vogue 1247 summer tops

I’ve used two lengths of silk from my stash for a couple of new tops for late summer wear. The first is a silk chiffon, but it’s a bit more opaque than chiffon. The lack of weight to the fabric makes this floatier than the second version, if there is such a thing. (Spell check says no, there is no such thing.)

Vogue 1247 top pink silk
It was so nice to wear these wedges today!

The second is a lovely silk crepe – exactly what the pattern calls for – and the drape of it justifies the fabric suggestion on the back of the envelope.

Vogue 1247 top green
The top is supposed to have a CB seam, as per the pattern, although I prefer to cut it on the fold.

This pattern has been sewn, reviewed and posted about hundreds of times in SewingBlogLand, so I have nothing really new to say about it except for the following:

This top can be squeezed out of as little as 1.2m of 140cm wide fabric, which is less than what the envelope recommends. Speaking of which, when I learned to sew using Vogue patterns, I was taught to always purchase a little less than what the pattern envelope recommended in order to avoid having small almost-useless leftover lengths of 10 or 15 cm (instead of cutting scraps). I don’t follow that advice anymore, for some reason, but I can manage to finagle garments out of shorter lengths than what the patterns call for, pattern matching excepted, of course. Do you do this, too? I must admit it sometimes make a project more work, more involved, more mentally challenging (exhausting?) that it need be. Sometimes I wish I just had enough fabric to lay out the pattern pieces without trying to make it a perfectly-fitted puzzle, eking it out of whatever I have decided should work. On the other hand, it is very satisfying to use up an entire length of goods.

Vogue 1247 top back
I thought this top would be rather twee, but it’s so pretty. And I didn’t need to seam the centre back on this version, thank goodness. I like it better without the designer’s CB seam.

Anyway, these two tops have several adjustments:

  • Centre front has been raised 4 cm
  • Each of the seam allowances under the arms have been taken in by 1.5cm.
  • The front has been shortened by 2.5cm in length, along the hem, grading to nothing at the side seams.

Also, for reference, the lower centre front panels (triangles, really) of the green top have not been cut on the correct bias grain, in order to maintain as much of the horizontal dashy design of the fabric.  I had cut it out as instructed, but the bias grain looked completely absurd with the fabric’s design. I’ll spare you the photos. Here’s the amended, altered version. Truth be told, I was quite displeased when I took photos of this top the other day, so I dismantled the centre bottom panels, turned them around and put it back together so the fabric’s green dashes were more or less running horizontally.

Vogue 1247 green
much more pleasing to the eye, trust me….

Each of the necklines has been finished by hand because I feel like I have more control over the outcome than with a machine, as carefully as I know I am capable of stitching. Besides, it’s good practice. 🙂

The pink top’s understitching along the neckline was also done by hand because I just felt like sitting at my sewing table quietly stitching by hand.

Both hems have been hand rolled. 

Left: hand rolled hem. Right: pick stitched neckline.

Honestly, every time I try to do a narrow hem on a silk top with the machine I hate how stiff it feels, so I just do them by hand now and don’t bother with machine stitching.

hand rolled hem shown step by step, counterclockwise from top left

Both these tops have seen a lot of wear over the last few weeks.  They’re comfortable and a nice alternative to a T-shirt. And I love how they’ve been made from roll ends I’ve collected over the years.

Are you making up anything from little ‘ends’ in your fabric collection?

Croc Matelassé Jacket

Matelassé Jacket

I can’t remember when I purchased this roll end from EOS, but I have finally pulled this gorgeous piece of matelassé from my stash to meet the PR Sewing Bee Round 3 challenge:  a lined jacket.  The pattern is Burda 08/2008 #127, an issue which Burda 08-2008-127 drawingI purchased for a different jacket a couple of years ago, and was pleasantly surprised to find this simple jacket pattern would – with some playing around – accommodate my limited matelassé yardage.  I put the project into queue and forgot about it until now.

The jacket is designed as unlined, but I lined it.  I did not have enough fabric for proper facings.  As it was, I had to piece together the front edge facing and forego the extension into the shoulder as well as the back neck facing.  The sleeves are lined to the cuff edge.

front facing and cuff details

I have never worked with matelassé before, so this was a new adventure.  My fabric made it a troublesome adventure because it was like sewing with two completely different fabrics.  The matte part of the design was stable and behaved solidly like a quilted fabric – much like I expected matelassé to behave.  However, the metallic portion was designed to be difficult, comprised of fluffy loose polyester fibres sandwiched between copper lurex threads and rather unstable black polyester threads.  The lurex was incredibly flimsy, so I underlined it with pre-shrunk cotton/poly broadcloth.


Then I realized topstitching by machine was not going to look so great, so everything was done by hand:  understitching, edgestitching and topstitching.

front edge pickstitch

The hand work was relaxing, and I liked how it didn’t interfere with the fabric and finished the edges nicely.  I balked at doing the buttonholes by hand, but they disappear into the fabric.


I was pleasantly surprised at how warm this jacket is, even with only a rayon bemberg lining.

Matelassé Jacket

The roll end fabric repeat was a big problem.  I’m not very skilled at good fabric design placement in garments (yet), and my roll end began and ended in the middle of one repeat.  After going back and forth and shading in the line drawing several ways, I settled on the metallic gradation dripping down from the shoulders, and the clean stark line of it giving the illusion of deep cuffs.

 Matelassé Jacket

Just a note on the pattern.  It’s a plus-sized pattern (44-52), and I’m so pleased with the fit of it.  I made a very small (for me) 2cm (3/4″) FBA; cut the back and side back pieces as one to conserve fabric (incorporating the curved side back seams as a dart) and shortened the back waist by about 5cm (2″) by simply moved the centre/widest part of the dart up to where my waist sits.  I did a 1.5cm (5/8″) forward shoulder adjustment and decided I’d put in 1cm (1/2″) thick shoulder pads rather than do a sloped shoulder adjustment.  I felt the lurex matelassé could use the extra help through the shoulders.

croc metallic jacketYou can see more pictures of this project in my Flickr album, and read my PR review here.


SNOW!!!  I have waited since October for snow to fall in this very grey city, and today it was so beautiful!  The flakes were falling in large fluffy clumps as I drove my DD1 to a high school audition.  It was so pretty!IMG_0006Anyways, the real point of this post is a little review of Vogue 8296.  I’ve had this pattern kicking around for years.  V8296aI used to have a long denim skirt along the same lines, and when this pattern was released I bought it for when the RTW skirt wore out. I used thrifted Harris tweed and lined it with poly charmeuse.  This is a heavier lining than I’ve used with tweed skirts in the past.  I usually use bemberg but I find that the scratchiness of the tweed (particularly Harris) makes its way through the bemberg.  The charmeuse is the perfect barrier!  The lining is basically an A-line skirt cut on the bias.  Each of the lower skirt sections are sewn as lapped seams.  I wasn’t originally going to sew it up this way, but after shrinking the tweed I thought it would be a different look from anything else I own.  I left the hem unfinished, too.  I don’t know if this will hold up in the long end, but that’s the way it is for now.  I’m really hoping the weave is dense enough to prevent extensive fraying so I don’t have to stitch along the edge of it. I would like a little bit of fraying at the hemline, but not long-scary-thread fraying.

V8296 waist

The waistband is reinforced with grosgrain.  I fell stitched the bottom of the ribbon through all layers, just barely catching the fashion fabric like a subtle bit of understitching.  It worked beautifully.

V 8296 topstiching

I finished up this skirt last week and wore it twice, but decided that it needed a little something extra.  So I outlined the skirt seams with a dot stitch (aka rice grain stitch) in red DMC embroidery cotton.

Flickr slide show

And that’s the end of winter skirts around here.  Having all these skirt options has made me realize my closet is extremely limited in the tops department.

Breezy skirt: Burda 09-2010-106

B 09-2010-106Don’t you just love the colour of the sky?  It’s a glorious fall day outside.  Love it!

Well, I’ve had a craving for skirts the last couple of weeks, particularly brown skirts.  Don’t ask me why!  I’ve got two already that are in different shades of brown, but I still wanted another skirt.  Enter Burda 09-2010-106.

B 09-2010-106 technical

I’ve had my eye on this particular skirt pattern since last September and was happy to get it out of a length of wool crepe from my stash after cutting out a pair of trousers. I really liked the topstitching detail on the technical drawing.   I mitered all corners of the slits and used a catchstitch to hem.mitred hemThen I marked the topstitching lines with chalk on the inside for the first slit.  And didn’t like it because I’m a lazy seamstress, and if I can wing it instead of taking 58 minutes to mark it e.k.z.a.k.t.l.y, then I’ll save the 58 minutes and wing it.  So I changed my tactic and just merrily measured as I stitched.  The stitches are not exactly even in length if you were to scrutinize them with a ruler, but that’s the look that I wanted.  I used four strands of DMC stranded embroidery cotton, waxed well and pressed prior to stitching.topstitchEt voilà!  I’m quite pleased with the effect.  The colour is a few shades darker than the fabric and noticeable just enough. I did not want a high-contrast look.  You can see my lining peeking out at the top of the slit.  Ooops.hemlineI also did a row of topstitching on either side of the yoke seam, too.  It’s subtle, but there!B 09-2010-106 detail

I fully lined the skirt, not just the yoke as Burda suggested.  I prefer a fully lined skirt if I can get it.  I had every intention of mitering the corners of the lining to the interior would be absolutely perfectly bee-yew-ti-ful, but I was an idiot and didn’t pre-shrink the bemberg, and I know it’s going to shrink a little when I wash this skirt.  Yes, I wash my wool garments.  I do not like to send things to the cleaners unless I absolutely have to, and find I can get the same result washing trousers, skirts and the occasional wool dress at home without any mishap.  I must say, I’ve never tried washing a wool jacket or coat……

Anyways, back to the lining….. I cut only the standard 5/8” seam allowance down all seams, and turned them under below the slit marking.  Then I turned up the hem allowance about the same (5/8”) and attached it directly to the skirt hem along the topstitching using a fell stitch and easing in the extra fabric.  Once it was fully attached, I carefully ran my hands down the lining to the hem, pressing whatever fabric bagged at the bottom into a crisp, clean edge.  I’ve worn the skirt all day, so I apologize for the wrinkles, but you get the idea.interior

This is my preferred way of finishing off a wool skirt.  It’s super clean on the inside and the attached lining behaves like an underlining.  The four slits on the skirt do make it rather “breezy”.  It was a windy day today, and the skirt hemline would get lifted and fly about.

Oh, and here’s a picture of my ridiculous mini poodle trying to eat what we call ‘helicopters’:  the 2-inch long seeds from Canada’s maple trees that float like little helicopter blades spinning to the ground in an abundance during our autumn season.  The stupid scavenging dog decided it looked like food, and so it got stuck in his teeth!  You can see him looking for edibles in the first picture of this post.  And poodles are generally thought to be extraordinarily intelligent dogs.  Not this one!dumb nuggett