floral blouse | Simplicity 1106

I wanted a quick top out of a rayon challis I picked up on clearance at JoAnn’s recently (seriously, I’ve found some great fabrics there lately!). I was originally going to make something a little more detailed, but the heat and humidity has zapped all the energy outta me. Instead, I decided to sew up a simple kimono sleeve top using Simplicity 1106. There’s nothing groundbreaking or earth shattering about this pattern, it’s just a nice, simple top.

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I made view D, which has a front pocket and cute cutout detail in the back. However, I omitted the cutout because I was afraid it would dip below my bra. I meant to measure the cutout so I could see for future reference but I’ve already folded all the tissue up and put it away… oops.

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I always seem to have a problem with tops being too big on top, so I gambled and traced off an XS at the neckline and bust (I measured at the top of the S range), then graded out to the M for the hem. My shoulders may border on the narrow side (I think? Not sure what the standard is for shoulder width though), and the XS turned out to be perfect. The fit through the hip was a little more fitted than I had anticipated, but that’s partially due to the length of the top, which I cut down. I took 2″ off the hem, and 2.5″ off at the side seams to give it a little more of a shirttail. I think this shortened length is good for either tucking in or leaving out.

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The top isn’t actually tight around my hips, I just have the front tucked in this picture.

I know most people (it seems) have a real hate for facings, but I was pleased to find that that is the method used by this pattern. Of course you could always sub a bias facing if that’s your jam, or if your fabric is on the sheer side. I top stitched the facing at 1/2″ to give it a subtle “design feature” element.

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Overall I’m pleased with this top, though I wish I would have paid more attention when cutting! I managed to get the only dead space of the print front and center, with the brightest flowers cutting into the neckline. Meh. The pattern placement on the back looks great, so I’m really bummed that I didn’t get similar placement on the front. Live and learn!

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I should mention that my shorts are another modified Thurlow made in linen. I loved my first pair so much, that I quickly cut out a second pair, and both have been in constant rotation!

—lisa g.

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Sewaholic | Granville Shirt

Back when Tasia released the Granville Shirt, I snatched it up immediately. It is so rare to find a women’s shirt pattern with all the proper shirt details that I had to put my money where my mouth is, and buy it. It has a proper two piece collar, back yoke, and tower placket for the cuff. Basically everything you’d expect from a RTW shirt. I really loved the version Tasia did in Liberty lawn (I need that print in my life!!), so it inspired me to finally dig out my own Liberty fabric I bought a year ago.

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I picked up this fabric last year when fabric.com had a sale on their Liberty fabrics. That brought it down to under $30/yd… still pretty rich for my budget, but I needed to see what the fuss was about. Thankfully I was not disappointed—this fabric is definitely worth the splurge. It presses perfectly, sews easily, heck it even cut easily. Once I had it in my hands, I just couldn’t figure out what to do with it. It’s far more sheer that I had anticipated, which meant it would have to be underlined for a dress. Buuuut I didn’t want to make anything fancy; I wanted something I could wear just whenever. I didn’t spend $60 on fabric for it to hang out in my closet, ya know? So when the Granville came along, I knew it was a perfect match. I love button ups, and the fabric weight and crispness is ideal.

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Since I was using expensive fabric, I made up a muslin to check the fit. Thank goodness I did, because it took quite a bit of work to get it right. Now, almost all the shaping for the pear figure is at the side seams. Even though I would classify myself as a pear shape, I’m more “junk in the trunk” than full hipped, and my “nipped waist” is long gone. To accommodate all that, I graded out at the side seam, but nipped in at the back princess seams. Then I brought the hip in at the side seam, and let out the same amount on the back seams. Basically I needed to transfer much of the side seam shaping to the back. I was still getting a little pooling in the lower back, so I straightened out the curve at the top of the back piece where it meets the yoke. That reduced the CB length slightly and helped everything to lay nicer. I also did a petite adjustment above the bust to hike up the bust dart and shorten the armhole depth.

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Things were starting to shape up once I got my personal fit adjustments taken care of. However, I ran into a lot of trouble with the sleeve and shoulder. I don’t really think I have narrow shoulders, but the shoulder seam was completely falling off, so I brought it in by 1/2″.

Now the sleeve. I have to say, I was not pleased with the shape of the sleeve. The sleeve cap is nearly symmetrical, which leads to a very restrictive fit (unless you have super erect posture, perhaps), and the sleeves are very narrow. I did a quick comparison to the Grainline Archer sleeve to see where I needed to go with it. I ended up bringing the curve of the sleeve cap out by about 3/8″ on the back side, and blended it into the bottom of the armhole, and up at the top of the sleeve cap (basically like Sunni did here, except that I didn’t add anything to the back armhole). Then I widened the sleeves by 1″ (1/2″ on each side) and pleated out the excess at the cuff.

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A couple other notes… The sleeves are very long on this pattern! The only sleeve length I removed was 3/8″ when I did the petite adjustment, but keep in mind I’m always adding at least 1″ to most patterns, and RTW is ALWAYS too short in the sleeves. I made my tower placket 1/2″ longer in case I had to shorten the sleeves, but I was happy with the length. Then on the collar, I’ve seen a few people comment that the collar stand didn’t fit the neck opening. I had no issues here, though I would say that having a 5/8″ SA at the neckline does no one favors.

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Overall, I am super pleased with the pattern. It’s clear that Tasia put a lot of thought into having excellent shirtmaking instructions—you won’t find directions better than these in any pattern out there. However, I feel like I have to put a disclaimer to watch out for the sleeves. I know a lot of people go weak in the knees when it comes to making armhole/sleeve cap adjustments—it certainly isn’t intuitive how to adjust this area. I actually put my original muslin aside for a solid month or more before going back in to figure it out. Admittedly, the petite adjustment I did (to shorten the armhole depth and raise the bust dart) went a long way in improving the fit, but that was only part of the issue. Having so little ease in the sleeves, and having a near-symmetrical sleeve cap is just problematic in my opinion.

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Okay, last thing… I’ve been asked a few times on IG about how the Granville compares to the Grainline Archer, but really we’re talking apples and oranges here. The Granville is fitted and shaped, whereas the Archer is loose and oversized. Personally, I have use for both patterns in my life; no need to choose one over the other. But, if the Archer just doesn’t have the shaping you want, the Granville is an excellent choice. I love that it is shaped without being tight or uncomfortable, so it will still work as an every day shirt. Anyways, I’ll be using both patterns for sure!

Whew! Guess I had a lot to say about this one. Hope you’re all having an excellent spring! We seem to have gone straight from the deep freeze of winter to the hot days of summer… 80F+ degree days this week… whut?! Not gonna complain though. 🙂

—lisa g.

silk saltspring camisole

i have been wanting to add a few silk camisoles to my wardrobe for layering. i figure a silk cami is far more grown up and/or sophisticated than the ratty tanks i’ve been layering with. i picked up some silk charmeuse, and planned to make the bias cut camilla camisole by tessuti fabrics. what i didn’t notice when i bought my silk was that it has width-wise stretch to it. i imagine the stretch would mess with the bias drape, so i had to shelve my pattern plans and figure something else out.

ps. sorry about the lame photos… this fabric is super hard to capture so i couldn’t be picky as far as choosing photos that didn’t make me look stupid… i’ll get over it 😛

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i looked around for a pattern, but remembered that my sewaholic saltspring has the exact neckline shape i wanted. instead of starting from scratch, i went with what i had and modified the bodice. this was really just a matter of extending the side seams, and making sure i had enough width so that it would graze my hips.

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i had a long think about how to finish the neckline, and in the end determined that a facing was the best route. bias binding or bias facing was pretty much out of the question, as the top stitching would have been a nightmare. i know people get hung up over facings, but seriously—it’s the easiest way to finish a neckline cleanly. drafting it was as simple as tracing off the neckline plus 2″ or so. i interfaced the facing with a lightweight fusible, then pinked the edge to reduce any show through.

as far as construction goes, i strayed from the pattern’s instructions because i find stitching all the way around the neckline in one pass to be stressful—all those up and down curves! so what i did was attach the facing to the front piece, then attach the facing to the back piece, then sew up the side seam of the shell and facing all in one pass. since i’m making straps with a fixed length (as opposed to the ties as per the pattern) it’s a little less fiddly this way. and don’t forget to trim, clip, and understitch that facing. you can use this same order of construction for lining the dress bodice too, btw.

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after trying the top on, i went back and shaped the side seams in by 1/2″ (2″ all around). i couldn’t go too fitted since there is no closure, but it was looking a little tent-like otherwise. then i decided to finish the hem with a blind catch stitch. i planned to do a rolled hem, but the stretch of the fabric was making my test scraps (yes, i was good and tested first!) look all wavy and unattractive. i’m still not completely happy with the hem. this fabric is really not holding a press very well, so not long after pressing it starts to look a little bubbled. ah well, win some loose some.

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i would like a couple more camisoles in my wardrobe, so i’ll make sure to get a non-stretch fabric so i can try a bias cut. i’ve never done a bias cut garment, and i feel like a camisole is good practice. however, if you don’t think you’re up to a bias garment, this saltspring mod is a nice compromise. it would also be nice with lace trim at the neckline and hem; i definitely want to try that sometime. so far i really like to wear it with my knit blazer or a cardigan and jeans.

i know some people get all worried about using and wearing silk fabric, but i say why not have a little lux in your everyday life? i pre-wash all my silk (with a color catch sheet if it’s a print) and sometimes even put it in the dryer on air dry. you’d be surprised how resilient this stuff is! but, i also don’t wash my silks after every wear; letting it hang to air out is sufficient for a few wears. then when i do want to wash it, i use the delicate setting on the wash and line dry. moral of the story… don’t be afraid of the beautiful silks in your stash. sew and wear them!

—lisa g.

here’s the post on my blazer, if you’re interested!

cropped zippy top and linen skirt

hey ya’ll! i had every intention of blogging my backlog of projects before we went on our summer vacation, but alas. it wasn’t meant to be. probably because i was sewing like a madwoman up until the last day, as one does… MUST SEW ALL THE THINGS. i have several makes older than this combo, but i really like this particular outfit so i thought i’d start there.

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a few months back, i suddenly decided that i needed a navy linen skirt. and then couldn’t find any navy linen at my usual fabric haunts. then one day i ran into joanns for a zip/thread/pattern sale, and their linen was 50% off and they had the exact shade of navy i was looking for. this particular linen is blended with rayon, which gives it a nice soft hand. it also has a subtle woven pattern to it, which is a nice touch. having recently acquired the lonsdale dress pattern, i decided to use the skirt pieces and shorten them by 4″ or so.

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i top stitched every seam to add a little detail, and bar tacked at the top and bottom of the pocket openings. i wish the skirt had a little more flare, but overall i really like it and it fits in nicely with my wardrobe. i’m really itching to pair it with a nettie (preferably in a mint green…) definitely on my to do list!

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after making this skirt i made see kate sew’s zippy top. i really intended to alter my scout tee to have a kimono cap sleeve, but when Kate put up a sale on all her patterns a while back i decided to try it out.

initially i cut this top to full length. when i realized that it would be a perfect match to my navy skirt i tried them on together and just loved the look. i wasn’t super excited about tucking the shirt in, as this fabric—though lightweight and gauze-y—has some body to it that made tucking a little fussy and unflattering. then i flipped up the hem to a cropped length and had a definite “ah-ha” moment. suddenly the crop top trend made sense! it helped that Sonja at gingermakes had just that day posted a crop top/skirt combo of her own, which nudged me in that direction. the crop does considerably narrow my options of what i can pair with this top, but i’m okay with that. i was nervous of over-cropping, so i went with a length in the front that is 1″ lower than the crop line in the pattern, and 2″ lower in the back. i think this worked out great, and i love the subtle sweep of the back hem.

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i actually didn’t plan on putting in the back zip, but as it happened i had a red zip on hand that kinda looked cool with the blue floral, so in it went. my fabric is a smidge see-through, so instead of the facing i did a bias facing at the neckline, and used a scrap to cut out the zip opening in the back.

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i’m really pleased with this outfit. it’s great for summer, and the whole not tucking in my shirt thing is pretty awesome, especially on the extra hot sticky days. our summer vacation was spent in Texas visiting my husband’s side of the family where it is most definitely hot and sticky (though we lucked out on weather for most of the trip!). since we were spending a couple days in Austin, i reached out to Susan of moonthirty to see if she would be available for a little fabric shopping one afternoon. she rounded up her IRL friends, sewing buddies, and bloggers Dixie of dixie diy and Susan a.k.a “Miss Lulu” to join us. i had a great time visiting the local indie shops and getting to know these gals a little better. i think it’s awesome that they all hang out as part of a sewing group, and it has me itching to find some local sewists here at home! anyways, the point is that i wore this outfit for that little excursion, so you may have spied it on IG. haha how’s that for a smooth transition…

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thoughts on the zippy top:

it’s a nice simple pattern to have around, and i plan on hacking it to make a simple pull over dress at some point. the actual pdf file gave me a bit of a head scratching when the file didn’t have any margin lines. i thought that was just a random printer error on my end so i asked about it on IG. kate did offer to send me a new copy, but i had already gone with my gut and worked it out on my own. being a pattern with so few pieces (and easily verifiable finished measures) i’m not terribly bothered. also, i didn’t see a test square anywhere. i can’t always assume that 100% scale actually prints the right size. our current (new) printer has been pretty accurate, but with the older printer we had a few months ago, i usually had to print at 106% to get the right scale. so, i guess what i’m saying is, i like the insurance that i am, indeed, printing the right scale.

pdf issues aside, i found the drafting to be great. often on tops like this the front and back pieces are the same aside for the neckline. that’s not the case here, so i was pleased to see that. i found that it fit as expected, and next time i’ll do a SBA to remove some excess from the front, and maybe a FSA if i can be bothered. even though this is a very simple top, i’m okay letting someone else do the drafting work. it comes together super fast and would be easy to change up for color blocking, neckline changes, etc. i also find kimono sleeves ideal for layering with a cardigan—it’s far less fussy than trying to stuff a regular sleeve into a sweater.

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so that’s kind of a long post for two really simple garments, but i guess that’s just how i roll. 😉

—lisa g.

 

knit shift dress | renfrew meets mccalls 6559 meets laurel

if me made may teaches me anything, it’s that my sewing is seriously out of sync with my blogging. and instagram is just an enabler since my makes are almost always seen there first. but, i have a several project backlog of photographed makes, so there does stand the chance that i’ll actually get them on ye olde blog soon-ish.

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a couple weeks ago i had a rare evening out with a group of moms from my daughter’s kindergarten class. naturally i needed to make something new for the occasion… you know how it is. but i should back up… i’ve been itching to add some flowy knit maxi skirts to my wardrobe, and i had a 2 yard piece of black cotton/lycra and thought that would be perfect. i drafted out a 1/4 circle skirt, but alas i was about 1/2 a yard short. i decided to try anyways and make an a-line maxi. chalked it out on my fabric, cut it out, sewed up the side seams and… well it was okay, but it just didn’t totally feel right. it was too fitted from waist to hip and would probably end up not worn very often.

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awkward arm pose…

i was bummed, but then i remembered the dinner outing and thought maybe i could get a shift dress even if i had to piece it together. well turns out that a failed maxi skirt is the exact amount of fabric required for a shift dress—no piecing necessary! i cut sleeves and binding from my remaining fabric (which i still had a good chunk of) and had a new dress hours later.

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so let’s talk about my pattern. you may recall last december that i made a shift dress for christmas out of a heavy sweater knit. i wore that dress a lot, so i knew i’d be making it again. i had hacked it by combining my sewaholic renfrew for the top with mccalls 6559 for the bottom. for this dress, i also narrowed the skirt hem, using my colette patterns laurel as a guide. (side note: why didn’t i just use my laurel—minus darts—for this dress? i had intended to, actually, but i pulled out my renfrew for comparison and i was afraid it would take some serious tweaking to get right. with my renfrew/shift previously hacked, the bulk of the work was already done.) basically all i did was line up the waist marking on the mccalls pattern with where my waist hits on the renfrew. line those two up and you’re ready to go! okay, mostly.

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one thing that has bugged me on my chevron dress is some excess fabric in the back, and little bit of pulling on the front causing the back to look like it’s sagging. to fix all that, i retraced, narrowing the back piece in quite a bit at the waist. then to address the pulling at the front i added in some bust room by slashing at the bust line and adding 3/8″. this excess i simply eased in when i sewed the side seams, keeping the excess concentrated from the armhole to just under the bust. i would tell you that adding in the extra room was my brilliant idea, but that’s how the mccalls pattern is drafted so i figured it was legit. just note that if you have a striped fabric, start your stripe matching under the bust, not at the armhole!

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i finished the neckline with a binding facing, rather than a neck band for a nice clean look. i serged a strip of fabric to the front, then turned it to the inside and top stitched with my cover hem. oh yeah… i bought a cover hem (!!!). we’re just getting acquainted, so i’ll hopefully post more on that later!

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and that’s about it! i can see this dress covering all the bases from a casual day dress to an accessorized date night dress for almost any season. versatility at it’s finest!

—lisa g.

sewaholic cordova plans

i’m currently suffering from a terrible backlog of unblogged garments… this intolerable winter that will never end is really getting to me. i think there may be a slight warm up in the near future… my indoor pics always look so terrible, so hopefully if we have a warm day i can get a few things photographed!

anyways, if you’re with me on  instagram, you’ll know that i’ve been playing around with the sewaholic cordova lately. i love that pattern so much! i knew i would eventually make it as soon as i saw the design. yet… i’m only now getting on that. actually, i’m surprised that more cordova’s haven’t popped up. i’m going to take a gander that the lack of pockets are one of the main reasons. i mean, jackets need pockets. so, my cordova will have pockets.

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i’ve given the pockets a big long think. like a year’s worth of think (last year i was debating between making the cordova or the minoru—spoiler alert: i made the minoru) and finally inspiration struck as i was perusing style arc’s jacket patterns. check out the ziggi jacket. that pattern has zippered pockets just off the front princess seam. ah-ha! easy enough to add to the cordova! once i worked that detail out, inspiration was in full force.

i made up a muslin last week based on my measurements. seems as though this pattern runs on the boxy side, because i had to take it in about 3″ all around. i left the shoulder and hip alone, so the entire bust/waist was just too big. once i took those seams in i was super pleased with the fit!

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i want a two piece sleeve with exposed zipper sleeve vents, so i drafted one based on this resource. it came out… okay, but it still needs a ton of work. converting a one piece sleeve to a two piece sleeve is basically impossible. i don’t say that because it’s hard, but because they are just so different; the only thing they really have in common is the sleeve cap. the good news? the sleeve cap is the bulk of the drafting. so i’ll be trying again because i think i have a better idea of how to go about getting the sleeve i need.

while i was making all these changes, i decided the jacket would look super cute with turned back lapels. i lowered the stance and re-drew the front line to accommodate a nice wide lapel. i don’t mind the lack of collar (though it wouldn’t be all that hard to add, were you so inclined—just borrow one from a blazer pattern) but i think a lapel will help balance out the small bust/large hip thing happening with my figure. in fact, the collar-less look seems more popular now than it was when this pattern was released—perhaps sewaholic was just ahead of the times!

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onto my fabric… i have a heavy-weight brown cotton sateen (no stretch) that i picked up for cheap last summer. it was marked twill (from fashionfabricsclub.com) and i had planned to make some pants for hubby. however, upon receipt, it was decidedly not twill, and really too heavy for pants. since the fabric was inexpensive i initially thought i would make the jacket with out a muslin, but the more i thought about how useful a brown jacket would be, the more i thought i should do the job right the first time. to top it off, i remembered this ikat silk remnant i scored a while back ($6/yd) that is a bit shiny for every day wear, but would be perfect as a fun lining! all the pieces fell into place—design, fabric—so i plan to do this jacket justice. usually, i practice project monogamy (one sewing project at a time, please!) but for this, i’m allowing myself to work on smaller things in between so i don’t rush through. let’s face it: i don’t need this jacket right away since i’m still wearing my winter coat on a daily basis.

since the fabrics were already hanging around my sewing room (even the pattern was a christmas gift from my sister!), i get to splurge on fancy metal zips. and my zips are the only piece i haven’t yet figured out yet… contrast (red-ish/dk pink) or matching? if i only needed a front zip, per the pattern, contrast would be a no-brainer (yes!). but, since there will be five zippers, all that contrast might be overkill. at the moment i’m leaning toward matching for the front zips, and contrast for the sleeve vents. or would that be dumb? i have plenty of time to decide so—to my lovely readers who have made it to the end of my post—whaddaya think? all matching? all contrast? a mix of matching and contrast? do tell!

what i am wearing to stave off the cold

guys, i don’t know if you’ve heard, but it’s been a flipping long and cold winter here in the northeast US. this is the winter that will not for the love of all that is holy end! since winter is refusing to leave, i made two tops to help keep me toasty warm—a raglan sweatshirt and a cowl neck renfrew.

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for the renfrew, i used a knit blend of some sort (poly/rayon i believe). this is a super cozy top that i’ve been wearing frequently. i love the colors, and it’s super soft and snuggly. what more could i ask for? i made the size 8, which is a roomy fit. since waistlines tend to expand in the winter months i decided to err on the side of roomy…

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the only change i made was to cut the cowl neck as one piece that gets folded in half. i just don’t see the need to have two separate pieces. also, i lengthened the sleeves by making an extra wide cuff, and lengthened the body to omit the hem band. i like the hem band finish, just not for everything.

for the sweatshirt, i used the lane raglan tee put out recently by hey june of crafterhours. i’ve been wanting a raglan pattern, and this one fit the bill. i used one of those cotton interlock knits that have nice stretch, but not so much recovery. i haven’t found that type of fabric terribly useful for most projectes, but for this sweatshirt, it was perfect. the fabric actually came from a box of “too large to throw out” scraps that Gail from Today’s Agenda sent me last summer. i had less than 3/4 yd, which was just enough to eek out this pattern, thanks to the 1/4″ SA’s. then i used contrast ribbing for the neckline and sleeve/hem bands, and even added the little triangle patch for good measure. this i also have been wearing non-stop due to the afore mentioned cold weather.

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miracle of miracles… today is a “warm” (mid-40s F) day! outdoor pics!! no color editing!!!

i happen to really love navy and black together, but i wasn’t so sure if it would look okay paired in the same top. i went for it anyways, and i’m glad i did! i love the monochrome look with this outfit (my skirt, natch, is a moss mini), and the black ribbing sets it off nicely.

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i wanted this sweatshirt to be a little oversized, so i didn’t pay a ton of attention to the fit. when i make it up in a regular jersey, i’ll have to compare it to my renfrew, since this type of fabric is terrible for gauging size. here i cut the small, and the size chart only gives the waist finished measurement. the small has a 33.5″ finished measurement size, and to be honest i was a little thrown for a loop when deciding which one to choose (my actual waist measure is 29″-ish). but like i said, for this sweatshirt i really just wanted a slouchy comfy top!

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given that the cold weather tends to overstay it’s welcome in this part of the universe, i should really make a handful more of each of these. maybe in spring colors so i can pretend it’s not still cold? yeah, that sounds good.

—lisa g.