Two in One! Reversible Maxi Skirt and Butterick 6175

If you are like me, you love it when you can get double anything.  Double cash-back, double chocolate, double the fun!   Reversible clothes fit right into the double fun category.  This skirt is actually two skirts in one.  Side one is a beautiful silk chiffon tie-dye print.  Side two is a solid silk-cotton voile in a stunning royal blue.  Both fabrics are from

The pattern is for a bias cut skirt, Kwik Sew 3087.  It's now out of print, but you can find similar bias cut skirt patterns from all of the major pattern brands.  Why choose bias?  Garments cut on the bias are supposed to drape more gracefully than straight cut garments.  They do take more fabric than a straight cut skirt, but I think it's worth it.  Check out this similarly cut designer skirt on Net-a-Porter for $585!  You can make it, even out of silk, for a whole lot less!

The pattern is just one piece. To make it reversible, you just sew both skirts together at the waistband, and then make an elastic casing with the joining seam at the top.  You are supposed to hem both skirts at the same length, but I tried to make the solid side a tad longer.

The top that I'm wearing with the print skirt is from Butterick 6175.   I wanted to make a short top  out of cream linen that would just be a blank canvas for a long necklace.   I used View B with the bell sleeves.  There is a more tapered short sleeve if you don't like the bell look.

This is a super little pattern that may be a sleeper, but it will work with so many of my printed skirts, that I bet I will get a ton of use from it.  I lowered the neckline about 1-1/2", so that I could avoid having to make the button opening in the back.  I also used a bias strip to bind the neckline rather than have a facing.

Back to the bias skirt.  If you've never made a bias cut garment before, be aware that you need to let the garment hang for at least 24 hours before you hem it.  This is because the garment will grow unevenly, and you'll need to even it out before your final hem.  Here is a photo of what my skirt bottom looked like after 24 hours.  Even though the chiffon and the voile were cut the exact same length, the chiffon grew several inches longer!  To even it out, I walked a yardstick along the skirt, and marked the same level all around each layer.  Then I trimmed off any excess.  If you don't have a dress form, you can have another person do this while you are wearing it.

Hemming a bias cut chiffon is a recipe for frustration, so I decided to use my serger's rolled edge settings and finish each layer with a royal blue rolled edge.

I know that some people don't think maxi-skirts are terribly practical, but I find them extremely easy to wear.  How many skirts can you sit cross-legged with?  And who cares if you haven't shaved your legs in a while?  But, I also don't wear mine so long that they drag on the ground.  Two inches above the ground, and I won't worry about tripping over my skirt.  I won't be running any races in this, but then again, I'm not running races in anything!

So, I don't know which side I like best.  What do you think?  What's your favorite skirt length?

Happy Sewing!


Addicted to Vogue 9057 Marcy Tilton Tops

Happy Presidents' Day!  If you are in the middle of the snow/ice storms hitting the US today, please stay safe and warm.  Hopefully, you are inside sewing next to a cozy fireplace!  I've been following Maureen at Make More Laundry, and she's been making some gorgeous t-shirt tunics from Vogue 9057 that I absolutely loved.  You can check them out here, and here.  So, I picked up this pattern the last time it was on sale, not knowing what an addiction it would turn out to be.

I've made 6 so far, and don't know if I can stop making more.  You see, there are just so many possibilities with this pattern!  This is my first one.  This is View A, the basic t-shirt.  You can see that it has a rounded neckline and a gentle flare at the bottom.
 Here's the back- it has a nice shaped hem.
You can see from the side view that the back is slightly longer than the front:
The pattern gives several options for designer bindings.  None of which I had the patience for, so I just made a standard neckband.  The fabric for this one, and for the next one were remnants that I picked up in Helsinki, Finland on vacation a couple of years ago.  They were advertised as Stella McCartney fabrics! If you've not heard of her, check out her current line at Nordstrom.   If they truly are Stella McCartney fabrics, then this is a $500 t-shirt!  I only had enough of the first print to make the front and back, so I used a grey knit for the sleeves.

On this one, I had enough fabric to do it all in one fabric.  I swung it out the side seams about an inch when I was cutting it to give more room at the tummy.  I'm glad I did- I like the swingy look this one has.

 I couldn't resist making the other views, so this one is View B, the asymmetrical hem view.

The long side has a split at the bottom which you can kind of see here:

And this is View E with the handkerchief hem:
This fabric, believe it or not, was just 1-1/4 yards from a Fabric Mart Mystery Bundle.  I had enough of the border to do the front, and then turned the grainline for the back to just use the black/tan zigzag part.  I had enough of the border to piece together a cuff and a neckband too. 

I really love how this one turned out!

The next two are reincarnations of other shirts.  Back in 2009, I made a couple of long cowl neck tunics for a wardrobe contest. The fabrics were really nice, but the style was a little off for me, and I had not worn them.  I kept them both in my closet, from my big closet purge in January, and sadly, they were still languishing in the closet.  I decided to deconstruct them, and make more Vogue 9057's from them!

So, here is the first before and after.  I used a mesh knit for the sleeves on this one. 

And the second before and after.  This one I used a nylon stretch lace for the sleeves.

I've already worn both of them, which gives them chance to stay in my wardrobe for another year.

I rarely make a pattern more than a couple of times, so that says something about this one.  I really can't pick a favorite view from this pattern.  It's too hard!  Which view do you like best?

Happy Sewing!


McCall's 7094 Striped Pullover Top

Have you been watching Peggy Sagers'  PBS TV series- Stitch 2 Fit?  I have, and I love it.  My husband thinks I'm crazy- "So, if you aren't sewing, you want to watch sewing on TV?"  But, I truly learn something from every episode, and I think Peggy is so accomplished and knowledgeable that I can't wait for the next week's episode, as soon as the current episode is over.

So, on her last show, she said that what you should do before choosing what size to make is measure a similar piece in your closet to get an idea of how much ease you prefer.  She said that if she had 3 women with the same bust measurement, but they were age 20, 40, and 60, that they would all want a different amount of ease.  If you are new to sewing, ease is the difference between your body measurement and the finished garment measurements. You need a certain amount of ease for movement, but certain styles include more ease than others.

A light bulb went off in my head.  I've been seeing lots of people make woven shirts on blogs, and loving them, but whenever I've made a woven shirt, I've felt like they were way too constricting.  So, I went and measured a RTW linen shirt that I own and wear frequently, and it measured 48" across the bust.  My bust is 39", so that means that I like 9" of ease.

Well, no wonder!  Most of the shirt patterns that I've been making only include 3-5" of ease.  So, I started looking through my shirt patterns, and found McCalls 7094 had a finished garment measurement of 48" for the size Medium.  Perfect.

I had bought a striped shirting in January from Hancock fabrics, so I played around a little bit with the stripes.  I cut the sleeves on the bias, so the stripes would be diagonal.  I cut the placket, sleeve tab, and yoke with the stripes going horizontally, and the main body with the stripes going vertically.

The pattern has some great details.  I love the pleating at the shoulder, and the shaped hemline.   I will probably be wearing it with the sleeves rolled up.  The pattern really was designed for drapier fabrics than this, such as challis, crepe, and georgette. 

It's so comfortable.  This is View D, and it is long enough to wear with leggings.  Here it is on me.

One thing to note, is that the front placket goes pretty low.  I need to wear either a cami or a sports bra under it, or else it would be way too revealing.  You could always add a button to keep it closed half way up the placket.

Here it is from the back.  You can see how long it is.  I'm 5 feet 9", and did not add any additional length to this one.   There are other views with shorter lengths though. 

So, thank you Peggy Sagers for sharing that bit of wisdom about ease! You can see some of the episodes on You Tube, or you can order DVD's of the whole series that come with some of the patterns that she designs for her company- Silhouette Patterns

Do you watch Stitch 2 Fit or any other sewing shows?

Happy Sewing!


How to Recover an Ironing Board

I bought this awesome ironing board from Aldi a couple of years ago.  It's really tall, which is great for me, and it has a very wide board, much wider than the standard board sold in US stores.

The only problem- the cover that they used wasn't made to withstand high heat.  The first time I used it, I left scorch marks on it.  That's probably why it ended up at Aldi, instead of a higher end home store.  (For those of you that don't have Aldi- it's a super low priced food store with an ever changing assortment of home goods as well).

It's such an odd size, that I wasn't sure where to buy a replacement cover.  So, I knew that I wanted to recover it on my own at some point.  Then, a couple of weeks ago, I was at Hancock fabrics and spotted this cotton canvas with a dress form print on their clearance table.  It was destined to be my new ironing board cover.

Never having made a cover before, I started by removing the old one and snipping the elastic that gathered it up around the lip of the board.  That way I could flatten it out and use the old cover as my pattern.   The cover was approximately 50" long by 18" wide, so I was able to fit it onto 1-1/2 yards of the canvas print.

This design had an under board piece that I traced onto some painter's plastic.  I added a seam allowance on this, and then sewed the underboard piece to the top piece with the right sides together.

I used 1/2" double fold bias tape around the edges, leaving an opening on one end that I could thread a narrow twill tape through.  I used twill tape because that was what I had on hand, but the original had used a rounded elastic cording.   I just pulled the twill tape through the bias tape edge, tightened it up around the base of the board, and tied it like a shoestring.  It will be easy to remove for washing this way. 

It took just over 3 yards of bias tape, and 3-1/2 yards of twill tape.  The original pad had a fleece like pad underneath the cover, so I just covered up the original set with the new cover, so I could keep that fleece padding.

I inherited an equally awesome sleeve board from my Mom, that I'm guessing dates back to the 40's with the original cover.  It even has imprinted on the bottom "World's Best Sleeve Board".

It's covering was getting pretty thread bare, and I still had a good chunk of the canvas print left, so I decided to replace the cover on it as well, using the same technique, using the old cover as my pattern, binding the edges with bias tape

and threading 1/4" twill tape through the opening in the bias tape.

Voila!  New life to a 75 year old sleeve board!

And here's a little trick of the trade that you may or not already know. You know how it is impossible to get a pattern back into its' envelope?  It starts something like this:

Well, just set your iron on low, and press it.  Your first run will take out a lot of the air, and it will look something like this:

Then just keep folding and pressing, until you get it the size that you want.

I store my patterns in gallon ziploc bags, and then keep the pattern envelopes in sheet protectors in binders so I can flip through them with less bulk.

So, here is my new ironing set-up.  My cost on this was about $6 for the fabric, $6 for the notions, and about 3 hours of time.  Not too bad!  And it really does look 100 times better than the old scorched muslin cover.

As they say, well-pressed is half sewn.  I think I'll like pressing a whole lot more with the pretty new covers! 

Happy Sewing!

Sewing Spring Silk Scarves

Ann swiftly sews several spring silk scarves sitting at the serger as snow softly settles on the sidewalk. 

Try saying that 3 times!

One of my New Year's resolutions was to wear more neutrals, adding color with scarves.  So, this weekend, while the snow was falling beautifully from my window, I dreamed of Spring and sewed a few warm-weather silk scarves.  I had purchased all of these silk chiffons from FabricMart. 

To say that I sewed them is really quite an exaggeration.  What I did was cut the fabric in half, and then serged around the edges using the "rolled edging" setting on my serger.

To make a scarf like this, you have to have about 2 yards of fabric.  For me, the minimum is 1-3/4 yard, and the max is 2-1/4 yard.  I think that might differ according to your personal stature.  A more petite woman might prefer a little less.  I like silk chiffon the best.  It is so lightweight, that you don't feel that you are wearing anything, yet it actually does provide a surprising amount of warmth if it is chilly.  And yet, it's not particularly "hot", during warmer weather either.  When it gets warmer, I will probably just loop them at chest level, instead of tying so closely around my neck.

I cut the entire length in half, lengthwise, so that I have two long lengths, each between 22" and 27" wide, depending on the original width of your fabric.  You'll have one for you, and one for a friend!  I gave my other halves to my daughter, who always is wearing a scarf.

I have tried using just one yard of fabric, cutting it in half and joining the two halves with a  french seam to get the proper length.  I wouldn't recommend it.  The seam really gets in the way, and just isn't worth it.

If you wait for a sale at FabricMart, you can often get silk chiffon for about $8/yd.   So, if you purchase two yards, and it makes two scarves, that's just $8 per scarf.   You can buy cheaper scarves in the stores, but they will likely by polyester or rayon.  A real silk scarf can cost well over $100, and designer scarves up to $400!

I have a Babylock Imagine serger, and to change to the rolled edging setting just involves removing the left needle, and adjusting a few knobs.  I know that other sergers sometimes require a plate change.  If you don't have a serger, I would recommend doing a Baby Hem with your regular sewing machine.  I blogged about how to do that in this post.

I like this You Tube video on tying scarves just to mix it up!

I also made one infinity scarf from a mesh knit.  I really like mesh knits for this purpose, and they are much cheaper and more practical than silk scarves, especially if you have children.  They do snag easily, so keep your cats and rings away from them.  And they don't have the "loft" of chiffon- laying flatter against your body. 

To make an infinity scarf, you need 1/2 yard of a knit fabric that is at least 60" wide.  To complete: sew long sides together, turn right side out, twist twice, then sew short ends together.  So simple!

And lastly, my 21 year old daughter went to India in January, and she brought me a silk scarf from there.  If I tie it correctly, it looks like two fish kissing.

So, that's one thing checked off of my New Year's goals!  Yay!
How about you- do you like to wear scarves?  Do you sew your own?

Happy Sewing!