Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Statement Sleeves: Style Arc's Harlow Top

Statement Sleeves.  They're back! I fell in love with bell sleeves many, many years ago, and I was thrilled to see this trend return.
That's why I immediately ordered Style Arc's Harlow Top as soon as it was released (Oct 1), waiting oh so impatiently for my pattern to arrive from Australia.

The recommended fabrics are linen, cotton, crepe and silk.  And I used a ponte knit.

I didn't intend to sew this from a ponte knit, but I had purchased a half yard of this laser cut fabric about a year ago intending to use it on a pencil skirt.  That never happened and when my pattern arrived I thought the laser cut fabric would work beautifully for the split bell sleeve on the top. 
Off to SR Harris I went to look for navy fabric and I liked the color and feel of this ponte knit.  The cold weather may have had something to do with my decision as I wanted something that felt warm!   As an added bonus, I found it on the $4/yard remnant table.
When I sewed the two fabrics together, I had a brief moment of wondering if the laser cut fabric was actually black instead of navy.   In my Instagram photo it does appear darker.  But then I remembered this fabric had a small tag on it that stated "navy".
Construction of the top is simple and the instructions include a diagram to help you visualize the construction order.  The neckline is finished with a facing. There is a keyhole opening in the back with a button and loop closure. I added a thread loop instead of fabric loop. 
If I sewed this again using a knit, I would eliminate the facing and add a binding. The neckline is wide enough to fit over my head without using the button and loop.  I also had to topstitch the facing around the neckline to get it to stay in place.

The body of the top has a slight A-shape and the back is a little longer than the front.
The only alteration I did was an FBA (full bust adjustment). 

Unfortunately, the top is just a wee-bit too large for me in the shoulder/neck area.  That's why you're only seeing it on my dress form. I probably should have started with smaller size and did the FBA.  That's the one draw back about ordering directly from Style Arc.  You order and receive only one size.  (The patterns available on Amazon are nested so you can trace the size you need.)  I could wear it, but my daughter has broader shoulders than I do and I think this would look great on her! 
Harlow Top image from

When I was at SR Harris I also purchased some silk charmeuse with plans for another Harlow Top. So stay tuned!

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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Snake Print Demin With a Touch of Gold: Burda 12-2014-116 Skirt

"I like that skirt. It looks like leather," said hubby when I asked if he'd mind taking a few photos for me.

What?!?  Who are you and what did you do with my hubby?  He only likes it when I sew "normal" clothes, meaning nothing too flashy or attention getting.  

There is nothing spectacular about the design lines of this skirt.  It's simply a straight skirt, with two back darts, a side zip, and a side front seam with a slit. The fun snake print denim fabric is what adds a bit of spunk to the skirt.

Yea, it's a snake print denim. And it has metallic accents. And from a distance I think it does kind of looks like leather.  It's from the dearly departed Hancock Fabrics. (I'm still sad...)

I've paired it here with my Style Arc Cold Shoulder black tee.

The skirt is from the Burda Style December 2014 magazine.  
Supposedly that slit is thigh-high, but it only hits slightly above my knee. And my skirt is quite a bit longer than the one the model is wearing. Obviously I'll need to make an adjustment and shorten this if I sew another.  And stand with my weight shifted and my hip out so everyone can tell there actually is a side slit.
I sewed the skirt last February, tried it on, pinned the hem and tucked it away to hem another day.  I guess after eight months it was time.  The good news is that the skirt is now complete. The bad (well, good actually!) is that I've dropped a few pounds and the skirt needs to be taken in as its designed for a closer fit.

If you follow me on Instagram (sharonmads) you may remember when I posted a pic of the fabric and exposed zipper pinned in place.
It was a just little detail to spice up a plain skirt.  The color match is so good you can barely see the exposed zipper.  Oh, look! There's that side front slit I told you was there!
The skirt is fully lined since the version in the magazine is designed for lace.  I ended up chopping the lining off above the slit because the fabric really didn't need to be lined. It does finish off the waistline though (which I stabilized since there is no waistband.)
I tried to get my hubby to do more of a fashion picture with me and this was the best out of the dozens we tried.  I look even more awkward that I feel, ha! ha!  Good thing I never considered modeling as a career.
When we take pics for the blog, many of them up like the one below.  Mainly because he takes pictures of me in the process of trying to pose, and I'm usually making some ridiculously funny face while standing in an incredibly unflattering pose. (I know, I know, I'm shallow. I want to look decent when I post pics for the world to see.)  Secretly I think it's his way of saying "go buy a remote control for the camera and let me watch football."
Anyway, back to the skirt.  Burda 12-2014, #116, pencil skirt with slit.  Easy to sew, fun to wear, hubby approved.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

McCall's 7441 Drape-back Floral Knit Cardi

"My hubby's going to hate this one!"  That was my first thought as I held up and inspected my completed drape-back cardi from McCall's 7441.   That thought was immediately followed by "Who cares? I like it".
I've learned after nearly 20 years of marriage that our design aesthetics are almost polar opposites. I  simply wear things he really dislikes when I'm out with my girlfriends. This is one of those items.

I suspect to some the back drape on this cardi may look odd, but it's what intrigued me enough to purchase the pattern, McCall's7441.  The design is a simple-to-sew cardi with a draped back and optional hood.
I'm between a small and a medium. I cut the medium so I wouldn't have to do an FBA (full bust adjustment). However,  I found the cardi was quite large on me in the neck/shoulder area. Like sloppy, keep-trying-to-pull-it-in-place, large. I tried to salvage it by removing the sleeves, cutting some fabric away in the upper chest and back area, and reattaching the sleeves but it still doesn't fit properly. I'll cut the smaller size in the shoulder area and do an FBA on the next one.
It's wearable if I tie it in front rather than leave the front edges hanging free.
Construction is so simple.  This is view C and there are only three pattern pieces. Stitch the center back seam, stitch the front and back together at the shoulder seam (I stabilized the shoulder seam with clear elastic), stitch the side seam, add the sleeves, and hem edges with a narrow hem.  I sewed the sleeves in flat, meaning I added the sleeves before stitching the side and sleeve seams. 
To hem, I added a strip of Steam-a-Seam to the wrong side of the fabric before turning the fabric to the wrong side and stitching.

I used a beautiful floral border print rayon jersey knit that I purchased about two years ago at SR Harris Fabric Warehouse.  The flowers were very large, and I didn't have enough fabric to lay out the pattern pieces in a symmetrical pattern, but it's not that noticeable with the back drape.
I feel like I'm wearing a large watercolor painting :-) 
This cardi - view C - called for 2-3/4 yards of 60"wide fabric.  You won't be able to skimp on this.  A lot of fabric is needed for the drape on that back pattern piece.
I like it. I think it's a fun cardi and plan on sewing myself another for the fall season.

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Monday, September 05, 2016

Style Arc Cold-Shoulder Knit Top and Flat Bottom Flo Pants

Style Arc, I think I love you!
Another winner from Style Arc! This time I sewed the Cold-Shoulder Knit Top (which was one of the free patterns for August 2016), and my third pair of Flat Bottom Flo pants (love the fit, hate the name).

The top is designed to hug the body. Since that's not my personal preference I added width and also did a full-bust adjustment so it would skim over my body.
I used a black ITY knit that has been in my stash for a few years. It was left over from when I sewed a 1970s era Scott Barrie disco dress (Vogue 2194) to wear to the annual Minnesota History Center's RetroRama.
The seams on the top are 1/4". I stitched all the seams using a 0.5 wide, 3.0 length zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine, then finished with a three-thread stitch on my serger. The neck, shoulder, and upper arm edges are simply serged, turned to the wrong side, and stitched in place. I added 1/4" Steam-a-Seam to the wrong side before turning under and stitching.   The top can be sewn in about an hour.
The Flat Bottom Flo pants are sewn from a stretch woven, purchased about a year ago from Hancock Fabrics.  Sigh.  Who knew that just year later the stores would all be closed.
The elastic treatment on the waistband is so simple, and produced a nice clean finish.  You cut elastic to fit your waist measurement; stitch the elastic ends together forming a circle; place one long edge of the elastic along the fold line for the waistband; stitch in place using a zig-zag stitch stretching to fit.   Fold the waistband wrong sides together encasing the elastic.  I used 1-1/2"  wide elastic instead of 2", which is what the pattern calls for.
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, I posted this picture earlier today showing the top, pants and my shoes. I purchased the Steve Madden shoes from Nordstrom Rack about five weeks ago and they have quickly become one of my favorite pairs.
This entire outfit was inspired by a promotional mailer from Chico's. Knowing the cost of Chico's tops and pants, I am confident my entire outfit cost much, much less!  I love knowing how to sew!
Both patterns are winners from Style Arc. 
Beautiful drafted patterns and on-trend designs.  Is it any wonder I love Style Arc?

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Friday, August 26, 2016

The Summer of Interesting Fabric Sewing Continues: Vogue 9176 Contrast Back Jacket

I'm calling this my summer of sewing interesting fabrics. 

Recently,  I blogged about the "fringey" knit I used to sew a shrug using Vogue 9190.  Today I'm sharing a jacket I sewed with this floral fabric.
I don't even know what to call this fabric. It looks like a mesh, but it's not sheer. There is no stretch. It is fairly stiff (but not heavyweight) and didn't press easily. Solid black appears in the "holes" of the fabric , but the backside is not solid black.  If anyone knows what the fabric is called, please leave a comment. 
I had spotted the fabric in late spring and was intrigued but left it behind as I wasn't sure what I would sew.  When I went back two months later it was completely sold out.  Two huge bolts. 

Or so I thought. I discovered one lone piece that measured about a 1-1/4 yard, piled on the top shelf of the remnant fabrics. Marked down to $6 per yard. I quickly placed it in my cart.

With so little fabric I wasn't positive what I would use it for, eventually choosing to sew an unlined jacket using Vogue 9176.   
I knew I liked the jacket, and the contrast back meant I could get by with less of the main fabric.

Because the fabric was a remnant with limited yardage, I had to make a few changes. I shortened the sleeves to 3/4, shortened the length of the jacket by about an inch, added a seam to the center back yoke, pieced the front facing, and used a contrast for the collar and upper back facings.  
The contrast back has multiple pleats sewn to the curved back yoke.
For the contrast back I used the same fabric that I used for the shoulders on my Burda 6630 Tee.  I love the look on the back of this jacket, but it was so tedious to sew!  My sewing machine needle had trouble with those little rows of pleated ribbon. I hemmed the bottom by hand instead of machine stitching per the pattern instructions.
The jacket does not have a dart, so I did an FBA and added a dart to the pattern.
As I mentioned I used a different fabric for the collar facing. It's a poly-lycra black suiting fabric.
I didn't want the solid black to show on the collar lapels, so I added a vertical seam on the front facing and pieced the facing with the fashion fabric and the black fabric.  When the jacket is worn the pieced facing isn't visible. 
I didn't realize how boxy the jacket looked until I took this selfie in the company workout room. After a loooooooong day at work I probably should have been using the workout room for more than taking a selfie!
Even though it does have a boxy shape due to the stiffness of the fabric, I do like the way the jacket turned out. 

I've had fun these past few months discovering unusual fabrics at SR Harris Fabric. Stay tuned as I am in the process of sewing another one of my "interesting" fabric purchases. 


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