Darcy Lewis Design

Adventures in "Good Enough" Design

Archive for the tag “Shirt”

Floaty Chiffon Top for Summer!

I adore a floaty chiffon top for summer.  I pair them with camis and toss over jeans or anything else, they can even be worn over a dress for a different look!  This was my original favorite:

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It was light, comfortable, elegant, and I could (and did!) wear it for weddings, parties, date night, or even just to run errands.  However, it was time to replace it.  I ended up selecting a black and white chiffon with a waving dot pattern that felt a bit art deco to me.  I wanted a design in keeping with that, and I loved the ombre effect and the kimono sleeve of the original….

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(This is me doing my dramatic rendition of “Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well!” )

So I made symmetrical squared-off open kimono sleeves, the sides are laced together with ribbon and there are more ribbons sewn onto the shoulders (deep dark secret: the ribbons were added to the shoulders to hide my accident with indelible marker…).  On all corners (sleeves and body), I sewed little stacks of beads to weight the top and create a nice swingy movement.  All in all I’m pretty happy with it, though I got very little opportunity to wear it this summer ( ;(  )

What’s your favorite garment you keep remaking?

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Cotton Kimono Top

So, I have not been posting much lately because I seem unable to multitask well enough to do that and make things…  😉  So please bear with me as I post in fits and starts.  Today I would like to show off my little kimono top.  My shop got in this really interesting, very bold, graphic print cotton lawn, and I decided to make something with it as a shop sample.  So I took 1 yard of this, plus 1 yard of an eggplant cotton sateen and 2 yards of raspberry cotton sateen and 2 yards of cotton bicolor piping in mauve/lavender.

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I used an old Butterick kimono top pattern, 4072 (view B).

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I wanted to break up the impact of the graphic a little, so I sent the back and front at an angle – not on the bias, just at an angle I liked on the design.  It went together very easily, but the end result was a little surprising: I shortened the sleeves both from shoulder to wrist and the depth of the hang, considerably, and yet the sleeves are humongous.  The end result is very voluminous, so if you want to make this, I highly recommend taking careful measurements (something I didn’t bother doing because it was a shop sample).  Also, you are supposed to cut 4 of the front band, and I can’t see how that could possibly work – it’s too wide for that!  So I cut the 4 out, sewed them all together, then ripped it all out again.

In the end, it’s all right, though I’m not sure I would ever wear it if it was in my closet.

Baldwin Center (Act II)

You may recall the remade garments I’m patterning for the Baldwin Center, a community charity in Pontiac, MI.  This has been keeping me too busy to post as much as usual, but here are the latest two garments (which were featured on TV last week!!):

We started with a lovely sandy tan silk shirt (with a wonderful hand!).  I cut it in half from underarm to underarm.

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I liked the idea of preserving the button placket as a functional detail that could be undone all the up (Oooh!  How risque!), but obviously it need a bit of dressing up and if we were going to have the buttons open, there might as well be something to look at!  So I took black lace yardage and made a second skirt a HAIR smaller than the silk – so they laid together nicely and didn’t cramp your movements.  I also took a strip of our French black velvet burnout lace knit (which was a nice blend of a tan base with black velvet flocking), and made an elastic waist casing at the top.  I scalloped the lace and left it long enough to just show underneath, but it still needed a little more…. So I encased a 2″ strip of very narrow elastic in the side seam allowance at the hem to ruch it up a little and added cream and tan satin ribbon bows to each side.  The finished look is ideal for a day-to-evening outfit!  Simply pair with a cream blouse and black jacket!

 

The second garment started life as a lovely blue satin robe with self belt.  I really wanted to use that belt, but there wasn’t much fabric in the robe.  So I cut a whole halter top front out of it, and paired it with some blue and white lace from the shop.  The belt becomes the tie that holds the front and back together in a pretty bow, while the otherwise-plain front gets some drama with some blue-gray ombred fringe!

What do you think?  I want to make this halter top for me!

The Knit Challenge

Before I tell you about the knit challenge, I have to share this story with you.  Today I went to one of my sewing groups, and a member I barely knew and had no real previous interaction with handed me the sweetest card she’s tried to mail me – congratulating me on my Fulbright.  It was so incredibly adorably sweet!!!  Talk about Giving Warmth!!
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On to the knit story… that same sewing group just had a knit challenge.  A couple of months ago, members were instructed to bring a piece of knit fabric – either one piece that was 2 yards long or 2 pieces that were each one yard long.  They were anonymously redistributed and members had until today to make something. Though I was happy with the fabric I got, I couldn’t find any design I liked, and so the day before it was due (of course), I bit the bullet and picked a pattern I thought might work…. (Mind you, I was the co-presenter and one of the more expert knit sewists in the group, so I had a certain standard expected of me… GULP!).

Here’s the fabric I received, it’s from JoAnn Fabrics, their Nicole Miller line.  A nice weight, soft hand, I’m guessing a cotton blend.

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My weight keeps fluctuating right now, so I prefer drapey tunics.  I chose McCall’s 7437, view B (the one the model is wearing), from my stash:

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I decided to actually make the pattern as shown (for me this is shockingly irregular, I did the same thing last week with the gray fleece cocoon kimono trimmed in pink plaid – I must be getting sick or something! I never make patterns!) – though without the fringe.  I thought the fabric print was too busy to make the whole garment out of it (plus, I’ve never been able to make a whole garment out of just one fabric…), so I paired it with a magenta slinky knit from my stash.  I wasn’t happy with the poor design for the hemming, so I redid it and just bound the bottom hem and back neck in the black jersey seam-binding from my shop (find it HERE).  I didn’t like how it hung without sleeves, but once the sleeves were in, it was kind of cute.  I wanted to break up the color block a little more, so I choose to make the sleeves in solid black – I used the jersey crepe from the shop (HERE), and since I’d banded the shirt body with the black jersey trim, I decided to finish off the magenta colorway and band the sleeves with it.  All in all, I’m fairly happy with how it came out, though obviously the shoulders need to be raised.

What do you think?  Have you sewn with knits before?  Want to try our challenge 😉  ?

TWO T-SHIRT ALTERATIONS!

I found two adorable shirts at the store, but they were clearanced and not available in my size.  ;(  Nothing for it, I HAD to have them, so I bought with the intent to alter…

 

The red and blue shirt perfectly matches the red feathers!  So I tried on the feather shirt to see where I needed ease.  It was snug but fit ok over the bust, but the body didn’t look good – especially with those elastic-gathered sides (made me look very pregnant!)  I measured the shirt against another shirt I like the fit of (recognize my French knit shirt? 😉  ):

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So I  cut triangle wedges out of the side of the red shirt (really is pretty symmetrical, just laid out badly). Cutting them out of the sides not only saved the body of the shirt for alteration #2, but meant there was a seam down the actual side, so it looks deliberate, not like an alteration:

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And sewed them into the feather shirt.  The red shirt is not actually hemmed, so I hemmed it to match the lines on the feather shirt, and I think I need to lengthen the sleeves, which I will do by adding more mesh.  And now I have an adorable shirt that actually fits!! (Though I still suck at selfies 😉   )

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That left me with a cut-up red shirt that needed bigger sides of its own…  I have some beautiful navy cotton eyelet in my shop that I needed to make a sample with for expo anyways, and it blended perfectly with the blue on the red shirt, so… The only caveat is that it’s a woven not a knit, so I had to make sure it’s full enough to compensate.  I based the size for this shirt on a favorite sweatshirt.  Then I cut rectangles (not squares, bc I wanted the shirt to be a little longer in the back than in the front) that were 13″ x 15″.  I hemmed the 2 sides first, then sewed the insets into the shirt, making sure to match up fronts (the selvedge edges with a wider hem), and hemming the red shirt to match the insets.  And now I have a gorgeous shirt that looks like a designer original, which, of course, it is!!!

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I think I need to hire a photographer 😉

 

What do you think?  Tell me about some of your favorite alterations!

Adventures with Knits…

I took the day off from studying and house-cleaning to try a patternless, easy-peasy, knit shirt (you already smell disaster coming, don’t you?).

I love wearing knits, wanted something easy and fast, and most important – it had to be fool-proof since I’ve been unhappy with everything I’ve made recently (regardless of the actually objective quality of the outcome).  So… PINTEREST!!

I’d been eyeballing this shirt for some time, and in July one of my local sewing groups is presenting a knit challenge, so I wanted something easy to teach…

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This was the image on Pinterest (hyperlinked).  No directions, measures, or other info.  So I started with a t-shirt I liked the fit and length of (excuse the photos – I suck at selfies!):

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I picked out this knit from my shop (hyperlinked) so I could use this as a sample for the Sew Expo:

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I wanted the thick navy part at the bottom, and the fabric, folded in half selvedge to selvedge was the exact same length as my shirt.  I wanted my sleeves about 7″ longer, so I measured 7″ from the side edge and stuck a pin in.  (Sorry, forgot to take photos of all these steps!)  Took my t-shirt and folded it in half, aligning my sleeves and pinning them and the shoulders.  I laid the shirt out on the fabric, with the sleeve end starting at my pin (that was 7″ in from the side), with the shoulder and neck at the top where the white part is, and the shirt hem at the bottom where the navy centerfold was.

I traced the sleeves and side and side swoop, then used pins on the new fabric to mark the center front and center back (where my t-shirt was folded in half), then folded that in half along the center so I’d have even fronts and backs.

Then I cut it out – 4 layers at once (2 fronts and 2 backs – both front and back aligned down a centerfold so no seam and not actually 4 pieces).  This is the after I cut out the main part – sleeves and sides not yet cut out (don’t forget to cut along the fabric fold at the bottom to make sure you can put your body in 😉  Shown here still folded, not yet cut.):

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Then I basted it together and checked the fit…

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Yes, that’s a grimace.  I do not love the shirt.  The fit over the bust is a little snug (how?!), the collar is too tight (easy to fix), and the flare is not as dramatic or pointed as I expected (and would have liked).  So I marked the center point of the new neck line, and the shoulder, and recut the neck.

Then I serged the inside seams in plain white thread, then used fancy woolly blue (I had 2 blues in stock: black (closest color match) or a blue that was darker than royal, but lighter than this navy.  I went with that since I wanted to play up the blue and white look.) in the upper looper to serge the sleeves and hem.  For the neckline, I used the navy jersey seam binding from the shop (have I mentioned how much I LOVE that stuff?!?!)

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Oh, and here’s a close-up of the serged edge with the blue… it made a lettuce edge, but overall ok:

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Ultimate verdict: Don’t love it, but it was really easy, took about 2 hours – start to finish, and will be fine for a sample for Expo, though I don’t think I’ll ever wear it – will probably put it in the shop for sale at some point.  I think it will be much nicer on someone with a slightly smaller bust than mine.

The shop: http://stores.ebay.com/beautifultextiles

Check the category of knits for the fabric, the jersey seam binding will be under both Knits and Trims.

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