I’m calling this my “Corporate Headshot Day Outfit.” It feels very Follow the Money, no?
For this make, I used a light weight stretch poplin from my fabric stash for the Sewaholic Oakridge Blouse. It’s crisp and I love the rich colour. I knew I wanted a larger statement bow, so I added two inches to the width and eight inches to the length. I wanted to up the drama, but also balance the proportions with my bust.
Sewaholic Patterns are (were?) made for pear-shaped bodies, so a full-bust-adjustment (1 inch) was in order. I was planning on adding width to the sleeves, but I was on a roll with my French seams and forgot to change the math.
The fit is better than it appears in the photos. I have found that this stretch fabric sticks to both my bra and the pant fabric. I don’t know if that’s due to fit, or just that it was -24C at the time of these photos. I have made a version of this shirt before (the one without the bow) in a plain cotton and I don’t get any excess fabric around the armpits on that one. It’s nothing extreme, but I’ll be interested to try this shirt on with a different – handmade – bra. (Insert all the prayer-hands and fingers-crossed emojis for that particular experiment).
Project: Oakridge Pussy Bow Blouse
Total Cost: $55
Time: 10 hours.
Fit: Size 2 with a 1 inch FBA, super-sized the bow.
Techniques: French seams, internal sleeve plackets, buttonholes.
What to work on: Making a better bra! And some dresses, and some trousers. I’ve been on a shirt making streak, but I’ve got to stop procrastinating with them.
The February item for Project Sew My Style was the Saunio Cardigan from Named Patterns. I’ve thought about making this pattern several times, but it always got passed over for something more exciting. I think this is mainly due to the styling of the sample: I found it hard to visualize past their cabled version.
For my sweater, I decided to use this tweedy knit I had stashed away from Stylemaker Fabrics. I had originally intended it for a Driftless Cardigan, using the right side of the fabric, but, after playing around with both sides I decided I liked the wrong side more! I did want to see a bit of the original though, so I ended up using some of it for the facings. And of course, the more I played with the fabric, the more it unravelled, which I also liked. I sewed the pieces right-to-wrong sides, and left the seams exposed for added texture. I added a line of stitching along the bodice and the sleeves as a hem.
I have enough fabric left to make a belt if I decide I want one, but for now, I really like the boxy shape and the dropped shoulders. I started wearing the jacket before I was even completely finished making it and have gotten compliments each time. It’s filled a hole in my wardrobe quite nicely.
Project: Tweedy Saunio Cardigan
Total Cost $47.43
Fabric: $32.73 (CAD)
Time: 4 hours
Fit Adjustments: None. Straight size S (EU size 32-36)
I was all set to make the biggest bell-sleeve option of the Dove Blouse from Megan Nielsen until I saw what the pattern piece looked like. I could have used it as a template to make a shield – it was bigger than me! But after some online encouragement, I decided to go for it. After all, once I tire of the bells, I can always take them off and still have a great shirt. In that spirit, I also broke out this rayon from Cotton and Steel that I have been putting off using. I couldn’t find the right project for the fabric that would fit within my 2.5 metres. I cut very strategically (I had to piece together the neck facings), but I just eked it out, giant sleeves and all.
I wasn’t sure how the sleeves would look in the print, but I was happily surprised with the results! I feel like it’s going to be hard to have a bad day in this shirt. I made the XS, which was again an experiment and I’m glad I did. I find it too long, but I suspect this rayon will continue to shrink. The neckline is also lower than I would usually go and a bit much for the office. I’ll raise that next time. I used french seams where possible, and finished the bottom hem by hand. There are times when the neck rises up away from me (depending on how I stand), but I’m not sure what this means for the fit – it’s too long in the upper bodice? Needs an FBA?
I let the sleeves hang for a good day before I hemmed them as they are cut on the bias, but they didn’t stretch out too dramatically. However, one side stretched out more than the other. I have a vintage dress form and it is certainly drunken in stance, so perhaps that contributed. I also discovered the warm-climate nature of big bells: you try cramming that much material into coat sleeves!
Since this shirt is a little too low for the office, I’ll have to wear it out instead. Must be time for wine, no?
Project: Floral Dove Blouse by Megan Neilsen
Pattern: $17 CAD
Time: 10 hours, including PDF assembly
Techniques: French seams, French darts
Fit Adjustments: Straight size XS. I’ll need to shorten the length and raise the neckline next time.
I had purchased this fabric intending to wait for warmer temperatures to make it, but judging by the amount of snow we just received, Spring is still very far away indeed. I decided to cheer myself up by diving into this woven from Andover fabrics (part of the Dream Weaves collection). It was very easy to work with, but, the right side and the wrong side of the fabric are nearly identical, so there were a few steps where I tripped myself up.
I made the 2nd variation of the Archer Button Up Shirt from Grainline Studio (AKA the Bum-Ruffle Shirt). This was my first Archer and it was easy to see why this is a mainstay for garment-sewers. It’s roomy and relaxed without looking like I stole my husband’s shirt and lends itself to endless customization. I opted not to use the breast pockets (they are a little too oversized and boob-tastic for me).
I made a size 6 and didn’t need any kind of a full-breast-adjustment – no pulling here! I used the burrito-roll technique for the shoulder seams and flat-felled others where I could, with mixed results. I found it difficult to flatten out the gathered seam allowance enough to create even seams around the shoulders. I did however, finally, remember to label my sleeves, so I actually put the correct sleeve on the appropriate side the first time around. I also followed the ever useful, alternate-collar-technique-tutorial from Four Square Walls for a hassle-free finish.
Project: Grainline Studio Archer Button Up
Total Cost: $81
Time: 12 hours, including cutting out the pattern
Techniques: Flat-felled seams, sleeve plackets, burrito roll yokes
Fit: Straight size 6. I could use a narrow-shoulder adjustment next time.
What to work on: Ugh. Flat-felled seams with gathers.
When Seamwork launched, I thought the articles were really interesting, but I wasn’t so sure about the patterns. I’ve been working to build my sewing skills beyond “quick and easy” projects, so I generally skipped over the designs. However, I kept seeing great versions of the Oslo Cardigan online and they always looked so comfortable and just like the kind of layer I like to have.
I downloaded the pattern and I’m happy to report that it is indeed great! As ever, I love how long the sleeves are. I made an extra small in a heathered green and black sweater knit from BlackBird Fabrics. It’s a different colour story of what I used for my DIY JCrew Linden. It’s so soft, but a bit more on the delicate side, so I omitted the buttons and buttonholes. The hem is finished with a twin needle (my machine played nicely this time). I’ve got my eye on a few other Seamwork patterns. I think I’ll use them like little palette cleansers in between more elaborate projects.
I’ve been sick all week and spent most of my time wrapped up in this sweater. Of course, now I want more of them. Next time with the buttons!
Project: Oslo Cardigan
Total Cost: $40.75
Pattern: $15.75 (CAD)
Time: 2 hours, including PDF assembly
Fit Adjustments: None. Straight size XS.
When I saw the post for Project Sew My Style (an online sewing challenge to create a particular item each month) from Bluebird Fabrics on Instagram, I was eager to sign up and give my own handmade wardrobe project some added structure. Luckily for me, I’ve never made any of the designated patterns before. I’m looking forward to taking on some silhouettes that I might not have tried otherwise.
Making the Toaster Sweater was refreshingly quick, which was a relief after the intense projects I’ve been working on. I played around with the lengths of both the front and the back of the shirt and decided on adding one inch to the front and four inches to the back. Originally, I had been more drawn to Version 1 of the sweater, but once I got this on – especially in my extended length – I didn’t want to take it off. The long sleeves make for a very cozy shirt.
I had a little trouble with the hem, as my machine was skipping stitches and the feed dogs were catching with the twin needle. I ripped out most of the hem and did it again. It’s not perfect, but it’s liveable. The fabric is some wonderfully soft french terry from Blackbird Fabrics. (It’s the forest colour.) I also ordered some of the charcoal option (for some Hudson Pants), and I’m hoping to play pattern Tetris and get another Toaster Sweater out of it as well. Being curvy and short, I tend to shy away from boxier tops, but the terry is light enough to drape nicely.
I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s makes. You can follow along on Instagram with #toastersweater2 and #sewmystyle.
Project: Toaster Sweater 2
Total Cost: $31
Pattern: $7.50 (PDF of Version 2 only with project discount)
Fit: Size Small with added length
What to work on: Machine maintenance. Those feed dogs need some oil!
I am the worst kind of shopper: I will see something I like, mutter to myself, “I could make that” and walk away. Then, I rarely ever get around to making my own.
But not today! Instead, I have one of my favourite makes so far to show you.
When I saw the Gayle Sweater from JCrew pop up online, I knew I would easily be able to make my own version from the Linden Sweatshirt pattern from Grainline Studios. The ribbing of this soft sweater knit (another BlackBird Fabrics score) wasn’t an exact match, but I was perfectly happy to have something “inspired” by, rather than a direct copy (although I’m sure I knitting it would be possible, just not by me at this time.)
I have made several Linden sweatshirts over the years (you can see my most recent one here) and they remain some of the most-worn items in my closet. I haven’t worked with sweater knits that much before, but I have several projects made with them to show you this month! I was careful about my cutting and made my usual adjustments for this full-length version: I sized down drastically and cut the width of the band to match body pieces rather using the ribbed band. I also increased the width of the neckband (by about 2.5x) to accommodate the bow.
I’m so happy with it! It feels preppy without being precious and a little tuxedo-inspired.
Project: JCrew DIY Linden
Total cost: $50.99
Fit: Size 2 for the body and sleeves, size 8 for the bottom band. Increased the width of the neckband.
What to work on: Learning to knit!
The Bruyere Shirt from Deer and Doe is a tried-and-true pattern for me. I’ve made several versions before and am always happy with the results. In the past, I have gone up a size and then taken it in as needed, but this time I opted to make my true size just to see the difference. I still removed some of the width of the upper arm, but the fit was pretty good without any kind of full-bust-adjustment. I think I would still try one next time, to help move the waistband down a bit.
Not that I didn’t make any changes, though: I like to interface the waistband as well, which means I also add a lining that piece. I used French seams where I could, but I’ll flat-fell them next time. I took out about 1 inch of length on the bottom pieces, but I feel like I could take out even more. I also moved the button-holes down an inch (I like to line up one within the waistband and go from there).
I was happy to conquer the sleeve plackets this time! I used the pattern piece (and instructions) from the Colette Negroni which was quick, easy and gives a clean finish. I did laugh at how big they are, though. I need to grade the pattern piece down for a better proportion on a woman’s shirt. I was excited that I got them to work, but they feel comically oversized. THEY ARE ALL-CAP PLACKETS. I also sewed the arms on the wrong sides at first and the plackets ended up right at the front. I must remember to mark which arm is which!
I knew I was going to need some long sleeved shirts for winter and this teal Robert Kauffman Shetland Flannel (bought at the lovely Patch Halifax) is so comfortable. I ended up taking out one layer of the interfacing on the collar because the fabric is so thick. I found it was almost too think for the button plackets and they are a little stiff. I’m hoping they will relax after a few washings. This shirt got a lot of wear over the holidays. It’s great for layering and I’ve worn it with leggings around the house and a blazer and trousers out for drinks. (I also have it on in this news story about my project!)
Project: Bruyere Shirt
Total Cost: $76
Pattern: $20 (CAD)
Time: 8 hours
Fit: I made a straight size 38, removing 1 inch of width from the arms and 1 inch of length from the bottom of the shirt.
What to work on: a quick make! This shirt includes 9 button holes, sleeve plackets, pleats, darts, a collar, etc. etc. After this and my winter coats, I’m ready for some less intensive projects.
I was on the hunt for some wardrobe essentials and I knew the Seamly Basic Tee from Indie Sew would be perfect: loose enough to be comfortable and slouchy, but fitted enough that I don’t look like I am wearing my husband’s shirts either. And the pattern part of the PDF was under 20 pages!
I made up 2 versions of the XS size. I didn’t want to use bamboo cotton for these, as I find that a little heavy for the summer. For the first one, I used some soft Melange Viscose Jersey from Blackbird Fabrics. (Sadly, it appears to be sold out – but this grey modal would be great too).
The design is indeed so basic that I didn’t even bother to read the directions. I appreciated that the pattern pieces have grainline instructions on them in very accessible language (“direction of greatest stretch”). The fabric sewed up beautifully and the shirt came together quickly. I serged the seams and simply used a twin stretch needle to finish the hem and sleeves. I skipped sewing down the collar seam allowance on the white version, but will go back and complete that part.
The mint-green-scrubs-colour version, however, was a very different story. The fabric is from my local chain store, and while it’s fine, it absolutely does not compare to how soft the viscose jersey is and it’s already pilling. I also managed to make every mistake possible while making it – including attaching a sleeve upside down. Also, my (very old) machine was having a hard time with the twin-needle. It was skipping a stitch about every 3 inches or so. Maybe I need to clean out the feed dogs? (please comment below if you have any suggestions!)
Total cost for 2 T-shirts: $25.74 (before taxes)
PDF Pattern: 11.99
Green Jersey: 2.99
Viscose Ecru Jersey: 11.75 (5.75, plus $6 in shipping)
Time for 2 T-shirts (includes cutting and assembling the PDF): 3 hours
Fit changes: None!
What to work on: Neck Binding. It’s not as perfect as I would like it to be, but at least I am consistently inconsistent? Despite my slow pace, my serger was bouncing along the desk so I have swapped that out for a table.
I live in Canada, so making a Linden Sweatshirt in July is not only quick and fun, it’s also (sadly) practical. I’ve made 2 other versions of this top in the past and I’m sure there will be more in the future. The Linden is one of my favorite patterns.
Project: Summer Linden Sweatshirt from Grainline Studio
Fabric: Knit jacquard.
Total Cost: $30
Fabric: $8.99 for 1/2 metre
Notions: Thread, $2
Time: 1.5 hours inclusive
Fit: I made my usual size 2 for this pattern. I could probably use a Full Bust Adjustment for this shorter version, but I think it’s fine with the stretch fabric.
What to work on: Pattern placement, pattern placement, pattern placement. It wasn’t until I saw these pictures that I noticed the low flower-boob situation.
Skills/Techniques: I used my serger on the seams.