Tag Archive | sewing blogger

Pauline Alice Eliana Top and Butterick 6331: DIY Gauze Peasant Style Top and White Denim Boyfriend Style Jeans: Stylish Fabric

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Pauline Alice Eliana Dress modified to top and Butterick 6331 White Denim Boyfriend Style Jeans. All fabric from Stylish Fabric.

Hi All,

Today I am so excited to share a perfect summer outfit made using fabrics from L.A based Stylish Fabric. They got in touch with me recently and asked if I wanted to try out some of their fabrics. The fabrics in this post were provided at no cost to me, but as ever, my opinions are my own.

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Pauline Alice Eliana Dress modified to top.

The blouse was made using this gorgeous cotton and rayon gauze in blush colour. This fabric is delicious to wear and was easy to sew. I was expecting it to fray like mad, but it didn’t. I overlocked all my seam allowances. One thing I would say to watch out for is that I think this fabric shrunk quite a bit in the wash (unless I wasn’t sent as much as I initally thought?) I asked for 3 yards but I think I had about 2 yards (?) to play with. So, yep, not sure why that was. But, no matter, I ended up with a beautiful blouse that I will be happy to wear in hot weather.

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Pauline Alice Eliana Dress modified to top and Butterick 6331 White Denim Boyfriend Style Jeans. All fabric from Stylish Fabric.

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Pauline Alice Eliana Dress modified to top and Butterick 6331 White Denim Boyfriend Style Jeans. All fabric from Stylish Fabric.

The jeans are made using this white denim (currently 60% off). This non-stretch denim is the perfect weight for denim jeans, and is, I would say, ever so slightly off white. It washed, pressed and sewed beautifully. I used a Schmetz jeans needle and Gutterman top stitching thread, even though you can’t of course see the details. Full details on patterns below.

Top:

  • Made using Pauline Alice Eliana Dress pattern modified to top length. You can see my first version of the top hack here.
  • Moved the bust dart up by 1 inch.
  • Added 3/8ths inch to side seams at hip.
  • Made narrower self bias tape to bind the neckline and sleeve openings.

Jeans:

  • Made using Butterick 6331. See first version of these pants here and my floral version here.
  • These white denim jeans were actually version number 2, so see my first version for details of pattern amendments. Even though I didn’t make any alterations to the pattern from version number 1, these feel very different. Amazing what changing the fabric can do. These are boyfriend style, so fairly loose fitting, but still quite slim I think.
  • I essentially followed the Closet Case Ginger Jeans instructions to make these.
  • Interfaced the fly.
  • Omitted interfacing in the waistband.
  • Used lining fabric for the pocket bags to cut down on bulk.
  • Added back pockets, fly shield and topstitching.
  • Extended length of waistband by about 5 inches (much better to have too much length IMO that can be shortened as required).

Thanks to Stylish Fabric for the opportunity to add some really versatile pieces to my wardrobe. Sometimes plain basics can be the most valuable thing you can make!

Happy sewing!

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Pauline Alice Eliana Dress modified to top and Butterick 6331 White Denim Boyfriend Style Jeans. All fabric from Stylish Fabric.

 

Pauline Alice Aldaia Dress: DIY Fixed Wrap Jersey Dress

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Pauline Alice Aldaia Dress

Hi Everyone,

I am probably one of the few sewists out there who has yet to find a wrap dress pattern they love. I kind of came to the conclusion that maybe true wrap dresses were not meant for me (constant fiddling/ fear of coming undone), so when Pauline Alice was kind enough to send me a copy of her Aldaia dress I was very happy to see that one of the bodice options offered was a surplice design. Coupled with the option to have a 6-gore skirt, I decided this was as close to my dream wrap dress as I was ever going to get.

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Pauline Alice Aldaia Dress

There is not much to say about this dress which I won’t cover in my review (below), except to say I genuinely do LOVE this pattern! I made virtually no changes (at least not the “major” standard changes that I typically have to do), and I love the fit and finished dress. Couple of things to note:

  1. I think I sewed two of my front panels the wrong way, so the centre panel is on the side, and a side panel is in the centre. Shhhhh.
  2. The pattern instructs you to twin needle around the neckband. I tried this and it was a hot mess (in hindsight I wish I had used my walking foot, as I did on the hem). No matter, I unpicked the twin needling around the neck band and left well enough alone.
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Pauline Alice Aldaia Dress

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Pauline Alice Aldaia Dress

The most amazing thing about this pattern is the number of different options which are included: 3 different bodice styles, 3 different skirt styles and 3 different sleeve styles. You can mix and match all the options to create your dream knit dress. I am now desperately searching for printed jersey fabrics that I like, and I am definitely going to try this out in a ponte knit and a wool jersey for autumn. Another winning pattern from Pauline!

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:

The Aldaia dress is designed for knit fabrics, with no closure so it can be pulled up easily. Front princess seams and back darts make the bodice easy to fit. You can mix all the different necklines, sleeves and skirts options to make a unique dress.

View A: V neck, elbow length sleeves with bands and short panelled skirt.

View B: wrap style bodice, sleeveless and below-the-knee pencil skirt.

View C: jewel neckline finished with facing, short sleeves and 6-gore skirt.

I made the wrap style bodice from view B, the 6-gore skirt from view C and the elbow length sleeves from view A.
Pattern Sizing:
Size 34 to 48
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I LOVE this pattern, and all the variations that are included with the pattern. 3 different bodice styles, 3 different skirt styles and 3 different sleeve options. I love the fixed wrap bodice that I chose to use – so flattering and a perfect fit for me right out of the envelope. No gaping. Love the 6 gore skirt option that I also chose to use. Just love! Nothing to dislike.
Fabric Used:
Cotton jersey purchased locally to me.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • Shortened sleeves by 1.5 inches
  • Slimmed the arms and bands down by 0.5 inches
  • Shortened the neckband by 1 inch. For next time I have also removed a further 0.5 inch from the centre back of the neckband
  • Lengthened skirt by 2 inches

I did not have to do a FBA, sway back adjustment or full arm adjustment on this dress!
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Totally yes I want to try this dress is jersey again, but also in a ponte knit and wool jersey. Yes I recommend.
Conclusion:
It doesn’t happen often and it might not happen for you, but for me, this dress is just so easy to fit, sew and wear.

Have a great week ahead everyone! We are currently enjoying a spell of warm, dry weather. Long may it continue!

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Pauline Alice Aldaia Dress

 

Vogue 8882 and McCalls 6886 (modified): DIY Custom Printed Satin Full Skirt and Cropped Fitted Sweater

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Vogue 8882 custom printed satin skirt worn with McCalls 6886 (modified) cropped fitted sweater

Hello Friends,

A little while ago I was contacted by a new to me company called Fashion Formula, who offer a custom digital printing service onto fabrics, wallpaper, gift wrap, cushions, aprons and tea towels. This was a completely new experience for me, and I am very grateful to Fashion Formula for allowing me to select a fabric and print of my choice for this project. The fabric was provided at no cost to me, but as ever, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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Vogue 8882 custom printed satin skirt worn with McCalls 6886 (modified) cropped fitted sweater

Initially, I did toy with the idea of uploading a design of my own creation, using one of my watercolour paintings. But, I really wasn’t confident about getting the repeat on the fabric right, so in the end I perused their almost 1,500 fabric designs and selected this one, Asian Inspiration, by Botal. There are some stunning designs to choose from (already, since I selected I can see there are new designs which I love), and the only thing I would say you need to be wary of, if you are selecting a print for garment fabric, is check the scale of the design (all information is provided on the website), and make sure you are happy with that aspect. The website itself is well designed and easy to navigate and you are provided with a preview of the length of fabric you require so you get to see how the print falls across the entire length.

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Vogue 8882 custom printed satin skirt worn with McCalls 6886 (modified) cropped fitted sweater

There are more than 40 different fabric options to print onto, including, twill, denim, velvet, scuba, poplin, sateen, bamboo, chiffon, organza, ITY jersey, various crepes, georgette, lining fabrics and organic cotton panama. Again, some of these options were introduced after I made my selection, but in the end, I decided to go for heavy satin. Why? I had a vision of making a skirt using Vogue 8882 which I had in my stash, and I have never come across heavy printed satin to purchase before. I can confirm that this fabric went through a hot 60 degree pre-wash and the colours did not fade or streak and the fabric was easy to cut, sew and press. Overall, I am really happy with my experience of using Fashion Formula and I would definitely consider using them again.

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Vogue 8882 custom printed satin skirt worn with McCalls 6886 (modified) cropped fitted sweater

On to the pattern review! First I will say I made the top using McCalls 6886 and an acrylic sweater knit. You can see my previous versions of this pattern here, here and here.

The details:

  • Cut a size 14 (2 sizes smaller than usual)
  • Did a 0.5 inch FBA, rotating the dart back into the side seam
  • Cut off at the waist and added a 4 inch deep waistband
  • Cut off just below the elbow and added a 3 inch deep band
  • Added a neckband
  • Removed 0.25 inches from length at back before adding waistband

Initially, when I tried the sweater on, I really wasn’t too comfortable with how close fitting it is. But, after a lot of Instagram support, I have decided I do actually like it, and I wore it all day yesterday with a denim skirt.

Vogue 8882 Pattern Review

The main review is below, but I just wanted to point out the major issue I had with this skirt, which was in relation to the hemming. So, at least for view B, pattern pieces are included for you to cut nice deep hem facings, which are interfaced. The suggested hem interfacings are crinoline (like finding hens teeth in these parts) or buckram (duly ordered). I have used horse hair braid before very successfully (see here), and given the choice, if making this skirt again, I would probably use the horse hair braid. But, I followed the Vogue instructions and, boy, what a mess the buckram made! You can see the mess here. In the end, I cut the hot mess right off, and used a satin bias binding facing to finish the hem. It was neat and easy to do. I have since found out that buckram is usally only recommended for bag making etc. Why Vogue recommend it is beyond me, unless it comes in different weights?

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Vogue 8882 custom printed satin skirt – satin bias tape facing hem finish

Pattern Description:
Flared skirt (cut on crosswise grain) has waistband, pleats and back zipper. A, B, D: Interfaced hemline. C: Contrast waistband. D: Attached tie ends. E: High-low hemline, wrong side shows. C, E, F: Narrow hem.

I made view B.

Note that this skirt is cut on the cross grain.
Pattern Sizing:
6 – 22
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes. I DID NOT like the suggestion to use buckram for the hem interfacing – see below.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I actually really do like the finished skirt shape. I think it’s quite easy to wear and flattering. I REALLY DISLIKE the suggestion to use buckram as the hem interfacing.

So, at least for view B, pattern pieces are included for you to cut nice deep hem facings, which are interfaced. The suggested hem interfacings are crinoline (like finding hens teeth in these parts) or buckram (duly ordered). I have used horse hair braid before very successfully, and given the choice, if making this skirt again, I would probably use the horse hair braid. But, I followed the Vogue instructions and, boy, what a mess the buckram made! You can see the mess here. In the end, I cut the hot mess right off, and used a satin bias binding facing to finish the hem. It was neat and easy to do.
Fabric Used:
A custom printed heavy satin from Fashion Formula, based in the UK.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Absolutely no alterations made. If I was making this skirt again I would reduce the height of the waistband by about 5/8ths inch – it’s a little too high for me. I did substitute an invisible zip in as the back closure.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I might sew it again. I do recommend – its a pretty easy sew – just don’t go near the buckram.
Conclusion:
I am glad to have this skirt in my closet because I think I can dress it up or down and it’s a perfect colour for spring.

At the beginning of May, after a career break of 5 years, I am returning to my former job as a project manager in the field of Animal Health Pharmaceuticals (3 days a week). So, blogging and sewing may slow down somewhat, and perhaps, stylewise, I may sew different things? Who knows. What I do know is I am too addicted to sewing to give up altogether. Here’s looking forward to a new phase in life! Happy Easter and happy sewing.

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Vogue 8882 custom printed satin skirt worn with McCalls 6886 (modified) cropped fitted sweater

 

McCalls 7542: DIY Statement Pleated Sleeve Blue White Stripe Cotton Top

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McCalls 7542 pleated sleeve cuff striped shirting cotton top (worn with Simplicity 1167 chino style pants)

Hello Friends!

This year is, apparently, the #yearofthesleeve, and I decided to dip my toe into this trend by making up McCalls 7542 in a blue and white stripe cotton shirting (another trend of the moment) purchased from Fabworks.

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McCalls 7542 pleated sleeve cuff striped shirting cotton top

I have to say that I really had mixed feelings about the bodice for this top as I was making it, and I do think that for lots of people, some amount of adjustment may need to be made. But, having worn it for the day, I have to say I do love it and especially those cool pleated sleeves.

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McCalls 7542 pleated sleeve cuff striped shirting cotton top

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McCalls 7542 pleated sleeve cuff striped shirting cotton top

Lets talk proportions for a moment, shall we? This top, as drafted, is quite short and boxy. I decided to add three inches to the length. This makes this top much more wearable for me. I can wear it just like I have done in these pictures over slim trousers or skinny jeans. But, even though I added some width at the hips, it felt too tight so I ended up adding slits to the sides. I also decided to lengthen the sleeves. Or rather, I used the piece for the pleats from sleeve C, but attached them to the sleeves which I cut at the longer length, as per View D. My reasoning for doing this was because I felt I wouldn’t want to wear anything on top of this top, and, for that reason, I wanted a little more arm coverage.

There was some discussion over on Instagram about whether I should have cut the sleeves shorter but I think the new proportions work. I actually think if I had kept the shorter length as intended, the fullest part of the sleeve would probably have ended at my bust line which would have made me look wider. As the fullest part of the sleeve now ends closer to the narrowest part of my body (my waist), I think it works. But hey, I love interacting with everyone over on Instagram and its always nice to have a second opinion.

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McCalls 7542 pleated sleeve cuff striped shirting cotton top (worn with Simplicity 1167 chino style pants)

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
Semi-fitted tops have sleeve variations. Includes separate pattern pieces for A/B, C, and D cups.

I made view C but cut my sleeves at the longer line intended for view D.
Pattern Sizing:
6 – 22
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes…my version is longer with longer sleeves.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I had some misgivings about the bodice as I was making it up. It is short and boxy as drafted. I made some adjustments to suit me (see below). There is a little tightness across the front of the sleeves when I raise my arms. I love the end result with the pleated sleeve. Very on trend.
Fabric Used:
Blue white cotton striped shirting.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • I cut a size 18 through the bust, shoulders and arms and a D cup.
  • I added 3 inches to the length.
  • Inspite of me adding some width at the side seams at the hips, when I initially tried the bodice on it felt tight in that region so I ended up adding side slits.
  • 5/8ths inch sway back adjustment, adding removed length back at hem.
  • Dropped bust dart by 0.5 inch.
  • Shortened bust dart by 1 inch (don’t know if that was really necessary).
  • Cut sleeve length as per view D (but used pleated sleeve pattern piece from view C).
  • 1 inch full arm adjustment (adding the extra one inch to the pleated sleeve pattern piece; 0.5 inch to either side seam allowance).
  • Lowered back opening slit by further 2 inches. Be warned: some people may want to lower the neckline a bit. In the end I left it as is and its fine for me.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I don’t know if I want too many of these in my wardrobe, but I might like to try another view and maybe try it is something with more drape like a viscose.
Conclusion:
Make this one up fast for summer because fashions come and go. Right now, I feel very on trend wearing this.

Have a great week ahead!

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McCalls 7542 pleated sleeve cuff striped shirting cotton top

 

Vintage Style Pattern 3247: DIY Wool Cashmere Mini Houndstooth Pinafore Jumper Dress

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Vintage Style Pattern 3247 Wool Cashmere Mini Houndstooth Pinafore Jumper Dress

Hello There Friends,

This is the last of my unblogged projects from last year, and, I think, my first ever project sewn using a vintage pattern. The pattern used was Style 3247; you can see the (obviously aged!) pattern envelope below. (I wonder who Mrs. Clark was and which part of the world she lived in?)

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Vintage Style Pattern 3247 Pattern Envelope

The pattern actually has rather cleverly designed facings which mean the front buttons are fully functioning, and how the pattern intends you to get in and out of the dress. I decided that a double breasted look was not going to be the most flattering for me, and so I decided to omit the front opening and instead install an invisible zip in the centre back seam. I also ended  up adding some fish eye darts in the back to provide more shaping.

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Vintage Style Pattern 3247 Wool Cashmere Mini Houndstooth Pinafore Jumper Dress

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Vintage Style Pattern 3247 Wool Cashmere Mini Houndstooth Pinafore Jumper Dress

Here are some inside shots. The pattern included facing pieces but as the outer fashion fabric is a wool/ cashmere blend that I purchased locally to me and is dry clean only, I opted to also add a full lining. The pattern made no mention of interfacing but I did add interfacing to all the facing pieces, as well as to the centre back seam where the zipper was being inserted. I also chose to draft hem facing pieces to finish the hems.

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Vintage Style Pattern 3247 Wool Cashmere Mini Houndstooth Pinafore Jumper Dress – front facings and lining

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Vintage Style Pattern 3247 Wool Cashmere Mini Houndstooth Pinafore Jumper Dress – hem facing

Pattern Alteration/ Sewing Notes:

  • Omitted front opening and inserted centre back invisible zip
  • Removed 2.25 inches from length and ended up taking 1 inch seam allowance when attaching hem facings
  • Drafted hem facings
  • Added full lining in addition to facings
  • 1 inch sway back adjustment with removed length being added back to lower back hem
  • Added interfacing to all facing pieces and to centre back seam
  • Added fish eye darts to back
  • Narrowed shoulder straps (removing approx. 5/8ths inch from outer edge of each strap)
  • If making again consider narrowing width at front neckline

So, anyway, after I saw the pictures….I don’t know…I just wasn’t sold on this whole look for me. I can’t put my finger on exactly why. I feel like it makes me look broader somehow through the front? Is it the square neckline? Is it the lack of waist seaming? Maybe it’s one of those garments I just need time to play around with and style a few different ways? It is lovely and warm and I like the colour. But hmmm….at present it’s not a wadder, but just a bit meh.

That’s the last of my 2016 makes! Already sewn up a tunic style top and most of an Archer shirt in 2017…but this week I am doing a spot of pattern testing.

Until soon!

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Vintage Style Pattern 3247 Wool Cashmere Mini Houndstooth Pinafore Jumper Dress

 

 

 

 

Simplicity 8213: DIY Floral Scuba Sheath Dress

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Simplicity 8213 Floral scuba sheath dress with front skirt overlay

Happy New Year Readers!

I am still trying to get caught up blogging the last of my 2016 projects: here is one of them. This is my version of Simplicity 8213, view B, made in a floral scuba fabric.

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Simplicity 8213 Floral scuba sheath dress with front skirt overlay

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Simplicity 8213 Floral scuba sheath dress with front skirt overlay

So, I have slightly mixed feelings about this dress. I think it is a great, flattering shape for me. I like the fact it has the waist seam and the A-line shaped skirt. I also like the fun front overlay. But the fit is not perfect. I cannot decide if I need to do a FBA or if I need to add length all around the bodice (including at the back). It just seems to be riding a little high to me? I would have liked to have made the flouncy sleeves (from view A) but as this scuba fabric has a white backside I didn’t want that showing on the flounces.

The instructions have you doing a fair amount of hand sewing. I just machined everything, including the lining around the sleeve flanges – don’t know if that has thrown the neckline off a little because it is not sitting perfectly flat. I did interface the hems and back zipper area and I did handstitch the hems. Only the upper bodice part is lined. I used a stretch lining from my stash.

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Simplicity 8213 Floral scuba sheath dress with front skirt overlay – inside lining detail

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Simplicity 8213 Floral scuba sheath dress with front skirt overlay – inside lining detail

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Simplicity 8213 Floral scuba sheath dress with front skirt overlay – inside lining detail

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
These Inspired by Project Runway dresses are designed to work with fashion’s hottest fabric–scuba knit. Dress can be made with or without a collar. Neckline on collarless version is boat neck. Sleeve options are sleeveless with optional cap and tabs or half sleeves with optional ruffle. Optional asymmetric skirt front featured on view B. Simplicity sewing pattern.

I made view B.
Pattern Sizing:
4 – 20
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I think this is a really flattering shape for me. I like the fact it has a waist seam and the A-line shape skirt with the overlay. There is nothing to dislike as such, but I need to make some alterations to the fit if I make this again: the bodice feels too short. I need to decide if I need a FBA or if I need to add length all around.
Fabric Used:
A floral printed scuba knit.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • Shortened bust dart by 1.5 inches. Note that I did not do a sway back adjustment.
  • Interfaced hems and back zipper area.
  • Ended up only taking 3/8ths inch at the back seams.
  • Machined lining at the arm holes and at the back zipper area. I don’t know if the machining has thrown the neckline out slightly because it is not sitting perfectly flat.
  • Handstitched the hems.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I would like to tackle this one again after thinking about alterations. Yes, I would recommend. I think it has potential.
Conclusion:

Despite me not being 100% in love with this dress I still wore it quite comfortably on New Years Eve. I was cooking a big meal at home and eating lots, and it coped admirably. I think it’s a great shape: it just needs some tweaking for me.

Here is a family snap taken on NYE – whatever you did I hope you had a wonderful time spent with those you care about.

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My family – new years eve 2016

Until soon…

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Simplicity 8213 Floral scuba sheath dress with front skirt overlay

My Sewing in 2016: a look back and some things you might have missed

Hi Friends,

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to the New Year.

I actually still have 2 unblogged items that I completed this year but I am not going to rush into blogging those before the year end. Instead, I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the items I have made this year and also share some items that those of you who are not on Instagram might have missed (because I felt they were not worthy of a blog post of their own).

It’s been another great year of sewing for me. I feel like my skills are improving and I am getting more practised at refining the fit of garments – that’s not to say I always get it right – because I don’t! I think I am also more confident in my own sense of style and picking patterns that I think might work on my body shape etc. So all in all, 2016 was a successful year for me.

Here is the complete breakdown (not including the two unblogged items) with some pictures of things that have appeared on the blog before, as well as some pictures of items I shared on my Instagram account.

  • 4 coats – including one for Kezia. These are probably my most favourite items of all the things I have sewn. I have to wear a coat of some kind most days for at least 9 – 10 months of the year and reaching for these items makes me happy. I really enjoy coat making.

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  • 2 blazers – both huge learning curves for me. One was a hand tailored wool blazer and one was a wool ponte blazer constructed using fusible interfacings.
  • 2 jackets – one made from Linton tweed and fully lined (that was worn lots when travelling on planes in America) and one unlined kimono style.
  • 3 pairs of pull on jeans made using the Jalie Elenore pattern (my red pair got worn loads – see below for picture. My black pair are in the donate pile – fabric didn’t have enough stretch to make them comfortable).
  • 3 pairs of pants made using Simplicity 1167 – this pattern has become my go to pants pattern – for now. So proud of myself for making pants that fit ME!
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Simplicity 1167 pants

  • 2 pairs of culotte style trousers.
  • 2 skirts, both made using Simplicity 8019. I made a version in suede leather and then this (unblogged) denim version, which has gotten a fair amount of wear.
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Simplicity 8019 denim button front skirt worn with plaid Grainline Archer shirt

  • 1 pair of workout leggings
  • 5 shirts – including one made for Philip’s big birthday and a floral Grainline Archer made for myself from some soft cotton voile type fabric I purchased a few years ago in Paris that I LOVE wearing.
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McCalls 6613 striped shirt

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McCalls 6613 striped shirt

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Grainline Archer floral shirt worn with Jalie Eleonore pull on jeans

  • 11 further tops/ blouses/ workout top, including this modified McCalls 6886 breton style top. Sadly this has also just gone into the donate pile on account of the fabric not washing very well. It’s a shame as I LOVE the first breton top I made using this pattern and it still gets regularly worn (in a black and white stripe). Need to find the perfect fabric to make more!
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McCalls 6886 modified into colour block yoke breton style top

  • 2 cardigans
  • 4 shirt dresses

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  • 6 further dresses – one of which was a wadder. The wadder was  my attempt at turning the True Bias Sutton blouse into a dress with an elasticated waist. I made the top part way too blousey and I ended  up chopping the dress apart before giving up on it completely.

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True Bias Sutton Dress – wadder!

  • A gymnastics outfit for Kezia
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Erbsenprinzessin leotard – fabric purchased from Spandex house, NYC

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Erbsenprinzessin leotard (modified) and e+m leggings (modified to shorts)

  • 2 pairs of cotton pyjamas – made using Simplicity 2317. These have been washed and worn and washed and worn. I hope to make more (and more luxurious) versions next year.
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Two versions of OOP Simplicity 2317

  • 2 refashions: a blouse of mine which I no longer wanted refashioned into a top for Kezia and a denim peplum jacket made from 2 pairs of old jeans.
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Refashioned top into a top for kezia

  • 1 baby dress and pantaloons

Phew! Quite the list. I am proud and happy of all I have achieved this year 🙂

What does 2017 hold? I am not one to tie myself down with challenges/ resolutions or even firm plans. I like to run wild and free, haha. But….

  • More coats: a waterproof Kelly anorak, a trench coat of some kind and another blazer (still need to find my perfect one in terms of fit and style!)
  • Workout tops in the supplex I purchased in America this year
  • More pants! Maybe another pattern?
  • Feel like I need some new tops to freshen my wardrobe up.

Not going to think beyond that. I like to draw up a more specific list up about 3 or 4 times a year and edit as I go along.

So all that remains is for me to say a huge THANK YOU to all of my followers and to all of you who read my blog and comment. It’s great to be part of this community and also it was great to meet some of you in real life and make new friends. Actually, that’s something I hope I get more chance to do next year. I wish all of you health, happiness, peace and prosperity for the new year. Happy and fruitful sewing!

 

 

 

Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat: DIY Plaid Checked Wool Duffle Toggle Coat

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Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat

Hi Friends,

Today I am sharing my most recent make – hot off the sewing machine just yesterday in fact – the Cascade Duffle Coat by Grainline Patterns. I also like to think of it as “The Coat that Almost Broke my Machine.” More on that in a moment.

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Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat

I did not plan on making another winter coat this year, having made one back in February this year. Whilst I love that coat (the fit, the warmth, the colour) I am finding it is not too practical to wear. The basket weave is actually quite prone to getting snagged on handbags and doors and I decided I wanted a more practical, every day kind of a coat. What I really wanted was a red coat and I was so close to ordering some red wool coating, but in the end I decided I should try and sew from stash. Making this coat from my stash means I have used three pieces of wool coating up this year and am now happy to purchase some new wool coating for next time 🙂

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Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat

The outer fabric I used is this one. It is a lambswool/ cashmere/ tencel blend. It behaved well during sewing and pressing. I cut interlining from a heavy brushed cotton and treated it as underlining, maching the interlining to the front and back yokes, the main front and back body pieces and the lower front and back bands (see details on my purple wool coat for more information on how I did it last time). This coat is heavy and warm. The hood of the coat is lined using a sherpa style (?) fabric and the body of the coat is lined with a viscose lining. I hand made the toggles using scraps of leather and leather cord. The heavy metal zipper is a YKK one.

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Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat

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Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat – Back lining and sherpa style hood lining

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Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat

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Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat – zipper detail and self made leather toggles

As ever, my full review for this pattern can be found below. I just wanted to say that this is a wonderfully drafted and devised pattern. The pattern includes separate back and front lining pieces, facing pieces for the hood, sleeves and hem of the coat and the instructions talk you through bagging the lining out – which personally speaking I love. There is a comprehensive sew along and instructions for making your own toggles if you wish. I also used Jen’s tutorial on how to match plaids when you sew. Plaid matching on a coat like this was not too pleasant! I ended up having to order another metre of fabric and recut one entire front side because I was not happy with how the checks had fallen. After consultation on instagram I decided to go with a bias cut front centre band but re-cut my pockets to be on the straight of grain. Oye! The headache that caused. In the end I am pretty happy with how things worked out, although hindsight is, of course, a wonderful thing.

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Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat

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Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat

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Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat

As I mentioned above, this coat is heavy and warm. During the final stages of maching the lining in, my machine decided it didn’t like sewing through 7 layers (!) of wool, cotton and interfacing, and blew a fuse. You can get the full story on instagram. Fortunately I have a wonderful sewing repair man who did a speedy and relatively inexpensive repair for me and the second time around I lengthened my stitch length and things worked out ok. I am so proud of the finish on this coat – and that’s largely thanks to the brilliant drafting and instructions of this pattern.

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
The Cascade Duffle Coat is a fresh take on a classic shape featuring a slight A-line cut, toggle front closure, and a hidden zipper band to keep the coat shut tight against cold weather. The hem of View A hits at the hip while View B’s falls to mid-thigh. Although View A is shown with a collar and View B with a hood, both are interchangeable allowing you to create your own perfect coat.

I made view B.
Pattern Sizing:
0 – 18.

I cut a straight size 18 with a few tweaks.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
The instructions (at least the sew along which is largely what I followed) are amazing. Nothing else to say about them!
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love the finished coat. Such a professional finish. I love that separate lining pieces are included and also facings for the hood, sleeves and hem. I also love the hidden zipper band and the toggle front closure. The only thing I perhaps don’t love is the sleeves seem to have some drag lines at the top of the sleeve. I added a thin custom made shoulder pad and sleeve heads which did seem to help.
Fabric Used:
Outer: lambswool/ cashmere/ tencel blend.

Hood lining: sherpa style fleecy lining.

Body of coat: viscose lining.

Hand made leather toggles.

Interlined with brushed cotton.

Heavy metal YKK zipper.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • Removed 3 inches in length from lower lengthen/ shorten lines.
  • Shortened sleeves by 2 inches.
  • Used smallest size pocket positon for pocket placement (there is a 1 inch difference in pocket placement position between size 0 and size 18).
  • Graded out below waist by 0.5 inch at side front and side back seams.
  • 0.5 inch small shoulder adjustment.
  • 0.5 inch full arm adjustment.
  • Cut centre panel of hood, front and back yokes and centre front bands on the bias.
  • Added very thin custom made shoulder pads and self fabric bias strip sleeve heads to support sleeve shape.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
This was a time consuming and involved project but I enjoyed it and am pleased with the outcome. I would actually consider making this again in a solid fabric – but not any time soon 🙂 Yes, I highly recommend.
Conclusion:

Super professional finish and brilliant instructions. This is a cosy, fun coat with classic features.

We are off for a few days to the Georgian city of Bath tomorrow and I might just take my new coat with me. Enjoy the festive season!

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Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat

 

Butterick 6157 and Simplicity 1167: DIY Silk Velvet Tee and Jacquard Pants Trousers

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Butterick 6157 and Simplicity 1167 Silk Velvet Tee and Jacquard Lurex Pants

Hi Friends,

Christmas is fast approaching and it was my birthday a week or so ago, so with those two occassions in mind this outfit was created. Velvet and Jacquard are both totally on trend for the forthcoming festive season, and this outfit is just so easy to wear.

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Butterick 6157 and Simplicity 1167 Silk Velvet Tee and Jacquard Lurex Pants

I know lots of people are going to ask, so let me tell you both of these fabrics were purchased from eBay sellers. The silk/ viscose velvet came from this seller who I have never used before, but the fabric is a beautiful quality (20% silk, 80% viscose) and the seller was prompt in all their communications and delivery was fast (a couple of days). Also, I prewashed  my fabric before cutting and whilst there was some amount of shrinkage I am happy I won’t have to pay any further drycleaning costs. The lurex/ jacquard fabric (which has a little bit of stretch) was purchased from this seller who I have used many times before and I do like. Not being paid anything to advertise on behalf of these sellers btw!

I am not going to write much about the trousers (made using Simplicity 1167) because this is the third (!) time I have sewn them up (you can see the first time here and the second time here). The only changes made this time round was to shave 0.25 inches off the inner legs at the back and shorten the length by 6 inches. I love them! I have said it before but, wow, having trousers that fit me! Mind blowing!

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Butterick 6157 and Simplicity 1167 Silk Velvet Tee and Jacquard Lurex Pants

So, next the top. This was made using Butterick 6157, which is a see&sew pattern. I know the pattern envelope is not all that inspiring, but this pattern is a great basic pattern and great value for money in that it also comes with different cup sizes included. I selected this pattern in particular with the velvet in mind because the pattern includes back/ neck facings which I think are a better option than topstitching on the velvet. I ended up having to piece my front facing and I chose to overlock all my seam allowances to finish. Full review below.

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Butterick 6157 and Simplicity 1167 Silk Velvet Tee and Jacquard Lurex Pants

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Butterick 6157 Silk Velvet Tee front facing

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Butterick 6157 Silk Velvet Tee back facing

Some notes on how I treated/ sewed my velvet:

  • I chose to cut my velvet with the pile going up i.e. it feels rough when stroked downwards because I felt the colour was richer in this orientation.
  • I used silk pins to pin my fabric together.
  • I used a walking foot throughout construction. This fabric is quite shifty and if sewing again I would probably use basting in addition to the above.
  • I DID NOT iron this fabric directly, but rather hovered my iron above the fabric and used lots of steam and my hands to press seams/ darts etc.
  • Following on from above, in lieu of fusible interfacing on the facings I used silk organza.
  • I chose to understitch the facings rather than topstitch as recommened in the pattern.

This was a more tricky fabric to work with but if you take your time and select a simple pattern you can do it.

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:

Semi-fitted pullover top has French darts, back keyhole closure, narrow hem and button and thread loop closing. A, B: Short sleeves. A: Contrast sleeves. B: Double-edged scalloped lace overlay.

Includes separate pattern pieces for A/B, C and D cup sizes.

Pattern Sizing:
8 – 24 (all sizes included in pattern).
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yep.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yep.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the fact it is  a simple pattern that you can do a lot with. I chose this particular pattern because it includes back/ neck facings and therefore I felt it would be a good choice for my silk velvet. I like the fact different cup sizes are included in the pattern. Nothing to dislike although distinguishing between sizes on the pattern sheet needs some concentration.
Fabric Used:
Silk/ viscose velvet (20% silk, 80% viscose).
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • 1 inch full arm adjustment
  • 1 inch sway back adjustment with removed length added back to lower hem
  • 1 inch added to length at hem and 0.5 inch to sleeve hems
  • Substituted silk organza for fusible interfacing at the facings
  • Moved bust dart down by 0.75 inches
  • Understitched facings rather than topstitching.
  • Handstitched all hems.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I might use this pattern again. Yes, I recommend.
Conclusion:

I love this whole outfit: on trend, comfortable but stylish.

Are you making anything especially for the festive season?

Until soon.

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Butterick 6157 and Simplicity 1167 Silk Velvet Tee and Jacquard Lurex Pants

 

 

Butterick 5526 and Simplicity 1167:DIY Princess Seamed Fitted Button Down Shirt and Chino Style Trousers

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Butterick 5526 Princess seamed button down shirt worn with Simplicity 1167 chino style trousers

Hi There,

It’s no secret I love my Grainline Archer Shirts (I think I am upto 6 so far….you can search for them using the search facility on the right hand side of my blog), but I fancied trying a new, more fitted shape, and bought Butterick 5526 in the recent 50% off sale. Before I talk about the shirt, let me mention the trousers. These are my second pair of Simplicity 1167 (first pair can be seen here). I really like the first pair I made, and having spent some amount of time fitting them I decided I wanted to make a second pair from some olive stretch cotton sateen but in a longer length.

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Butterick 5526 Princess seamed button down shirt worn with Simplicity 1167 chino style trousers

Verdict: love them. On Instagram I mentioned I had a bit of a nightmare making these trousers (you can also see a shot of the guts inside the trousers from the Instagram link – I bound the waistband seam on these). They were, after all, supposed to be a simple sew with no modifications from the first pair. But I messed  up my zipper shield and my welt pockets are not perfect (again), although I have now figured out what I am doing wrong. Nonetheless, I do really, really like these trousers. Or maybe it’s just the novelty of wearing trousers that fit me after a very long time? I think you might see another pair of these trousers at some point.

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Butterick 5526 Princess seamed button down shirt worn with Simplicity 1167 chino style trousers

On to the shirt. BTW, in case you weren’t aware, this month is shirt making month over on the Curvy Sewing Collective blog. I didn’t plan for my shirt to coincide with their shirt making series, but it is full of useful resources on shirt making techniques, as well as lots of shirt patterns to consider.

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Butterick 5526 Princess seamed button down shirt

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Butterick 5526 Princess seamed button down shirt

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Butterick 5526 Princess seamed button down shirt

Check out my full review below but there are a couple of things I wanted to mention. First of all, the sleeves. I found there was a lot of ease in the sleeve caps. Which has resulted in a puffy effect and I think is causing the vertical drag lines that you can see in the middle picture above (sleeve fitting experts please chime in). I measured the armhole on this pattern (for reference my shirt is a straight size 18), and it measured as 19.25 inches. I then measured the sleeve cap and it measured as 23.25 inches: that’s 4 inches – 4 inches! of ease. In this tutorial, Sallie says that the sleeve cap should be 1.25 – 1.75 inches larger than the bodice armhole. So I have gone ahead and removed 2 inches from the sleeve cap on my pattern ready for next time.

Secondly, I think I messed up on my button placement. It doesn’t look that apparent from these photographs, but the button at the bust point and the one below kept popping open. So I have gone back and added in two press studs. I don’t think it is a size issue. For my next version I will alter the button hole placement (on this version I went with the pattern placement).

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Butterick 5526 Princess seamed button down shirt

Some inside shots. I went ahead and added a yoke to the back piece because it makes finishing the shoulder seams much easier and neater IMO (I like to use the burrito method to finish). I also flat fell seamed all the other seams, including the princess seams and the sleeve shoulder seams. With the afore mentioned amount of ease in the sleeves this wasn’t easy but hopefully on the next version it will be smoother.

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Butterick 5526 Princess seamed button down shirt – inside front of shirt. All flat felled seamed throughout.

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Butterick 5526 Princess seamed button down shirt – inside side front of shirt showing flat felled princess and sleeve shoulder seams

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Butterick 5526 Princess seamed button down shirt – inside back of shirt showing modified yoke

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
Fitted shirts A, B, C, D, E have collar band, shaped hemline, three-quarter or long sleeves with pleats, button-down placket, button cuffs, front-button closing, topstitch trim and narrow hem. A: Button trim on pleated pockets, long, rolled sleeves (wrong side shows) and button tabs. C: Tunic-length. A, B, C: Mock-front bands. A, B, C, D: Collar. D, E: Front bands and princess seams. E: Ruffles and stand-up collar

I made view D with full length sleeeves.
Pattern Sizing:
6 – 22

I cut a straight size 18.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
I didn’t really use them, prefering to rely on my own shirt making methods.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the princess seams for a more fitted look. I am happy with the fit through the back of the shirt. I dislike the amount of ease in the sleeves.  I measured the armhole on this pattern (for reference my shirt is a straight size 18), and it measured as 19.25 inches. I then measured the sleeve cap and it measured as 23.25 inches: that’s 4 inches of ease. I read that a sleeve cap should be 1.25 – 1.75 inches larger than the bodice armhole so I have removed 2 inches of ease from the pattern for next time.
Fabric Used:
Cotton.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • Lowered bust point by 0.5 inches.
  • 1 inch full bust adjustment.
  • 1 inch sway back adjustment with removed length added back to hems.
  • Added 0.5  inch to side back seams at high hip.
  • Added 5/8ths inch to length at hem.
  • Modified back piece to include yoke. I cut two yokes and attached them using the burrito method to conceal the shoulder seams.
  • Removed 3.5 inches from length of sleeves.
  • I found the sleeve measurements to be quite generous and there was no need to do a full arm adjustment, although this could also be because I have lost some  width from my arms.
  • Only interfaced half of the cuff and button band.
  • Flat felled all seams.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
It’s nice to have an alternative shirt pattern with a more fitted look. If I can sort the sleeve issue (and I also want to adjust the button placement for next time), I could see this becoming a TNT shirt pattern. I do recommend, but with the warning that to make any garment which is close fitting to the body expect to do some fitting alterations.
Conclusion:

I really want one in a check plaid. How would you tackle checks and those princess seams?

Have a great week ahead. Back soon!

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Butterick 5526 Princess seamed button down shirt

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