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.

 

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sleeveless archer

a while back i ordered some tencel chambray (this one, while it’s still available… it’s gorgeous stuff). my intent was to use it for a modified CP laurel or the salme buttonless shirtdress, but i felt it was borderline too thin to go sans lining, and i don’t own a slip. it’s on my list of things to make though! since my initial plan wasn’t working out, i decided to make the sleeveless archer i’ve been wanting. must bend to the will of the fabric gods, amiright?

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this top looks less frumpy tucked in (or partially tucked… let’s be real) but i left it out for the sake of photos

i searched teh interwebs for everyone’s tips on how to make the archer sleeveless. i followed jen’s advice and wedged out part of the back shirt piece and moved the shoulder seam in (1-1.5″). i also moved the under arm up and in, by about 1/2″ both directions. i was worried about potentially gape-y armholes, and that seemed to do the trick. i typically have to shorten the depth of armholes, so raising it may just be something i need to do. better to cut away excess than wish you had more!

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i also decided to make it a popover and sew a placket down the front. i debated the length of the placket for a long time, and in the end i wish it were an inch or two longer. it bugs me that the placket and pockets end at about the same place; didn’t even consider that! i also altered the pocket shape to be smaller, left off the collar, and subbed gathers for the back pleat.

my little photo-bomber. at least he's wearing a mommy-made tee ;-)

my little photo-bomber. at least he’s wearing a mommy-made tee 😉

i’m pretty in love with this shirt! i have another sleeveless archer planned, which i’ll hopefully get to soon. i scored a gorgeous polka dot fabric recently and it’s high time i honored this great pattern with some silk, doncha think?

lisa g.

hey june | union st. tee

today i’m a stop on the blog tour for the union st tee just released by Adrianna of hey june patterns (one half of the crafterhours team). she asked me to be a tester and i was more than happy to oblige since 1.) i really need more basic tees and 2.) i’ve had great experiences with her patterns in the past. (see: here, here, here, and here)

paired with an unblogged megan nielsen kelly skirt

paired with an unblogged megan nielsen kelly skirt

i was eager to try out the v-neck variation since i had never made a v-neck tee before.  i picked up a 100% cotton jersey because it’s nice and stable. i wouldn’t dare try it in one of those thin rayon knits with loads of drape. also, i love the way cotton jersey washes and softens over time. it can definitely take the abuse of everyday life.

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the v-neck binding is a little tricky, but the pattern comes with excellent instructions to make it as painless as possible. i ended up with a teeny tiny pucker that no one but me will ever notice. i could have ripped it out, but frankly i probably would have bungled it worse had i tried to fix it.

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BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

that was just my tester version. since i signed up for the blog tour, i thought i’d try out the scoop neck version of the tee as well. i picked up a rayon/cotton jersey from girlcharlee.com (the slinky non-stable type). solid tees are great and necessary, but floral prints are totally my jam. this one is listed as a light to medium weight, but i would put it firmly in the lightweight category. like just a step above the tissue knits. even though it’s lighter weight than i was hoping for, it makes for a great summer tee. plus it goes with my chartreuse shorts. WINNING.

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now, hold onto your hats, cuz i’m about to wax poetic over a t-shirt pattern (i swear, no bribery was involved). so many times i do little more than grumble while making up a knits pattern, be it the giant seam allowances, unpredictable ease, or weird finishing techniques. not so here! and let me tell you why…

  • sizing: you pick your size from the garment’s finished (bust and waist) measurements. this allows you to choose either negative or positive ease, depending on your fabric. since this is a simple tee, you can easily grade between sizes if needed.
  • seam allowance: there is nothing i hate more than giant seam allowances on knit patterns. the SA on this tee is 1/4″, which makes it ideal for serging. BUT it’s also fine for a regular sewing machine, if that’s how you roll. also, it means less fabric waste and a better chance of fitting all the pieces onto less yardage. yeah!
  • neckband: i generally discard neckband pieces since knits have different stretch needs. however, this pattern has two neckband lengths determined by the amount of stretch your fabric has. don’t know how much stretch your fabric has? there’s a handy chart for you to test! for both of the tees i made, the neckband length was perfect.
  • directions: this pattern does not assume that you already know what you’re doing. if you’re a bit unsure or just don’t have a solid grasp on knits sewing, be not afraid.
  • drafting: all the pieces fit together nicely. the sleeve cap has basically no ease, as it should be. it sets in flat quite easily. so easily you barely even need to pin.
  • options: there are sleeve length options, neckline options, neck band width options… no need to guess to make those little customizations.
  • print layout: there’s a chart so you have the option to print off only the pages you need. guys. this i love. once upon a time i made a .pdf pattern where i had to print off over 60 pages, most of which i did not need. and well… i won’t re-hash that saga, but let’s just say that i was not pleased.

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there’s something strangely thrilling about making (and wearing) my own tees. not only are they a quick project, but they get worn all. the. time. if you’re looking for a good tee pattern, or just dipping your toes into the knits game, this one is worth your time!

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there’s lots of great ladies posting on the tour, also up today is Kat at sew chibi. make sure to check it out! need a copy of the pattern? pick it up here.

thanks to Adrianna for inviting me on the tour!

—lisa g.

ten

today is the last day of school for the kiddos. the last month of school is such a crazy time filled with activities and shows and events at school. not to mention the fact that the hubbs and i road-tripped it down to NYC last thurs/friday (more on that later!!). it’s always a relief to be on the other side, but of course that means they will all be home alllll day… it always takes a while to adjust, and no doubt they’ll be at each other’s throats in no time.

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so the “ten” alluded to in the title refers to my oldest daughter who just turned the big one-oh. ack! double digits! i always try to make the kids something for their birthday, so i picked up a rayon challis in a fabric that is totally her. i started with the cali faye collection wednesday dress, but i utterly underestimated the fabric needed. to compensate, i cut the pattern down to a blouse length and narrowed the sides to fit the fabric. there is still plenty of swing, and it worked out perfectly.

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certainly doesn’t look like much on the hangar

i skipped the cutout on the back since the fabric has so much drape, and instead left a long opening closed with a button in the back. then, i shaped the hem with a slight high/low thing happening.

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she wore it to school on her birthday and when i asked what her friends thought, she told me (exasperatedly) the class practically lined up to tell me they loved my shirt. even my teacher! she’s not one who is comfortable with a lot of attention, but it totally made my day. 🙂

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as far as sizing goes, based on her measurements, she sits at about a size 6 in width, but almost 10 in height. i find this utterly frustrating in kids clothing—RTW or patterns. i decided on a size 7, and would have lengthened to a 10 but… like i said, i didn’t have enough for the dress anyways. i was so bummed about that i went and bought a different fabric, which i successfully cut, and i can’t wait to sew it up so i can give a better review!

lisa g.

lane raglan v.3

spring weather around these parts is a bit of a mixed bag. eighty-five one day, 50ºF the next. i made this light sweatshirt-type shirt for those days when i need a warmer layer, but still want to look like spring. again, this is the lane raglan by hey june (clearly, i endorse this pattern!), and the fabric is a cotton interlock from girl charlee. this fabric is crazy soft and comfy, i love it so much!

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i was a little over confident in how much i could fit onto one yard of fabric and nearly didn’t get to make this top! i had to abandon print matching the sleeves to the main body pieces, and i was still short about 1″ in width. i briefly threw in the towel, then got it back out to try again. i arranged it so that only a small part at the underarm of one sleeve was hanging off the fabric. i cut it out, then went back and pieced a scrap on and finished cutting the sleeve.

i always win at fabric cutting.

i used rib knit from joann fabrics as the neck and sleeve/hem bands since interlock doesn’t have the recovery needed for the job. plus the ribbing gives it a more “authentic” sweatshirt vibe. i probably could have stretched the neck band tighter since it’s slightly wavy, but it doesn’t particularly bother me.

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for this version i shortened the hemline by 2″. it works a little better for layering with the shorter length, and, as it turns out, i wouldn’t have had enough fabric anyways. in case you were wondering, these are my jalie jeans that i made a few months ago. i honestly didn’t anticipate them becoming my go to jeans, but they are! my GAP jeans just feel so wrong now, i never reach for them. it’s definitely time for a second pair, but i suspect that won’t happen until fall. or sooner… who knows!

—lisa g.

archer in plaid

i almost didn’t blog this shirt. not for lack of loving it, but i don’t really have much to say that hasn’t already been said! however, i never tire of examining shirt construction, so who am i to deny you a few photos?

worn with my beloved denim moss skirt

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i made this archer with a very nice shirting from fabric place basement (local). they have a great selection of shirting fabric, and all in the $6-8/yd range. seriously. you can’t beat that! as i cut this fabric, i realized just how nice this fabric is in comparison to the fabric i used for my husband’s dress shirts… er… over a year ago. poor guy definitely needs a few more… anyways, i decided to go all out and properly flat fell my seams, tower placket, top stitching, you know the drill. blousier fabrics get french seams and continuous plackets, but the “boyfriend” shirts get all the proper traditional details.

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i know people go crazy for bias cut plaid, but unless i’m working with a plaid that is symmetrical horizonally and vertically, i tend to go the more conservative route and cut the yoke, collar, stand, and cuffs along the grain (perpendicular to how the main body pieces are cut). it’s subtle, but you can see how the light blue stripe is vertical on the body, and horizontal on the other parts.

tower placket

tower placket

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flat-felled side seam (inside shot)

i don’t know about you guys, but i’ve been avidly following Peter at MPB as he relays all that great shirtmaking info. a lot of the info is quite similar to what i’ve read from David Coffin’s “Shirtmaking” book, but still i find it all fascinating!

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went with a smaller single pocket just to change it up

so, that’s about it folks…

ARCHER FANS UNITE!

—lisa g.

lane raglan v.2

i knew i’d be making the lane raglan by hey june again… i just can’t resist a raglan sleeve! so last time i made it sweatshirt style, and this time i went more spring/summer. shockingly enough, we are finally hitting 50F on a regular basis! the winter coats can be closeted for a few months. 🙂

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this is another knit fabric from joanns. i’ve come to the conclusion that i will buy a quality knit fabric anywhere i can find it. the thing i hate about online shopping is that often you have to buy in whole yard increments, which drives me nuts for tee shirt making. usually i need just more than a yard to account for shrinkage/hem bands/pattern matching/etc, so i end up with these odd bits leftover that are useless.

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anyways, i’ve never had an issue with joann’s knit fabrics, but this one was terribly off-grain in one section. it was so bad that i wasn’t sure i’d be able to use it for anything other than maybe a gathered skirt. however, with some fancy layouts, i managed to get the front and back cut mostly on-grain. i had to fudge a bit with the sleeves, but i think it all worked out fine!

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i cut the same size as before, except that i shaped the sides and hemline differently. i left the bust area alone, then flared out a bit and added some length. the pattern allows for a hem band, so i added that length plus an inch or two in the front, and two or three in the back. i gave the hem a slight curve so it wouldn’t completely cut me off at the hip.

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i went with short sleeves with a 1.5″ wide hem band. i used to think that raglan tees look funny with short sleeves, but i’ve come to like them finished as i did here.

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in other news, i finally tried knitting! yeah, it’s april… but i’ll need a bit… okay A LOT of practice before i want to tackle the knitted things i really want to make. initially i started off doing just the knit stitch for each row (which gives you the bumpy rows) but after about three hours of that i was bored off my patootie.

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i turned to google to search out easy knitted scarf patterns and found this post. being able to switch between knitting and stockinette made things slightly more enjoyable, plus it created a fun pattern. so i’m not gonna say that i’m totally in love with knitting, but i am hoping to add it to my skill set. the hardest part was adjusting to the slow pace, even on something like this that knits up rather quickly—just a few evenings in front of the tv.

the whole world of knitting and following patterns and learning the language is still a bit of a mystery, but i’d like to make a spring weight infinity scarf. any pattern/yarn suggestions for a newbie?

—lisa g.