A top for April

It’s halfway through the month, and I just realized that I had not “declared” a garment for my April MAGAM challenge.  It wasn’t a difficult task to choose one.  I simply went to my list and picked something my closet is lacking.

Here’s what I have, in case you forgot ;-)

  • Tops:  6
  • Skirts: 1
  • Pants: 8
  • Dresses: 4
  • Top layers:  3

I’m up to 22 garments with the addition of my two gray test pants.  My Project 333 experiment is going quite well, and I have enjoyed having only coordinating items to choose from when I dress each day.  So far, two weeks in, I haven’t felt the least bit limited. I haven’t even worn any of the dresses or the skirt at this point–it’s still too cool in the morning when I dress to consider them.

Once the weather warms a bit more, I’ll be retiring my three top layers and I’ll want something lightweight to fill that role. So for April’s MAGAM, I’ll make a top to wear alone or over another top should the need arise.  I’ve chosen The Sewing Workshop’s Siena Shirt from a floral print.

April shirt


The Siena is the cap sleeve shirt shown in pink on the pattern.  I have traced the size S, and am wondering if it will be small enough.  I chose that size because the collar stand for the XS seemed awfully short.  My measurements, of course, would have me in the medium.

I know better than to try that.

We’ll see if the finished top looks as slim as the pattern artwork suggests or if it hangs like a sack. I’m betting on sack, but I saw a finished top at our ASG event on Saturday that was lovely.

We’ll know soon enough!

Test Pants

Last week I spent a few minutes whipping up two different elastic waist pants patterns. I happened to have enough gray polyester suiting for both trial pants.

First up was McCall’s 6568, whose straight leg style and patch pockets had appealed to me from the first time I laid eyes on it.  I chose to use a full elastic waistband rather than the pattern’s prescribed drawstring.

(I can assure you that I will not wear this, or any, top tucked into them!)

McCall's 6568 test

I thought it was pretty funny that the front and back patch pockets were two different sizes.  (That would be funny strange or funny annoying.)  I had to make two different pressing templates for them.

The front pockets were larger than the back pockets, which was another strange thing to me.  I once read an article that said the bigger the pockets, the smaller your backside looks.   Why would you put smaller in back?

Next time, all pockets will be the larger size for various reasons.


I wore this pair on Saturday with my Eureka top.  I used my matching inifinity scarf as a belt, thusly

Scarf as belt

Bottom line, I like the pants a lot.  They drape nicely, and will make up perfectly in linen.

The second pattern I tried was the Tessuti Laura Pant.  This is a narrow ankle pant, a style I have never worn.  I *did* wear this top tucked with a belt–some loops would be nice.

Tessuti Laura test pants

Below you can see the pants on their own.  I followed the  pattern instructions for the elasticized waistband, which I don’t particularly like in this fabric.  I wish I had used my usual method of quartering the elastic and serging it to the top of the pants.

Tessuti Laura test

I sewed the XXS in this pattern, which equates to an 8 in their other patterns.   I measure XS (size 10) at the waist, so I cut my elastic to that length.   Using the XS elastic with the XXS pattern made the waistband more comfortable but less bulky than if I had cut the waist on the XS line.

This pattern is another winner in my book.   The instructions were very easy to follow and illustrated with clear photographs.

I’ll be sewing it again soon, but I’m not sure about using either of my two linen fabrics.  It may make up fine in linen, but it seems to me that it would do well in something a bit more firm.  I’ll definitely be trying more patterns from Tessuti after this.

The great spring closet clear-out

I know I haven’t mentioned it in a while, but I haven’t lost interest in the personal uniform concept that I mentioned a while back. A blog jump led to my stumbling upon Project 333, where I discovered an approach to creating a streamlined wardrobe that will reflect my personal style.

It starts with garments I love.

Wow.  Walk to my closet and focus on pieces I love and wear over and over, eliminate the chaff and concentrate on what looks good and makes me feel good.

It makes a lot of sense.

I’ll let you read about it yourself, but the premise is that for three months you have 33 items to mix and match.  (Lawn mowing and painting clothes aren’t included in the count, neither are lingerie and loungewear.)  You don’t have to get rid of the rest of your things, just get them out of your closet.

I’ve already started!  There were a few garments that I can truthfully say I love to wear, and when I went up the hall to my other closet I found a few more.  (Hint, when you have two closets full of clothes but nothing to wear it’s time to take drastic measures!) My favorites:

  1. Stretch denim yoga pants
  2. Pocket skirt
  3. An old pair of Lee jeans
  4. Gray interlock tee
  5. Multi-colored cardigan
  6. Gray cargo pants
  7. Cream dress
  8. Fuchsia tee (Old Navy)
  9. Pink tee (Old Navy)
  10. Green tee (Old Navy)
  11. Geometric print knit dress
  12. Green flowers knit dress

That’s 12 garments…  Not nearly enough to anchor a workable wardrobe, so I added in some likes-but-not-loves to inflate the total:

  1. Tan 3/4 sleeve tee
  2. Jeans Jacket
  3. Poncho Top
  4. Levi’s jeans
  5. Silhouette jeans
  6. McCall’s jeans
  7. Green cotton dress
  8. Eureka top

So now I’m up to 20 garments that I can wear from now until June.  (I don’t plan to include my shoes or accessories in the count.)  You can swap out garments one for one during the season so some of my garments (I’m looking at you, jacket and cardigan) will be phased out when it gets warmer.  If things become unwearable during the season, you replace them.  (Hear that, jeans?)

Now I know for sure what I need to sew or purchase.  Here’s what I have

  • Tops:  6
  • Skirts: 1
  • Pants: 6
  • Dresses: 4
  • Top layers:  3

There are glaring holes here! I have no woven blouses, no surviving capris or cropped pants, and no dress pants.  I desperately need some new jeans.  I’m also short on skirts, which I enjoy wearing in warm weather.

Of course I want to sew as much as possible, and I found fabrics to help fill the gaps. The cream and blue linen should work for skirts or pants.  The aqua green knit will make some sort of top provided I can find a lining, and the printed woven will make a blouse.


I’m excited to see what develops!

So I “muslined” Butterick 6028

Recalling how much I loved my other “Katherine pants,”  Vogue V8837, I decided to ignore the less-than-stellar reviews on PR and muslin the new pants.

Thanks to the reviews and Katherine’s blog, I went in expecting a couple of things.  First, they would be baggy around the hips and thighs, and tight at the ankles.  And, the side seam would swing around to the front to some extent or other.


I was warned.

I grabbed an old bed sheet, pressed the pattern, and set to work.

Examining the pattern, I learned that the finished hip on size 14 (my measured size) is 42 inches. I decided to sew with the size 12 to give me only two inches of ease. I laid out the pattern, overlapping the on-grain back leg seam and eliminating the pocket.

Notice the grain line on the front leg at right.

pattern for muslin

I don’t understand exactly how that front grainline accomplished  pulling the side seam around to the front, as Katherine’s blog said it would, but it did.

Once cut, I drew some lines on the fabric to help me judge fit better.  The front vertical line is the grain line.  The back vertical line is the seam line that would be going straight up the center of each leg.  Horizontal lines are estimated hip and crotch lines, but are not precise and any similarity of front to back is purely coincidental.  I also noted the center front, waist and fold lines to help me situate my “waistband” strip.

When I sewed, I followed a hunch that I would not need the fly to get the pants on and sewed that closed.

The pants were a generous two inches too long, so I pinned that out.  Then I pinned the pants onto my makeshift waistband to check the fit.


The front grainline shifts toward the inside and the side seam comes around to the front.  (I’m not sure you can see the side seam in the photo.)

In back there is a slight dip in my approximate hip line.  I can also tell you that there wasn’t enough crotch length.  It covered the area, but would not have been comfortable sitting.  But that’s just me.

The finished hem circumference for this size is 12 inches. My ankles are 7.25″–I just measured.  If you have normal sized legs, this might look similar to the envelope photo on you.  On me, this is another waif-look that would garner pitying glances, I think.


The side view shows the side seam’s curve toward the front more clearly, and reveals the fullness of this pant.  I recall wearing similar styles in the–ah, early 90s/late 80s, was it?  You need that volume for the nice big pockets that this pattern offers.  I like this aspect of the pant.

I’m weary of butt-hugging pants styles.

I’ve seen enough of other women’s cellulite, thank you very much.


While I was checking over my muslin, it occurred to me that this might be a style that would complement the Eureka top.  With a belt, (or measuring tape) it wasn’t a bad match!  It was definitely better than the tight jeans.


There are some things to like about the pattern.  First, those pockets.  They are nice and large and go al the way to the center front to be caught in the fly application presumably.  Second, the loose trouser fit coupled with the narrow lower legs is a refreshing new look, IMO.   Third, the elastic back waistband is something that many women like in a pant.

In the end, however, I’ve decided to pass on this one.  I’ll keep the muslin in case I want to have another look at it later.  The biggest holdup for me is that I don’t think I can tolerate that side seam traveling around to the front.

All these years I’ve tried to make my seams go straight.  ;-)

This week…

Before being laid low by a UTI on Sunday night, I had a little fun in the sewing room my creation station, as my mother has dubbed it.  First I made another Ann’s Tank from the two fabrics I found at JoAnn’s 2 weeks ago.

The fabrics are Jet Set underneath and some sort of embroidered mesh on the top.  Though it was difficult to avoid a bullseye, the fabrics weren’t any problem to sew.  I used a four thread serged seam, which is visible between the two layers.  You don’t notice it thanks to the thread being a nice match and the narrow, uniform seam that the serger creates.

Double layer

The bottom hems were sewn on my coverstitch machine with the same thread I had used on the serger.  I considered leaving the Jet Set edge unhemmed, but eventually coverstitched it, too.

Ann's tank side

On this top, I rotated a bit out of the front armhole down to the front hem.  This fabric isn’t as stretchy as my last effort…I really could have left well enough alone.

I think I’ll retrace the XS front and move on to the next one.

Later.  Not now.

After that, I picked up some remnants off the floor and sewed two infinity scarves.  I find these to be warm and pretty additions to my outfits.  They dress up a plain t-shirt nicely.  I bought some Old Navy v-neck tees last fall, and those really benefit from a bit more fabric at the neckline.

This one is from the remnant of my recent poncho top, and is a true moebius with a half twist.

Inifiniy scarf

The other is left from the Eureka top and somehow got a full twist. You can’t tell when I’m wearing them if they have a full, half or no twist  Why bother?

Scarf with full twist


Now I’m trying to decide what to sew next.  I need something transitional to wear to church, plus I need something a bit nicer than jeans to wear to garden club.  Those garments might be the same…  I also want to make a new pair of jeans and try a few more of my Sewing Workshop patterns.

I think I’ll retire to the sofa and consider my options.