I liked the fabric I used to sew my cardigan last year so I reordered some in a fuchsia color for a top. It is a Hatchi sweater knit by Telio I ordered from Amazon. The fabric is a lightweight polyester/rayon/spandex blend with beautiful color variations that reminds me of hand dyed yarn.
Because this was my first time making a sleeved version of the Laundry Day Tee by Love Notions, I had to print out the pattern again. I used a glue stick to put it together instead of tape, and like this new-to-me method.
I set up a long folding table in the living room to cut fabric. My napping dog in the background was too cute to leave out of the shot.
I printed out the medium and large sizes, and then cut out size large. I cut the smaller bottom width of the dress version. It can be confusing if you only print out the top length to see multiple cutting lines for each size, but you can use these lines to choose the desired “swing” amount.
I wanted my top to have 3/4 sleeves. The 3/4 length sleeve pattern would be full length on me, so I had to shorten them several inches. I was shocked that the sleeves are cut on the fold! I have never seen a sleeve pattern like that. I’m used to cutting mirror images with two notches signifying the back. The human front and back armhole is different so in the future I would find another pattern and draw new sleeves because I think that is needed to make them hang straighter and fit better.
I sewed it on my regular machine with a zigzag stitch, serged the seams, and hemmed with a zigzag stitch. I don’t like the ridge known as tunneling when hemming with a twin needle so I don’t bother anymore.
I wanted a modified cowl neckline. I cut a much narrower piece to fold in half, and then fold over at the neckline. I took a photo from the TV of a neckline I liked as my inspiration, and tried to copy it.
I love the completed top! It’s just what I envisioned, and I love the fabric, fit, and color.
I was sewing the top on a very hot Superbowl weekend in February, then it got very cold with a wind chill, so I’m hoping for more “just right” weather to wear it.
Do you like leftovers? Some are good, others are tasteless. Well, in this case I’m talking about using fabric left over from other projects.
I sewed up another Laundry Day Tee, the sleeveless version, by Love Notions from the fabric left over from the Classic Tee. This a versatile pdf pattern and the no-trim pages of Love Notions patterns are a big time saver.
Some sewing tips:
1) When you print out a pdf pattern with layers, don’t print only one size or all the sizes. I usually print out 3 or 4 sizes because I might want to use the shoulder or neckline of a smaller size, and it helps to see a few sizes in case you want to grade up or down in certain areas.
2) Don’t print out the entire pdf for a pattern with multiple variations. Look for where it tells you which pages you need for the option you are sewing.
3) Customize your pattern. A pattern is a starting place, and you can use it to make your ideal garment with some changes. I cut the neckline wider at the straps and not as deep, and now it is perfect for me.
I wore it walking to the library and took a selfie. The breezy wider hem shape was perfect for keeping me cool.
4) Measure clothes that fit well and compare to pattern pieces to help cut the right size.
5) Take notes on makes. I do this but often leave out important details, and my memory fades.
6) If there is a pattern piece for the band on a knit, don’t use it. The length you need will differ depending on the stretchiness of your knit. You may need to shorten it. This rayon/spandex knit is very stretchy and I had to snug up the top of the side seams and then stretch my binding tighter to avoid droopy underarms.
I’m wearing the top with one of the two denim shorts I have sewn.
I don’t wear clothes that are classified as activewear. I don’t ride a bike or go to the gym. One active thing I do is walk. Since I’m out walking my dog every morning and night, why not sew a sporty walking outfit.
I had some navy ponte fabric left over from the full length pants I sewed at the beginning of last year. Ponte is a double knit fabric. I think I wore polyester double knit shorts from K Mart when I was about 10, but this fabric is a nicer, more breathable rayon/nylon blend. It was just enough for a pair of shorts, although I did need to cut the inner waistband from another bit of rib knit I had. The pocket linings are from a scrap of silky fabric which helped to reduce bulk. The pockets are nice and deep to hold phone, keys, and poop bag.
I sewed the shorts with my sewing machine and then serged to finish the seams. The pattern is another repeat: the Patterns for Pirates Mama Bear Joggers with the waistband of the Itch to Stitch Mountain View Pull-on Jeans. It’s satisfying sewing a pattern that has already been altered to fit.
The shorts feel sleek, soft, and firm. They are thicker than leggings, and not as skin tight and revealing which makes them just what I wanted. When I came home from my walk this morning I didn’t want to take them off. So I didn’t – I wore them all day.
I topstitched the hems and around the pockets with a zigzag stitch and I very much like the sporty look and lack of a ridge I’ve gotten when using a double needle. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s easier than threading up a double needle.
More photos of garment and construction details to follow because this is a sewing blog, not a fashion blog, ha! How the clothes fit on the body is important to see, and the final piece.
The knit tee was an upcycle cut from a XL tee I had on hand. I again used the Laundry Day Tee but with much of the swing removed due to fabric width limitations. I chose the neon/lime green color to give me more visibility when walking at dusk.
Do you wear woven tops with knit bottoms? The opposite is very usual with a tee shirt paired with jeans. Somehow I got the idea that knit bottoms should be worn with a knit top. I need to experiment with this.
I used the hem of the original tee shirt for the binding so I didn’t have to iron a strip in half. That’s why there is a line of stitching on the binding. I like a good shortcut.
I sewed the blue floral top back in July and I struggled with getting the neckbands and armbands sewn decently. I don’t like the method of measuring the neckline, calculating 85%, and marking the band and fabric circumference into fourths that the standard instructions have you do. It’s too hard for me to get it stretched evenly and takes too long pinning. I messed up and sewed folds into the shirt side of the seam and had to rip and redo. For the green tank I cut a longer strip for the band, didn’t join or pin the band, left a tail unsewn at the start, and then stretched the band as I sewed it on with a basting stitch, stopping before the end and making a mark for sewing the ends together. It’s kind of like joining quilt binding but with a straight stitch. Tanks are the worst to sew because there are three bands instead of one! I would buy some tanks if I could find a brand and size that fit well, but at this point it seems easier to just sew them.
I love these leftovers! The two knit sleeveless tops and knit shorts are first rate pieces that fit well, are comfortable useful clothes, and in my opinion look good too.
Shorts are a summer staple for me. I’ve sewn six pairs since 2017, and I love wearing them. But I want to have an alternative to shorts for going shopping or out to lunch. My plan for this summer is to sew casual dresses that are comfortable, have pockets, and are loose enough to not need a zipper. No constricting belts wanted either, but a self -fabric sash is a comfortable option for shaping.
I started with two fabrics, a knit and a woven, and two free patterns.
I used the navy stripe cotton/spandex knit to sew a sleeveless Laundry Day Tee by Love Notions with a V-neck. I sewed a size medium and added inseam pockets. I chose to cut the fabric with the stripes being vertical for the lengthening effect.
Next up is the Bardon dress by Elbe Textiles for Peppermint magazine. I chose size E by my upper bust measurement and did a 1/2 inch full bust adjustment to the darted bodice. The adjustment added 1 inch to the waist which I should have taken away with vertical waist darts but I forgot that the FBA also added to the waist. I also shortened the bodice by 2 inches due to my short torso. I didn’t want the pockets, which are sewn on the first tier, to hang too low for my short arms to reach. My fabric is a red cotton I bought at a thrift store many years ago, with the pattern having a stripe-like effect. The bottom tier was very wide, 48 inches per side, and I cut it on the cross grain in order to be able to cut the full width of the pattern. I also like the visual interest it creates.
A gust of wind caused the dress to billow into a perfect bell shape!
These patterns are keepers! I would make both of these dresses again, perhaps with some alterations. For the Tee dress I would add ease to the underarm area and some width to the back hip as I would prefer the dress to hang straight and not pool at the back. The tiers of the Bardon dress lend themselves to playing with the lengths and proportions, and I can imagine several variations.
I styled these dresses with accessories for going out. They are even easier to wear than shorts since it’s only one item of clothing, but look more polished. The Laundry Day Tee dress is a sporty classic in the navy and white stripe, and doesn’t feel too different than wearing shorts. The red, flouncy Bardon dress is a fun dress and more of a stand out look. So I hope I’m ready to be outstanding this summer!
I sewed up another pair of shorts and a tank top. They are two Love Notions patterns, the Laundry Day Tee, and the Allegro bottoms.
I love that Love Notions pdf patterns are quick to put together because there is no cutting of page margins. You can choose to print only the size or sizes you select, and the instructions tell you which pages to print for the variation you have selected. Love Notions pattern are very affordable, often just $5 or $6 during their frequent sales. They also offer many cute and practical patterns! This is my first time actually sewing their patterns, although I own a few more.
Let’s take it from the top. The Laundry Day Tee is close fitting through the shoulders and bust, and then flares out into an A-line shape. The pattern comes with many neckline, sleeve, and length variations, and is free when you join the Love Notions Facebook group. The idea is you can whip one up in the time it takes to do laundry.
I had a rayon spandex knit with a tie dye type print in stash in mind for this. I thought the swinginess of the A-line shape would be ideal for the hottest days of summer, and I opted for a sleeveless tank.
I folded away a few inches of length at the shorten/lengthen line and added some width to the straps.
I bought the fabric online so didn’t see the variable colors of the dye pattern of the fabric. There was more light space than I expected, and I played around with the best way to cut it.
I have since decided I don’t like sewing with this type of rayon knit because it’s so very very stretchy which means it easily stretches out of shape and grows. I cut a size large and then had to snug it up at the underarms quite a bit. I should have also cut it an inch higher at the underarm to give me some leeway, because I don’t want to deal with too low underarms. The neckline and armholes are finished with 2 inch bands folded in half. I don’t have a serger so I used a stretchy zigzag stitch of 1.5mm long and 3mm wide to sew the seams.
This is such a fun and cool top! It feels as light as a whisper. I put it on before pressing the hem and bands, and didn’t want to take it off!
For the Allegro, I cut a size 10 of the 5 inch inseam shorts. The pattern is for woven fabric, but I had a yard of stretch denim I had ordered to see if I liked it enough to use for pants. It is the Robert Kaufman super stretch denim. I didn’t like working with this denim. It’s supposed to be indigo but looks almost black and attracts lint. As soon as I touched it, the color came off on my hand. I prewashed it twice, and started sewing with it. And the result was still a deep blue stain on my hands.
I didn’t want to use the denim for the pockets, so substituted a scrap of cotton with a cute dolphin print.
I lengthened the rise and narrowed the legs on the shorts pattern.
The waistband has an inserted piece of elastic that was hard to get through the channel. The elastic is then stitched down in two rows. I had never made this type of elastic waistband before. The elastic called for is 1 and 1/2 inches wide. I didn’t have any so substituted a 2 inch elastic which I cut down. I omitted the drawstring.
I topstitched with the same gold thread that I used for my previous denim pants. Partly because I lengthened the rise, the slash pockets had too long of an opening. I added some bar tacks to help with this, but need to change the slant of the pockets in the future.
I considered doing a turned up hem on the shorts, which I see on denim shorts a lot, but sewed a deep hem instead. The funny thing is I could see a blue ring on my lower thighs from the turned under hem after wearing the shorts for only an hour. Hopefully, a few more washes will make them wearable because it’s super annoying shedding dye everywhere. They pass my test of not slipping down while walking and total comfort while sitting.
The photo below shows the comparison of the waistband to my favorite denim shorts I made last year. I wear them so much I thought I would sew a similar pair.
I love the smooth fit of the Itch to Stitch Mountain View Jeans waistband. It probably would have been better to use that pattern for these, because denim is a little thick to be all bunched up, but I wanted to try out the Allegro pattern.
I will be sewing variations of both the Laundry Day Tee and the Allegro bottoms again. They are patterns that make the kind of comfortable, casual clothes that I live in.