Summer tops

These are some summer tops that I drafted/hacked from either patterns I made previously, or by using the Sneha by Wardrobe by Me.

I used my style sheet that I put together from tops I found on Pinterest:

Then, I went back and looked at more tops.

Here is the first one.  I modified a swing tank I drafted a few years ago.  This fits pretty well, but needs some more room under the arms, so that is the only thing I would change on it.

It is made from athletic mesh (black), cotton lycra (white bands) and an iron on vinyl design I cut with my Silhouette.

You can find the cut file for this top here.

This next one would have probably worked better with a lighter jersey knit.  I do still really like it, though.  I drafted a dolman sleeve t-shirt from a RTW version that I really like.  The arms a little too tight on this one, too, so that is the only modifications I would make to it.  I cut up the pattern with a 3″ section in upper top that I used a white mesh.


This black top is my version of a tank with mesh inserts and different cuts.  I used the Sneha top as a base for this one.  I just traced out the pattern, and cut it up where I thought it would look good.  When I was cutting out the pieces I added the seam allowance.   I was a little concerned with the sturdiness of the lace, but I think the bands will work well like this.

This grey top is my own fabric design, printed on Modern Jersey from Spoonflower.  The pattern is my draped cowl top, only I shaved about an inch from the shoulders.

This red top used another pattern I had drafted previously.  I added some ruffles and a deep cut back to add visual interest to it.

Here are some pictures of the ruffles in process.  The pieces were about 20″ long for the wide, less gathered ruffle, and 40″ long for the very gathered ruffle.  I pinned them well, attached the shoulders together and then put the band on it in two steps.  First I attached it to the front of the tank, then I turned the hem under and stitched it again.  For the back I included clear elastic in it, so it wouldn’t stretch out.  This is a jersey knit, so it doesn’t have great recovery.  Lastly I attached the tubes for the back.

So there are my summer tops so far!  I do have a few more ideas, and luckily…plenty of fabric! 😉





Just call me Morticia

No, I am not feeling depressed.  Yes, I like to wear black.  I try not to wear all black, since that might beg the question of “whose funeral”.  To which, the obvious reply would be, “I haven’t decided yet.” 😉

This top is my Sneha tunic hack. I described how I drafted and changed the pattern here.


I made it long enough to cover my bum.  The fabric is a drapey black mystery knit.  It feels like it has a lot of poly in this one, and I think it is likely a ponte.  The patterned black is definitely a ponte.  Love how these two looked together.  The arms are a little tighter than I like, especially since ponte doesn’t have as much give as a regular knit.  That will be something to tweak for next time.


If I were a bit more risque, I could wear this tunic as a dress, too.   I think I am a bit long in the tooth to be wearing such a short dress, though!

I have colored my hair a bit darker here, too.  I am totally a box dye kit girl.  This is Natural Insticts Egyptian Plum.  I do the wash out color, so we will see how long this lasts.  I need 3 boxes of color, and could probably use one more for better coverage.  It would cost me a small fortune to dye my hair at a salon, and I have never had a bad experience in doing it myself.  My natural color is close to my son’s hair.  I started out life as a blond, which was helped by being outside a lot in my youth.  Once I got older and wasn’t outdoors as much, my hair turned more of a light brown.  Blah!  I, of course, didn’t start out subtle the first time I dyed my hair.  I chose red, and have kept it pretty consistently some version of red for awhile.  This is the darkest I have gone, though.


Outfit details (in case you care):


Plaid cape top and gored skirt

Here is a Pinterest pattern hack coming for you.  This pin is pretty popular.  It is a short-sleeved top with a “cape” over it.  If you are on Pinterest, I am sure you have seen it.  I know it comes up in my feed all the time.


I wanted to make this as part of my winter capsule in black and long-sleeved.  Since it is for winter, I am not doing the key-hole in the back.  That would be cold.

The base pattern I used for this is the Wardrobe by Me – Wardrobe Builder Tee.  I made two versions – one in black and the one shown here.  I made it a size larger for the black, as I wanted a looser fit, so I made a size 14.  I did it in cotton lycra and it didn’t have the right amount of drape.  I will be re-doing it.

This was the first time I made this WBM pattern, and I do generally like the fit.  Christina drafts for more of a pear shape, which I am a rectangle.  If you have more of a difference in your hips/waist than I do, some of the modifications I made will not apply to you.  Got to work with what you got!


I will make up an add-on pattern for this, but I want to do a few modifications of this top first.

I used a jersey knit here.  As I said above, I needed to do some modifications.  I made this to my measurements (size 12), and it slid down on my hips a bit too far.   I am a rectangle, so this wouldn’t slide down on a pear shape.   First, I tried sewing clear elastic in the bottom 6″ of the side hems on either side.  The elastic was 4″ long, so it had a subtle ruching of about 2″.  Didn’t look right.  Next, I took out the elastic (fun times) and cut off 3″ off the bottom, including the hem.  I hemmed it at a good spot on my hip.  I think knowing the most flattering length of top on YOUR body is pretty important.  Lengths that look good on others won’t necessarily look good on you.


A pretty simple add on for a pattern, but a fun stylish one!  You can add whatever length sleeves you want with the wardrobe builder shirt, or do sleeveless underneath by adding a band to, or hemming, the armscye.


So, the skirt.


This is a first draft of a gored skirt.   I wanted it to have a bit more flare, so I will have to redraft it for that.

More to come…hopefully. 😉




A CAbi hack

Every 6 months or so I am invited by a friend to her CAbi party.  I really do like the clothes, but in my opinion, they have gone down in quality over the years.  The last pair of overpriced pants I bought from them stretched out so very, very much and had poor recovery.  So…not sure how much longer I will be buying their clothes, but it is nice to go see my friend and get ideas.

One top that I liked a few years ago had a woven front and knit back.  I think it was a silk panel for the front, but it definitely was a scarf type of fabric.

I drafted this from a big boxy top pattern I made last year.  I decided to go short sleeved on this, because a long-sleeved top would be too cool for our winters here.


The back is a linen knit, and I think I made it a bit too long.  If I make another, I will definitely shorten up the back.

See…it is pretty wide.  It is supposed to be kind of “floaty”.  The linen knit is a very light knit fabric, and is kind of see through.  Using it in a non-fitted garment is a good idea so you don’t have to wear something underneath.

The bands around the arms and neck are a poly knit.


I wasn’t sure about it, but I wore it out and liked it.  It does tend to pull to the back, since the knit weighs more than the silk panel.  I think shortening up the back will help with it, though.  If I find another piece I like for the front I may make another.  It is a great top for a hot summer day.



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!


Keyhole overlay top – pattern hack

A few years ago, I pinned this picture on my Things To Make board on Pinterest.  I love the look of this top, and figured I could just hack a t-shirt pattern or something to make it.

As part of my wardrobe capsule, I wanted to make that top…finally.  After having sewn up the Sneha tunic, I decided to hack it for the top. It has a long hemline, scooping neckline and cap sleeves, so it worked well for it.  I cut it to have the asymmetrical hemline.

In case you notice it, let me be the first to say that…Yes, I know the bottom of my v-neckline is a little off center.  I was having some issues and finally said, “screw it…good enough!”


I just basically did an overlay and then bound the necklines.

To draft it, I took the front pattern piece and redrew it.  I think I lowered the scoop a little, too.  I laid that over some paper, and drew out where I wanted the keyhole to be.  You have to take into account the binding that would go around the necklines.  I made sure the armsyce matched and then went down about 2.0″ inches into the body.


Note that the inner shoulder is narrower.  We’ll get to the “why” later.


There is about a 2.5″ difference for the keyhole.


In making it:

  • I bound the underneath neckline and the bottom hem of the overlay.
  • I serged all the pieces together at the shoulder seam.
  • I bound the neckline.  The underneath neckline at the shoulder is narrower than the top piece and the back so that it doesn’t get caught in binding the neckline.
  • Lastly, you add the arms, do the side seams and hem the bottom and sleeves.

There you go.  A fairly easy pattern hack and a cute top!  I know I will make more…just need some more sewing time!

20160228_5748 20160228_5737


A long awaited dance costume

There is a little girl, who I have known since birth, that requested a dance costume from me.  You see, last year when she chose her individual costume for her dance performance, she got it from a catalog.

*shocked gasp*

An entire team had also chosen that dance outfit for their performance, so needless to say, she was a bit chagrined upon seeing so many others wearing her special costume.

She wondered if her “Aunt” Stacy would make her a costume for next season?  Well, of course, she would!  We sat down and looked at different types of dance costumes (since I know nothing about them), and she really liked this one.

Well, then, I made one that was fairly similar to it.

I got her measured up, and then it was time to wait until just before the performance to actually sew it up (procrastination is my super power).

To start out we needed some fabrics, which in my defense, I did buy back in December.

The lime green is football spandex and the electric dark green/lime green with sparkles is a lighter weight spandex.

The jacket needed a heavier weight spandex, so that is why I did the football pants spandex.  It worked great and had a nice body to it.

20160229-DSC_0011The dress is made out of the lighter spandex, and I lined the top with the football spandex to give it some weight.


The bottom circle skirt is lined with the electric fabric, so when she spins you will only see that fabric and not the wrong side of the fabric.

20160229-DSC_0006 The vest was a huge pain to make.  It was not the easiest fabric to work with in putting in zippers and getting it to lay flat.  I drafted the vest piece like this, and I think I should have maybe done just a straight (and wider) neckline piece.

20160229-DSC_0014I also didn’t cut the moto off center zipper piece in the right spot, as it should have been over more to give her a tighter fit.  The seam ripper was used quite a bit here on the jacket.  But…it’s done and cute.

20160229-DSC_0010I am not sure how well the belt is going to stay in place, so I will be recommending a pin to keep it in place.  The fabric is just so slippery that I think it will slide out of the buckle with just a little stretch on it.

20160229-DSC_0012The little booty shorts was a pattern I had made for my daugther a few years ago, since this girl is pretty petite.


I also made a scrunchie, so she can finish her look!

20160229-DSC_0009So, in the end it turned out to be a pretty cute outfit.  Hope she wins!  (I hear they also give out awards for costumes that did not come from a catalog.)



Mini-capsule for the tween

It is the time of year when I focus on back to school sewing.  The Boy doesn’t really need too much.  He really just likes to wear exercise pants/shorts and t-shirts.  Not exactly exciting to sew.

The Girl, at least, is a little fashionista.  She likes new clothes, but they must be comfortable.  She told me last spring that she liked the peplum tops with the lace on them, so that is what I set out to make.

This was the first one.  It doesn’t match the rest of the two outfits, so that isn’t in the “mini-capsule”.


Peplum tops are pretty easy to make if you have a circle cutter.  I just take the measurement on the sewn waist of a basic knit top, divide it by 4 and then you have the opening width you need for cutting the circle on the fold.   You then just go out from that measurement at equal intervals to make the length of the circle.


A little math, not too much.

That is all I did for this peplum top.  I took a basic knit top, cut it at the waist and added the peplum circle skirt to it.  The leggings are Oliver + S Playtime leggings.


Now for the capsule part.  I bought most of these fabrics at different times.  The thing with having a big stash of fabrics is that you can usually come up with stuff that matches!

The jeans I drafted off of a RTW pair that fit her.  The RTW pair did not fit in the waist, so I had to put in elastic in the back.  These I made to fit.  She usually has some complaint or another and on this she said the crotch was too tight.  Not sure how that is possible, since it seems like it has enough room, so next time I will lengthen the front crotch a little bit.


This is a fairly stretchy coated denim, which can give you issues when putting on things like pockets.  To make sure the pockets didn’t stretch and look all wonky, I did a line of stitching around it before folding the edges under and attaching it to the back pieces.

20150920-DSC_0096Due to the coating on the denim, I had to use a press cloth for all of the ironing.  This was especially true when putting the rhinestones on the pockets.  You have to leave the iron on the fabric longer, and it would have surely melted the coating onto the iron.

The matching top is a knit with a bit of a ribbing feel to it.  I was trying to come up with something for the style so it wasn’t just a plain top.  I wanted it to be a little shorter to show off the pockets in the back of the jeans, too.  I saw this pin on Pinterest and decided to try to do my take on it.

20150920-DSC_0087I didn’t have a lot left of this fabric, so the sleeves were going to be a little short.  I added stretch lace backed with a white cotton knit to the ends of the sleeves and the shoulders.  The cutouts on the side don’t go up very high.  This is a winter shirt and I wanted it to still be warm.

20150920-DSC_0091The blushy colored top and leggings are a very nice plush velour.  It was a bit too stretchy, so it does have some issues with seams rippling a bit.  When she is wearing it, they don’t really show, though.  She said this was pretty comfy.


I didn’t hem the circles, as that would probably end up being too bulky.  We’ll see how they wash up.  I might need to do that yet, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

20150920-DSC_0080Now she has a few new outfits for her fall wardrobe.  I have a few other ideas on things to make, so I will work on that after some charity sewing I want to get done.



A new clutch

Our friend turned 40 yesterday, so a bunch of us went on a brewery crawl (her husband rented a bus for us, thank goodness!).  The kids were out of town all week at their aunt and uncle’s farm, so I had some time to sew up something to wear!  I will go into details of the drafting of my pants and top (though, the top was pretty simple) in a later post.  Here it is all about my cute little clutch.


The dimensions on the pattern pieces were 9.5″ x 11″ for the outside and 9.5″ x 9.5″ for the lining.  The straps for the front and back were 2″ x 18″ and 2″ x 15″.


I saw this pin on Pinterest for the idea for the style and made it up for the size I wanted it to be.


I did my normal reverse applique design on the front.  The main body is lambskin suede, the applique and straps are probably lambskin (my sister-in-law gave me some leather scraps she got at a garage sale), and the inside is silk.


Pretty happy with how this one came out!  It was just the right size and easy to carry for a night out.



This is another shirt that I drafted from a pin on Pinterest.  It is actually a Burda pattern that I saw at one point last year.  It was a pretty simple pattern, so it wasn’t like I needed to buy it.  It is just a big boxy shirt.


So…not sure about it.  It is really big (about 27.5″ wide and 21″ long).  I think it would be much better in a fabric that has more drape to it, or to cut it on the bias.  I probably could have cut it on the bias (had enough fabric), but I thought that it would drape well.

It didn’t.

I think the shirt is pretty in the mint green satin, but it doesn’t look all that great on me.


I did spend some time on it to make it look nice, though.


I bias bound the arms to finish them.

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I under stitched the facing at the collar to give it a clean line.


Oh well…you win some and you lose some.  I imagine that these types of disasters are what clothing designers go through with their samples.  Determining what type of fabric works best with their designs is a pretty important step.  Experience is always a good teacher.

If I make this design again, I will likely cut it on the bias.  It definitely needs to drape down or else it just sticks out too much.