Itch to Stitch Paro Cardigan

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As far as I’m concerned, all winter long, the only thing better that a warm, cozy sweater is a warm cozy cardigan that is also shaped and flattering.

Winter where I live has me bundling up and layering like crazy, so I was very excited when Itch to Stitch put out a testing call for their new cardigan. Not only could I make it in a cozy fleece fabric with very little stretch, but with the waistband and the front and back pleats, I knew it would be flattering to my full hourglass shape.

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The Paro Cardigan from Itch to Stitch Patterns released today. It comes in sizes 00 – 20, and as with all Itch to Stitch patterns, it has clear instructions and perfect drafting. This pattern is priced regularly at $10USD, but for the next week it is 20% off.

Disclaimer: I received the Paro Cardigan pattern for free as part of the testing process. This post also contains affiliate links. You are in no way obligated to use them, but if you do, I appreciate you supporting my sewing & blogging habits.

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The shoulder seam is meant to sit wide on your shoulders to allow for layering underneath, which again – is perfect for my cold climate. Although we are having a bit of an odd January so far… It was nasty cold for two weeks there, but when I took these photos, it was -5C, and now we’re looking at positive temperatures for the next couple days. Which just means I don’t have to wear my winter coat over top of this cardigan, and I can show it off to the world.

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Since it was so nice out when we photographed it, we decided to take the photos at the dog park. Let the dogs run off their pent-up energy while we kept an eye on them and took our photos. As you can see above, my senior dog Piper loves the snow. Hahaha. This must be her favourite weather – warm enough to play outside, but still cold enough for snow.

I should note that I accidentally serged the front pleats down backwards. I had a bit of a blonde moment, and didn’t realise until my fancy new serger made it nearly impossible for me to fix my mistake. Ah well, I love it anyways. I really love the pleats and shaping in the back – often the big warm cardigans leave me feeling shapeless, but not this one.

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There is an option for a button in the center of the front waistband. Of course, you can omit this, or use a big statement button, or even a couple of snaps. I dug out a pearly-coloured button from the small tin of my grandmother’s buttons that my mom recently gave me. My grandmother passed away 10 years before I was even born, so since I never had the chance to get to know her, I absolutely love those little things, like using one of her old uniform buttons on a sweater. She taught my mom to sew, who then taught me to sew, so I do like to think my grandmother would be so proud if she could see how often I sew. 🙂

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I’m wearing my Paro Cardigan with a Mila Shirt, also from Itch to Stitch. I found this super lightweight navy gingham at a thrift store, so this shirt kept a little bit of textiles from the landfill. 🙂 I like the style of this one. The shirting gives it a menswear-inspired look, but the front yoke gather and back yoke pleat give it a feminine shape. This pattern comes with 5 different cup sizes for every size, so it’s easy to make a well-fitted shirt that doesn’t gape.

Disclaimer: I received the Paro Cardigan pattern for free as part of the testing process. This post also contains affiliate links. You are in no way obligated to use them, but if you do, I appreciate you supporting my sewing & blogging habits.

Wardrobe by Me – Curvy Daisy

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Sometimes I feel like I live in this awkward limbo land of in-between sizes. I’m sure plenty of you ladies know what I’m talking about. I can’t shop at super trendy stores like Garage or Ardene, because their biggest sizes are way too small for me, but everything at plus-size stores like Pennington’s or Reitman’s are way too big for me. Not that I’ve gone clothing shopping in months and months, thank goodness, but this was a challenge that made me want to pull my hair out when I did depend on retailers for clothes.

I often find the same problem with sewing patterns (although it’s much less of a problem when I’m making it myself!). A lot of pattern companies that draft for a wide range of sizes split their patterns into two different size ranges, and if there is a size or two of overlap, then I can usually select which size range I want to buy.

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Such is the case with Wardrobe By Me. My measurements put me at a size 16, which is an option in both the regular pattern line and the curvy pattern line (albeit with slightly different measurements, so be sure to look closely!). Despite the fact that I had not ever sewn up a Wardrobe By Me pattern, I signed up to test the new Curvy option for the Daisy Dropped Shoulder Blouse. The Curvy Daisy Dropped Shoulder Blouse is only slightly different than the original Daisy Dropped Shoulder, as it has a dart, and is drafted for a curvier block.

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I sewed up View A in a lovely rayon voile from my local Fabricland. I chose to use the curved neckline with a straight hem and facings for the arms and neck, along with a pocket. There are several options you can choose from to make your own Daisy, including using knit (size down) or woven, long sleeves, a V-neck, a curved hem…

I love how easy to wear this top is. It’s casual enough to wear with jeans, but  I could tuck it into a skirt and feel a whole lot classier. It’s also a very simple sew, and that dart gives it excellent shaping. I want to make another one in a sheer sweater knit to wear over a camisole this winter.

 

This pattern is on sale for $7.00USD for the next week, along with the original Daisy. If my version inspired you to make your own, please feel free to use my affiliate link.

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Watcha Wearin January – So Many Ways to Wear a Sweater Dress

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Brrr, it is officially January. Every year, January is the month I dread the most — where I live, it is bitterly cold, gloomy, long, endlessly cold and snowy. And so far this month, that’s exactly what it’s been. Excuse me while I go snuggle up in a blanket to write the rest of this post.

I’ve joined up on SewingByTi’s Watcha Wearin January blog tour, where a bunch of bloggers are showing you what we’re wearing in January! Hopefully this tour helps get you back to your sewing room after all the holiday craziness, and maybe inspires you on how to spend some of that Christmas money. There are also two giveaways you can enter! There’s a Rafflecopter giveaway for a random prize winner, as well as a linky party! If you are wearing anything handmade at any point this month, be sure to take a picture and add it to the linky party! Check out all of these amazing sponsors!

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As I said, January here is bitterly cold, so I have a tendency to wear bulky sweaters and jeans every day, but just because it’s cold doesn’t mean I can’t be stylish, right? So I bought some crazy soft french terry from LA Finch Fabrics, and made a classic Colette Moneta dress. A neutral sweater dress can be dressed up, dressed down, and layered in so many ways, you can just about wear it every single day. Right now, I’m wearing it with warm fleecey tights and a bulky infinity scarf, so that I’m warm and cozy, but still stylish. I played around and took pictures of as many outfits as I could think of. Mouse over or click on a photo for pattern details.

Everything you see above except the belt, necklaces and tights are all me-made! Which means that you can duplicate any of the looks that you like.

So – which of the Moneta looks is your favourite? What are you wearing in January? And can you believe how many prizes there are?

Be sure to check out all of the rest of the posts this week for more inspiration on what to wear in January!

Sunday, January 8th: Sewing By Ti, Embrace Everyday, Doodle Number 5

Monday, January 9th: Sewing By TiTenille’s Thread

Tuesday, January 10th: Robynne and the BobbinHarper+Lu

Wednesday, January 11th: 5 out of 4 Patterns, Sewingly Michelle

Thursday, January 12th: Crafty Like A RoxSewSophieLynn

Friday, January 13th: Creative Counselor, Sewing By Ti

Saturday, January 14th: Wild & Wanderful

Flowy Tanks – Head to Head

As everyone who spends a lot of time shopping for patterns knows, there are a lot of similar patterns out there. I often see people ask about the differences between specific patterns, or which of a few patterns they should buy. It can be hard to decide which is going to be the best fit for you. And even worse – how many of us are guilty of buying patterns that are very similar to ones we own, and yet haven’t even used yet? I know I am!

And so, I took on a challenge to do something about that. I combed through my pattern stash, and I found three patterns that are all for loose flowing tanks, and proceeded to sew all three up within a day — you know, like you do.

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The three patterns I used were the Santa Fe Top from Hey June Patterns, the Key West Tank from New Horizons Patterns, and the Free Spirit Tank from Patterns for Pirates. Above, you can see the chart I made, which answers a lot of questions to begin with. The three patterns all have different size ranges, and offer different options and views.

The fabric that I used for all three tops is a slubby jersey knit from Fabricland. I had 3m of it, and I just managed to cut out all of the tanks. Although I had to get creative and piece the back of the last tank I cut. So I’m sorry to the Key West tank for that awkward seam down the back…

I should also note I got a brand new serger for Christmas (YAY!), and these tanks were the first projects I made on it. So I apologize for the puckered side seams and the uneven banding. I’m learning. But I’m so very excited to be learning!

Okay, now onto the tanks!!

First up: The Santa Fe Top from Hey June Patterns.

I made the Santa Fe in View E, the sleeveless tank with side insets. I made the insets with the same green jersey, and laid crochet lace over top of it. The Santa Fe is described as having a slightly cropped length, and it is the shortest of the three. It also has binding on the neck and arms, as opposed to the bands that the other two patterns have. I made no changes to this pattern, not even the 2″ length adjustment I normally make.

I love the visual shaping that the insets give, and I also do love the options of this pattern. It has a tank view with more narrow shoulders, as well as a dolman t-shirt view, so when I make it again, I’ll mix it up and try a new view.

The biggest pro to this pattern is the different views. The instructions are lain out clearly for each view, and as always, Hey June has professional instructions and drafting. All of the seams are trued on this pattern.

Next up: the Key West Tank from New Horizons Patterns

The Key West tank has a couple of options for you to mix and match with. I made it in the tank length with the racerback and added the pocket. The only alteration I made was to cut the back in two pieces, adding seam allowances and a center back seam. Again, I didn’t add my usual 2″ of length. I like the casual shape of this one. The neckline isn’t too low, nor the armpits. There is flare to this pattern, but it doesn’t swallow me up. The pocket is a cute little addition too.

The biggest bonus to this pattern is it’s free with an code exclusive to their Facebook group, so go join the New Horizons Facebook Group and download this pattern.

And last, but not  least: the Free Spirit Tank from Patterns for Pirates.

I made my Free Spirit Tank with the standard shirt length hem and the racerback. I absolutely love the shape of this racerback. It frames my shoulder tattoo so perfectly, and I just love having tops that I know will show it off. This one is the most fitted through the bust, and it drapes nicely through the waist and hips.

The biggest pro to this pattern is the multitude of options. They’re all mix-and-match, which leaves you with nearly endless tank options.

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Here is a front view of all three tanks – Santa Fe, Key West, and Free Spirit – in that order. You can see that the Santa Fe is more cropped, and you can also see the difference in ease at the bust here.

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A back view – Santa Fe, Key West, and Free Spirit – in that order again. I have to say that I love how the Free Spirit frames my back tattoo. I will note again that the Key West pattern does not have a center back seam, I had to piece it as I was short on fabric.

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Although these three are all flowy tanks, that’s about the only similarity they have. They’re all unique patterns, and they offer different features. I think all three are great patterns, and all are certainly worth sewing. Really, it all comes down to personal preference.

So what do you think? Which one is your favourite? Which would you sew?

Robynne’s Top 5 Highlights

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2016 has been a fascinating year for me. While I can’t believe it’s almost over, I kind of love sitting here and looking back on the past 12 months… So much has happened, so much has changed, and there’s so much to learn from it all.

Gillian over at Crafting a Rainbow does these Top 5 posts at the end of every year, and since I love looking back, I’m going to join in! You can see my Top 5 Hits post here, and my Top 5 Misses post here. So now it’s time for my Top 5 Non-Sewing Highlights.

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The first half of my year was nearly consumed by sewing. I was completely absorbed and spent almost all of my spare time creating. And then in July, the rest of my life got a little crazy. My sewing was dialed back from then on. I’ve still been creating, and sewing is still my creative hobby, but the rest of my life certainly did take over. So what happened with the rest of my life, you ask? Well, here are my top 5 highlights:

  1. I adopted Gidget. Oh goodness, there’s no way this could be anything but my number one highlight for 2016. My wriggly, adorable, excitable and loyal little ball of love came home with me in August. Sometimes she’s a bit of a handful, and she certainly does require a lot of my time and energy, but her endless love and adoration makes up for everything. There has never been a single moment that I regretted bringing her home. She is absolutely everything I wanted in a dog(/baby), and she brings me so much joy.
  2. We moved into a house I love. We’re only renting, but after two absolutely terrible landlords in a row, and a couple less than ideal homes in the past, I was beyond excited to move into our current place in March. It’s adorable, it’s pet-friendly, it has a whole room that is dedicated to my sewing, and it has a whole garage dedicated to my husband’s many hobbies.
  3. My husband and I took our first roadtrip alone together since our honeymoon. Marc and I have taken a few trips/roadtrips since our wedding, but we’ve always seemed to have friends or family with us. This summer, we left everyone behind, and we went for a long weekend away. It was short, but absolutely lovely, and much appreciated. I’m going to try much harder to make sure we get away together at least once a year from now on.
  4. I earned my motorcycle license! It was a terrifying experience, and to be perfectly honest, I haven’t been on a bike since my course. But I’m still really proud of myself for taking that first step, and I’m sure next summer I’ll get out there (and re-learn everything) and continue with this adventure.
  5. I shaved my head! Okay… well, part of it. For some reason, I’ve always wanted to just shave my head. Just buzz it all off and be done with it. This summer, I allowed myself a small compromise, and I got an undercut – where a small part of the back of my head was shaved. Just because! Why not? I really loved it when it was freshly shaved, but I found it too high-maintenance, so I started growing it out. Which apparently is really slow and annoying… Ah well. Achievement get, right?

Robynne’s Top 5 Misses of 2016

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2016 has been a fascinating year for me. While I can’t believe it’s almost over, I kind of love sitting here and looking back on the past 12 months… So much has happened, so much has changed, and there’s so much to learn from it all.

Gillian over at Crafting a Rainbow does these Top 5 posts at the end of every year, and since I love looking back, I’m going to join in! You can see my Top 5 Hits post here, and now it’s time to take a more sombre tone, and look at my Top 5 Misses of 2016.

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Purple Moneta

Ah, this one started out so well-intentioned… I was sorting out my sewing room’s closet, when I came across one of my earliest sewing projects. I had followed a Pinterest picture to create a medieval-styled dress. It was, well, rough around the edges (literally) and ill-fitting, and I’d used completely the wrong fabric for such a project. But since it was huge, and had minimal seams, I excitedly cut it up to create something I could actually wear! I cut it into a Colette Moneta dress, and quickly sewed it up. Before hemming, I tried it on to see if I should lower the neckline. Aaannnddd I felt like a sausage popping out of its casing. You can’t totally see in the photo above, but this dress is skin tight. It’s crazy. Then I realized the fabric I used – a textured polyester double knit – had actually no stretch. I assumed it was like the texted poly’s I use, but I guess it’s probably a lot older (a friend gave it to me for free years ago), and not at all similar. Lesson learned: check fabric stretch before cutting it out. Ah well, my little sister is a size smaller than I, so I’ll give it to her, and she’ll probably love it.

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Free Spirit Tank

I made this rayon/spandex Free Spirit Tank for my spring PR Wardrobe Contest, and at first, I loved it. That first photo above was before I hemmed it. The middle photo was after hemming, but then I wore it, washed it, and when I wore it again, the hem was all out of whack. So I carefully marked even lengths all the way around, and hemmed it again. Once it was washed again, the hem was all funky again! Urgh. The fabric came from the bargain center at Fabricland and cost me $2/m. I quickly realized that it was just a case of get-what-you-pay-for, and I gave up on the top after taking photos for the contest. Lesson learned: Cheap fabric makes cheap clothes.

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Hot Pink Shorts

Another item from my PR Wardrobe Contest entry, I so wanted to love these shorts. But I made these from a new pattern, hoping for a wearable muslin. However, I really needed to adjust the rise on the pattern. I also rushed through making them, and didn’t finish all of the seams on the inside. And again, I used cheap fabric from Fabricland. (Well, not super duper cheap, but basically, I’ve learned not to buy stretch denim from Fabricland. My expectations of stretch denim is much higher than what Fabricland offers.) They stretched and bagged out weirdly within a day, as well as fitting strangely through the rise, and they started to fall apart in the wash. So they were retired at the end of summer. Lesson learned: Sometimes it’s okay for a muslin not to be wearable.

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Puppy Print Tank

Another project that I so wanted to love – a modified Vienna tank in cotton poplin. But, a few things went wrong. 1) I don’t wear novelty prints. I love them, I admire them on other people, but I just plain don’t wear them. 2) It feels like scrubs. I added that scalloped hem to make it not feel like scrubs, but it still does. Cotton poplin kind of just has that feel to it. 3) That hem needs constant ironing and fiddling to make it sit nice. After one wash, it went into my I-need-to-iron this pile, and that’s where it still lives. I could iron it and handstitch the hem facing down more often, but see points 1 and 2. Lesson learned: Fabric choice is key.

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Bird print chiffon top

Oh man – another item from my PR Wardrobe Contest entry. This one is a little blouse made from polyester chiffon from JoAnn, using a modified Simplicity pattern. The problems with it? 1) Static. Oh, so much static. This top clings like crazy no matter what I do because of all the static. It would shift up and down and all over town as I wore it as well. 2) Uneven and too-short hem. I forgot the lengthen this top, and the shifty chiffon left me with an uneven hem. It bothered me to the point of distraction every time I wore it. Looking at these photos again, I really like the shape and style. I really should make this pattern again, just using a better suited fabric. Lesson learned: Don’t buy cheap fabric. And if you do, use it for a non-wearable muslin.

 

So, all in all, these misses weren’t too terribly bad. Actually, they all seem to be caused by poor fabric choice. As I go into the next year, I will be much more mindful about buying high quality fabric, as well as pairing fabric with patterns better.

Robynne’s Top 5 Hits of 2016

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2016 has been a fascinating year for me. While I can’t believe it’s almost over, I kind love sitting here and looking back on the past 12 months… So much has happened, so much has changed, and there’s so much to learn from it all.

Gillian over at Crafting a Rainbow does these Top 5 posts at the end of every year, and since I love looking back, I’m going to join in!

So, without further ado, here are my Top 5 Hits of 2016!

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Bridesmaid Dress

I started on this project on January 2nd, and I didn’t let myself touch anything else until I was finished with it. So, not only was it the first project of my year, but it is one that I am so very proud of as well. A friend of mine came to me in the previous fall, and said she was having trouble finding the bridesmaid dress she wanted. So we sat down, and looked through patterns, fabric, dress shapes, until we built her perfect dress for her sister’s wedding. It was a huge undertaking for me, as I had never fitted anything to anyone else’s body. But I took it step by step, did a lot of fittings, made a cheap muslin, and ordered extra fabric to cover any mistakes. In the end, I was so very proud of how it came out. My friend loved it, and I am so happy that I tackled such a huge project so early in my sewing adventure. (I’d been sewing seriously for less than a year then)

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Simplicity 1961

This sweater gets so. much. wear. The poor thing started pilling before I even managed to take photos of it. I love adding a pop of bright teal to most of my outfits, I love the shape, the options to tie it, and the stretchy-ness of the fabric. I made this sweater as part of my PR Mini Wardrobe Contest, and I do often wear it with the shirts I made for that wardrobe, but I also wear it with just about everything else in my closet. I really ought to make more of this pattern — I just hate how much of a fabric hog it is.

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Twill Grainline Maritimes

These shorts. Ah, these shorts. I wish it was summer again, so I could wear them some more. I’ve actually worn them a couple of times since it got cold, with tights layered underneath, just because I love them so much. The neutral navy goes with everything I own, the fabric is a soft cotton twill that relaxes with wear, and the pattern is such a perfect fit for summer shorts for me. You can bet your bottom dollar that I will be making more Maritime shorts this summer.

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Chambray Cheyenne

This was another of my summer staples, but this shirt also carried me into fall. I haven’t worn it much since it snapped really cold, since I find it hard to wear a sweater over the elbow-length sleeves. But that’s okay, nearly none of my wardrobe can truly be worn year round here, in the land of crazy seasons. I love this shirt because it’s so easy to wear. I love the soft cotton chambray that only gets softer as I wash it. I love the loose relaxed fit that still shows some curves. It got a lot of wear, and it will be one of the first shirts to get pulled out come springtime.

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Thread Theory Fairfield

I’m not sure if I can call this shirt an “unselfish sew” or not. Technically, I made it for someone other than myself, but I also made it because I wanted my husband to wear it for photos. He didn’t request it, and he kept insisting I didn’t need to go to all that trouble… What a sweetie. Either way, this shirt was one of the few projects I made for someone other than myself this year. I love it for that reason, but I’m also so incredibly proud of it. I love the fact that I made a men’s dress shirt with my own two hands. I love all the details. I love how it looks on my significant other. I just love it. In fact, my husband wore this shirt to my staff Christmas party and (after a few glasses of wine) I was telling everybody they should admire it, since I made it. That’s how proud of it I am.

 

So there you have it. My top 5 hits of 2016. The 5 projects I am most proud of, that I wore the most, or that I love the most.

1 Puddle Lane Miss Isabella

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Normally we don’t have much for autumn here —  we get a couple of weeks where the leaves turn, then fall, and before long the snow comes. Typically we’re facing winter weather by the end of October. But this year, we’ve hardly had any snow, and the temperatures have been far above normal. I suppose we’ve had what most places call fall!

Most years, I find myself craving plaid button-ups for about a week or two, and then I’m cozied up in oversized sweaters until March. This year, however, I’ve been daydreaming about the perfect fall wardrobe – scarves and boots and button-ups galore. Oh, and the colours! All I want to wear is dark red, forest green, navy blue…

And that leads us to my latest project. I found this lightweight woven rayon at my local Fabricland, forgotten and buried in the clearance center. It wrinkles like crazy (mostly when darling hubby insists on running errands before taking photos for me), but it’s soft and drapes like a dream.

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I tested the new Miss Isabella top for 1 Puddle Lane. I’ve tested for 1 Puddle Lane once before. Their styles are classic and flattering with unique design details. The latest is no exception. Miss Isabella is an asymmetrical top and dress with three lengths – top, tunic and dress. There is a sleeveless option as well as two different sleeves.

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I chose to make the top length in View C, with the long split sleeves. The top features a scoop neck with a facing, an asymmetrical hem with a split detail on the longer side, and a center back seam, which makes any sway back adjustments simpler.

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The top has a loose fit throughout, so it’s best made it light fabrics with a lot of drape. As you can see, it was fairly windy the day I took pictures — Oh, who am I kidding? I live in Saskatchewan, it’s allllways windy. It was also pretty chilly, and I nearly froze my little tushie off taking these photos. I guess I’ll have to sort out an indoor option for taking photos until spring.

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The pattern does have specific cutting instructions so that your asymmetrical top comes out facing the correct way. However, my silly brain got my right side and wrong side confused again, and now my top goes the wrong way. Whoops.

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In these photos, I’m wearing my new top with a pair of StyleArc Barb Pants. I made these out of a stretch suiting I found at my local Fabricland. Without any closures, these pants are a very quick sew, and with an elastic waist, they’re very comfortable as well.

The night before we took these photos, my husband asked if I would be ready, and what I planned on wearing with the top. I told him I had planned on wearing some black pants that I hadn’t made yet. He laughed and told me I didn’t have time.

The next morning, I showed him my finished top (which wasn’t quite done the night before) and my pants, and told him I won. Then I admitted that I had stayed up until 2am making the pants, and I had to wake up at 8am in order to finish the top. He told me I hadn’t won, that he was right — I really didn’t have time. Hahaha. Ah well. I finished the outfit, and it felt good to pour so much of me into sewing again. I’ve kind of lost that spark that used to keep me in my sewing room for hours. Now it feels like it’s coming back again.

My Bodice Block Adventures

I’m a little lazy, I’ll admit, but lately my sewing time has been so restricted that I really try to make the best of it. I’ve had this image of a blouse floating around in my head for months, and although I have the perfect fabric, I just can’t find a pattern for what I want.

And so, I’ve decided to take the plunge and self-draft it from a sloper. Crazy, right? I mean, I’m the kind of person who loves to follow directions, so I really don’t like self-drafting things. Hell, I barely even like modifying patterns.

I started with the basic two-dart bodice from the book Sew Many Dresses, Sew Little Time. I’ve made the princess seam bodice before, but had yet to even trace the basic bodice. I traced it out of the book, sewed it up in a plain broadcloth fabric, and checked for fit. There were a couple of very small things I could have perfected, but I was actually very happy with it as it was.

Once I finished with that, I realized that I’d have to trace the pattern again to cut it up, and then trace that again. Ugh. I mean, I see the value in tracing patterns, but efffff that. So I got a little creative. I wasn’t sure if it would work, but it worked brilliantly, so I’m sharing it here.

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Above is the pattern as traced from the book. As I said, I checked for fit before doing this. And then I photocopied that tissue paper! Yep.  I just set it on my scanner/printer/photocopier and photocopied it. I moved it around and printed three seperate pages so I that I pretty much had all of the bodice, and then glued those pages together.

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I laid the tissue over the photocopy to make sure everything came out, and traced onto the paper anything that didn’t.

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And then, I treated it like a bodice block. I cut out the darts, and maniplulated like ya do. To be more specific — I moved the waist dart and about half of the bust dart to create more fullness at the bottom, then sliced to the neck and moved the rest of the bust dart there.

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Then I traced my sliced up photocopy (which was glued and taped and cut and a total mess), and came out with teh above bodice. It has no darts, and the neckline is to be gathered it a little. Oh! And I scooped out the neck using teh template in the book somewhere along the way.

I used the same process to take the darts out of the back piece, and added length to both pieces. Now I can make a plain, simple tank top with a gathered neckline and bias-bound armholes. 🙂

Crop Tops & Pencil Skirts

I’m not much of a pencil skirt kind of person. I typically gravitate towards full skirts – pleated, gathered, flared, but most often pleated. Fitted skirts that emphasise my tummy are just not usually for me. And I also have always kept away from crop tops. For pretty much the same reason – my body shape just doesn’t agree with them.

But when I got this gorgeous floral ponte in the mail from LA Finch Fabrics, it begged to be a pencil skirt. I tried to convince it to be a cardigan or a dress, but it insisted, and finally, I caved.

There are quite a few pencil skirt patterns out there, as it isn’t a complicated design, but I knew this fabric just had to be a Lindy Petal Skirt (aff link). This pattern still has all the class of a pencil skirt, with that fun added detail of the petal front. And you all know how much I like fun details! (Bonus: This PDF pattern is free!)

Once I had this trendy, classy fall skirt made up, I knew I needed the perfect classy top to pair with it. I’ve had the Astoria pattern from Seamwork printed out since summer, but kept passing over it since I wasn’t sure about a crop top. This cream ponte was in my stash, I bought it at my local Fabricland for the bands on a cardigan, and had plenty leftover.

I had a hard time keeping this top so simple – I wanted to add a colourful neckband, or a Peter Pan collar, or scoop out the neckline… But I reminded myself that a plain, simple cream top is easy to pair. A crop top, on the other hand, is not easy to pair. And so, if I keep my crop top super simple, it has the most pairing options available. I’ve already worn it with my pleated Sybil Skirt and it looks amazing with that too! I think this top will be a workhorse for all of my high-waisted skirts.

PS – I’m totally wearing shapewear under this outfit. I’m not ashamed to admit that. I think that if a little bit of shapewear gives you the confidence to wear something you otherwise wouldn’t, by all means – wear it! I love my body, and part of continuing to love my body is self-care. If today, self-care means squeezing into Spanx and getting all dolled up to take pictures, then that is what I’ll do. It’s not fake or vain to appreciate your body, and to give yourself the best chance at appreciating your body. Self-love, body-love, body-positivity, ladies. We can do it.

Double PS – The Astoria top I’m wearing is from Seamwork Magazine. If you sign up using my link, you’ll get your first month for half off, and I’ll get a free month for sharing with a friend. My link is here.