McCalls 6996 Missoni-Inspired Cardigan

McCalls Sweater front

This is a quick sew project made from a lovely, cushy, stretchy missoni-inspired knit from Fabricland. It was a decision between McCalls 6996 & McCalls 6884; both had lovely reviews on the web.

I love the back, but honestly this fabric could have benefitted from the front bands, it feels a bit unfinished & I think 6884 has a more flattering fit. I chose the pattern I did so it would be more ‘cardigan’ and less ‘jacket’ The back is what makes it in this fabric!  – at the very least it goes with a lot of things and I’m proud of the stripe matching…..sorry for bad phone pics, but easier on a rushed day to get some pics than none!

McCalls Sweater Back


New Look 6230 Skirt

I made this pencil skirt before the Holidays; it’s New Look 6230 view D.  Pretty straightforward pencil skirt.  New Look Crop

What makes this special is the fabric. It’s a boiled wool blend with a lace bonded to it, which you can see in the close up here:


Because it was thick & it’s texture caught on tights, I did a couple of special things:

  • I lined it (the pattern does not come with a lining pattern, I drafted my own from the skirt)
  • I eliminated the waist facing & lined it up to the waist seam
  • I added a waist stay made from the lining selvedge
  • I catch-stitched all of the seam allowances (see above photo)

The fabric does have some mechanical stretch, so I had to take it in a bit at the waist, otherwise other than lengthening it 2″ I made no further modifications.  Here’s a photo of the waist stay:

waist stay

I have worn this many times, it’s great to dress up or down! The fabric is really unique; it’s from Fabricland from last fall’s collection; it comes in hot pink/black and peacock blue/black; but to me the black/winter white combo was the most elegant!

Worn above with black sweater, H&M necklace, tights & black suede pumps

Style Crush: Kerry Washingon from SCANDAL

The blog absence has been due to work and life, but rest assured I have been sewing & stashing, and I will post pictures soon!

I have been binge watching Scandal, and was excited to learn the show is produced by Shonda Rhimes, the producer behind shows like Grey’s Anatomy & How to get away with Murder.  A common theme to these shows is the stylish production values, strong women characters & incredible wardrobes (ok maybe not in Grey’s Anatomy, which is 90% in scrubs, but you can see it in the episodes where the characters dress for black tie events!)

With the exception of the character Olivia Pope’s penchant for dressing in pastels & white (so NOT my lifestyle!) the clothes are gorgeous:

Kerry Washington in Scandal

Kerry Washington in Scandal

The backbone of her wardrobe is statement coats and handbags, soft tailoring and pants. Although it seems to be shot exclusively in a perpetual fall state of mind; it snows in Washington doesn’t it?? Season 2 – which I’m viewing now featured a lot of short sleeve capey-jackets worn with elbow length gloves.

The clothes are impeccably tailored and are all drool-worthy designer stuff: Armani, Gucci, Valentino, Prada. The Limited produced a Scandal collection earlier; it was upscale for them and some of the items (produced collaboratively with the show’s costume designer, the Limited’s creative team and Kerry herself) were worn on the show.

The Limited's Scandal Collection

The Limited’s Scandal Collection

Of course, as a sewist, it’s my obligation to find patterns suitable for reproducing this elegant wardrobe. So far here are my picks. I loved the coat on the left so much I’m now sewing this:

Vogue 9037

Vogue 9037

Of course mine is not pastel Olivia Pope style, that’s just not me. Mine is longer, with full lenth sleeves and a straight, above the knee hem. I’m using a gorgeous heavy black knit that’s embellished with wool roving in abstract designs in grey, ivory & brown. The sleeves have a deep, real leather contrast hemline in black and the belt is in faux black leather. The pattern is unlined, so I’ve created a lining in kasha (the heavier brushed-back rayon lining) I just have to set in the lining sleeves & sew in the lining, so I’m about 70% done. This will replace my old winter coat that’s showing some wear.

Other Olivia inspired patterns, first the cowl neck top (I think #2 & #3 are closest):

Vogue 9006 cowl-neck blouses

Vogue 9006 cowl-neck blouses

Vogue 8816

Vogue 8816

Vogue 9771

Vogue 9771

A cowl neck dress:

Burda 10/2012/188A

Burda 10/2012/188A

Peplum Jackets:

McCalls 6844

McCalls 6844

Style Arc Monique Jacket

Style Arc Monique Jacket

B6109 Wardrobe

B6109 Wardrobe

Sewaholic Cordova Jacket

Sewaholic Cordova Jacket

Other Statement Coats:

Butterick 5685

Butterick 5685

Vogue 8465 (an Armani design)

Vogue 8465 (an Armani design)


Pretty much any tailored, wide or straight legged pattern will do!

Vogue 1387 Rebecca Taylor Blouse & Style Arc Barb Pants


White blouse front

Definitely the most gorgeous and time consuming blouse I have made in a long while!
This is Vogue 1387 by Rebecca Taylor in a heavy, slubby polester fabric. Just look at the details!

Back Yoke with Gathers

Back Yoke with Gathers

Front Yoke with pleats and bias trim, applied collar that lies flat

Front Yoke with pleats and bias trim, applied collar that lies flat

Hand sewn snaps at front with embroidered "X" over each snap

Hand sewn snaps at front with embroidered “X” over each snap

As well there are cuffs with plackets and a rounded back hemline – phew!  I took my time with this one; it was a two week sewing project.  I also did French seams throughout.  I love the modern yet retro feel of the style, I will get a lot of wear from this one!

The only adjustments I made was to lengthen the sleeves 2″ and the body 1 1/2″; I cut a 16.

Style Arc Barb Pants

A few months back, Style Arc generously released a few freebies; including a slim-leg pull on pant, “Barb”.  I was fortunate to find some stretch woven on our annual shop till you drop gals day on Queen St. E. which had similar stretch to the recommended fabric, Bengaline – as staple in Australia, but impossible to find here. I found it at King Textiles in the stretch woven section, I think they had navy and black.  According to swatches, my fabric is a bit heavier, which is fine for our climate.

Back view:

Barb Pant back

These pants are a 14, with my crotch curve adjustment and about 4″ added to the length.  Jeez I have a square butt!! I also added a grosgrain ribbon stripe down each leg:

Barb Pant stripe

New Look 6303 & Style Arc Linda Pants

New Look 6303 Front

It’s funny how I’ve seen this style of blouses all over the stores for a couple of years, and yet until this past year there has only been one sewing pattern!  Now, there are several to choose from, what I liked best about this New Look pattern is that the front is cut double, so you don’t have to look for a fabric that shows on the wrong side.  Oh, also the little neck band holds the whole thing together without much gaping!

This was a fast sew, (warning, takes about 3 meters of fabric, the front panel is cut double on the bias!) cut one night and sewn the next, including French seams throughout!

Here is the back, with a centre pleat and narrow bias binding at the neckline:

New Look 6303 Back


Here is the pattern envelope, with some cute variations that New Look patterns are so great at:

Mine is a 16 with the sleeves lengthened 2″ and the body lengthened 1 1/2″.  The fabric is a poly crinkle from Fabricland, I really liked the print.  I intentionally kept the sleeves 7/8 – or are they 3/4 on me?? to show off some cuffs.  However, once they were hemmed, they hit my arms at the same point as the hem…that’s probably to be avoided?  Anyway they have elastic in the cuffs so they can be pushed up.

Worn with the famous-in-the-blogosphere Style Arc Linda Pants.  Made up here in a beefy mystery knit from Fabricland that feels like a nice activewear knit.  Yoga pants or dress pants?  You decide!!

From the front & back:

Linda Pants Front croppedLinda Pants back

The only alterations I made were to lengthen and adjust the crotch curve to my usual adjustment.

Did you see that Style Arc has a new pattern specifically for flat bottoms? I may just get it next time one of the free patterns appeals to me!

StyleARC Fiona Cardigan

Fiona Cardigan Front

For a big change I made a black and white garment.  Who am I kidding!  I like black and white!!  This is the freebie pattern from Style ARC (I can’t remember which month, maybe May or June?) I have seen lots of similar RTW cardigans, and I thought this was cute.  I was a little worried seeing some other finished garments that it was more oversized than I wanted; but I’m happy the way this turned out!

I did two things to prevent an oversized garment (this is a size 14 in Style ARC, I take a 14 on the top and a 16 on the bottom, generally).  First, I used iron on tricot interfacing on the bands to prevent stretching; second I omitted my usual 1 1/2″ lengthening in the body.

I did lengthen the sleeves 1″, they are a little tight, so I’ve altered the pattern to increase the sleeve width from about the elbow to hem about 1/8″ on all pattern pieces.

For reference, here is the pattern illustration:

As you can see I used two co-ordinating lightweight knits – the band is a very light burnout with mechanical stretch from Fabricland; the spotted knit is a small remnant with a slight stretch from Fabricland.  The spotted knit has each of the circles separately knitted in – it’s quite elaborate!!  Here is the back, I think the length is spot on to what I was aiming for (as you can see I made absolutely no attempt at pattern matching):

Fiona Cardigan Back

This was a wearable muslin to check the fit; I’ve adjusted it and will probably make another – after looking at the pictures I will probably lengthen the sleeves another inch, maybe by making the cuff deeper. Oh, and a super quick sew! It is a bit of a fabric hog – the bands take up a fair bit of yardage. The dolman sleeve is narrow and high enough to fit under a coat; or wear as ‘dressy casual’ for work! Another cute pattern that’s a winner from Style ARC!

I have also made the Barb and Linda pull-on stretch pants recently; I will review them soon!

Loes Hinse Retro Jacket

Loes Hinse Jacket Front

This jacket is the second item on my fall sewing list, although it’s a leftover from summer – if I was all trendy I would call it ‘the perfect transitional piece’

I have used this pattern once before and it comes together super easy. Here’s the pattern photo:

Loes Hines Retro Jacket

The side button closure is super flattering, but I wanted more of a tuxedo blazer style to dress up jeans so I did not add any closures (here I’m wearing a RTW tee shirt and my patterned pants; my most worn item this summer!). The great thing about this is the speed at which it sews up, it’s unlined, serged seams and still has great fit and styling! It is made from a light/midweight black linen from my stash.

Loes Hinse Jacket Back

I did make some modifications, as you can see by the pattern envelope it’s oversized; especially at the shoulders. I had already lengthened the body and sleeves to fit; I traced off the side front and back and trimmed back the shoulders so it was still a bit oversized but does not need shoulder pads. I also topstitched all of the seams in place. Aren’t the lapels a beautiful shape?

Loes Hinse Jacket Front2


I was happy to get multiple uses from this great independent pattern….check out more of her classic designs at:

What is up with August?

Besides being super chilly (not complaining, we do not have AC in our house) August has been work work work & work.  I have listed and sold 2 houses on the same street, yay!! I put extra work into my marketing which pays off, but makes Sue a tired camper.  With no camping 😦

I have however managed to do some sewing related activities.  I met up with Claire & Connie for a lovely lunch & shopping day on Queen St. W.  While it’s obvious I do not need more fabric, I did manage to procure a gorgeous hammered silk charmeuse in a b&w tribal print to go with my collection of b&w tops (!) and some super stretchy pant fabric which I believe is the equivalent to the elusive Australian Bengaline fabric.  Squee!!

I also made some Style Arc Linda pants from a smooth knit (a great fitting muslin) photos to come.

I need to get crackin’ on DSD’s school pants.  I made a quick muslin for her for some elastic waist pants.  She wears a uniform to school, and needs about a 10 in length and a 4 toddler waist.  Yup.  String Bean.

I also have an easy Tux jacket (a slimmed-shoulder version of Loes Hinse Retro Jacket) in black linen cut and ready to sew:


as well as a cream poly of the beautiful & popular Rebecca Taylor V1387 Blouse:

Hope to post pics of the pants soon, but just letting you know I’m not dead yet!

HotPatterns Plain and Simple Essential Shift (Top)

blue linen top fr blue linenb top back

When the Hotpatterns folks generously offered free shipping for Canada Day this was my pattern of choice. My wearable muslin is the top version. As you can see this is wrinkly linen – these photos are after wearing it all day.

I used a size 14, and my only issue is the shoulders. I think the sleeve caps needed lots of height taken out of the sleeve caps, (these photos show the after I removed about 2 cm off, and they are still “pooky”!! ) I also think the shoulder seam needs a little extra length and perhaps a bit of slant. Also I would lengthen the sleeves a bit.

I used a wing needle to create a hemstitch along the peplum seam and centre bust darts – a technique from the beautiful book “Fine Machine Sewing”

I plan on making this again in the dress version in a denim weave rayon/linen/spandex blend. It is a bit complicated, despite the simplicity of the garment, which appealed to me strongly -there are lots of pattern pieces, as there are two piece sleeves, sleeve hem facings (also in two pieces) a peplum, centre seams front and back, neck facings and hem facings. I like the styling, it’s very “Celinè”!!