Sewing through the Storm: Simplicity 2255

I used Winter Storm Juno as an excuse to stay inside and get some sewing done. As a sewer, I really don’t mind being locked inside with fabric and a pattern :)   I decided to take a break from my silk sewing adventures and dive into all the Simplicity patterns I bought recently. Second up: Simplicity 2255. (First up was Simplicity 1716, which will be blogged eventually). I made View A with the length of View B/C/D.

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 8.15.37 PM I used a lovely cotton shirting from Gorgeous Fabrics that is no longer on the website and I assume out of stock. It’s actually a border print. The main fabric is 1/4″ navy gingham and the red checked section was a ~ 4-5 inches wide border that only ran along one selvage. I had to cut very carefully to squeeze out all the pieces I wanted in the border section.

I added bias cut pockets…just don’t look too closely, they’re not even! I need to stop pointing out my mistakes to everyone I talk to, they’re really not that obvious unless you look closely (most of the time haha).

DSC_0785As with most projects, halfway through I thought it was going to look stupid. This one was screaming ‘Fourth of July’ in January to me. But I’m trying to not leave any UFO’s so I finished it. And of course, I’m really happy with it! Particularly the neckline, which should come as no surprise because some of my favorite RTW shirts have a slight v-neck + mandarin collar.


The fit is nice, particularly through the shoulders. It’s becoming more and more apparent that I need to make shoulder adjustments to achieve a more comfortable fit…it’s just so hard to make myself work on a sloper when I could be making something wearable! But I do realize the benefits would be endless and applicable to all future projects. Sigh. Someday.


DSC_0786Because I didn’t have enough of the border print, I cut the collar facing out of the main fabric on the bias. I think it’s a nice touch.

IMG_2894I wore this top yesterday and it was super comfortable. Sorry if you’re getting tired of reading about all the tops I make…but there’s a serious gap in my wardrobe!

Silk Blouse Saga Part 3: McCalls 6436

I’m forging ahead in my silk blouse saga by adding more difficult features with each garment (Silk Blouse 1 & 2). With this top, I took on a more challenging fabric – silk crepe de chine. I decided to use the ‘gelatin method’ to stabilize the fabric during cutting and sewing. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I bought WAY too much gelatin because I don’t pay attention when ordering from Amazon and tend to order whatever has the lowest price per unit, which means I end up with a lot of units. Another case in point, I bought 250 paper bags for the wedding when all I needed was 30.


I read every set of instructions for how to use the gelatin before trying it out, but ended up primarily following posts from Lena, Threads, Anne, and Jo. It’s actually really simple to do - I highly recommend it! Unfortunately I didn’t take any before & after pictures and I’m not going to explain the process any further – the others have done a more than sufficient job explaining it.

Here are, however, my thoughts/recommendations on using gelatin:

  • I had 2.5 yards of this 45″ fabric and 3 liters was just enough to cover it all. Next time I’ll make more of the solution.
  • Let the fabric air-dry as straight as possible. I folded mine selvage to selvage before drying to save space and the fabric at the fold didn’t retain the gelatin as well, making it more unruly, especially when the rest of the fabric has a different stability.
  • Ironing and sewing was a breeze. No gunk build up at all. I didn’t use any steam while ironing for fear the gelatin would dissolve.
  • Remember to keep a sample of the fabric before adding the gelatin so you know if you’ve washed all the gelatin out at the end. Also, so you can convince yourself that it made a difference in the first place!
  • Your fabric won’t be stiff by any means. You’ll still have to work with it carefully. In the photos below I believe there is still quite a bit of gelatin in my blouse and, at least in my opinion, it looks fine.
  • Gelatin reduces fraying!

I used Pro-Sheer Elegance Light fusible interfacing. I followed the directions and fused on the silk/low wool setting, first from the wrong side, and then again from the right side. Everything was great and fused until I went to wash the finished garment. I hand washed it in lukewarm water with a few drops of normal laundry detergent and almost immediately I could see bubbling under the fabric. I stopped washing right away and let it dry overnight. The bubbles, and gelatin, were still there in the morning but after ironing out the wrinkles, they have mostly disappeared. I don’t doubt that they are there however and will re-appear after a second washing. I’m not sure if the bubbles were just from ironing at a low heat setting with incomplete fusing, or maybe the fusible adhered to the gelatin which then dissolved, reducing the adherence. Either way, I’m going to be VERY careful to not spill or get this top dirty, because I don’t want to wash it and ruin it again. If you have any thoughts on the interfacing issue I’m very interested to hear – I don’t want to have this issue again!

I used McCall’s 6436 to make a classic button-up blouse (minus the pockets). It had a few more challenging features for my growing silk skills: collar stand, collar, cuffs, button bands, two-piece sleeves. Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 4.58.53 PMThis pattern comes with multiple front pieces for A/B, C & D cups. The difference between my high bust and full bust is exactly 2″, which put me right between A/B & C cup sizes according to the pattern. For unknown reasons, I decided to go with the C cup front even though BMV patterns are typically B cup and fit me fine. I should have gone with the A/B cup. The darts are too long and end right near my bust apex. I considered adding the pockets to cover the darts but I don’t like how silky bust pockets end up drooping so much. Thankfully, the fabric has relaxed since washing and my boobs aren’t quite as pointy anymore.

DSC_0756 DSC_0758I’ll normally wear a camisole with this top so you can’t see the top of my pants.


Don't fall on me snow!

Don’t fall on me snow!

I sew with McCalls/Vogue/Butterick often, but I found this blouse had fit issues I haven’t encountered in any other pattern before. The shoulders are too wide. It’s tight through the hips. The sleeves are long (but they are long on the model as well). It’s tight across my upper bust. I removed 2″ from the bottom before hemming and it’s still on the long side if it isn’t tucked in, which is how I’ll wear it.

Yes, I should have made a muslin. I’ll continue to wear this top anyway, because I don’t think it’s much different than what I would find in RTW, but take note those of you considering this pattern!

DSC_0762 DSC_0776


I am really happy and proud of the finishes on this top. I spent a lot of time making sure I did the right techniques and took my time instead of skipping corners. Fingers crossed the bubbling doesn’t reappear and ruin my hard work!DSC_0736

Since the sleeves are two-pieces, the sleeve opening is made by turning under the seam allowances and top-stitching.
DSC_0739DSC_0770I’ll be continuing with my silk saga…but am taking a short break for a few fast and easy projects :)

Betsey Johnson Butterick 5997

I’ve wanted to sew silk blouses ever since I started sewing. They just feel so special when you wear them. To that end, I’ve bought a lot of silk and a lot of appropriate patterns. And I’ve sew approximately 1 silk blouse (the one I posted last week!). Time for that to change! I want to make Vogue 1412 (View A), but talked myself out of it because it had so many fiddly bits: sleeve plackets, concealed button band, and precise front tucks. Not the right pattern to start sewing with silk crepe de chine, which is what most of my silk is. So I decided to use Butterick 5997. Combining bodice D with sleeves from A. Screen Shot 2015-01-17 at 5.33.20 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 8.33.28 PMI don’t always love the envelope pictures…but I have to say that this woman looks pretty awesome in this magenta blouse! Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 8.33.47 PMThe fabric is a Betsey Johnson silk from Vogue Fabrics. It is really pretty in person…but I don’t think it’s a crepe de chine. I don’t pretend to know a ton about fabrics weaves, but this fabrics doesn’t drape or feel like any of the other crepe de chine fabrics I’ve ordered. It’s still really pretty, and I like my new top, but I recently saw this fabric (with the black background) recommended by Caroline on Sewaholic for the new Oakridge blouse. Given the lack of drape, I think it would be more appropriate for the Granville blouse.

I made a size 12 without alteration (despite my apparent need for a broad shoulder adjustment…) and it fits great. I’ve worn it twice now and I’m very comfortable in it. I like how it is relatively fitted through the bust and then loose through the torso. The only annoying bit is the front facing which needs to be adjusted after putting on. But it doesn’t cause an issue much after that. Since I typically avoid facings at all costs, I considered using bias tape somehow, but I really like how the facing makes the front v-neck streamlined and without any topstitching.

Please excuse my earmuffs in these pictures…it’s COLD outside!

DSC_0735I would feel uncomfortable with the depth of the V-neck if it weren’t so narrow. I like how it is just a glimpse of skin…but not improper at all.

DSC_0734I’m really happy with the sleeves too. I don’t think I ever roll down the sleeves of my Archers, so it just makes sense to keep them rolled up forever. The sleeve bands are sewn together so I can’t roll them down….and they can’t accidentally roll down either.

DSC_0743 DSC_0740I decided to use the interfaced collar stand piece on the exterior because I wanted it to stay crisp, which is opposite what the instructions say to do.


The blouse was actually really easy to make! Since this silk is more stable and not as shifty, the pintucks weren’t so terrible to make. I hadn’t made pintucks before and sewed them at 1/8″. Even sewing this small allowances reduces the shoulder length and neckline length overall…so I eased the shoulder seams and to match. I’m not sure if this is the *right way, but it worked :)
DSC_0746I’m taking my silk sewing to the next level and currently working on a button-up lilac silk crepe de chine blouse…should be done soon actually.

And I went to JoAnn today and took advantage of the 5 for $5 sale….I bought 20 for $20 :)   Most are tops patterns!


Anthropologie Inspired V9002

One of my favorite contests on Pattern Review is the Bargainista Fashionista contest where you ‘copy’ a RTW garment. And my absolute favorite place to look for inspiration is Anthropologie. I love the bright colors and unique garments, though we can all agree they end up not being so unique since they’re offered around the world  :)   Many of the garments on the website get their appeal from the fabric. Beautiful florals, animal prints, laces, interesting fabric combinations, etc. Just take a look at their blouses & button downs page!  Because they’re so dependent on the fabric, it can be difficult to ‘copy’ their designs if you don’t have the right fabric. I was excited when I saw this lovely blouse because I knew I had the right pattern…and a close enough fabric match.


And to ‘copy’ it: Vogue 9002, a raglan top with flutter sleeves.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 9.45.12 AMI didn’t want to jump in without making a muslin, and good thing I didn’t, because I needed to make some changes. I ended up making THREE muslins for this project! Luckily there are only three pattern pieces :)  I started with an unaltered size 12 (typical Big 4 size).

Muslin #1:

On the left is ‘before’ movement and on the right is ‘after’. As you can see, during normal wear and activity, the top drifts to the back and attempts to choke me, as one Pattern Review member very accurately stated. I really didn’t know what was causing the problem but guessed that it was because of forward shoulders which were stealing fabric.

Vogue 9002 Muslin #1So I posted for help in the PR forum and everyone unanimously agreed that this problem is usually caused by the exact opposite of what I hypothesized – broad shoulders or high round back. I’ve started reading Fit for Real People before bed (doesn’t everyone?!) and based on my normal fit issues, I decided I likely have forward shoulders and a slight high round back, two alterations often seen together due to poor posture. But the broad back one? Hmm, I’ve never thought of myself as having broad shoulders.

So I stood at the mirror for a while and moved around to better decide which alteration to try first. The back neckline sat at the right place without gaping so I didn’t think I needed the round back alteration. I looked more closely at where the raglan seams sat relative to my shoulders. They were much closer to my center back than on other raglan tops. And closer inspection of my shoulders revealed some wrinkles caused by tension. Finally, I moved around my shoulders and sure enough, I could watch as the front neckline slowly crept up to choke me. When you think about it, it makes sense. My shoulders were too broad and thus the raglan sleeves were too tight across my upper back. During movement, the shoulders were ‘stealing’ fabric from the front so they could have more ease to move about.

I used the broad back adjustment from Fit for Real People to add width to only the top portion of the back piece since the fit through the torso was loose and comfortable. I marked a horizontal line to designate the upper section and a vertical line for where to cut (which was chosen somewhere arbitrarily). I cut out the top right section and for muslin #3, added 1/2 inch. Then I blended together the neck and side seams.

V9002 Broad Back Adjustment

Muslin #3 fit much better! There was still a little tension so I added another 1/4″ per side for the final garment (3/4″ addition per side –> 1.5″ added in total to the upper back).

If you’re really paying attention you noticed I didn’t mention muslin #2. This pattern has a two piece sleeve which was altering the drape of the ‘flutter’ due to the weight of the seam. Upon comparing the pieces, I found that the shoulder seam for the sleeves was completely straight and there was no need for it since it didn’t add any shaping! So I combined the two pieces into one (shown below). If you squint, you can see the combined seamline in the middle and the grainlines marked for the two separate pieces, which aren’t so different. Muslin #2 just confirmed that combined sleeves were the same as separate.


OK, so let’s finally talk about the finished product!! I used a very luscious stretch silk charmeuse that I bought from FabricMart this summer. It is Catherine Malandrino fabric with a graphic floral print and the flowers are enormous. (NOTE: Tanya from Mrs. Hughes also had this fabric and made a beautiful top and dress!) I only had two panels, roughly 2 yards, of this 45″ fabric which was barely enough fabric for the top independent of worrying about the floral placement. I spent a loooooong time playing with the fabric before settling on my final placement. I wanted to be sure each colored flower was represented clearly but still keep it balanced.  All in all, I’m very happy with how it turned out!


If I make this top again I’m going to add more ‘flutter’ to the sleeves…they’re not exaggerated enough in my opinion and from certain angles just look ill-fitting.


The fit is MUCH better than my original muslin, though I definitely wouldn’t call it perfect. The center of the back neckline is suppose to fall 2 inches below the neck which I find uncomfortable and might be contributing to my fit issues. 
DSC_0737This is the only side where I don’t love the colors since you can see the repeated turquoise and yellow flowers. Oh well!

All the angles…
V9002 Final 360 I used french seams and rolled hems throughout and finished the neckline with bias binding instead of the facing that comes with the pattern.

V9002 Final Details

One of the most fun parts is that Catherine Malandrino is written on some of the flowers! Ooh, designer fabric :)

And if you’re confused, yes, this picture is tilted 90 degrees and my neck is on the right!DSC_0739

So, it’s definitely not a perfect match, but I hope you can see the resemblance and inspiration from my original Anthropologie blouse!