Draped front top

Years ago I bought a jersey t-shirt at a fast fashion store, and it turns out that I loved the fit of it.  It was too casual to wear to work, but I wanted to make a pattern from it so I could make some shirts to wear for my business casual office.

They turned out just the way I wanted!  One didn’t drape as much, so I angled out the pattern piece more after that one.  If you want more drape on it, you just move the top of the front pattern piece out from the fold line, and keep the bottom of the pattern at the fold line.


Here is what the pattern pieces look like:


Here is a link to a pdf of the hand-drawn pattern that is my size (39B, 32W, 39H).

draped top layout

You can grade it to your own size by using a pattern that fits you already.  This can just give you some guidelines.  I estimated from my memory on the bands.  They should be correct, but my memory isn’t that great.  I have found bands also really depend on the stretch in your fabric.  These tops had a nice amount of lycra, so it worked for them.  Generally I go with 75-80% of the opening for the bands.

I also suggest a jersey for these tops.  If the fabric doesn’t have a drape to it, then it won’t work as well.

This pattern was really quick to make with a serger.


  • Fold the back neckline binding in half, long sides, wrong sides together.  Attach to the back neckline, stretching the binding a little as you go.  Press and topstitch.
  • Serge the front hemline.  You could leave it unserged, too, since it is a knit and shouldn’t fray.
  • Attach the front and back together at the shoulder.  You need to sandwich the back neckline in between the front neckline where it angles out.  Serge.
  • Bind the armholes.  Press and topstitch.
  • Sew up the side seams.
  • Sew the bottom band in a continuous circle and fold in half.
  • Attached the bottom band.
  • Done!

I made three tops with this, and I know I will be wearing them a lot this summer.

Cool mom points

Sewing for a tween boy can be a bit of a challenge.  This is especially true when he really doesn’t care at all what he wears, as long as it is comfortable.

Only recently has he cared enough to actually match his clothes.  A bit frustrating.

Luckily, he still wants me to make him things, as long as they hit the parameters of what he will wear.  He doesn’t wear long-sleeved shirts.  Only t-shirts and hoodies.  He will only occasionally wear jeans, and it is mostly athletic wear for bottoms.

When I saw this fabric go up on one of the custom fabric boards on Facebook, I knew I had to make a shirt for him with it.  This is from the game Fallout, and he was super pumped when I showed him the picture.


One of the issues with sewing with some of these prints is that they tend to look like pj’s if you go overboard.   I also only got a panel for the front, so the back of the shirt had to be something else.  I decided to just do the sleeves in the print and do black for the rest.

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I think it is just enough.

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Now, what to do with the rest of the yard!  I have another panel coming with a different print for him from this same game.  I think I can maybe do a hoodie with the inside of the hood and the pockets with the print.  I need to find a good source for sweatshirt fabric, though.  Any leads would be great!

A gift

One of the neighborhood “moms” that I grew up with was looking at my handbags I made recently, and was admiring them.  She is going through some tough times right now, as she has been dealing with a rare skin cancer.  At this point she is hoping for 4 years.

I wanted to make her something to lift her spirits.  I sent the bag off this week, so she has it now.


This is a nice dark brown leather with a cream leather for the reverse applique.  I think the brown is a cowhide based on the thickness.  It was another leather piece from the scrap leather bin at the fabric warehouse.


I made this one a little smaller than the regular bag pattern.  This is pretty similar to the one I made for my mom.  I used the same fabric for the interior.  It is so pretty, and goes so well with the leather.


There are two interior zipper pockets on either side, and a magnet to keep it closed.


I added some extra cuts of leather onto the handles.


Each side has a pocket that will fit sunglasses, a phone or keys.


I probably should have added some feet, too, but this is a pretty sturdy leather.


The interior of the purse is this foam, which works pretty well in giving it sturdy sides.  I got this in the interfacing section of the fabric store.


Her daughter said she cried and said it was absolutely beautiful. 🙂

Skirting the issue – some oldies but goodies

It is that time of year for Skirting the Issue. Simple Simon hosts a month of sewing tutorials and sewalongs to sew up some skirts for foster girls.

Over the years I have done a few tutorials for sewing up some skirts, as my girl used to wear them quite often.  Not so, now.  Ah, the tween years!

Here are the tutorials that I have made.  Skirts are such a quick and easy project to make, and even better, you can bring a smile to a little girl in foster care.

Twirly skort with a detachable pocket

2009 03 10_0192Double layered drop-waist skirt

double layered skirt

Scalloped hem skirt with side pockets

scalloped hem skirtNow, go forth and make some pretty skirts for girls.  I intend to make a few myself, and I will make sure to link up when I do.

Elegant little top

I just love how this top turned out!  As part of the Blaverry promotions team, I received this pattern, which is the Yves top/tunic/dress.  It is a reversible woven top with shirring and ruching with ribbon or bias at the shoulder.  I made a size 7W and 14L top.  It also come in tunic and dress length, in sizes 2T – 16Y.

In seeing that it was a reversible top, I knew the perfect fabric to use for it.  Mine is essentially a lace-like outer and satin inner fabric.


The ties are just some satin ribbon that I got at Michael’s craft store.  I heat sealed the ends.


The shirring is hard to see in the black, but it is a nice feature.  It brings the top in a bit and is a cute detail.  If you have never shirred before, it is pretty simple.


There are some caveats, however.  Some of the more computerized machines have a hard time shirring.  They try to compensate the tension and it ends up not getting it shirred correctly.

You can find elastic thread at any fabric store with a good notions supply. It can be found with the rest of the elastic, not the thread.

1. Hand wind the bobbin with the elastic thread and don’t pull it.

2. Use regular thread for your top thread.

3. Set your stitch length to the longest stitch.  I usually set the tension around 3-4.

4. Start sewing in straight lines. Trace your guidelines, and just go slowly.

5. When you are done sewing your lines, tie the two threads together. It is hard to use an anchoring stitch with the elastic thread, so tying them together is necessary.

6. Now if it didn’t shirr enough while you were sewing, you can use a steam iron to bring it out.


The leggings here are the Ellis leggings.  Christie is going to rework these a bit and re-release them.  I used my daughter’s waist measurement and they ended up being too narrow in the legs and hip.  I think if I did a straight 14 they would have been fine, so just check the width before you make them up.   The waist fit, but I should have graded it out from there.

I am bummed, because she loves the leggings.  They are just too tight.  I am hoping I have enough of the gray to redo them.  The don’t come with the color-blocking on the top, but I did it so I could use the gray.  I didn’t have much of the gray, since it was just a scrap that a friend at the sewing retreat gave me.

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I really love how this little outfit turned out.  It is really cute on her!  It was a pretty hot night last night to take the pictures, but she was a good sport…most of the time. 😉


Blaverry Blog – Stylin’ Stacy – Élégantine! – Sprouting JubeJube – Sew Sophie Lynn

Another slouchy handbag

I made the first one of these last summer, and really love the ease of it.  It is a nice size, and matches everything.  I needed one that was more cream, so when I saw this leather in the scrap leather bin at the fabric warehouse, I scooped it up.  It was a good size to make a handbag.

I also used some other leather scraps I had for the accents at the bottom of the bag and on the handles.  I had to piece the handle, since I didn’t have one long continuous strip.


I will be making a tutorial on this bag, since I made this one at the sewing retreat.  The ladies there wanted me to make a tutorial on it.  I will get to work on that soon.


The interior has a row of pockets along one side, and a zipper pocket in the side of the pockets.  The interior fabric is a Nanette Lepore cotton-viscose blend.


I put a pocket on the outside and used mixed metals for the rings.


This is a great bag, and I hope to have the tutorial up soon!


Leather purse tassles

The Sewing Mamas retreat was last weekend, and, as usual, I was pressed for time in getting ready for it.  Every year, some of the ladies bring a goodie to give to the group, and I have always forgotten about it until the last minute and have run out of time.  This year, I got my act together in time, and decided to make some leather purse tassles, which can also be used as a key chain.

This one’s all mine.


To make these, I just cut strips of leather with my rotary cutter and a straight edge.  You just have to make sure you are making them the same width.  Then I got a thin piece of leather for the loop and put leather glue on the whole thing.  Put the loop at the end you want in the middle and just roll it up with the glue.  I smoothed any glue that came out of the edges over the top of the roll to help seal it up.

Next, I added a strip around the middle.  I glued this on, but also stitched it at the edges.

20160710_8705On some of them, I added rivets to the band before attaching it to the tassle.


I added a large jump ring and snap to finish it up.

20160712_8694On some of these I cut out leather feathers, added some decorative painting, and attached them to some chain to attach to the jump ring.

20160712_869520160712_8697The ladies seemed to like them!  I have a few left over, so not sure if I will use them or maybe give them as gifts.



A new tween swimsuit

I was thinking of doing a rashguard type swimsuit for my daughter, and the testing call came from The Wolf and The Tree for one.  Good timing!

This pattern was made at a 7W, 12L based on the chest and trunk measurements.

I lined the body of the top and the full bottoms.


She wasn’t quite sure about it the bottoms, though.  I don’t know if it is the lining I used, or perhaps I needed to size up the bottoms.  I think they are a little tight, so she may need a larger size in width for the bottoms.  I lined them, since exposed seams on the bottoms tend to be uncomfortable.

20160627_8424This swimsuit has a lot of options to it.  It has 160 different combinations.  Different bottoms, color-blocking for the top, sleeve options.  If you are looking for a more modest swimsuit, this is a good one to buy (it is $8 for the release sale).

I bought some custom swimsuit fabrics, but didn’t use them for this swimsuit, since it was a test version.  I am planning on making some more, but…time.  Softball and baseball have one more month, but it is mostly weekly practice and then the state tournaments on the weekends.  I *should* have some time during the week now to sew!  Yayyyyyy!

tween swimsuit

Outfit for a wedding

I had a wedding to go to today, and the reception was going to be outside.  It was supposed to be a humid, 90 degree day, so I knew I needed something cool.    It ended up storming on us, and I left the wedding reception a bit early with my son.  Not a fan of being outside in a windy thunderstorm.  I am bummed that I didn’t get a longer time to speak to my family, though. 🙁


The outfit I made was a tank top and skirt.  Both were self-drafted.  The tank is a jersey knit with a purchased applique to dress it up.

20160625_8358The skirt was a sort of a copy of Balmain skirt. I used a bottom-weight brushed cotton with lycra.  It was a designer brand, but I forgot who it was.  I have enough for a pair of capris, so I am going to make more with this very nice fabric.

20160625_8364I did a lot of top-stitching on the skirt.  The crossovers are faced, and I did a lot of decorative stitching on them.

20160625_8341I added cargo pockets on the side, and belt loops to be able to wear a belt.

20160625_8352There is a flounce and invisible zipper in the back.

20160625_8366I am not completely happy with the underside of the overlap, since it was a little loose.  It is attached at the waist, but not at the side.  I think it might need to go all the way over to the side.  I just stitched it down.  I didn’t really have the right kind of snaps to put them down the front.

20160625_8340Overall I am pretty happy with how it turned out!

Wardrobe staple – white top with a flounce

I was supposed to be working on a casual wardrobe, and this ended up not being so casual.  It is more of a dressy top to wear to work in the summer, but that is okay.  I needed this!

It fits a little tight, since it is a rayon with lycra, so not as much give as some of the other fabrics I have used.  It would be helpful if I laid off the wine and chocolate, as well.

I modified the WBM Sneha pattern for this top. I cut it shorter with a curved hem in the back, and added bands at the arms.

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I was running out of fabric, so I had to cut the front in two pieces.  I decided to add in this flounce, since it was open anyways.  The edges are finished with a rolled hem on my serger with regular thread.

flouncePart of the flounce goes up into the neckline.  It didn’t work out perfectly, since there is some bunching where it meets at the neckline.

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There is some pooling in the back with this pattern.  It needs to have some of the fabric taken out in the middle of the back, so next time I make it, I will show how to do that.  I made two tank dresses with this pattern and I noticed this happening (still need some decent pictures of them).  I forgot about it when I was cutting this top.

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This top is going to be a great wardrobe staple to wear to work this summer.