Thursday, August 25, 2016

Wardrobe Basic: The T-Shirt

photo:InStyle 7/2016
The fourth installment of the Fit-Along series of Wardrobe Basics is the classic T-shirt.  If you missed the last three, you can read about the denim jacket here, the classic white shirt here and the sheath dress here

The t-shirt is the quiet workhorse in your wardrobe.  It is not the most exciting item you have but without it our wardrobe wouldn’t be the same.  It works well as a layering piece worn under just about anything-denim jackets, suits, an unbuttoned classic blouse, jumpsuit or sheath dress.  It can also stand on its own worn with a pencil skirt, dress slacks and of course the classic combo t-shirt and jeans. And it’s perfect for showing off statement jewelry or scarfs! 

 Photo: U.S. Naval Historical Center,  Wikimedia Commons, Hulton Archive/Getty Images
The T-shirt was originally 
called the undershirt and in the late 1800's was considered taboo to wear in public.  In 1905, the US Navy adopted the undershirt as part of their uniform. The word t-shirt was first used by the author F.Scott Fitzgerald in 1920 in his novel, This Side of Paradise But is was Marlon Brando in the movie A Streetcar Named Desire that made the t-shirt popular to the mass public. Today, the t-shirt is a fashion statement for men and women!

 Fabric Selection
White Rayon Jersey KnitBlack Rayon Jersey Knit  
Lightweight knit fabrics with lycra or spandex have excellent stretch and recovery, an important attribute for t-shirts.  The two rayon jerseys featured are classic colors to have in your wardrobe.  

 Pattern Selection

 I won’t be able to cover all of the many varied figure types and some patterns can work for more than one figure type.  But I hope this will help you to look at patterns more critically and analyze what will best work for you. When selecting a pattern for a T-shirt look at the neckline, the sleeve and the hem and select the styles that will work for your figure type.  Be sure to sign up for Sew Much Fabric’s mailing list (scroll to the bottom of the home page) for additional exclusive information including updates on videos by Sew-to-Fit for pattern alterations to get that perfect fit!  

Knit t-shirts are a great way to show off this figure type!  The stretch factor molds to show off the curves.  But be careful to not over-fit (read too tight) or this classic style becomes too suggestive! 
Pattern Suggestion: McCalls 6355
Neckline: V-neck, Scoop neck
Sleeve: Set-in or Raglan
Hem: Just below hip bone or a curved hem

Defining the waist and softening the shoulder area with a wide neckline will balance the lower half of the inverted triangle.  
Pattern SuggestionBurda Style 09/2014 #125
Neckline: Wide v-neck or wide boat neck 
Sleeves: Raglan, set-in 
Hem:  Few inches below hipbone  

This figure type looks great in interesting necklines and sleeves!  They bring all the attention to the upper body.   
Pattern Suggestion: StyleArc Emily Knit Top
Neckline: V-neck line, crew neck, square, any interesting neckline
Sleeves: Cap sleeve (extends the shoulder), elbow length sleeve to define the waist.
Hem: End at the top of the hip

The t-shirt should skim across the body especially around the mid-section.    
Pattern Suggestion: Burda Style 01/2015 #129
Neckline: V-neck, scoop neck, boat-neck
Sleeve: High armhole will help to define space between your arm and torso.  Try a hem on a slight diagonal.
Hem: Stopping the hem at the fullest part of the tummy will give the appearance of cutting your stomach in half.  

Ruching at the side seams, a breast pocket and the diagonal line of the raglan sleeves are nice details that create curves for this figure type.      
Pattern SuggestionStyle Arc Ann T-Top
Neckline: Crew neck or scoop
Sleeve: Drop shoulder, set-in or raglan
Hem: Hi-low hem or just above the hip line.

The t-shirt can handle any area of your life-the office, weekends or a night out on the town.  Enjoy making a collection of t-shirts in figure flattering styles you'll love!   

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Burda Style 09/2016

To purchase, go to

All Styles at a Glance

Line Drawings

Boho style with a sophisticated feel.

Weekend Glam
Skirt #106 -Blue Denim

Tunic #103 -Ivory Silk Double Georgette

Classic jacket for petite sizes.
Jacket #108-Vanilla White Stretch Double Cloth Wool

Plus Size
What to wear to the office
Top #136 -Silk Charmeuse-Teal Green
Skirt #134A -Sage/Teal, Chartreuse Dot Cotton Suiting

A nod to the 50s
Dress #137 -Red Wool Tricotine

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Pattern Review: 6-Gore Indigo Denim Matte Jersey Skirt

One of the reasons we sew is to have a "one of a kind" garment. But what a compliment when someone mistakes a garment we've made for a designer's garment!  Good job Kasey!

This skirt is from Vogue 7910, view C which is a six-panel, band-less skirt with angled front pockets and an off-center back zip.

This skirt is easy to fit as the six seams allow you to shape the waistline very closely to your own. It can be made very quickly with topstitching to fell the seam allowances, or you can underline it and hand-fell the seams for a very clean look on the outside.

I used a denim-look rayon jersey from Sew Much Fabric, which comes in indigo and black. The fabric washed very well and sewed easily. Initially when I basted the skirt together I found the jersey was a bit too swishy on its own, so I underlined it with a soft fusible hymo which gave it the perfect weight.

 I topstitched with a deep golden thread which compliments the deep indigo perfectly.

At the airport last month my skirt was mistaken for a designer piece – quite the compliment for my quick and easy skirt! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Haute Summer Sewing – Silk Blouse McCalls 7324

I love the many options a silk blouse offers!  Eileen did a beautiful job constructing this blouse.  She used McCalls 7324 and a silk crepe de chine now sold out.  Other options are here, here, here, and here. Thank you Eileen!! 

McCalls 7324 

This blouse from McCalls 7324 View B is a great summer addition to any wardrobe. The pattern is a very loose-fitting pullover top (close-fitting through bust) with front and back gathered into neck band, front band, forward shoulder seams, front pleat, a hi low hemline, and narrow hem.  The pattern is easy to fit and the two-piece sleeve means no sleeve placket to sew!  

The fabric used is silk crepe de chine designed by Nanette Lepore (sold out) from Sew Much Fabric.  The fabric can be hand washed in cool water and a mild soap.   Air dry and use a silk setting to press.  Silk weight fusible interfacing was used on the placket, collar and cuffs.  

I love couture sewing techniques because they combine form and function in a garment.  French seams were used as well as a narrow machine hem.   Covered buttons using the techniques shared by Cynthia Mitchell were used matching the pattern of the silk on the cuff.  

Join me at our October 3, 2016 meeting and I will be sharing the French seam and narrow machine hem sewing techniques.  

This blouse dresses up or down for work or play.  A second blouse is on the cutting table using another silk crepe de chine from Sew Much Fabric.  I hope to have it finished to share at our October meeting.  

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Burda Style 8/2016

To purchase, go to
(Sold Out)

All Styles at a Glance

Line Drawings

Burda Style calls this Lady-Like meets Rockabilly.

The fabric combinations are endless!

Wardrobe Planning for Fall
Jacket #114-Pearl/Onyx Boucle'

Wear now and later with the jacket featured above.
Dress #124A-White Ponte Knit

Plus Size
Love the waistline definition!
Dress #131-Black Stretch Wool Crepe 

Weekend Glam
Jacket #134-Black/White Multi Tweed
(Sold Out)
Pants #136-Inkwell Stretch Denim

Monday, July 18, 2016

Color Blocking Vogue 8944

Color blocking is a beautiful way to highlight the style lines in a dress.  Carla used Cranberry/Charcoal Grey Reversible Knit and did a lovely job selecting where to "change colors".  Thank you Carla-I know your daughter loves this dress!

I made the sleeveless version of Vogue 8944 with Roz’s reversible knit.  
Vogue 8944  

I chose not to line it as called for in the pattern.   Instead, I stabilized the shoulders and the waistline with a fusible hem tape.

 I used a traditional binding application (as taught in Linda Lee Craftsy Class) for the neck and armholes.  The only “challenge” was the zipper.  I finally figured out I had to put the binding on—then put the zipper in—and then turn the binding down and finish!

 If anyone wants more details, just ask!  As usual, I fully documented it in case I remake!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Haute Summer Sewing – Blouse Jacket Burda 4/2016 126

I love this Burda Style jacket that Eileen recently made.  It is on trend with the cape-like sleeve!  And as Eileen pointed out, it's great for keeping the chill off in air conditioned buildings.  This rayon challis is sold out but here are some substitutes here, here, here, here, herehere and here.  Thank you Eileen for sharing your beautiful new jacket!  

Burda Style 04/2016 #126 

Burda magazine April 2016 has a great pattern for a summer air conditioning cover up that you can dress up or down.  Pattern 126 is described as a relaxed jacket with XL wing sleeves and a cut on shawl collar perfect for cooler days or evenings.  The sleeves flutter in the breeze and it is a very fun garment to wear. 

The July issue of Burda magazine also uses the blouse jacket in a styling section for one top with four looks.  Look for it!  

The fabric used is a rayon crepe (sold out) from Sew Much Fabric.  The fabric can be hand washed in cool water and a mild detergent.   Air dry and use a silk setting to press.  Knit stay tape was fused in the armhole and collar seamlines to prevent the soft fabric from stretching out of shape.   The armhole is finished with a topstitched bias binding before the side seam is sewn.  This was a great technique in the instructions that I had not used before.  You can finish the armhole edge and alter your side seams if needed without having to rip out the bias binding.  Very clever technique.  The sleeves are two half circles that are stitched on last.  The sleeve hems are finished with a narrow machine hem. 

 I will be demonstrating the hem technique at the October 3, 2016 meeting.  Join me at our October 3, 2016 meeting and I will be sharing two sewing techniques: a French seam and narrow machine hem. 

This blouse jacket dresses up or down for work or play.  A sleeveless dress is in progress with the coordinating blue rayon from Sew Much Fabric.  I hope to have it finished to share at our October meeting.  

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Animal Print T-Shirt

What a great addition to Carla's closet-a great fitting animal print T-shirt!  Animal Print is like a neutral. It plays nicely with other colors and prints.  This fabric is sold out but you can find other knits here.  Thank you Carla for sharing your method of coping a favorite T-shirt!

I’ve been trying to make more knit tops that have ready to wear finishes.  I’m a regular Chico’s shopper and have lots of their tops.  I had one that I especially liked.  I laid it on top of some tracing paper and traced the front and back.  The sleeves were part of the front and back.  After tracing the pieces, I made sure the center front and center back were straight as they were to be cut on fold.  I made sure the sides were the same on the front and back so they would match.  
I took a Craftsy class—Sewing Fashion Knits by Linda Lee.  This is a great class and I highly recommend it.  
It does a great job teaching a traditional binding and a ready-to-wear binding.  In my Chico copy, I used the ready-to-wear binding.
It recommends using a product she sells on her website called Fusi-Web to secure the hem on the sleeves and the bottom.  This is a double sided fusible and creates a temporary bond.  Then hemming with a cover stitch machine is a snap.
It recommends using a product she sells on her website called Fusible Hem Tape.  I used this to stabilize the shoulder seams.
This top is a perfect replica of the Chico’s top.  I used a two-way stretch I bought from Roz a while back!  Perfect use for it!  And it was amazingly easy! 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Burda Style 7/2016

To purchase, go to
(Sold Out)
All Styles at a Glance

Line Drawings

This has summer written all over it!

Maxi Wrap Dress

This blouse is the featured 4 in 1 look.

Love the asymmetrical straps.
It has in-seam pockets too!
Dress #117-White Pique

Plus Size
This is great for the office or weekend glam!

Sunday Best!