of the gathered detailing on the shoulders and back, though I’m finding more and more that these types of back gathers tend to render me hunch-backed in appearance. Maybe it’s the way I stand?

There was much hemming and hawing over which fabric to use for the pattern, and I’m so glad I started with the linen. I LOVE this tunic. Though I completed it four days ago, I’ve already worn it twice and have gotten quite a few compliments on it!

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Spurred by this newfound sewing mojo, I proceeded to cut out this tutti-frutti-fun-fetti looking fabric I got from here. I can’t find it on their site anymore, but it’s German lightweight cotton according to my receipt as there’s no selvage info on the fabric itself.

I shortened this version by 4 inches, omitted pockets and used a pretty dusty pink/rose cotton gauze for the armhole binding and yoke facing. For this shorter tunic, I didn’t bother with interfacing the back yoke. Maybe it’s because of that and the stretchiness of the gauze, but the armholes are huge!

endless-summer-tunic7I cut the 41″ finished bust size and the fit is spot on for the grey version, but I feel like I should have gone down one size for tutti-frutti-fun-fetti. Fingers crossed that this will shrink some in the wash, because there’s some embarrassing gaping that happens around the armholes and this might have to be a swimsuit cover. I guess I can always wear a tank top underneath, but the point of a summer tunic is to stay cool and not layer up, right?

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Still, it’s cute enough and I like that it’s a departure from my usual color scheme (or is it? It does have pink and navy and mint, which are all high on my list of preferred colors).

The first Endless Summer Tunic I stitched up is probably going to get a lot more wear. Linen. Grey. Loose, long, comfy yet stylish. Pockets. Easily mistaken for maternity wear. It’s got everything I look for in a garment.

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Have you tried this pattern? What do you think of it? Would it be too much if I made a third one out of dark denim shirting? I would lengthen it by a few inches so I could wear it as a full-on dress. Mmmmm…I just might do it.

 

Happy Friday + Randomness

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Happy Friday! I’m just popping in with a quick Me-Made-May update.

This past week was all about tops in stripes and checks — then again, it’s always about tops with stripes and checks for me. Note that the order of the images doesn’t exactly match the order of the days below. The inner OCD in me begged for some sort of symmetry.

Day 20: Simplicity 1538 plaid shirt

Day 21: Simplicity 6241 pink + grey knit top

Day 22: Julia Cardigan in indigo stripes

Day 23: New Look 6648 coral striped kimono top

Day 24: Self-drafted dolman top

Day 25: French Sailor Top in grey gingham

I’ve made some good progress with the translations but will have to dive deeper this weekend. Must get back to work! Wishing you all a beautiful weekend!!

My mind divided
between the two languages
East to West and back*

*I feel like my brain gets a little scrambled and things start to appear a little warped when I’m translating back and forth for extended periods of time — does that ever happen with folks out there who speak/read more than one language?

P.S. Love reading all the giveaway comments!

McCall’s 7251 in Black + White Knit

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As I tossed on my new top, set up the tripod to take these photos and wrestled my out-of-control hair into a braid, I had a major realization: I am at ease in my body. I don’t say this lightly because…well, until now I’ve NEVER been at ease in my body.

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I won’t belabor the point, but when I finally got over all the excuses I built up and sewed my first pair of Ginger Jeans earlier this year (I’m wearing them in these pix — they’re my favorite pair of jeans ever), something shifted. I’m even going to say it was seismic in scale. It’s not like I’ve lost weight or have become super fit, though I do exercise regularly and that’s part of it. Sewing is another part of it, for sure. I’m convinced that the jeans-making was a significant turning point, but this burgeoning ease has been going on for a while in a nearly imperceptible way. I have many thoughts on this but I haven’t yet consolidated them into anything coherent, so I’ll have to mull over this a bit. Or not. It’s nice to feel comfy in my bod (and sort of weird since it’s not a familiar feeling) and maybe I don’t have to analyze it to death like I do with everything.

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Today, though, I’m featuring a knit top I made using McCall’s 7251, view A in a size 12.

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It’s so incredibly comfortable, I may just head straight to bed in it. Don’t I look sleepy up there? The fabric is a rayon jersey from here, and it handled easily without curling or slipping all over the place.

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Now, I know that this demure shirt isn’t going to turn heads, but it was deceptively time-consuming. What with all the pintucks and hand-stitching of the neckband facing and placket, I was pretty wiped out by the time I finished hemming it.

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I like the hi-lo hem. There were supposed to be slits, but I’ve decided slits just aren’t my jam. To accommodate for the change, I curved the edges of the back piece where it meets the front piece.

Other changes:

  • This pattern is meant for a woven, but I knew I wanted it in a knit.
  • Instead of snaps, I added faux buttons (I couldn’t find enough black ones in a small enough size so I settled for dark blue, which I think is a fashion no-no? Who knows)

I messed up the neckband a little where it meets the top of the placket pieces, causing the neckband to curl inward, but it’s not too bad.

One of the hilarious parts of keeping my camera on continuous shooting is that it captures candid moments. Like when I spotted an errant mosquito in my house and started to chase after it:

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OK! I have other sewing in the pipeline and I’m scheming up marketing plans with the publicity team at Sasquatch Books in a couple of days, so I hope to have some cool and noteworthy updates for you next week! I will try to post this Friday, but it might be iffy…

M7251-blackknit9At any rate, I love my new top!!!

More Mods to The French Sailor Top

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Good morning! I’ve been experimenting with the French Sailor Top pattern from a couple of weeks ago and hallelujah, I now have two tops that will be a staple in my wardrobe. This is my original French Sailor Top (size medium with no modifications other than an extra cm in sleeve length):

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This first attempt was too tight across the chest and the bust darts were a joke.

To rectify the situation, I started by modifying the medium. I liked Angela’s suggestion of doing a broad back adjustment from that last post, so I widened the back piece by 1/2″ using step 8 of this method. I also added 1/4″ to the base of the armscye for the front pattern piece to allow for more movement and made corresponding changes to the sleeve pattern. Then I lowered the bust dart by a couple of inches, but decided a full bust adjustment probably wouldn’t be necessary. I also remembered to add an inch to the hem. Because I used an uncooperative cheap double-gauze that I cut off-grain, it looks pretty wonky. This was just a test, though, so that was ok. The fit is WAY better. I can lift my arms in this version! See image on left:

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Then, I went up a size and sewed the large for comparison. It’s weirdest thing…the shoulders were even tighter for the large, though the rest of the bodice was much looser. See how the top seems to rise above my shoulders in the image on the right? Very odd. I lowered the bust dart and added an extra inch to the hem for the large as well, and did away with the side slits. Aside from those two things, I didn’t make any changes to the larger pattern pieces.

So the winner was the medium with modifications.

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I wanted to sew it up in a polka dot fabric, but I was all out of the white-dots-on-black piece that I had in mind. Instead, I defaulted to my usual indigo. This very thin cotton has pinstripes and just the right drape. Love. Ignore the big ole burn near my wrist and word to the wise: never reach over a boiling electric kettle.

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I’ve been hoarding this Kokka gingham for many years, and I’m glad I finally cut into it but I’m on the fence about the result. The texture is reminiscent of brushed cotton and it’s a teensy weensy weightier than the pinstripe indigo cotton.

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The fit is awesome. Look how the dart is in the right place — that’s my expert eyeballing skills for ya.

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It feels…a little too country for my taste, I guess. I usually adore gingham so I don’t know why this one isn’t totally floating my boat. Despite its quintessential Japanese-ness, I also can’t shake the sense that I ought to incorporate a butter churn as a prop. Or maybe it’s because I get the urge to squat down and start milking a cow when wearing this shirt.

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I’m sure the top will grow on me; sometimes it takes wearing the garment a few times for me to fall in love.

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Ah, that’s better. Anyway, this was great practice for alterations. Because of its straightforward shape, I was able to make minor tweaks and see how they would change the fit without having to spend a lot of time (or fabric! I was able to squeeze out a top with less than 1.5 yards). I could probably add just a hair to the shoulder width and it wouldn’t hurt if the neckline lay flatter, but I’m going to call this one good.

I’m looking forward to trying the other patterns from this book!