A Striped Camp Shirt

Last summer, I made a wearable muslin and a sleeveless blouse using Silhouette Patterns 575. I love both versions and knew even with the wearable muslin, this pattern was destined to be a perennial favorite camp shirt.  Sorry, but the styling and  my linen and cotton/poly fabric choices just made me think camp shirt not blouse.  I am surprised that I haven’t used SP575 since the sleeveless version because I like to wear camp shirts year round. To me they are a wonderful blend between casual and tailored depending on my finishing and detail choices.   This time, I decided to take it a step closer to the classic camp shirt by adding a collar and merging the princess seam pieces into single front/back.

SP575 includes a stand-up collar.  That’s a type collar I rarely use and don’t particularly care for. But it was enough for me to see the curve I needed for the neckline.  I traced the neckline of SP575 and the rest of the collar from Connie Crawford’s 5047 and set it aside.

I knew I had made, well let’s call it more than just tweaking the upper bodice. I wasn’t quite sure how the princes seam pattern pieces would fit together. I marked the stitching line and then overlapped the pieces.  To my surprise, it forms almost a straight line. Truly, I thought there was more shaping at least in the back!  I could have left the pieces pinned together for future use but I decided I really prefer these style lines.  I traced their combined shapes so that I have 2 pieces for front and another 2 for the back rather than the 3 pieces as drafted.  Discovered an unexpected boon to this process.  Previously i.e. when there were 6 pieces , I was easily confused at to which was hem and which was yoke seam; which was left; which was right; and even which was front and which was back. I had carefully marked the pattern pieces and did not separate them from the fabric until I pinned them together.  Even then I needed a few extra marks to distinguish yoke from hem seam.  Not that there’s anything wrong with the pattern or drafting, rather after my fitting alterations the pieces looked a whole lot alike.

Last year, or it may have been the previous year, I started collecting pins for clever uses of stripes and striped fabrics.  (I am not sure Pinterest will allow you to see my board.)  Since then I’ve been having lots of fun playing with striped fabrics.  I chose to cut horizontal stripes for the yokes and facings;  and vertical stripes for the remainder of the bodice and sleeves.

The match of yoke to sleeve stripes was totally accidental. I didn’t even make an attempt.

To my chagrin, initially the stripes didn’t match across the yokes!


Really, I was dumbstruck. Usually folding the fabric and carefully align the stripes along the edge will result in a close match of stripes.  This was way off.  Fortunately, I planned short sleeves and had enough fabric left-over to recut all the yoke pieces.  I cut them singly to be sure they matched. Usually, I match the stripes while pinning frequently the along the stitching line.  This time I wanted to try a ‘shortcut’. I offset the center back seam just slightly. Not even 1/16″. Just enough to see and match the stripes.  I tell you when the fabric went under the needle the stripes matched.  When I opened the seam, they did not

Well at least it is a very close match but that’s the last time I try that short cut.  I no how to do better for not much more effort.  I was modeling the garment for my Amazon Look, just styling away, when I had a “V8- moment”.  I know how to completely eliminate the CB seam; without having to resort to darts at the neckline. That will be a change for a future version.

I’m also wanting to eliminate the little back flip I’ve got going on at the hem

I’m guessing that while the seam looked straight but there really was some shaping. Not a big deal but if I’m fixing things, well why not.

As long a I’m fixing, may as well add just a smidge more ease at the front waist, too!

I did not cut the collar immediately. I constructed the front and back bodice units and serged the shoulder seams before walking my new collar  pattern along the neckline edge. I trimmed 1″ length from the pattern piece before cutting, constructing and adding to the blouse (followed by adding the facing and finishing the neckline, collar, facing unit.) I was afraid the collar would be too pointy or too big but it’s perfect for this version.

I do feel a little disjointed in that the collar is angular and the lapel is curved. Another future change will be harmonizing this area either by rounding the collar point or squaring the lapel. Heck I might want to keep all 3 versions and may even add more collar variations. This says ‘camp shirt’ to me because of the yokes and it is neither tightly fitted nor fully bloused. I could easily add darts or use the princess pieces and pin in more waist shaping; make the sleeve long or 3/4; add a tailored cuff and the pattern assumes a more tailored aspect. A different fabric, more circumference/width in the lower bodice and it becomes more feminine.  Especially says “blouse” to me if I choose a longer sleeve and  more famine cuff.  One possibility I am considering and not sure I will pursue is the one-piece yoke. A one-piece yoke doesn’t really say ‘camp shirt’ to me but now that I have the shoulder slope corrected I could easily adapt the pattern pieces. Having played around with the extended shoulder, I might consider developing cap sleeve looks. I just love this pattern. It was relatively easy to fit. Yes I did have to fit and I did make alteration changes. But that first trial became a wearable in short order. It is also really easy to sew and  I can see so many variations. It’s a wonderful pattern.




Future changes

  1. Eliminate Yoke CB seam
    1. Eliminate curve; create fold line
    2. Add length at top of lower, back-bodice.
  2. Eliminate back hem flip
    1. Trim a little wedge from the side at the bottom hem.
  3. Match the shape of the collar point and lapel
    1. curve the collar or
    2. square the lapel
  4. Increase front, waistline ease.

Updating the Flounced TRT

I was seriously considering the PJ suggestion (and havent discarded it yet) when I realized I had an obvious goof. My TRJ/T patterns are fitting for sleeves with a 3/8″ shoulder pad. If you are new, let me take a moment to say that I have narrow sloping shoulders for which shoulder pads are an excellent fitting solution.  My shoulders are also asymmetrical, the right (baby and purse carrying for decades) being visibly lower than the left. I use a rather firm shoulder pad which holds its own shape and really helps offset the asymmetry.  I put the pads in almost all my tops. I don’t wear them in my sleeveless tops because they show. I don’t like such support to be visible. I object to it so much, that I’d rather you see my asymmetry and I take on the tasks of refitting the bodices of my TNT’s for sleeveless tops. Except I didn’t do that for the TRJ/T patterns.  On these, I sew the left shoulder seam 3/8″ deeper; 5/8″ deeper on the right. It works and I suppose I could just do that for all the patterns.  I really should be consistent because I forgot this time to sew the shoulder seams deeper. They are now serged, topstitched; the armscyes support the flounces and both armscye and neckline (the terminal ends of the shoulder) are encased in FOE.  Ever try to un-stitch that stuff?  I’d rather cut it off. I decided that a quick test would be just adding the shoulder pads and discovered that the flounces will cover the pads rendering them invisible!

The effect of the shoulder pads is immediate if minimal.  Not enough to consider wearing my top as anything other than PJ’s for which I will remove the shoulder pads.

So then TerriK came along and made some excellent observations. I decided, it wouldn’t hurt to try them out.  Took about 2 minutes to remove the cover-stitched empire line. Couldn’t find my light weight, silky and perfectly white cami, so I used the winter weight.  I call it winter weight because it is a cotton double-knit.  Nice and warm during the winter. So much so that I don’t think I would want to wear it now, but it’s good enough to test the use of a cami:


Thank you TerriK! This is immensely better.

Not perfect but I would consider wearing in public with the correct cami. Wonder where it went to?

TRT + 2023

I don’t know how long ago I bought this sweet pattern

I didn’t see a copyright on it either. I just loved the flounce and the flowers on front.  It has survived several pattern purges but continues to languish in my stash.  It is in my mind a ‘summer’ pattern and therefore is never considered for at least 3 seasons of the years.  Even for summer wear, I consider using it only a few weeks. Somehow, it always got passed over but never purged.

This year one of goals/targets is to use some of these older patterns that I couldn’t throw away.  I am happy to say, this is #2 from that stack to be used. Umm, as my title for this post indicates, that isn’t entirely true.  During the last 2 years I have put so much time not to mention fabric into fitting. No one system works for me. I start with Peggy Sager’s instructions and then branch out on my own. But I’ve groused too much the point is anytime I want to use a different pattern I first consider if some of my already fitting pattern can be substituted.  In this case, I thought the Tabula Rasa Tee, which I’ve made so many times, and used as a base for so many others was a good choice.   There are some significant differences.  The side panels of 2023 come in a little closer towards center than do the TRT panels.  Of course the lovely flounce and the flowers are an obvious difference but that isn’t an empire seam it is only elastic stitched along an empire line.  Flounces I copied as is.  For the empire, I  drew a line with disappearing ink on my  fabric and then cover-stitched along the line.  The flowers were constructed by my embroidery machine.  You didn’t see any flowers?  That’s because once the stabilizer was removed instead of sweet flowers and I had dead roses drooping on the front of my blouse.

It was actually an easy and quick construction.  My only concern had been was it too young for me? I loved the feel of it when I slipped it on. So why do I think it is hideous and hate it?

I tell you, I saw the pics and said “This is hideous!”  What went wrong?  Why does a pattern which has fit beautifully through every previous iteration, now need a sway back alteration?

And look at those downward-dog lines saying “RBA! RBA!”  I put the RBA in when I first fit the pattern. It is there!  See that back seam? The RBA is there!

The front has fit beautifully even with the first fitting of the pattern, eons ago.  So why is it saying “Bust Room give my girls room!”   That little empire line I stitched with the coverstitch hardly drew in the at the sides at all.  I have to look close to see any indention.

I am just so disgusted.  Do I blame the fabric? It is a rayon jersey knit. Quite thin or light weight as the description read. I was relieved that it was opaque and could be used as a top because it was too heavy for a lining or interlining.

I am not expecting to look like a well-preserved Hollywood star. I never disciplined myself the way they do. When I eat, I keep it down also on my thighs and tummy but I never expected to be made to look like a walking couch from a pattern I’ve used successfully a dozen or more times:


Right now, it is in time out. Unless I can find some fixes, on its way to the Goodwill.  I have too many nice looking tops in my closet and too many nice fabrics in the stash to tolerate looking like this!



I love a summer dress. To me, they are the coolest, as in temperature, way to be comfortable when the temps hit triple digits. I really need to replace my basic blue, tank style dress.  It’s several years old, fading and getting frayed in a few places. I keep it because none of the replacements have been successful. But I’m getting to the point it is embarrassing.

I hunted through my stash for an appropriate fabric. Had to be blue.  Since this is a ‘basic’ also had to be, well not really memorable. I actually have a couple of fabrics that would qualify. Unfortunately they are all horizontal stripes.  A horizontal stripe is not my friend. With barely 2 yards of fabric, interesting seaming for a maxi-dress was not possible. So I turn the fabric and layout across grain. Easy fix, right? Not when I want a maxi-dress and the fabric is not wide enough to make a maxi. I played with several fabrics before settling on the striped, blue rayon I am using today.

I wanted to use my class Kwik Sew 2599.  I don’t remember when I bought it but View B has been absolutely perfect for me.

What should be a shoulder baring, almost halter A-line fits wonderfully across my shoulders.  Narrow enough I don’t need a narrow-shoulder alteration, wide enough to cover my underwear. Interestingly, I easily found the copies traced and fit  for both the maxi and street length versions but I did not find the original pattern.  I surmised it must have been erroneously place in the purge stack and donated to Goodwill several months ago.  Since this is a favorite, I opened Etsy and bought another.  Somethings, you just got to have.  KS2599 is one of those for me. Note: View A would be a classic Tank maxi easily shortened to dress or top.  One of the reasons I love this pattern is the horizontal bust dart. Really doesn’t take very much time to mark and sew and is well worth the effort for all but the absolute flattest chest.  Even they will find that a little shaping in the garment makes their own shape look a little nicer but that’s one of those personal options things. How would you like to appear? 

I haven’t used this particular pattern in a while.  When I checked I could see I had the shoulder slope but not the round-back alteration. Adding the RBA was simple and quickly done. I cut out my fabric, taped my neckline,  stitched the darts and the center back seam before setting aside for a bit of contemplation.  I didn’t want to make the same ol’ same ol’.  I wanted an updated look to my classic.  To get ideas I hunted through my Pinterest boards and the recent catalogs which arrived in the mail even though I asked them not to and the few sites I shop on-line.  To my surprise, I found this exact same, including length, darts and neckline style over and over. There were variations as well.  I still wanted to do something a bit different and now knowing the size of my remnant, I decided upon this interesting drape:

So I knew I would not be copying this exact style. I want a maxi dress not a cute hemmed top.  I also wasn’t sure my remnant was big enough to create all the fullness seend in the inspiration. I especially liked the way it connected along one side, one shoulder but was free along the neckline 2nd shoulder and 2nd side.  Especilly free along the neckline.  I anticipated needed to alter the neckline.  I cut it according to tissue.  Since that tissue was fitting I’ve incorporated several new fitting adjustments into my sewing routine.  I could check for the RBA but not the asymmetrical shoulder.  During the first wear, I found that my fears were well justified.  The neckline rides up slightly too high and will need to be cut away. But, let’s get back to making that drape…

I’m not one to just slash away at fabric.  I prefer to start with a plan.  I placed my front pattern piece on a fold of tissue paper and cut a full front between shoulder and hip level.  I slashed the full front down the center and added 6″ wide before cutting a nice wide curve along the neckline and again the bottom.  The result is definitely a bit strange.

I wanted the stripes to be horizontal on the drape in contrast to vertical on the dress. As suspected I did not have enough fabric to make horizontal striped and a nice wide drape.  I was hoping adding the 6″ to the center would create some drape.   I cut then turn and stitched to finish neckline and hem edges and stopped dead in my tracks.  I was reluctant to sew this in place without knowing how it would really look.  Mimi, my dressford volunteered to assist. I pinned  my ‘drape’ onto her. Rearranged the length and width though the use of pleats and gathers.

Played and rearranged. But it just didn’t look ‘right’ until I I changed from a neckline drape to a surplice

That had promise.  I gathered the long left (as looking into the picture) side using clear elastic and based to the front of the dress. Also based the left (as looking into the pic) shoulder but the remainder was allowed to hang free.  I added my favorite closure on the right side placed just above my waist:

Hmm it’s much clearer on my PC that is a hair elastic with the drape tied to it.  Once the elastic was basted into place, I zoomed through the remainder of the construction.  I opted for FOE to finish the neckline and armscye, a 7″ back vent for ease in walking and a 5″ center back opening (also secured with button and button loop.)

When joining the shoulders, I stitched, as usual for me, the right shoulder 1/4″ deeper than the left.  Side seams were sewn at 1/2″ and hem turned up and cover-stitched at 1-1/4″ my standard preferences.  The routines I have developed make sewing quick.  I concentrate on the interesting developments like the drape rather than the mundane but necessary.

At this point I could slip it on, take pics and evaluate fit.

Unfortunately, I stood too close and Alexa Look could not include my feet in my photos.  My dress may not be considered a real maxi.  This version hangs about 1.5″ above my ankle which is the length I decided upon several years ago to avoid tripping as I skip up and down my stairs.  I think side views are fine which means this is one time I probably do need the sway-back alteration

If that little bubble in the middle of my back were due to insufficient ease, I’d be clearly seeing the curvature of my behind in the side pics.   As previously mentioned the neck is too high for my comfort and will be altered…

…and I’m not pleased with the gaping armscye.  The FOE application should have snugged that in.  The armscye is slightly too deep.  I think my best bet is going to be shortening the armscye and I wonder if that will take care of the CB back as well?  Won’t know until I try it.  The drape is fantastic.  I am wondering if I’d like to add stitching or ribbon along the free edges to bring more attention to it.  What do you think?



This is my 3rd and final pair of summer PJ’s.


At least for now. I won’t rule out making more towards the middle of summer because the first pair was already on its last legs and I’d like to start next year with wearable summer PJ’s. Besides, the pattern work is all done now so it will be very quick to make more even if I just have a scrap I’d love to use.

Speaking of pattern work, yes I did some here as well.  This time I retrieved my 5682 pattern and once again, copied from waist to knee; then drew horizontal lines across the leg at inseam length 4, 6, 8 and 10.  I also created the DG2 Waistband as described here which I will use many times. This time, I merely pinned the pieces to the top of the leg, add 1/2″ above that and back and front pieces without separate waistband and yoke.  Makes cutting and sewing a breeze. Should also confess I wanted these loosely fitting so I straightened the side seam as well.  I used the same waist finish as for PJ2 which was serger elastic to public side of pant, flip over to the inside and cover stitch along the bottom elastic edge.

Before I got to that point I added the lace applique. I have quite a bit to say about that and will make a separate post tomorrow.

I use Silhouette Patterns 195 as the basis for my top.  As in yesterday’s knit top, I made extended shoulders by copying the front and back from shoulder to empire and extending the shoulder of the copy 1″ lowering the end point 1/2″.  Haven’t worn these yet so I’m not sure how successful that is. Sure looks good though.

The fabric is a true lingerie fabric purchased from Walmart $1 tables at least 2 decades ago; probably longer.  At the time I was buying 5 yard cuts so I’ve used this poly/elastic fabric numerous times.  I’m glad I finished it off this time. While it’s nice shiny fabric; recovery well during wear, it’s old. There are much better fabrics available today.


I’ll be back tomorrow to tell you more about the appliques.  I love this feminine touch.

Attacking the Extended Shoulder

Well that’s the way I felt, even if I didn’t have knives or other dangerous stuff (beyond what is normally in a sewing room).  Thing is, I still want the extended shoulder of my beloved PAS i.e. Louise Cuttings Pure and Simple Shell

This OOP pattern has been my favorite from the day issued and I remain totally disheartened by my inability to make it fit me.  One of the PAS’s distinguishing style lines is the extended almost-cap-sleeve shoulder.  I’ve made 2 attempts to copy this style line onto a pattern I can fit, Connie Crawford’s 6299.  I like both the Flutter Sleeve and the separate Cap Sleeve  I have created and worn; but they just aren’t exactly the extended shoulder of the PAS.  But,,, both of those attempts gave me lots of knowledge concerning how to draft and the results of certain choices.

I am using the Peplum Version of 6299.  which was self-drafted by superimposing the peplum of Silhouette Patterns 312 over  my fitted 6299 and tracing the 2. I know that I will want to use this sleeve/extended shoulder with the other versions of 6299.  (I do have a few as 6299 has been wonderfully versatile for me.) So I started by tracing back and front pieces from shoulder to empire line.

Starting on the front, I measured 1″ away from the armscye placed a tick; then measured 1″ down from the shoulder and placed a second tick mark.

Retrieved my curve and aligned it with the armscye curve before swinging it out to intersect the 1″ guide line

Then I aligned my curve with the shoulder before swinging it down to meet the 2nd 1″-tick

Changing the back was similar. I drew the back armscye as was done for the front armscye but then I aligned the  front extended-shoulder with the back shoulder and traced the  front shoulder line.  The shoulders have to be the same. They have to or the shoulder will not lay nicely on the body. I trimmed the excess tissue from both pattern pieces and proceeded to lay out my fabric. I placed place the 6299 Peplum on the fabric and then aligned the extended shoulder pattern on top of the 6299 Peplum front and back pattern pieces. It’s easier done then written.

After that it was pretty much standard cut, sew, hem.  I had wanted to add a lace neckline piece to the front on this lovely ITY fabric.

I bought the fabric last fall and have been dying to use it ever since.  In my mind it was always a summer to fall top. No other choice.  I made a slight goof on the lace.  I had chosen a much larger, very prominent lace but then I cut the neckline according to the pattern piece i.e. without adjusting for the lace piece. At that point, the lace would not fit nicely, no matter what trimming I could envision.  My choices became a) discard the lace trim idea or b) choose another.

I chose the lace above because it fit nicely once I had trimmed the bars at the shoulders

I still wish I could have used the larger lace, but I’m happy with this one too.

All the fit issues have been previously worked out. It was a question now of what did I think of the shoulder:

I’m calling this project done.  If I don’t have it spot-on, I’m so close I can’t tell there is any difference with my extended shoulder and the PAS.  Love it when things work out!!

Summer PJ#2

This set was fairly quick to construct. Even though I started with TNT’s, I did a lot of pattern work. For the tap pants:

I started with Silhouette Patterns #3200, Sally’s Pant.   I’ve used this pattern quite successfully and do like it when I want wide-legged pants. Summer, athletic type pants are one of those times. I marked a horizontal line on my fitted tissue 16″ above the leg’s bottom edge. That’s about at my knee and will leave a 11″ inseam.  Then I traced from waist to the 11″ line. I could just fold the leg up. However, I anticipate using this pattern several times. Having a pattern all ready to go for multiple uses is preferrable IMO.  I looked it over and decided that 11″ was still a longish short for me. It will probably hang at an unflattering level on my body YMMV. So then I marked the shorts tissues  in 2″ intervals up to a 4″ inseam.  Folded the legs up at the point and that’s the length I cut for this pant.  Before cutting I used my disappearing ink pen to add 1.5″ above the waist and to square off the side between waist and hip.  After cutting, I marked the side 3″ up from the hem and curved the outside leg.

I normally don’t care for a turn and stitch finish on hems and armscyes but this is such a casual pant, no one but me and DH will see it and really it’s a test to see if I’ve got length and ease right. Then again, I normally don’t care for a turn and stitch until I engage the Coverstitch Machine. I took the 2 minutes required the thread of the cover stitch for use not only on the hems but also to top stitch the seams (hope you can see it in the pic above.) I chose peach colored serger thread hoping to coordinate this remnant with the remnant I used for the PJ top.

I did a new-to-me WB.  It’s a variation I don’t believe I’ve used before.  My elastic is 1.25″ wide. I added 1.5″ to the top.  I joined my elastic in a circle, quartered it, quartered the pant waist and then serged the elastic to the right side of the top (waist) of the pant.  Next, I folded the elastic up and to the inside.  Inside, there is 1/4″ of the right side covering the top of the elastic. From the right side,   I cover stitched the bottom of the elastic to the pant.

I tried this because I seem to be having problems with my elastic waist pants staying up.  I’m constantly pulling them up. When I pull the elastic tight enough to keep them up, the fit is really distorted. Add length to the elastic and the distortion goes away, but the pant won’t stay up. Tacking a 2nd layer of elastic to the inside, takes care of the pant staying up.  It’s like the elastic will grip and hold but put a layer of cloth between my body and the elastic and the elastic won’t keep my pant up.  So I’m hoping this elastic application is enough of a compromise to be easy to apply but still keep my pants up.

last note, I did not stitch the darts and I eliminated the zipper entirely.  These are PJ’s. To tell the truth I don’t care what they look like as long as they are comfortable in the hot weather and I wake up in the morning with them neither around my neck nor my ankles.

For the top,

I mentioned I’m using remnants. This one is a poly, double-knit. Don’t think 60’s. The new stuff is fabulous.  I love a trapeze top in the summer. They are so easy to wear. All that air circulation is so comfortable.  Since I make one or two every year, I decided to convert the pattern now.  Very easy, I won’t even show you the process or resulting pattern pieces but I will describe both.  First I make a copy of both back and front. I just slap the base 195 pattern down on my roll of aisle runner (used for patterns) and rotary cut copies then mark the dart.  I rotated the dart to the waist which adds 2″ of flare I’m not big busted. I’m barely a B cup. If you have a C, D or bigger cup, rotating the dart will add a lot of flare!  On the back, I sliced vertically from hem to about the bottom of the armscye; then diagonally to but not through the armscye. Got to have a hinge for this to work. When I slide the bottom apart at the hem and add 2″ flare, there is also a little ease added across the lower back.  I placed my new pattern pieces on my remnant and promptly discovered there wasn’t enough length. So I shortened my pattern pieces by folding them up 3″ and cut the bottom ruffle.  I removed the pattern pieces from the fabric marked in from the shoulder/neck edge 1.75″ and then drew a new neckline. Note this is on the fabric. My tissue retains my default neckline i.e. the neckline that is as high as I even want crew neck.   Like the pants, I turned and cover stitched the armscye and neckline.  My first choice had been foe. I pawed through what must be 50 rolls of FOE stash and could not like a solid color or pattern that I liked with this remnant. Coverstitch was 2nd choice. Just glad it worked.

Happily, I now have trapeze top and shorts patterns for summer. This first use gives me the 2nd pair of summer PJs I so desperately need (I like 1 to wash, 1 to wear) and allows me to test my pattern to see if it meets my concept. Oh yes, also allows me to test a  different elastic WB application. Additionally, although I’ll probably never wear them together, these PJ’s coordinate with my summer robe. Your seeing these on the lovely Mimie, my dressform, because I have an aversion to modeling underwear (I don’t care if these could be worn in public). I have not in fact tried the set on. My first fit trial will be the first overnight wearing.   I let you know how it worked.

Summer Robe

I’ve always been a bit sensitive to the cold. I’m the one wearing a shirt over my tank top when in the freezer section or at the doctor’s office. I was always like this but as I age I’m getting more sensitive.  I understand this is normal aging. I still feel silly when the temperature is 80F; I take my shower and shiver until I get dried off and into some clothes. In the winter I have a nice thick Berber robe. Wonderful in the winter, but too warm in the summer. If I wear the Berber robe I sweat while in it and shiver while not. The only logical conclusion to me was making a lighter robe; a summer robe.

I searched the stash and found this lovely shiny, crushed polyester. It’s been in the stash for years. Probably 2 decades. I paired it with my Walmart Caftan pattern but made significant changes which to me means this is really a ‘block’ for me i.e. a basis to morph to many styles.


I place the center front on the selvedges instead of a fold which creates a center front opening.  The center front is finished with a long 2.5″ band.  The hem is serged and turned twice, the 18″ armscyes are finished with FOE.  Hem also has a 4″ vent so the side seam is stitched not in 4″ as for the caftan, but right along the raw edge between armscye and vent.

Umm, while I jumped to the finishing I could not resist adding embroidery to such a large canvas.  The front has embroideries on either side one placed at the shoulder the other below the waist.

I had hoped to create a suggestion of butterflies flitting up the CF.  The back has a single butterfly alight on a branch

I used buttonholes in lieu of belt carriers and a length of drapery cord for a belt

It’s unlikely I will ever tie the belt during actual wear:

I mean the purpose of this garment is to cover me up after jumping out of the shower and before I can lotion on my body followed by the day’s clothes.

This project did take a couple of days.  I spend entirely too much time choosing embroideries; changing colors and arranging elements. I love doing it. Lots of stitches. Wouldn’t think it but the 3 pieces totaled 35,000+ stitches, 3 colors but 9 color changes over the 3 hoopings. I used a tear away stabilizer i.e. something that would support not only during embroidery but during the life of the garment. Embroidery alone but from start to finish took 3 days. The rest of the construction needed 2 days due to interruptions.

The Red Set

Le me start by saying, despite the fact Look cannot catch me smiling, I love this set!

I don’t wear a lot of red. Probably because when I a kid the mean girls always said nasty things about people with red hair wearing red garments. They also didn’t like pink with red, yet you can clearly see the pink in the print of the blouse. It looks lovely.  Later in life, like when I was about 40, I learned it wasn’t “red” that was the problem. It is the shade of red you choose. So I slowly started letting reds creep into my stash. Now I have a small stack.  But that didn’t inspire this set. No it was Ebay.  Sigh, I’ve gone down the rabbit hole on Ebay.  The one which captures items with the search parameter of  trims or embellishments. I saw this particular neckline, the first day it was listed on Ebay:

Didn’t buy it then. Didn’t even put it on my “watch”list. But Ebay noticed and kept putting it up on the side as still available. Finally on the last day, I bid. And won. It was even more beautiful in my hands than on the screen or even the pic above. I paired it with several reds. Tried a few blacks too. I preferred a different fabric. An ITY with large permanent crinkles.  But I kept looking at that fabric and thinking ‘night gown’.  I didn’t want a night gown.  So after a few days, I went through the stash again and found a very nice cotton/poly which nicely contrasted with my neckline.

That fabric is several years old. (If I can’t sew, I shop.) Just last year, I bought the rayon-challis. black, red and pink print that made IMO a perfect match:

That’s the 3 of them rayon challis, cotton/poly and neckline trim just clipped to a hanger.

Actually made the rayon challis blouse first.  I envisioned it as a 3rd layer which could stand alone as well. SP600 is my base with Loes Hines 5202 (Tunic Blouse) sleeve and cuff. I copied the SP600 front; measured 6″ down from the neckline and cut a V neck. I now permanently have a V-neck version. I think the V-neck is one of my most flattering looks and I wear it often.  Making it permanently available was a no-brainer really. Just like copying the  5202 sleeve and adapting it for the SP600 armscye. Love that sleeve, why reinvent the wheel?  Last change for SP 600 was adding a vent and straight hem:

Really easy.  I did not copy the blouse pattern pieces, but added a rectangle at the bottom to straighten the hem. I made the rectangle 1/2″ wider at the side seam to be used as vent when desired.  Just as the vent can be folded out to the way when not desired, the hem can be folded up when I prefer a shirt tail to a straight hem.  These are easy changes which make the pattern versatile; gives me additional options to change the styling making it look like I’ve bought and fitted a new pattern when in truth I’ve not done nearly that much work!

Pattern changes took about 30 minutes. Then I cut and stitched my blouse in a short period of time.

Cannot tell you how much I love TNT’s.

Next up, was the little top with gorgeous neckline trim.  I’ve worked with a few of these trims now and they never fit my default necklines.  I have to either adapt my pattern to them or, which I did in this case, cut the trim to fit my neckline.  I studied it pretty carefully and initially thought I was going to need to overlap the trim onto the princess portions of my bodice pattern (CC6299). So I cut and stitched the bodice to the side pieces but not the shoulders. So I had a full front and a full back to work with. As I shifted the neckline around I decided to eliminate the top pieces

Then realized it would be better to have those first scrolls eliminated too

A little more shifting to realize those front leaves had better leave too

When I first started working with these ready-made trims, I would zig zag all around and inside the edges. Decided that was too much and took to using “sheet glue”.  This is glue that has been applied to release sheet in a thin layer.  You then place your item to be bonded on top with a 2nd release sheet on top of that

and press on high heat

I learned the hard way to check periodically and stop pressing when the glue sticks to the trim enough to lift away from the release sheet. If left too long, the glue seems to not set when I’m ready for the next step which is placing the trim, glue side down, on the public side of my item and pressing a second time. I check several times to be sure it adheres to my fabric.

I also straight stitch around the edges.  I found that the edges will lift and can only be repressed into place so many times before requiring stitching. May as well do it now when there is less fabric to shift back and forth beneath the needle.

I used my cap sleeve pattern successfully completed a few days ago and posted here.  But I made some slight changes I  wanted my cap sleeve to hug my arm must a bit more. So I made a 1/8″ tuck from shoulder point to center of hem. Then I trimmed the hem sides starting about 1″ above the hem 1/4″.  I do think that gave me the sleeve I envisioned.

Don’t want to pull the cap in too close where it will rub my upper arm.   Have an issue not really noticed on my other versions of CC6299.  With this fabric the neckline is gaping a little

I taped the front neckline, like always. I am hoping it is just the way I’m standing.  I really love this set as a whole

Definitely look forward to wearing it everywhere!


Attempt 2 at a Cap Sleeve

Wanting a cap sleeve not a flutter sleeve, I tried again.  This time as I hunted through the same places as before (on-line, Pinterest, drafting books), I came across an interesting cap sleeve that really was a separate sewn-in sleeve:

I dashed in a line on the right sleeve to help you see the seam. (I had to look hard to see that seam) The seam is lost in the busy print.  At first glance, the sleeve looks as if cut-on. This gave me a new direction.  Instead of altering my front and back pieces, I copied  the cap only of the sleeve I’d worked with and successfully fit a few months ago:

I guessed how long I wanted my cap sleeve and then added a 1/2″ hem; finally trimmed the excess tissue all away:

My test fabric is a cotton/poly shirting. On arrival this fabric surprised me.  You know how you order fabric on-line and when you get you wonder if that’s what your ordered?  Often the colors or print size and even the fiber content can be different from what you thought you saw on the internet; or at least that happens to me.  This fabric looked better in person then it did on-screen.  I almost did not buy it but I liked the pink and blue touches. I think my blouse is so cute that  I’m doubly glad to have added it to my cart.

Not only was it pretty and easy to sew but it doesn’t look sloppy like the rayon challis.  I did no more than transfer the 1/8″ deeper princess curves from the flutter sleeve to my basic fitted pattern. (The one I copied to make the flutter sleeve). This fabric added inherent body makes the basic shape crisper.

I think I’d like the cap sleeve to hug my arm a little more and I’m trying to decide if I want it this long; a little shorter; a little longer? Whatever I decide, this cap was so easy to draft and sew I may add it to all my other TNT tops.

I am really happy to be ready to proceed with the project which kicked-off this sleeve search: