The Aushui Tank Transformation

Transforming The Stitch Upon A Time Aushui Tank Into A Dress

I bought the Stitch Upon A Time Aushui Tank pattern because who doesn’t need a unique tank top in their lives?  The square cut neckline was a new look for me, and I love tanks with straps that completely cover your bra.  The pattern is a pretty quick sew, and the facings really help the tank keep it’s unique shape.  It also has options for a button placket and a tie front, which will totally change the look!

Rayon spandex from Phee Fabrics made for a soft, comfortable tank, with excellent drape.  I added two inches to the length because I am tall and like longer tanks.  But I certainly could have stuck to the pattern length and been just fine.

Aushui tankAushui back

Once I made the tank I started thinking that it would be fun to make the Aushui into a dress.  Not only are dresses a summer time staple, they also make it easy to get ready in the morning.  Wanting to keep the lines of the dress clean, a gathered seam at the waistline was out.  A simple fit and flare design fit the bill, so I pulled out the Stitch Upon A Time Calista pattern.  The skirt portion of the Calista flares out nicely, without being too full.

The hardest part of this pattern mash was determining where the skirt should start!  Fit and flare dresses look best when they are fitted through the bust area and flare out at or just above the natural waist.  A novice sewist may be surprised to learn that your natural waist isn’t necessarily at your belly button.  Tie a string, strip of fabric, or piece of elastic around your waist, and bend side to side several times.  The elastic will settle at your natural waist which may be above your belly button.

Lay the Calista skirt pattern on top of the Aushui Tank front, with the center folds aligned.   Slide the top of the skirt up to the bustline marking.  With the patterns taped together, cut out the front of your dress.  Align the Calista skirt the same way on the tank back, and cut out the dress back.  There will be a little area where the tank and skirt pieces intersect at a sharp angle.  Gently curve this area (where the purple arrow is pointing in the second photo) when you cut out your dress.

Aushui Cal tapeAushui Cal cut

Then follow the pattern tutorial for construction of view A.  The only difference will be the length of your side seams.  Take your time and use plenty of pins when folding up the hem.  That way you’ll get a nice even hem when you finish your dress.  Pro tip: sewing a line of stitches down the center of the back facing before construction will make it easy to tell the front from the back when you’re hanging up laundry or getting dressed.   If you have a vinyl cutting machine, a cute little HTV design would make a good “tag”

I used Phee Fabrics Tricot for my dress and absolutely love the drape and swing of my Aushui Calista pattern mash!  It’s a fun, flirty length, without being too short.  It only took two yards of fabric, and I have large enough scraps that I can probably make another swimsuit. 😉  You can read about my Water Faery and Scrundlewear bikini here.

Aushui CalistaAushui Cal full

I need more of these dresses in my life!  I’m so glad I played around with the patterns, and that my dress turned out even cuter than I imagined!  There’s no reason to be afraid of trying something new, and hacking and mashing your patterns.  You might just end up with a new favorite dress, or other cute clothing in your wardrobe!

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing, patterns, fabric, and pattern hacking. 😉

 

Wandering Back Into Wovens

When I first learned to sew, it was with woven fabric.  I think most people start out using wovens either because that was the type of fabric their Mothers and Grandmothers used and taught them with, or because they gravitated toward garment making after learning to quilt.  I made myself plenty of cotton woven clothes in my teens, and so many pretty dresses for my daughter when I was in my twenties.  I also recall making a bathrobe for my husband (with tons of piping) and a dress shirt for my son (all those buttons and buttonholes!)  But sewing with knits seems so much easier and forgiving, so I had completely switched over to knits and didn’t look back.

Then two things converged that has me wandering back into wovens.  Phee Fabrics started carrying stretch twill, which intrigued me.  A local sewing store held The Tunic Bible workshop, which sounded sort of fun.  And it would have been fun, but it was way out of my budget range, so I put it out of my mind.  But then I started seeing the dresses the women made at the workshop on a Facebook sewing group I belong to.  And I needed the pattern!

It’s totally my style- a simple and straight-forward design, yet with the opportunity to personalize.  So I looked for “The Tunic Bible”, by Sarah Gunn and Julie Starr at a couple of local stores and neither had it in stock.  I probably should have driven to the closest bookstore, but it was easy enough to order the book online.  ISBN 9781617453564.  The pattern is included in the book as two large copy shop sized pages printed front and back.  I traced the basic tunic and all the placket options in my size, dug through my 25 to 30 year old stash of wovens for fabric to use as my muslin, and got started.

The book is kind of a “look book” with lots of photographs of the tunics to give you inspiration, and includes directions for basic tunic construction and for each of the placket options.  It recommends finishing your seams with French seams to give your tunic a more couture finish.  I chose to use flat felling on my shoulder seams, as it seems easier/cleaner to me.

I made a sleeveless tunic length top with a wide split placket as my first muslin, and like the basic look.  However, it was immediately obvious to me that it is too wide across the shoulders in the front.  Frankly, it’s too wide even if I were adding sleeves, even though I had traced on the sleeveless line.  Despite yoga class and trying to have good posture, years of deskwork and hunching over a computer have taken their toll and given me forward rotated shoulders.  While wearing it, I placed a row of pins in my top where I wanted the shoulders to end.  After taking it off, I laid the pattern on my shirt and marked my new cut lines adding in the seam allowance.

TB turq topTB turq side

Thinking that I had solved my fit problem, I moved on to a dress length muslin using the V-neck placket.  Although the pattern includes all the plackets, the tunic is NOT marked with all the neckline cuts.  You are expected to match up the center lines and shoulder seams and trim away the excess fabric on the front and back bodice after sewing on the facing.  If you are an experienced sewist, it’s easy enough to do, although it can feel nerve-wracking to not know for sure that you are cutting it properly.  This could be a bit overwhelming to someone that is just learning to sew.

Trying on the dress revealed my second fit issue.  The bust darts are not in the proper place for my body.  I am longer than average from shoulder point to bust apex.  This fit issue should not have been a surprise to me, since I frequently have to adjust patterns because they cut into my armpits.  Since knits are so forgiving and most knit patterns don’t have bust darts, I didn’t really think about the bust dart.  As you can see in my dress, the bust darts are way too high and too far apart.  Since that puts the fullest part of the bodice above my bustline, there is a bit of pooling there.

TB V dressTB V side

So I did a bit of research online to figure the best way to lower a bust dart.  I had determined the amount I needed to lower the bust dart by measuring from where the dart fell on my body, down to the bust apex, and ended up with an inch difference.  I also decided to make my bodice a size smaller, since my measurements put me between sizes and I had traced out the larger size.  A couple of sites recommend just cutting out the bust dart section of your pattern, moving it down to where you want it, and filling in the cut out section with paper.  Since I always keep my master patterns intact and trace out the size I need, I decided to move my pattern piece up an inch on the master pattern and trace the bust dart and smaller size bodice.

TB bust dart

I finally felt confident enough with the pattern to cut into my navy stretch twill and make a dress.  I loved the look of the wide split placket on my top, so decided to use it again.  The Tunic Bible recommends using petersham ribbon or bias tape for trimming your tunic, but since I had a vision of the look I was going for, I had ordered three colors of stretch twill and made my own “bias tape”.  Here’s where the beauty of stretch twill comes into play.  On my muslin top and dress, I had cut strips of fabric on the bias to trim the arm openings, etc.  Since stretch twill has spandex in it, and 10% stretch, I didn’t have to cut my trim on the bias!  I used Wonder Tape (a wash-away double stick tape for fabric) to hold my trim in place on the placket while I top-stitched it, and let me tell you- it is a total game changer.  I used to pin all my trims or pockets in place, then sew and hope that things didn’t shift or get a weird bubble from the pins.  Wonder Tape is awesome and so much easier.  I highly recommend trying it.

I love how my first dress turned out!  It reminds me of a dress my Grandma used to have when I was a little girl.  She was rather stylish, and very beautiful, and an all-around wonderful person.  ❤  I miss her so, and wish I had a photo of her in the dress I remember.  I swear a photo exists, but my Mom didn’t recall it.  Sigh.  Anyway, I have a beautiful new dress that reminds me of her, and I will wear it all summer long!

TB navy fullTB navy back

I decided to go with a solid color for my next dress, and used the ruffle neckline.  This is an unusual choice for me because I don’t “do” frilly.  Lady-like, yes.  Girly and frilly, nope!  I’ve put ruffles on the bummies I made for my grand-daughter, but what looks cute on a baby or toddler doesn’t equate to looking cute on me!  I don’t know what possessed me to try it, but I actually like the end result.  The coral stretch twill is so bright and summery, and it looks like something I would wear to a cocktail party.  (If I were one of those people who throws or gets invited to a dressy cocktail party, which I’m not. :-))  But I feel pretty in it and will probably wear it to my nephew’s wedding this summer.

TB coral standTB coral sit.jpg

I’m happy to have wandered back into wovens, and all it took was the intrigue of a new fabric and a few Facebook posts to do it!

Now I’m contemplating what other woven patterns I have to play with.  I bought a yard of the white stretch twill, and hope I have enough left to make a GreenStyle Havana top out of it.  I made a maxi length Havana out of some random gauzy fabric in my stash about a month ago, and liked it.  I think the stretch twill will flow just as prettily.  Are you ready to wander into wovens?

Havana leftHavana back

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing, fabrics, patterns and creativity. 😉

 

 

 

GS Sunday Cardigan and Sinclair Sienna

When pattern companies note under fabric choices that you will need “Any knit fabric like cotton Lycra, double knit, ITY, sweater knit, French terry, etc….with at least 50% 2-way stretch”, I’m sure they must realize sewists are always going to push the boundaries of the intended fabrics!  The listed fabrics for the GreenStyle Sunday Cardigan are generally pretty stable knits, which is why they are great for cardigans.

Which brings me to my fabric choice- a pretty navy blue rayon/spandex from Phee Fabrics.  I live in Florida, so a thick, heavy knit cardigan isn’t likely to get much use by me.  There are chilly days, and restaurants and grocery stores always seem to blast the A/C, so cardigans are a must!  Rayon/spandex is light enough to keep me comfortable without being too warm.  I knew I wanted the duster length cardigan because it would look nice no matter what length of dress I wear, and equally as nice with pants or leggings.

I’ve mentioned before that Phee’s rayon/spandex is much more substantial than average, so I knew it would work for this cardigan, even in duster length.  The GreenStyle Sunday Cardigan doesn’t have bands, all the edges are simply pressed under and stitched.  This makes it a simple sew with a clean look.  I wanted to ensure crisp edges, especially since I wanted the side slits.  My simple solution was interfacing.  I cut 3/8″ wide strips of a light to mid-weight interfacing.  It was probably Pellon Shirtailor, but since all my various weights of interfacing are just in a bag and not individually wrapped with their respective strip of directions, who knows?  It wasn’t featherweight and it wasn’t a stiff heavyweight, so light to mid-weight will suffice!

I ironed the strips along the front edges and along the curve of the neckline, (which was the only place I actually traced the pattern shape).  I just used my rotary cutter and ruler for cutting the long strips.  I also used strips along the low slit edges.  I didn’t need to use it, but it made it super easy to press over the edges without having to use a hem guide and pin all along the edges.  I didn’t bother with it at the hemline, as the fabric hems beautifully.

inter stripsinter neck

Other than adding two inches to the sleeve length for my long arms, and ironing on the interfacing, I followed the pattern directions and ended up with a soft, cute, comfortable cardigan that will get tons of use!

Sunday backSienna Sunday down

 

My other make was the Sinclair Patterns Sienna drawstring dolman top.  I have owned this pattern for months, and this is the first time I’ve made it.  Why did I wait so long?  Probably because every time I’ve tried on a dolman top at a store, I’ve thought they just looked baggy and sloppy on me.  I have got to say that I am really growing to love the genius of Sinclair Patterns fit!  I’ve previously blogged about the Sinclair Kai tee shirts I made for my husband and son.  And I love that Sinclair patterns come in short, regular and tall.  I think that having the pattern in tall is part of what makes this fit so well.  The patterns are also drafted with a shaped hemline, and the design makes them lay well on a real body.

Sienna church

I made the short sleeve version for myself, and wore it with the drawstrings fully extended as a dress.  The winter white rayon/spandex top looks equally as cute with the drawstrings pulled up to tunic length.  In fact it’s so cute, that I texted a photo to my daughter and asked her if she wanted a top.  Her answer?  “I love dolman tops!  I think they’re cute and give the illusion of a smaller middle.”  Not that she’s implying I don’t have a small middle.  It’s pretty obvious that I am not a small person! 🙂  She actually is a small, slender woman, which is why I can’t model the Sienna I made for her.  She lives in a colder climate, so I made hers with the 3/4 sleeves.

Since I didn’t think I’d have quite enough fabric to make the sleeves per pattern (which has the sleeves drawn as part of the body), I cut them at the short sleeve line.  Then I added the seam allowances at the top of my sleeve pieces.  I think it would be easy enough to hack the sleeves to be long using this method.  Since I didn’t have my daughter here to measure for that, I stuck to the 3/4 sleeves.

cut sleevessa sleeve

I sewed the sleeve pieces to the front and back pieces, then just followed the pattern directions.  Her top turned out just as cute as mine and I can’t wait to see her in it!

J SiennaJ Sienna fold

I really like both of these patterns, and want to make them in all the colors!  And I wonder how my sewing list gets so long.  Hah!

Sunday cardi

May your patterns and fabric be plentiful, and your sewing time enjoyable!

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and supporting my love of sewing!

The Little Black Dress And 5 Ways To Style It

How To Play Dress-Up As An Adult

 

Every girl needs a “little black dress” in her closet.  It’s that basic wardrobe piece that you can reach for again and again.  If it’s a simple design, all the better because you and how you wear it will be what stands out, rather than a “trendy” design.  Packing for a trip?  Throw it in your suitcase and you can wear it for all sorts of things without taking up all kinds of space.  Not that I would know anything about over-packing!  😉  Ahem!  Anyway, let me tell you what I used to make my LBD and we’ll get on with the fashion show!

A LBD should be something you can wear year round, so a comfortable fabric that won’t overheat you is a must.  I chose rayon/spandex because it is soft and light-weight.  High quality rayon/spandex is key though, because the cheap “big box” fabric store stuff will wrinkle and pill and cling to you in all the wrong places.  The rayon/spandex from Phee Fabrics is 13oz., much more substantial than standard and with great drape.  I used the Women’s Mya pattern from Made For Mermaids.  It is a great pattern with the perfect amount of shaping and flowiness.  It’s slightly fitted at the bust, but not too form-fitting on the rest of your body.  If you choose a pattern and fabric that flatters your shape, you end up with a little black dress you will wear for years!

summer dress

 

 

Headed to the beach?  Picnic in the park?  Or just running up to the grocery store?  You’ve got the perfect summer dress!

 

 

 

 
biz dress

 

 

Headed off to work?  Meetings and business travel?  Throw on a jacket and low heels and you’re ready to go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

cardi dress

 

Is there a chill in the air?  Did you say snow?  Boots and a cozy sweater are the way to go!  This sweater is a ready-to-wear, but there are so many cute cardigan patterns out there, not to mention Polartec, that sewing a cardigan or two is definitely on my to-do list.

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                            evening dress

Cocktail party?  A hot date with your love?  Killer heels and pearls, and your little black dress has you covered.  I have to say that this was my husband’s favorite look.  When your husband good-naturedly agrees to be your photographer for a blog, you’ve got to like it when he gives you a whistle when you ask him to take your photo!  This look had me feeling fierce!

 

 

 

 

dress tie

 

Ready for the weekend?  Tie off your LBD at tunic length, add some leggings, slide on some flats, and layer on a shirt.  Casual and comfortable at it’s best!

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was fun to play “dress-up” and ham it up with all the different looks.  Suffice it to say that I will wear this dress a LOT.  What’s your favorite way to style a little black dress?

summer dress1biz dress1cardi dress1evening dress cutedress tie1

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and supporting my love of sewing!