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”!!

Work In Progress


Plain and Simple Shift Dress

I have been wanting to try some heirloom sewing techniques for ages; but not wanting them to look to old-lady; it take a combination of the right garment and the perfect fabric to hold the stitches properly. The book, Fine Machine Stitching has many techniques to drool over, and I finally incorporated some wing-needle hemstitching into a garment with clean lines and interesting seaming. I’ll post pictures later, but you can see the lovely blue linen with a sample of the hemstitching above (in grey thread).

The hemstitching is substituted for topstitching, and the pattern the Hot Patterns Plain and Simple Shirt Dress (scoopneck, short sleeve top version).  I did the hemstitching around the peplum bottom and the bust darts.

Job Duds McCalls 6702

Red top1


As a Real Estate agent, a LOT of time is spent talking to people to drum up business.  In the trade we call this Lead Generation.  OK, if you are super cool it’s called Lead Gen.  And of course, I am super cool!

Part of this involves phone time, open houses, and general face to face stuff.  But if you want to sell homes it also includes good, old fashioned hoofin’ it!  Which, in the summer can be hot work!  So I needed a good air-conditioned top.  I had this red linen in my stash for a year or so, it’s from Sultan’s Fine Fabrics care of the Creative Festival.

Here’s why it’s Air Conditioned:

Red top2


It’s a pretty straightforward sew, except I used some topstitch thread my machine didn’t like much – so much I thought there was an issue with the machine. Oh, and I sewed the bottom of front placket backwards (inside the top) instead of outside. Duh. Well I think it passes the horse test. That is if someone was riding by on a horse they wouldn’t notice it. Or is that if I am on a horse? Anyway….

Here is the side view with the high-low hemline:
Red top3

I’m wearing my newly skinnified white jeans & some fancy Birkenstocks with this top.

McCalls 6559 Maxi Dress

McCalls Maxi

I have shied away from Maxi dresses for a while simply because I felt all that fabric on a 6ft frame was a bit too….well…Amish Sue.
But this gorgeous striped fabric with a huge repeat needed a pattern to show it off! So a maxi it is! I have some full length pics that I will post later. (Here I’m toasting to Pattern Review with their signature drink on Canada Day before heading off to our neighbours party).

Here are the full length front and back photos:

Maxi 1

Maxi 2

Super simple dress, I made the plain view with the racer back, but I took a couple of extra steps to make it special. First, I carefully matched the stripes by basting with silk thread:

side seams hand basted with silk thread

side seams hand basted with silk thread

Here you can see the matching stripes

Here you can see the matching stripes

Then, instead of adding neckbands, I bound the neckband & arms with the black stripes. I cut them about 1 1/4″ shorter than the opening. You have to adjust the length of the binding according to the weight and stretch of your fabric, try starting with about 90% of the opening, baste it if you’re not sure – otherwise it will flop if it’s not tight enough, or pull if it’s too tight.

Here are the basic steps for this technique:

1. Join binding strip & in half lengthwise. Serge to wrong side of fabric (it will be folded and topstitched to the right side. If you get it wrong, as I did with one it doesn’t make that much difference!)

Striped Maxi 5

2. Press seam towards binding, wrap binding around seam to the right side of the garment.

Striped maxi 6

3. Topstitch in place using a straight stitch

Striped maxi 3

4. Admire your clean finish inside & out!

Striped Maxi 4