I had some fun in the sewing room recently and took one of my favorite hackable patterns, the Georgia Top, and made this creamy contrast stitch top that will take me from summer right into fall. I documented the whole process and I have it here for you in a video. Enjoy!
It's here! The new Andrea Wrap Dress and Top PDF pattern! And get it for 20% off with code BDPANDREA through August 4th!
This pattern has been so fun to design as it was inspired by a dress I made and loved (and wish I had saved) from the 90's. Of course I updated the look so it's modern for today but it still has the easy to wear feeling from the 90's. Is that Counting Crows I hear playing in the background?
The Andrea Wrap Dress comes in 3 lengths, a hip length top, knee length dress and midi length dress. It's easy to fit and ties just above the waist (no closures!) so it's an easy project for beginners and flattering on most body types.
Make it up in gingham for a fun summer dress, a beautiful silk crepe for an elegant event or cozy it up for fall in a flannel.,
Grab the Andrea Dress Pattern during the 20% off during the New Release Sale. Use code: BDPANDREA. I can't wait to see what you make!
This fall I released the updated Margo Blouse and had some fun making new versions for my closet. Ruffles made their debut on the yoke of the Margo Blouse and to add to the fun I made the New Dover Jacket in pink! Although I've made both of these patterns many times, these pieces both have something special something that makes them new.
Adding ruffles to the Margo has been on my list for quite a while. My inspiration board is full of photos with inspiration for adding ruffles without adding too much frill. After lots of experimentation I landed on adding ruffles around the entire yoke, both front and back.
Here's how I did it:
For a 5/8" finished ruffle, I cut 2 strips of fabric 2 1/4" wide by the width of my fabric, pieced them together, folded and pressed the strip in half lengthwise.
Ran 2 rows of basting stitches, and pulled on the bobbin threads and gathered the entire strip.
Constructed the yoke and facing and basted them together around the perimeter.
Basted gathered ruffle to outer edge of yokes.
Continued constructing blouse.
It got a little bit bulky at the corner so I did lots of grading, trimming and pressing to get everybody to lay flat. I used a poly crepe which isn't typically responsive to the iron, but I persisted and used the iron in combination with my wood clapper (if you're unfamiliar you can check one out here) and I'm happy with the finished product.
Let's face it, I can't pass up corduroy let alone wide wale pink cord. This is dreamy soft with a bit of a distressed texture and I would imagine it's just going to get softer with wear. I made the long version of the Dover Jacket and added large vintage buttons. I've worn this with the ruffle Margo blouse and also a simple t-shirt and scarf. I think it will get lots of wear this spring on crisp days. The roomy pockets are one of my favorite features on this jacket as they hold everything I need for a quick jaunt out. I didn't topstitch this version because I wanted to live with it first, but now I think I will go back and add some about 2" in around the neck and front.
Happy Sewing my friends and may this year bring you all the good things!
I fell in love with this fabric when I saw it on Mood Fabric's website and it's in a color I've never worn before. Butterscotch! I can't pass up butterscotch pudding, candies or my mom's butterscotch chip cookies (she was magical in the kitchen...and everywhere else for that matter) so it's only logical for me to grab this fabric too.
I made view B of the Margo Blouse in this rayon crepe that has a texture something like a bark cloth. It's drapes like crepe which makes it perfect for the Margo and because it has some texture it was easy to work with since it didn't slide around too much.
It was perfect for Thanksgiving and fall but it will also work well in the spring with a creamy sweater or denim jacket. This will get lots of wear!
Keep sewing my friends!
Today I have a video that I hope will make your life a whole lot easier. I'm working on a sleeveless version of the Margo Blouse for the MarfyRemnantChallenge sew along hosted by SewToFit. It's been a fun project that I've made entirely of scraps from my scrap box.
I've made a few changes to the pattern to make if work for my scraps including splitting the front yoke and making it sleeveless. The video illustrates a technique that allows you to enclose the armhole seam without sewing. It's a fun and satisfying!
I will share more about the project soon!
Yes! I have a new pattern to share with all of you! It's the Morrison Top and Dress PDF Pattern! This easy to sew sleeveless top or dress pattern has a scoop neck and pleated bodice. The dress has an elastic waist and side pockets (of course pockets!). And both can be made in either knit or woven fabric. The pattern package comes with full color, illustrated instructions, tiled pattern and copy shop file. It comes in sizes 4-18 and sells for $10!
This pattern came out of a gap I had in my own closet. I was in desperate need of tops that were as easy to wear as a t-shirt but a little more elevated. As I was designing this I realized I could add the option of making it in a woven and then would also have a versatile and comfortable shell. Then I just kept going and added the dress. I can tell you I live in these dresses especially because I work at home and want something that's comfortable but isn't sweatpants! Uh-hem! I just pull it over my head, add a necklace and I'm good to go!
If you're new to sewing this is a great pattern for you because it's easy to sew and easy to fit. Start with the top as your first project because it only has three pattern pieces then move on to the dress as your second project. And if you're a seasoned sewist you can use this pattern as a quick wardrobe builder and as a great basic to be creative with. You can add piping to the pockets (one tester did this and it's adorable!), change the bodice pleats to gathers, add a drawstring with eyelets and a tie...the options are endless. One of my goals as a designer is to create affordable AND versatile patterns that can be used over and over again!
I had some wonderful testers that helped me with the Morrison Pattern and I'll be sharing their makes soon along with some tutorials on making this your own.
I really hope you enjoy it!
I'm excited to announce my new PDF pattern, The Morrison Top and Dress will be released March 4th! It's an easy to sew and fit top and dress pattern suitable for all sewists, including beginners!
Join my newsletter for a new release coupon!!!
Can't wait to share it soon!
I know I’m not the only sewist out there that consistently plans to make “basics” but never gets around to it. Well pat me on the back, I made a white blouse! Which is a good thing since I didn’t have one in my closet. Here's a quick post on my new wardrobe addition.
I used my new friend Butterick 5997 View A without sleeve tabs. This is my second run of this pattern (the first is here) and I have to say I love this one just as much. It feels elegant but is as comfortable as a sweatshirt. My only challenge with this will be keeping it clean!
I used a medium weight Tencel twill from Fabricland. If you find a Tencel twill my advise is buy it now and ask questions later. The drape is beautiful, it presses well and has enough body for a blouse, dress or even pants.
The collar band is a key part of this blouse and these aren't always the easiest. I used Maris's method of construction for the band and it's gorgeous without any hand sewing. You should check it out!
For winter, I want to make a 70’s inspired dress and I’m considering using this pattern as the jump off point. By adding an elastic waist and softly gathered skirt this could be a romantic dress that’ll have me humming Fleetwood Mac. Your thoughts? Any other pattern ideas?
Thanks for reading sewing friends,
Well, I really could've used a red blouse back in December but this project didn't all come together for me until February. So we could look on the bright side and say I got my December 2019 red blouse already finished! And what's even better is I used some beautiful fabric I purchased from LA Finch last year so I'm sewing from my stash. Ahead of the game stash sewing is a win, win!
This is Butterick 5997, and I've admired the blouses Lori of Girls in the Garden has made with this pattern. And if it weren't so close to spring (especially here in SoCal) I'd make another one in flannel just like the one she did. I love this sewing community because would I have ever thought this would be a great pattern for a flannel without Lori's inspiration? We have some creative sewists out there and I'm really glad people take the time to share.
I pretty much made View A except I kept the front length like View B and didn't make the cuffs on the sleeve. This rayon twill is just too soft to hold a cuff and I like the look without it. If you're looking for a blouse that's long enough for leggings, this is it. This is my second collar band blouse in a row (not sure why) and it's not out of my system quite yet as I have a piece of this fabric in navy that I have set aside for a banded collar dress.
When I sew this again I'll make the shoulder narrower because the sleeve sits just off the shoulder and I think it would look better at the true shoulder line (see above). I suppose I could fix it but am I that bothered by it? All that said, the sleeve is really nicely drafted and popped in easily. And friends, this blouse is very roomy. My measurements are very close to a Big 4 size 14 but I find tops fit me much better around the shoulders and neck if I make a 12. Anyone else do this? Occasionally I will do a small wide back adjustment on a 12 (not on this top) but if I make a 14 it just looks sloppy. I heard Melissa Watson of McCall's patterns talk about this on the Love to Sew podcast and it just made so much sense! It was especially important to stay on the smaller side with the loose fit of this top.
I highly recommend this pattern and will be making it again. Wouldn't it be a nice basic white blouse? Do you know I don't have a single white blouse in my closet?
I have lots more to share as I've been sewing like crazy. 8 Pieces so far this year!
Sometimes you find yourself in a place you'd never expect or even know is possible. It’s happened to all of us too many times to count, right? Well, I’ve found myself over the last few months in just such a place and I’m using sewing to get me through.
I’m a pattern designer and up until 7 months ago I was also a sewing teacher. My dream job. First hand, I was able to see the life changes that come when someone learns how to take a flat piece of cloth and turn it into something. It can be truly magical! I’ve seen sewing mend a heart from a broken engagement and give someone who’s no longer a caregiver a sense of purpose. It’s helped those people who have, like me and maybe you, had a life change.
2 years ago I started feeling not quite like myself. It’s actually a long and drawn out story that I won't bore you with but over a period of several months and many doctors, I found myself plagued with vision issues, body weakness, numbness, fatigue, speech problems and difficulty walking and navigating stairs. My family, friends and students watched me change and I tried to hide my problems but it was getting more and more difficult and scary. After 16 months of doctors I landed in a brilliant university neurologist’s office and she ran hoards of tests and found I had Lyme disease. What? Shocking for all of us since they say “Lyme disease doesn't exist in California” which is a dirty lie, by the way, that thankfully my doctor didn’t believe. I was losing my sweet mom to pancreatic cancer at the time of my diagnosis so I put off treatment while I took care of her. Soon after I said “Goodbye” to my mom, I underwent treatment that cleaned out the Lyme bacteria but left me with additional nerve and muscle damage. Thankfully, I’m now on my way to recovery with physical and occupational therapy and the help of an army of family and friends.
This really is going to be about the blouse, I promise.
Before this all happened, the “things” that made me tick were sewing and distance running. I now walk very slowly with the help of a bright blue walking stick I named “Eileen” which is an improvement over my former walker which I didn’t name (probably because I lost my sense of humor for a bit there). I may not be a distance runner anymore but I am happy with the leg progress I’ve made as I can walk further as each month goes by. My hands have not healed quite so quickly so sewing has turned out to be difficult and I’ll go so far as to say disheartening. But given my new disabilities/changes I’m trying to figure out how to get back in touch with myself while feeling separated from the things that made me tick (pun completely intended).
But we’ve all been here. Well, maybe not exactly here but here in the sense that we all have hiccups and interruptions in our lives that take us away from the things that make us us. In my case it’s physical but maybe for you the interruption was a wonderful thing like having a baby, getting a new job or moving to a different city or something difficult like being a caregiver or recovering from a loss. So how do we find our way back? Or, the better question is how do we stay in touch with ourselves while embracing our current situation?
Pretty philosophical for a sewing blog, but those of you who consider yourselves “makers” and you have trouble “making” for whatever life reason have all pondered this.
I can tell you the solution to some of my problems started with this shirt. Who knew McCalls 7360 would help me climb this hill? I call this shirt the “Happy Shirt” for obvious reasons, it looks happy. But really this should be dubbed “The Occupational Therapy Shirt” not as sexy a moniker but certainly accurate.
When I first tried to sew after my treatment, I wasn’t strong enough to cut fabric and could only sit up for a short period of time. It was discouraging and thus I stayed away from my sewing room. I had ideas and the desire to sew but it was difficult to bring myself to try.
With my initial sewing failure fresh in my mind, one of my first occupational therapy goals was “to cut fabric.” I’m not sure my therapist has ever had a patient with that goal but there it was. With practice and by using both hands (and the help of new easier scissors from my thoughtful husband and son) I did it! Since this went well I decided to really use sewing to help me heal. My next goal was to make a shirt with a collar. Don’t you just wonder what my therapist thought? My therapist said “Okay, in how long? Let’s quantify it. Don't think about how long it would take the “old Diane” but how long it will take you now.” “Well, the 'old Diane' would make this in 4-ish hours so the “current Diane” can do it in 8 hours. I’ll allow myself twice the time.” I said. “Great! Keep track of your time and let’s see how it goes. If it takes you longer it doesn’t matter, just do it.” She said.
Setting goals has always worked for me and this new goal freed me up to walk into my sewing room, turn on the timer and start. Somehow this approach separated me from the disappointment of before and the sadness that comes with thinking about what I can’t do anymore and allowed me to move forward. More than 14 hours later here it is, my goal achieved! Yes, it took me more than 3 times what it would’ve before and the quality of my work is not the same but the maker in me is alive once again.
My doctor recently said to me when I asked how long it would take me to recover “We aren't going to talk about time, we are only going to talk about progress.” You can imagine how hard it was for the impatient me to hear that. But I thought about it for a few days, really digested it and decided to own it. It’s been just about the most helpful thing I’ve heard. I made something. That’s progress. We aren’t going to talk about the time it took.
I’ve physically adapted to so many things and I can adapt my thinking too. It doesn’t matter how many things I make in a month or how perfect they are, I just need to make progress. Are you here too? Have you had a baby and you don’t have time? Can you find 15 minutes twice a week to make progress? Did your life change involve moving to a different place and you don’t have room to sew or a job where you work more? Can you pick up some hand work that will move your skills forward as you work in your kitchen or on your lunch break?
Sewing is a great way to help me get back to me. I watched it happen in my students and now it’s my turn.
Oh and by the way, I loved this pattern and the butter soft Robert Kaufman corduroy from Fabricland. I made a contrast under placket, tab and collar facing with 1/2 yard of the cotton lawn print. I even had enough of the floral to bind the sleeve seams so the rolled up sleeve looks finished. This shirt is a keeper…for so many reasons.
If you made it to the end of this very long blog post, I thank you for taking the time. It felt good to get it out.
Happy Sewing Friends!
Hi! I'm Diane, a wife, mom, sewing teacher and pattern designer from sunny Southern California. I share my sewing adventures here on the Blue Dot Blog formerly Gatorbunnysews. For more info click here.