Monday, December 3, 2018

November Recap and S8393 Review

Hello everyone!

It's December!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't believe I am nearly finished with the RTW fast!

I hope this past Thanksgiving holiday treated you well, and you got to spend time with loved ones, family, and friends.  My family had the pleasure of spending most of that week at Disney World, and it was spectacular!

Though our time at the parks was filled with fun, my sewing output for November can be summed up by two cardigans.  The first one is a black french terry sweater knit version from Simplicity 8393:

The second cardigan is another version of S8393 that never got photographed.  I took it with me to Florida because the temperatures were in the high 70s, and I planned on having it for the cooler evenings.  Well, as soon as my mom saw me in it, she shrieked and said "I just love that cardigan! Don't tell me you made that?"

When I told her I did, she asked if she could have it.  She tried it on, and even being 5'4, it fit her beautifully.  I told her I would think about it, but I already knew I would give it to her.  Mostly because after all of my years of sewing, I have never made anything for her.  Not because I didn't want to, I just never heard her express any interest in items I have sewn until then.  So, if you see a royal blue version of this pattern on a lovely lady in her mid 60s around the Savannah area, that could be my Mom, lol!!!

Okay, so back to the first version in black.  I love this cardigan!!!!!  I made a size 12 with only a 3/8" forward shoulder adjustment.  The french terry sweater knit is from Michael Levine's, and it has a lighter variegated gray knit on the inside.  Both sides are beautiful, but I knew the black would get more wear for me.  It sewed beautifully, and my only changes to the design was to close out the splits down the side, and add a small cuff to the sleeve (the length was a tad shorter than I expected).

I admit this was a sleeper pattern for me.  I actually breezed right past it while looking in Simplicity's catalog during one of those 99 cents sales, but came back to it later.  I am so glad I did!  This is a great style of cardigan if you like the casual open look.  The pockets are a wonderful addition that are not too big or small.

I have worn this cardigan quite a few times now, and look forward to sewing a couple more neutrals.  I also entered this into the #cosycardichallenge on Instagram (Nov. 30th deadline).  Do you remember my entry from last year?

If you said the Oslo cardigan in black, then you were right!  I still have this cardigan, but it has faded quite a bit due its heavy rotation in my wardrobe.  I fully plan to sew another cardi next year if this challenge continues!!

As you can see, I am fully enjoying my RTW fast this year.  In fact, I will tell you now that I will be pledging again for next year!  That will be a whole new challenge for me, since I won't be able to prepare for the fast as I have the last two times I have done this.  Is it possible to go back to back years in sewing my own clothing???  Well, we will have to find out!

For December, I am finishing up a jacket I started mid-November, and though I could give you a sneak peek, I will wait until it all comes together.  I will tell you that it will be a nice piece to wear as the weather transitions to Spring.

Stay sew-filled!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Oct. recap and Nov. plans

Hello everyone!!

We are a little into November, and I wanted to show you what I accomplished in October.  I started five different projects, and finished a total of three:

The first two tops are Vogue 8526.  It is an out-of-print pattern that I made a couple of years ago.  I remember thinking that it fit so well I HAD to revisit it.  Well, when I went to do so, I couldn't find the pattern!  I ended up re-ordering it on Ebay just so I could see if I enjoyed it as much the second time around.  I definitely can say I did!  The brown and green version have a crossover that joins beautifully, and fits nicely.  I am still on the fence with wrap tops because I tend to have issues with gaping due to a hollow chest, but this top didn't need any tweaks.  I have worn the brown version already, and noticed some minor shifting with moving about, but nothing out of the ordinary.  Otherwise, this style is a nice change from my usual basic tops.

The third item is a pair of leggings from Simplicity 8212.  These are the leggings I wanted to sew with my daughter, but since school started she has been busy with other things.  She will get to her version one day, but in the meantime, I made a version and added a black lace accent to the bottom.

Can I tell you that these leggings fit me perfectly???  I made them from a black knit I think I found at Fine Fabrics.  If I find any other colors there the next time I visit, I would love to make these again!  I am looking for neutrals like brown, charcoal, and gray, or even beige.  I expected to need a full seat adjustment at the very least, but since I chose a super stretchy fabric, I didn't need one.  However, for my next version I will experiment with adding some more fullness.

I have already worn my leggings quite a few times.  I mean, I have LOTS of black leggings (lol), but I really like the touch of lace on these.  It goes so well with items in my closet, and is just enough to be different from the rest. I am sure I will find other places to squeeze lace in too!

Overall, I didn't do so bad. My two unfinished projects are my Oakley vest and a black basic V-neck tee.  The saga with the Oakley vest continues!  Hopefully this month will be when it makes it's appearance.

November Plans
For this month I will be focusing on a few more basics to continue filling my wardrobe gaps for Fall.  Our family is going on vacation for the week of Thanksgiving, so I don't want to overload myself.  Right now, I look forward to finishing this cardigan from Simplicity:

I chose it so that I can participate in the Cosy Cardi Challenge for this year again.  If you sew a cardigan by Nov. 30th, and post it to Instagram, you can participate and have the chance to win awesome prizes! You can read all about it here.

I would also like to sew some more shirts.  I still have not made Threadcount 1617, but I really like the look of it:

View C is my favorite view for Fall, but I also like the pockets on View D.  If I can figure out a workable fit on a muslin, I may pursue both versions.  

And, yes, I still have this pattern in my back pocket:

I would love to finish a pair of Ginger jeans before the year is out!  I am only apprehensive to start this project because I just know that it will take up a lot of time, especially with fitting them.  I like that lots of people have had success with this jeans pattern, and hope I will have the same.  However, I am learning a lot about getting pants to fit, so it will be more practice for me too, lol!

I am sure other things will come up for this month too, but this is me trying to keep it minimal.  I already went into my sewing closet, cleaned/organized, and threw away what was no longer needed.  It is still hard for me to believe that the RTW Fast is almost over for this year!  It feels like I just signed on, and I have truly been enjoying myself.

Thank you for helping me stay on track this year, and learning so much in the process!  I plan to keep going strong until the end of the year!

Stay sew filled!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

S8383 Version #2

Hello everyone!

There is so much Fall sewing inspiration around, I don't even know where to begin!  I have been slowly figuring out what I want to sew, and treasuring the opportunity to do what I love--LAYER!  Yes!  I love to layer clothing.  While I appreciate a lovely summer dress that catches the breeze, I also like a top, pants, and jacket/vest/cardigan combination too.

In fact, I got to sew with one of my besties this past weekend, and we had this exact conversation.  There are so many layering combinations in our heads, but our sewing productivity just does NOT match all the things we want to make (per usual).  So, I realize I am going to have to be a bit more strategic about my sewing choices, so I can maximize my Fall wardrobe.

And I really need Fall wardrobe help.  Here's what is going on: last year when I decided to sign up for the RTW Fast, I made sure I could at least make it through Spring and Summer with the clothing I had before I needed to really be productive.  I donated lots of my Fall items from last year, and knew I would easily be able to replace any holes in my wardrobe.  Well, here we are in Fall, and I need to sew! LOL!  Either that, or I'm going to be in a real bind!

Thankfully, I did finish another version of Simplicity 8383:

This version is made from a beautiful, jewel-toned jersey knit from Fine Fabrics.  I love the leopard print that is mixed in with it, and the cold-shoulder trend is apparently still "in."  Not that it matters, because I love a good cold shoulder sleeve any day!  Again, this is a size 12 throughout, with a forward shoulder adjustment of approximately 1/2."

And speaking of pattern adjustments, I have done a forward shoulder adjustment on so many of my garments, that I don't even make the adjustment to my paper pattern unless it becomes a TNT.  For instance, I just eyeball the removal to the front, and add the same amount to the back shoulder seam while I am cutting out my fabric. It works every time! I believe in shortcuts as long as the integrity of my garment is not compromised (wink, wink).

Overall, this is a quick, easy, and satisfying sew.  It is very beginner friendly, and one you can make again and again. You can read about my first version here, if you missed it.

For now I have decided to concentrate on sewing basics until that need is filled.  I have already finished a pair of leggings, and a top, and hope to be back with those well as other things!  My hope is that your Fall sewing is off to a great start!

Stay sew filled!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Simplicity 8383 and Best Laid Plans

Hello everyone!


Ok, I admit that I have held on long enough.  I am now ready to bring on the pumpkin spice!!!

The weather here has been getting cooler, and that could mean Fall is around the corner!  However, I have been fooled before.  Living in Georgia as long as I have, I have been duped one too many times, lol!  Either way, this post is here to say that I have pushed "play" on pumpkin spice, and sewing for the Fall season.

To recap, I think I made a mess of September!! I created all of these amazing plans, wrote them down in my sewing planner, and never finished a thing I wanted to.  My new part-time job stole some thunder from my plans and made me a tired wreck on quite a few nights.  And then, I started two other projects that I experienced some hang-ups on as well.  It was not at all what I wanted it to be!

Finally, I decided to put everything aside, and pick up a TNT that I had confidence would work. Enter Simplicity 8383.  I made this one before as a sleeveless swing dress during Me Made May, and I wanted to revisit it to explore the cold shoulder sleeve version of View A:

I think I really like it!!  I am going to work on a few more versions because I think this outfit is perfect for work attire.  Because I am mostly on the floor with little ones, leggings seem to work the best.  That means I can easily throw over a nice dressy/casual dress, or a tunic.  It creates an outfit that gives me the ability to move well (bend, sit, spin, etc.) yet doesn't compromise the environment of the school.  For now, I will likely live in these, but I will also be adding other workwear items down the line.  Here is a view of the inside of the garment:

I sewed a straight size 12 with no modifications.  There is PLENTY of ease in this tent dress, so no grading was necessary.  In fact, I could still probably take it in slightly for more of an A line effect.  The tiger/leopard/black and white print is from Fine Fabrics, and is a jersey.  I think it is a blend of some kind too, most likely a poly.  It has beautiful drape, and sewed wonderfully.

When it came to the instructions, I did a classic neckband construction instead of the binding method recommended by the pattern.  To make sure it would lay well, I measured the circumference of the neckline, then subtracted two inches.  I remember reading about this method used by Cennetta.  It works so well for moderate knits!

I don't know if any of you have noticed, but I truly LOVE black and white.  Actually, black and cream is best, and I have gladly filled my closet with this color palette over the years.  In fact, I wear it so much that you would think that all the fabric I buy falls into this same zone.  Well, you would be surprised to find out it doesn't.  I have LOADS of colorful fabrics (and still a fair amount of neutrals) that I have challenged myself to pull out and sew.  So far, I think I have been doing pretty well in sewing color for spring/summer.  Now I will have to figure out how my color scheme will work for Fall.

So, I guess you can tell that I don't have a clear plan for Fall yet.  I'm going to take some time to figure out what my next projects will be once I finish another version of S8383...I'm thinking a brainstorming session with a warm pumpkin spice latte may help things come into alignment. 

Stay sew-filled!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Isla dress in Pineapples/Coconuts

Hello everyone!

I admit it, I like a bit of trend in my garment sewing.  And what trend isn't bigger than pineapples right now??

In honor of my birthday back in June, my wonderful best friend (who also sews) gifted me a gorgeous double-brushed poly with none other than pineapples and coconuts!  I knew as soon as I saw it that I would make another Isla dress:

Since this is a TNT for me, I made all of the same adjustments that I made in this post here.  My only snag with this version came with the length.  I used clear elastic as I did with my last version, but this time I could not get the fabric to shirr properly.  After I realized that, I knew I had two choices--take it out, or cut it off.  As you can see from the length of the dress, I chose to cut it off.  There was just no way that I was going to invest hours into removing all the stitching embedded into the clear elastic.  No thank you, lol!

So, this is a shorter version!

I wore it this way a couple of weeks ago, but I will probably make some brown leggings to wear underneath.  That should also take me through Fall as the weather gets cooler too.  But, overall, I love this dress!!!!  It is so comfortable, and so soft! I just can't help smiling when I put it on, and hope I can squeeze in at least another month of wear out of it.

As far as sewing for this month, I have been off to a slower start again.  Now that I work part-time, I have a lot more tired days, lol!  I did start a dress, but it didn't come out how I liked, so it will be relegated to PJ status.  So now I am back to my sleeveless blouse, and hoping that the Ottobre pattern will be kinder to me.

In the midst of working on my plans for this month, I did spy an amazing class on Creativebug that I wanted to shar!.  Maddie Flanagan, of Madalynn Intimates, has introduced a three part series class on sewing intimates.  The first release is the Noelle panty:

If you have ever dreamed of sewing your own intimates, what a wonderful opportunity to give it a try!  The first class looks pretty basic, and has the total beginner in mind.  While I think I could make my way through sewing underwear, I am mainly curious about understanding the different materials used for intimates, especially when it comes to bras. Also, Joann Fabrics has a discount code to get a month of Creativebug for FREE.  I tried it out after seeing the code on one of my receipts, and absolutely love the Creativebug platform, as well as the quality of instructors they have on there. 

If you have taken or seen this class, let me know!

I hope to be back soon with another finished item!

Stay sew filled!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

August Recap and Sept. Plans

Hello everyone, and Hello September!

I am a bit elated to share my August Recap today has been a while since I had garments to share!! 

Overall, August was a busy time with school starting back for my kids, and activities related to that (such as curriculum night, homework, extracurricular activities, etc.)  I am grateful that these pieces all got done in the midst of transitioning back to a more regular schedule:

From the top left to bottom right: Tiny Toes Ottobre baby outfit, Isla dress, and Kalle tunic 

I really love everything I made, but my favorite part of the month has to be the Kalle shirts.  For the striped blue tunic, it took me one week to make it.  However, the orange swallow version only took three nights of sewing!  I imagine it is because I had more of an idea what I was doing, but I admit I have never gotten something done as quickly as that.  Maybe one day I can get everything done in an evening??? A girl can dream right...  I know there are some of you out there that do, lol!

The Isla dress was my fun garment to make, and I will do a separate post of that one soon.  

September Plans

Before I reveal all of the things I am thinking about for September, I have some wonderful news to share that affects my sewing plans--I got a part-time job!!!  I will be working a couple of days a week as a teacher at a preschool.  It is so dear to my heart, and lines up with my passion for little ones.  I am starting in the under 2 room, with hopes of advancing from there.  The hours allow me to still be available for my own children so it is a great fit for all.

That said, I spent last week working and preparing our classroom.  And in the middle of that, I realized that I am not exactly sure what I will be wearing!!!  The dress code is dressy casual, and jeans are allowed as long as they are not ripped, faded, etc.  Leggings are allowed under dresses, but not with a top that is cropped.  So, I will have to do some evaluating of my closet.  I would love to wear dresses most days, yet I am uncertain how that would affect my mobility with such little ones in the classroom.  I think I need more nice pants!!!!!

Keeping all of that in mind, here is what I am aiming for...

I will be dedicating one week to working on a few unfinished items I never got to in August.  There is a woven top, denim shorts, and a button up shirt dress that could easily be finished with a little devotion of my time.

So, a couple of days ago I went to Gail K. and shopped their out-of print/discard sewing patterns for $1.00.  I found two gems that I want to make right away:

I am really loving both versions of the wide leg pants.  The dark blue version is a gaucho pants with a pleat feature in the front.  The light blue version is also shown on the model, and looks so tailored and pretty.  Out of the two, I think I am leaning toward the gaucho pants because they scare me.  Not the construction, but the style.  I love sewing in my comfort zone, but each month I am working to pick at least one thing that allows me to explore something new.  It may work, it may not.  But, at least I had the courage to try. Who knows, maybe I will even try both versions!! 

The other OOP pattern is Simplicity 8966, a 2 hour dress:

I love these dress options!  As soon as I saw it, the V-neckline drew me in immediately.  It usually works so well for my frame.  So, View B is what I want to sew.  I also like the way the seaming is dropped well below the waistline.  Perhaps I could achieve this effect with something I have already, but sometimes I like not having to guess.  The dress on the far right with the big pockets (View A) is also a favorite view.  I would love to know if it really comes together in two hours of sewing time.  When I put this to the test, I will let you all know! 

I also recently visited Fine Fabrics with one of my best friends. I have been wanting to sew her a dress as a birthday gift from me, and I wanted her to be in on choosing the fabric.  She has always said that she liked the dresses I sewed, so we decided the Isla would be perfect for her. 

Here is her chosen fabric:

I am a little nervous because I will be doing a full bust adjustment for the FIRST time!  I like learning new things, though, and she has a wonderful personality.  She told me she would wear it no matter what.  I love that!

Next,  I really, really, really want to make a jumpsuit!!  I had good intentions to sew one earlier this summer, but those intentions have been delayed.  I think I own three jumpsuit patterns, but Simplicity 8178 is my favorite:

My goal is to sew this entire look.  I love the little jacket, and think it would transition beautifully into Fall, and with other things. While searching for finished versions, I found a Youtube tutorial by Brittany J. Jones here. I will definitely check that out!  Her version looks great!

And, last but not least, I want to finish this Ottobre sleeveless blouse that I started (left):

I got on a roll until I got to the part where I have to make the button loops.  Turning such a tiny length of fabric was horrifying!! I couldn't find my loop turner, and even tried a few other methods on Youtube to no avail.  I think it will go much smoother once I get past this part.  At least I hope so.

And now I am off to work on all these plans!  I will check back in with my second Isla dress and update you on how the unfinished items are going in my next post.

Stay sew-filled! 

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Yes to another Kalle tunic

Hello everyone!

Who's in the mood to see another Kalle tunic version?

I am now convinced that it is hard to go wrong with the Closet Case Kalle pattern!  This is my second version, and dare I say that I like this one even more that the first one I made?

I am sure a lot of that has to do with the fit for this one.  I added a 1/4" broad shoulder adjustment, and the additional roominess is heavenly.  It feels exactly the way a button up shirt should feel, and is made in such a happy color.

This is a cotton sateen shirting that I ordered from Fabricmart Fabrics this year.  It is orange/cream with little swallows all over it, but not as stiff/structured as a typical cotton shirting.  It has a soft hand, and presses well.  Oh how I wish there were more fabrics like this still available from them!!  It really creates a wonderful button-up!  It felt so light and easy when I wore it for the first time.

I decided that the back felt good with the broad shoulder adjustment, so I left the rest alone.  I now feel good enough about the fit I have achieved that I want to make a lot more colors and variations. For more details on sewing this shirt, you can visit my post here. 

So, after finishing this shirt, I posted it to my IG account, and got this response:

Apparently, there is another Kalle out there in this same fabric, lol!  I wonder what the odds are that two people would unknowingly buy the same fabric and have the same pattern in mind? What a great coincidence!!!  And, just in case you are curious, I LOVE @sewfrantic's Kalle too!

Overall, you can't go wrong with this pattern!  It is definitely a wardrobe staple for me, and I look forward to wearing it different ways.

I will be back to show you all the garments I ended up sewing for August!  Until then, here is a sneak peek of an Isla dress I completed just in time to include in my August rundown.  It is a lovely DBP (double-brushed poly) that I was gifted by a friend in none other than pineapples and coconuts!!!

Stay sew-filled!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Baby gift sewing and Simplicity faves

Hello everyone!

Today I am back with something you probably wouldn't expect--baby sewing!

I had the pleasure of sewing for my cousin's daughter.  They live in Germany, but have come to visit the United States for a couple of months.  Her daughter is 6 months old, and I fell in love with her the moment I met her.  She is adorable, with cute chubby cheeks, and dark brown hair.  I knew right away that I wanted to make some kind of outfit for her before they returned home.

So, this is what I came up with:

I put this adorable set together while browsing through the 3/2016 issue of Ottobre Kids magazine.  It is the Tiny Triangles tunic and Tiny Toes bottoms.  I loved the keyhole back feature on the tunic, and imagined that both pieces would be easy to sew, according to how they were rated.

The tunic called for jersey for the bodice, and viscose for the rest.  However, I decided to use a cotton interlock from Joanns (here) throughout the entire garment.  It had a small amount of stretch in it, and I thought it would work well for this project. Since I sewed this after visiting with my cousin's baby, I did not have easy access to be able to take her measurements.  That meant I had to do some guessing on the size.  After some careful thought, and size checking, I went with a size 68cm.

The back of the tunic dress has a lovely keyhole feature that finishes with a narrow hem.  Originally I took out my narrow hem foot, and practiced this stitch on a scrap piece of fabric.  No matter how much I tried, my edge was hit or miss.  Sometimes I could get it to catch, and other times I could not.  I decided to turn to my old faithful instead--glue, lol!  I used a glue stick to turn a scant 1/8" twice and stitched it down easily.  I hope to get better with my narrow hem foot in the future.

The rest of the binding went on easily.  It was a lovely coordinate rib knit I bought at Joanns as well. For the snaps, I used sew-on ones.  It was my first time using those, and it worked out beautifully.  

Turning to the under pants, you can see that the original design includes a cute ribbon detail:

My modification here was to leave off the ribbons, and keep the under pants simple.  Besides, they would surely get covered up by the tunic!

I used a contrasting fabric for the facing to the leg openings, so it created a nice effect to balance out some of the butterfly print.  I don't like to overwhelm with prints, but that also means I sometimes don't know when to stop editing!  In this case, I am happy with the result!

As you can see, I guessed on the elastic length for the leg openings as well.  I hope I came close without overdoing it.  I plan on mailing this outfit to my parent's house, and hope to get a photo once they try it on baby girl.  Only then will I see if all my approximations have paid off!

Overall, I am always curious as to whether Ottobre's pattern ratings live up to their name.  In this case, both of these patterns do.  The dress and under pants were easy to construct, and an advanced beginner could put these together without any issues.  Also, who doesn't love all the cute little details that Ottobre offers?  I will have to revisit these patterns for my baby boy soon.

The final piece is a headband I have made before.  It is by Coral and Co., and it is a free download that you can find here.  It is SUPER simple to make, and looks so cute when you are done.  I made it once before for my best friend's baby shower, and this will continue to be my go-to headband.

Now that I am finished with this, I plan on turning my attention back to the Kalle tunic, and sewing it up in the lovely fabric I showed you in my last post:

I will work on a few simple adjustments, and go from there.  A big part of me is really excited, but another part is a little nervous because I REALLY like this fabric, lol!  Anyhow, I plan on jumping in and seeing if I can get it done before the month is out.  If I do, I will work on a few unfinished garments before we move into September.  For this version, I am thinking I might try the pocket...

Moving on, I am patiently waiting for a Simplicity sale so I can snatch up some goodies I have been eyeing since the Fall pattern release.

Here are some of my thoughts:

YES!!!!!! I have been wanting to sew my husband a button up shirt for a while, but I wanted to practice on myself first, lol!  He was reluctant to this idea at first, but is starting to warm up to it as he has started to see some of the more recent things I have sewn.  Btw, just so you know, my hubby is  picky.  He is very supportive of things I sew; however, he has always been extra picky on things he buys or receives.  But, regardless of how he feels, I am getting this pattern!!!!!

This one is all about the top for me.  I like the pants, but the top is just so cute!  I have lots of lace, and I am always looking for ways to use it.  I love the angle of the placement for the insert, and think it will be perfect for Fall.

Now that I have been wearing more skirts (I still have two pencil skirts I haven't blogged), I have been drawn to skirt patterns.  I absolutely love the waist detailing on this skirt, and the optional sash version too.  The length gives it a lot of drama, but the shorter length seems a bit more playful.  There are lots of good options here.

When I saw this cardigan, I immediately thought of a bathrobe.  Yes, I fully admit that! However, after I really looked at the line drawing, I began to really like it.  Then, I have no idea how, but I had a vision of this in a gorgeous houndstooth print with the hood and all.  I have to make it!  I mean, I never get visions of patterns dancing in my head.  It must be a sign, lol!

If I can ever get back to working out on a regular basis again, this pattern is a necessity.  I know I will purchase it and store it in my pattern binder for just the right time.  I LOVE the color blocking, and the strip of color going down the side seam of the legs.  Such a great pattern!

My last choice is another Mimi G pattern.  This one is a maybe.  I LOVE the coat, but have a feeling I already have a similar pattern in my stash.  Since I plan on sewing another jacket or coat this year (I am starting a yearly tradition), it would be a good option to have.  This is such a classic piece that would serve me well year after year.

So, come on Simplicity sale!  I have some goodies to buy!

Alright, I hope to see you back again soon with a finished Kalle!  
Stay sew-filled!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Kalle Tunic

Hello everyone!!!

Don't mind me as  I HAPPY dance today!

My Kalle tunic is finished!! Granted, this is my "wearable muslin," but it is also another garment that I will add to one of my proudest sewing moments.  Even after wearing it, I still could not believe I made it:

Ok, I promise not to ramble about how excited I am about this tunic.  Instead, I will fill you in on the details by starting with the fabric I used.  There is a small inspiration for it...You see when I made my youngest son his first vest, I used this cotton shirting and solid blue lining to come up with a winning combination:

A part of me wishes this vest still fit him because it was just the cutest!  But since it doesn't, I thought I would revisit my leftover fabric from this project in a new way. And that is where the Kalle tunic came in!  It is part of my Spring/Summer capsule, yet I didn't get to it until now. So my thoughts for this version was to use it as a muslin to work out the fit, and practice the new-to-me technique of constructing a popover placket.  Suprisingly, it only took me one week to complete! That's a record--for me!

I cut out a size 4 according to my body measurements and the overall ease in the pattern.  Judging by the final garment, I found that the sizing was perfect for me.  My only adjustments were my usual 3/8" forward shoulder,grading to size 6, and 1" length addition.  For my next version, I am considering a slight broad shoulder adjustment for additional comfort, and a possible swayback adjustment.  I admit I tend to forget some of my fitting knowledge when it comes to wovens because, I ALWAYS sew knits, lol!  But, I want to become proficient with both.  And oddly enough, I enjoy sewing both--there are just different rules and habits to remember with each one!

Placket Construction
So, now let's get into the construction elements!  The one that sticks out with this version (View B) is the popover placket construction.  It was my first one, and I will not lie, even with the pattern instructions AND tutorial on the Closet Case website, I just couldn't figure it out.  I got quite a few steps in, but got a little lost when I pulled the placket to the right side of the shirt.  Long story short, I found an excellent video resource by Professor Pincushion here.  By watching her, I realized I was not turning the placket on itself correctly!!  After that, the placket went in smoothly, and now I marvel at how amazing they look.  It wasn't all that hard to do now that I know how to do it, lol!

When I started a shirt dress last summer (I still need to finish it), I got lots of practice with shirt collars.  I remember that the method I used was the traditional way that involved hand sewing, which I don't mind because I actually love to hand sew.  But this go round, I decided to try the Closet Case Method with (get this) no hand sewing.  I'm sure it's not exclusively a Closet Case method, but THANK YOU to whoever created this innovative way of sewing a collar and collar band.  The results are beautiful!  The only downside is that the topstitching is done on the collar band from the inside of the shirt for accuracy.  That means that the outer collar band doesn't look precise.  But, since the collar folds over that part, who would ever know??  I really liked this method.

Also, I think my collar points turned out pretty sharp.  I used a point turner, and a needle with a bit of thread to pull that edge out some.  Heather has an amazing tutorial that shows how to sew a thread tail in as you are constructing the collar so you can use that for sharp points.  You can see that here.

Buttonholes/Sewing on Buttons
Here is where things gets a little hairy.  Now I have done buttonholes many times before.  I always do a test strip, then proceed to the actual garment.  I did the same thing this time around.  Except, when I got to my garment, I sewed ALL of my buttonholes on the WRONG side of the placket!!!  I was so mortified, you all!  Thankfully, I had not cut my buttonholes open, or I would have cried.  Instead, I googled some tips on removing buttonhole stitches, and found one from Threads that worked amazingly.  Basically, remove all of the bartacks from the wrong side of the garment first, and then remove the threads from the top.  I know that sounds simple, but I can tell you that I was doing it totally wrong before I searched google.

With the tip from Threads, two things happened:

  1. The buttonhole stitches were VERY easy to remove
  2. Once the threads were removed, there was still a small noticeable blemish on the garment, but not enough to bother me.  Just a note for anyone who finds themself in this predicament too.
Once I recovered from this mistake and put all my buttonholes on the right side of the placket, I learned the most wonderful fact--my sewing machine can sew buttons on for me!!! Seriously, I love to hand-sew, but why did I not ever know this???  A little bit of tinkering, and I was able to attach all my buttons smoothly.  I share all of this to say---BRING ON THE BUTTONHOLES! :) 

I never imagined that this whole process could be streamlined in this way, and I can't wait until I sew my next Kalle!  Today's version has a lot of structure due to the fabric, but I have seen lots of great takes on this pattern in lovely fabrics with more drape.  I think I will use a more fluid fabric for my next Kalle:

I am not sure of the fabric content for this lovely, but I know it was from Fabricmart Fabrics so I will look it up.  I also got a little gung-ho and traced and cut out my sleeveless blouse from the Ottobre Woman issue this year.  I hope to get to this one sometime this month too.

Tips that helped along the way
For this shirt, I used a Frixion pen for all of my marking.  Bless you dear Frixion pen! It made this project easier to accomplish, and it worked wonders for topstitching.  My topstitching has been known to go off a little bit, and following a marked line really helped.  If you are not familiar with this pen, the mark disappears when you iron the fabric.  *Be sure to test on a piece of scrap fabric first.

One of the tools Heather from Closet Case recommends is a glue stick.  Bless you glue stick!!  When sewing in tight spaces, you don't want pins getting in the way.  So, for the bottom part of the placket, gluing it down worked so well.  I will definitely keep this in mind for future garments.

Burrito Method
This pattern also uses the burrito method to sew together the front and back shirt and yoke.  I am not going to go into this.  I will only say that it is thoroughly explained, and I think most anyone could follow the instructions well.

Hem Facing
I love how the hem of this tunic is finished because it comes out so clean and pretty.  You attach a strip of bias fabric to the edge, and it is turned inside and stitched.  I had seen a review where someone said she loved the finish, but only wish she had added some width to her bias strip.  I totally forgot this, and will do that next time.  I needed a tad more room, but just made it work:

Overall, I really LOVE this tunic shirt!  If you are in search of a great button up shirt, consider the Kalle!