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Holiday Tops with Simplicity 1323

Happy December!  It's been a busy couple of months since I last posted- taking a trip to Germany and another to Colorado to visit my daughters, so sewing time has been a bit tricky to find!  But, with the cold weather hitting us early, I was inspired to make two tops from wool knits- a red double knit, and a blue single knit jersey (both from Fabric Mart), using the pattern Simplicity 1323.   It's out of print, but there are plenty of copies on Amazon still available if you like the striking style.  

I made view B with the V-neck and 3/4 length sleeves, but I added 1-1/2" to the body length of mine.  On my blue version, I added several inches to the sleeve length to make it a full long sleeve.   I also chose not to hem either of them, as I knew that hemming on the bias would be tricky, and since knits don't fray, it won't matter anyway!  The red double knit has more weight to it and hangs better, in my opinion.

Falling into Fall

When I was in college, I spent a summer in Finland, and stayed with a family there. It was a beautiful summer, and they had a summer cabin out in the woods. I loved their way of life, and remember being surrounded by green, and feeling so relaxed.  So, as I was perusing new titles at our local library, my eyes were drawn to a book about the Finnish concept of "Sisu".  What is Sisu? It's a unique word to Finns that describes their nationality personality- one of perseverance, determination and resilience.  And how do you get Sisu?  Well, this author had many suggestions, including walking in the forest to reduce stress and anxiety.  I thought, "I can do that!".  She said that 90% of Finns say that they go to the forest on a regular basis.  I don't know about you, but with all that is happening in the news lately, I've been feeling a little more stressed than I want to be.  You're probably wondering- what does this have to do with sewing??

Well, a friend and I decided to take up Nordic walking in the forest, and I felt that my neon bright, high tech, polyester workout wear was completely out of place there! I felt like a fish out of water.  So, I went on the hunt at Fabric Mart for some natural fibers in some forest shades that I could make for walking in the forest.   I found this abstract linen/cotton print that reminded me of old driftwood, moss and berries.  Perfect! 

 Since temperatures in my locale vary so much, I decided that I wanted something that I could wear as a shirt, or a jacket.  For my pattern, I used Butterick 6465, and other than adding an inch to the sleeve length, made no changes whatsoever!  It fit very well, although I do think that they had the finished garment measurements incorrect.  For the large, it said the bust measurement was 45", but it was really 48".  So,  don't trust the calculations on the pattern!  One nice feature- it has two pockets, so that I can put both my keys and phone in them as I walk.  
For the buttons, I used some unusual buttons that I had bought at Fabric Mart a while back when they had a designer button special.  These have a marble look to them, and remind me of western snaps. They were a little larger than the pattern recommendation, so instead of 7 buttons, I used 5, and I also added them to the pocket bands.

I needed some sweatpants to go with it, and I used a heavyweight cotton olive green jersey.   I used Butterick 6533.  I took them in about 2" on both the inseams and outseams, as they were really baggy, and I added 3" to the length, leaving off the elastic bands.  I'm 5'9" for reference. 

 The linen shirt and turtleneck are great for early fall, but when the wind starts whipping up and the temperatures drop, I wanted another jacket to wear on top of it.  I used View A of Simplicity 8739.  This is an extremely simple pattern!  The sleeves are cut on, and the cowl collar makes the neckline very quick to sew. This would also be great made out of any kind of fleece or sweater knit.

The buttons are just decorative- it pulls over the head.  I used some wood look buttons to keep the woodland theme.

I really liked the shape of the hem, and I added some patch pockets that mirrored that shape in the front, just in case I need to take some gloves along with me.  The dark green feels right at home in the forest. 

If you've not seen these poles before, these are Nordic walking poles.  I think that they are very common in Europe, but not so much here.  I got mine at a local sporting goods store.  They are kind of like golf clubs in the fact that you should try to get some that are the right height for you. Nordic walking is supposed to be easier on your knees, and better for building upper body strength than regular walking, as you put weight on the poles with your arms as you walk.  I can definitely feel my arms are getting a workout when we walk.

You never know what you might see in the woods- I was so excited to see this mama deer and her two babies taking a drink.  I'm really looking forward to when the seasons change and the leaves change colors!


I love my new walk wear!  If you are interested, the book is: The Finnish Way: Finding Courage, Wellness, and Happiness Through the Power of Sisu
The author also recommends ice swimming.  LOL, I will stick to the walking in the forest for now!  Anyway, it's a quick read and I found it interesting and obviously inspiring enough to get me back to the forest!

I personally find sewing to be relaxing as well, although I understand a lot of people are stressed by it.  What do you do to relax?

Happy Sewing!

Wine and Chocolate

Happy Fall!  Wine and Chocolate- two of my favorite things that go together so well! It's no wonder that I would be drawn to them as colors in my wardrobe too.  In my last post from August, I had shown you my sewing plans gathering fabrics in browns and reds for making some clothes for September and October.  I actually completed everything over the Labor Day weekend, but September has been too darn hot to even contemplate taking pictures of everything!  Finally, we've got some beautiful cool weather, so now I can show you! 

This dress is a rayon lycra knit, and I used New Look 6525 for the basic pattern, but just 3/4 length sleeves. I really like the variations in this pattern, and I can see it  becoming a TNT (Tried and True) style for me. 

One thing that I changed was to add a knit neckband.  The pattern instructions want you to use bias tape, which is never going to look as good on a knit fabric as a neckband will.

I also added some patch pockets, which you can see a little better close up.  I left the raw edge of the fabric on the ruffle, instead of turning it under, as I thought it would be a little easier to sew this way.

 You may be wondering, "Hey, where's the wine?  You promised wine and chocolate!".  Well, here it is- a cardigan from a sueded knit and using Simplicity 8740.  This is the back view, where you can see that I used a little elastic to draw it in at the waist.