Seasonal Sew Wardrobe: Deep Stash sewing challenge

I completed the latest Seasonal Sew Wardrobe (SSW) challenge from the Sew Alongs and Sewing Contests a few weeks ago. The latest challenge was to make up eight items using patterns from deep in your stash. Perfect for me, since it’s been a goal of mine to sew up my stash patterns anyway.

My original plan was to make up a spring capsule using Simplicity 1430 Dress in cotton batiste, ALENA Top in white on white stripe jersey, Cozy Comfy pjs in blue madras plaid, Capitol Hill Dress in sequined black jersey, NICKI capris in black DBP, Gypsy dress in wax print cotton or rayon challis, and figure out two more as I went along.


My final mini capsule (left to right, top to bottom) contains the Onyx Shirt, ALENA tee, Comfy Cozy pajamas, Ally Skirt, NICKI capris, Comfy Cozy pajamas, Capitol Hill Dress, Gypsy Dress, and my modern boatneck.

SSW DS collage

I have seperates that work with each other, pajamas that are not an after thought, a versatile summer dress, and an event worthy dress.

It has been a long time coming, but I’m starting to feel like I have a pretty cohesive wardrobe to work with. The challenges in the Sew Alongs and Sewing Contests group aren’t about building a capsule wardrobe necessarily; but they are a great at getting me to focus on my sewing goals, one of which is building outfits.

Would you like to participate in the next sewing challenge? The next challenge starts soon. Hop on over, join the group, and get sewing with us.

Ally Skirt and Onyx Shirt for the Knock It Off tour

Today I’m sharing an outfit I made for the Knock It Off blog tour hosted by Lulu & Celeste and Sprouting Jube Jube. The mission: Knock Off a look from a designer or rtw.

The challenging part of the tour parameters was finding my inspiration. I hadn’t followed designers or Ready To Wear (rtw) companies at all, but this was the perfect push to broaden my view.

Since I didn’t even know where to start, I had to work backwards. I knew I wanted to make a red skirt for summer, so I started looking at companies I’d heard people talking about- Anthropologie, Mod Cloth, and Urban Outfitters. I searched for red skirts and pinned the outfits I liked. Success! I found this outfit on Anthropologie that I wanted.

Photo from Anthropologie

Putting together the Knock Off was super easy from my pattern stash. The Ally Skirt and Onyx Shirt had the right silhouettes and I quickly hashed a plan to hack the Ally to get the look.

I made the Onyx in a size 4 using a cotton woven (an IKEA sheet from their clearance bin). Simple enough since I’ve made the Onyx before (here).

For the Ally I made a size small again (first Ally here) using a cotton sateen from Joann Fabrics, drafted an angled pocket, added 1.5in in height to the waistband, and added a zip fly and clasp closure.

I’m very pleased with how my outfit came out. It harkens to the inspiration photo and it’s my style and color scheme. I’m gettting better and better at hacking the patterns I own to get a look I want. It’s a learning process and of course there are goof ups like this one:


I forgot to extend the waistband to account for the zipper fly extension. Whoopsie. I made it work by tappering it a bit.

I was a little short on fabric after drafting my hacks, so I was able to stashbust a little more of my quilting cotton stash for the waistband facing and fly shield.

I’m really happy with my outfit and that I can make myself a look instead of shelling out the $150 it would have taken for the Anthropologie version. Yikes!

My cost: Total: $13   Fabrics $9    Notions $4  Patterns: $0 Stash

If you’d like me to write up a tutorial on my Ally Skirt hack, let me know in the comments.


Now I’d like you to pay a visit the my fellow bloggers to see how they Knock It Off 

Monday, April 24  Lulu & CelesteCall AjairePaisley RootsAdventures with Bubba and Bug

Tuesday, April 25  Sprouting JubeJube mahlicadesignsSew and Tell Project

Wednesday, April 26  Lulu & CelesteSewSophieLynnNini and AshLittle Heart Threads

Thursday, April 27  Sprouting JubeJubesewingbytiInspinrationHouse of Estrela

Friday, April 28  Lulu & CelesteDuchess & HareCreative CounselorFAM

As always, thanks for reading today.

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Destination Pants… a mini capsule for fall

I joined the Sew Alongs and Sewing Contests group in the last Seasonal Sew Wardrobe (SSW) challenge with “Destination” as the theme. Making & fitting pants was my major sewing goal (destination) for 2016, so I built my mini capsule around jeans and pants.

My original plan with outfits going horizontally:

SSW Destination suduko

Liana Stretch Jeans, Megan Blouse, Santiago Jacket; Fold Over Clutch, Birkin Fares, Zircon Sweater; SVEA Pants & Mechelen Sweater

My final mini capsule:

SSWD Pants complete collage

Links to my completed pieces: Birkin Flares,  Ocean Waved Clutch and Zircon Sweater; Liana Stretch Jeans, and Onyx Shirt; Alizia Top, SVEA Pants, and Matilda leggings.

I still need a lot of practice planning and sewing whole outfits, so I fully plan on continuing to participate in the SSW challenges.

Would you like to join in? The next challenge starts soon. Hop on over, join the group, and get sewing with us.

V Slit Blouse Simplicity 1430

Today I’m going to share just a little bit about the V front blouse that I included in the spring capsule wardrobe I worked on for the Sew Alongs And Sewing Contests fb group.

Me Made May really showed that I was missing some of the Core Colors from my wardrobe, so I immediately started making Simplicity 1430 View B in a red lawn from Fabric Mart and crossed off a long waiting project.

V Slit blouse

This cute number went together pretty easily until I hit the neck band technique. My gut instinct was to apply a bias binding, but I decided to follow the pattern. Uh-Oh. The instructions have you apply a pieced neckband, a neckband facing, and stitch through all the layers. That adds up to seven layers at the shoulder seams. The result, even in a lightweight lawn, was a  thick rope-like neckband.

V Slit blouse 1

I hated this neckband, so I ripped it off and added a 1in facing instead. I’m so much happier with the fit and feel. To keep that cut out look, you could use a bias binding.

V Slit blouse

V Slit blouse

The pattern: Simplicity 1430 View B, size 12. Stupid neckband removed and replaced with a facing, closure at CB eliminated and 1/2in added to hip.

V Slit blouse

The fabric: 100% cotton lawn from Fabric Mart, long sold out.

V Slit blouse


Notes: Choose an easier option for the neck binding and skip the back closure if you want to.

Simplicty 1430 view B should take you about 3.5 hours to make. A size 12 used 1yd of fabric.

Total cost: $3.50         Fabric $3.50             Pattern $0-stash

A small spring capsule

If you’ve been following my blog, you will have heard me mention my Core Wardrobe efforts. My approach has been to add pieces here and there to build up a Core of basics that can work with most everything else. I’d say the results are O.K.

It’s true that I do have a pretty good selection of basics, but I still look at my closet and feel like I have nothing to wear. Me Made May was useful for getting a little practice in making outfits and gleaning some helpful conclusions, but another project that I’ve been working on the last few months really has been the best for getting me to the next step of making a cohesive wardrobe.

The Sew Alongs and Sewing Contests group started a Seasonal Sew Wardrobe contest.  The goal was to make 8 pieces of my choosing, on a theme of my choosing, over a four month time frame. I love that kind of flexibility. (The group has started a new Seasonal Sew Wardrobe: Sleepwear Edition challenge. Hop on over, join the group, and get sewing with us)

My theme: Sew a lot of things and hope they match!

I think I got close to making a mini wardrobe of items that go together; and for the first time trying the idea, I’m satisfied with my results.

My mini wardrobe: Marigold Blouse, Georgia Top, Zamora Blouse, Marigold Dress, Jade skirt, S1430 blouse, Ally Skirt, Union St Tee, and Goldenrod Skirt.

SSW1 collage

I really like the approach of making a set of pieces that are made to go together and definitely want to do it again. I’m getting a better handle on the colors I want to wear and nailing down my personal style, so hopefully the next mini wardrobes I put together will have a cohesive connection to each other.

How do you find success making your wardrobe?

Wardrobe Workup after Me Made May


Though a lot of drudgery is involved in taking pics of yourself every day, Me Made May was a good and useful exercise. I got a little bit of practice putting together outfits and put together thoughts on how to make some improvements.


I’ve added things to the sewing list and alterations list. More importantly, I’m going to refocus on building outfits instead of the one-off pieces that have led me to a closet of tops and no pants.

I’ve already made another S2451 skirt and a red blouse (unblogged) to fill wardrobe holes. Trousers and pants will wait until fall.

Union St Tee w/ S2451 skirt


While spending time evaluating my existing wardrobe this month, I also spent a little time focusing on how I’m spending my sewing/blogging time.

There have been several times over the last few months that sewing has been more stressful because of deadlines than it has been fun. I’m refocusing on how much I can realistically accomplish, so I can maintain a balance that works for me.

Moving on with Me Made May week four

Wearing handmade items every day this month for Me Made May is moving into unexciting repeat land, so I’m glad to be wrapping it up this week.

What I wore last week…

Sunday: Pin Peg Mini paired with a purple tee, after trying a few things first.

May 22 collage

Monday: Lindy Petal skirt and Kirsten Kimono tee.

May 23.2

Tuesday: Old tee and jeans for major yardwork day. No pics-your welcome.

Wednesday: Marigold Dress for dinner with the boys.

May 25.1

Thursday: Old tee and jeans for another yardwork day.

Friday: Union St Tee and rtw jeans

May 27


Week 4’s takeaways are…

  • Pin Peg skirt added to the list of items to alter. I’d like to take it in at the waist for a better fit. My version is reversible and I’m also considering taking it all apart and making two skirts out of the one.

So, there are a couple days left in May, but I’m done with Me Made May for this year. I’ll have a wrap up post in a few days to put it all together.


Week Away Wardrobe for Me Made May week three

Wearing Me Made items every day this week was a challenge. We took a week away in Breckenridge and I packed without spending the time to think about creating outfits. Still, I wore Me Made, but there isn’t much here to work with as far as gleaning info on my wardrobe. Here goes anyway.

What I wore last week…

May 15

May 15th, I wore my Fancy Tiger dolman on a cool rainy day in Breckenridge.

May 16

May 16th, wearing the Zircon Sweater in fleece hoping this is the last snow I see until November.

May 17

May 17th I chose my Ann T, one of my Core basics.

May 18th My first Me Made repeat. I wore my Jasper Sweater with jeans

May 19th I broke my streak by wearing rtw sweater and jeans.

May 20.1

May 20th Back on the wagon with a slouchy Tonic 2 Tee.

May 21st This Tonic 2 Tee pattern hack.(Did’t get a pic)

Week 3’s takeaways are…

  • Wow, I have enough pieces to wear Me Made for almost three weeks.

Wardrobe checkup with Me Made May week two

So far I’m still sticking to my goal of wearing Me Made items every day this month and taking a quick pic to help evaluate pieces of my wardrobe.

What I wore last week…

May 8 collage

May 8, Mother’s Day I wore my Bonnell Dress with a rtw cardigan.

May 9.2

May 9 I wore my Marigold Blouse hack and Simplicity 2451 skirt.

May 10.2

May 10 was a blah day for sure in my Easy Tee Raglan and rtw jeans.

May 11.1

May 11 rockin’ my Georgia Top hack.

May 12.1

May 12 Union St tee and Sloan Leggings. What can I say, some days are just like this.

Lane 6

May 13th Lane Raglan.

May 14

May 14th Aurora Tee.

Week 2’s takeaways are…

  • Adding a better fitting light colored cardigan to the List
  • Added a note to my Marigold pattern for better shoulder fit.
  • Really like S2451 skirt’s fit, should make again in a straight skirt version.
  • My go-to outfit of jeans and knit top really has me bummed how sloppy and boring I look.  I’m not sure how to rectify that given my lack of choices in pants/trousers at the moment.
  • Lane Raglan added to the list of things to be reworked.

Any suggestions?

Wardrobe evaluation time with Me Made May week one

I joined in on Me Made May again this year ’cause I’m still far from where I’d like my wardrobe to be. Despite my work on building my Core Wardrobe, I still am finding lots of holes in my wardrobe and still often feel like I have nothing to wear.

I’m using MMM to get a real look at what I’m wearing so I can make a plan to fill in those wardrobe holes, weed out items that just are not working for me, and to try out new combinations.

The first week of May I started off well, but quickly slipped into the jeans and tee uniform.

MMM16 week1.1 collage

Simplicity 2451 skirt, Georgia top, Kirsten Kimono top & Ally skirt (unblogged), One hour top.

MMM16 week1.2 collage

Shoreline boatneck, Union St Tee (unblogged), Jasper Sweater.

From this week I solidified what I already knew, that I barely have any jeans or pants that fit me, let alone any that are handmade. I’m already working on (procrastinating about) making my own jeans and have it on my list to try trousers in the fall.

A top in my Core Color, red, will give me more versatility in making outfits. I have Simplicity 1430 view B on my cutting table this week.

I’ve worn my striped Shoreline twice now and the length and the hemline shape needs to be adjusted. On the mending list.

Feel free to leave any input in the comments.

Quilted Jade Skirt for SV Design Crew

Jade Skirt v.2

I made up a modified version of the Jade Skirt from Paprika Patterns using a wonderful quilted double knit from Sew Vagabond. I recently joined the SV Design Crew**.

Jade Skirt styling

The Pattern: I’ve made the Jade skirt before here, so I knew it would be perfect for making a mini skirt to show off the quilted texture of this fabric. To skip the folded front, I used the front lining pattern piece as my shell instead. I also lengthened the front and back pattern pieces to 16in. The Jade’s waistband is one curved piece, so to conserve fabric and keep the textured pattern of the fabric a little more lined up, I pieced the waistband instead.

I made up a size 5 again, lengthening it as I said above and then, because the fabric has a good stretch, I end up using a 3/4in seam allowance on the sides instead of 1/2in given in the pattern.

I’ve done an exposed zipper before with only a so-so result, so I wanted to try one again to give the skirt that extra something and to get a better hold on the technique. I struggled getting the zipper in without having little tucks and wrinkles at the bottom corners. I finally got it after a few tries and changing the order of construction. Now I know what I need to do to nail it next time.

Jade Skirt styling

The Fabric: A natural fiber quilted double knit in navy from Sew Vagabond Shop (available late summer) for the shell and a navy jersey knit from my stash for the lining. I’ve actually used a similar fabric before, but wow what a difference between the two. My Jasper dress made in a quilted jaquard made it into my February Fail post because the fabric was just an absolute disaster, it has that slick polyester feel and is snagging and pilling like crazy. This navy quilted knit is holding up so well after washing and even after having to rework that exposed zipper many times and a little seam ripping too.

Fabric comparison

I’ve styled my new Jade with a rtw blouse and my Burda 7140 faux leather jacket, with my Melly Sews Peasant Blouse, and a rtw plain white tee.

Jade styling collage

Making a modified Jade skirt should take you about 3.25 hours, assuming you get an exposed zipper in on the first try. In a size 5 with a pieced waistband I used 1/2yard of the quilted knit and 1/2yard of the jersey knit lining.

Total Cost: $3   Pattern: stash   Fabric shell: Free**  Lining: $1   Notions: $2

** When I make a qualifying purchase as part of the SV Design Crew, I receive 2 free yards of fabric to make what ever I want and Sew Vagabond Shop gets to use my pictures to show off their fabrics.

There’s still some winter left, right? Burdastyle 10/2015 #109

Well, I got sucked in by Burdastyle‘s modern aesthetic again, despite knowing I’d have little help from them to get it done. Their directions are wanting. Thankfully this is easy to sew.

Take a look at this beauty…

So chunky, so luxurious. And such an inaccurate representation of the top. Look at how much of the sweater is clipped up on her back, behind her elbow.

Muslin time for sure. I started with my size, 38, based on my 35.5in bust. The result is the refrigerator box of boxy tops. And what’s up with the seam line placement going across the bust? That’s just strange to me. Alteration time.

Burda Muslin collage

First up, I raised the bust line seam by 1in on all pieces.

Burda Raglan Sweater by mahlicadesigns

The pattern has shaping to curve over your shoulder. These points were about 2in past my shoulder on each side, so I used that and the ease around my chest as indicators of how much I could bring the pattern in. I cut my pattern pieces down to the smallest size along the side seams of the bodice, sides of the cowl, and the arm seam. On top of that, I folded out/removed a total of 2in vertically from the center of the front, back and cowl neck pieces. On the sleeve, I slashed the pattern piece up the middle from cuff to (not through) the seam line at the shoulder. I overlapped the cuff part of the slash by 1/2, removing 1in total, and taped up the skinnier sleeve piece.

Burda Raglan Sweater by mahlicadesigns

After finishing up my faux leather jacket and surviving, I thought I really wanted to go luxe on this project and try some faux fur. I added a lining because while the faux fur is so silky and soft, it is supported by a web-like substraight that I didn’t like against my skin. I did a hybrid of underlining and lining using a ponte from my stash. I hand stitched the hems and catch stitched the interior seam allowances open after trimming away a bit of the fur.

Burda Raglan Sweater by mahlicadesigns

This sweater is Warm, which is just what I wanted. There’s still some winter left to enjoy the coziness of this sweater. Don’t be fooled by my modeling in my Charcoal shorts and Jade skirt.

Burda Raglan Sweater by mahlicadesigns

Things to note if you make this sweater:

I’m a shorty (5’4″) and the front hem line falls a couple inches below my navel.

Burda Raglan Sweater by mahlicadesigns

Unless you make this really big, you should expect your sweater to lift up if you raise your arms higher than shoulder level. Hopefully looking at how the shoulders and arms go together in the line drawing and on my muslin sheds some light on why.

I’m feeling pretty good about my warm wardrobe options now. It’s time to look toward spring and get sewing.

So, what do you think, did I overcorrect? I feel like I lost some of the boxy look, especially in the cowl.

Burdastyle 10/2015 #109 made in fur with a lining should take you about 4 hours to complete. (Add more time if you choose to catch stitch your seam allowances)

Pattern: $6    Fabrics: $25   Total: $31

In it for the long haul with Burda 7140 jacket

It’s been a few years since I’ve taken on a time intensive project like the Burda 7140 jacket. On a whim I purchased some faux leather online thinking maybe I’ll make a jacket. So far I’ve made a wristlet, this jacket, and  have plans to work it into a top that’s a few notches down on my sewing list.

Faux leather jacket by mahlicadesigns

I decided to join in a coat sew along hosted by Erica B in October. All of a sudden this “maybe someday” jacket was in the works. I came really close to meeting the suggested deadline too. The night before the sew along ended, I needed to put in my zipper, attach the bottom hem, and close up the lining; simple right. Too bad the suggested zipper length was 1.5 inches too short. Of course I didn’t get to the store for another 10 days to get a replacement zipper. 10 days which I filled up with the Georgia Top and volunteering as a tester for the Zircon Sweater.

Georgia Top by mahlicadesigns

Working with the faux leather wasn’t tough by any means it just took patience;  no pins allowed, tissue paper under the presser foot, press and press again kind of patience.

To add a little body to the faux leather and faux suede accent, I used interlining on all pieces except the sleeves. I ran out of the interlining fabric and figured an interlining wouldn’t be needed in the sleeves any way. I like the finished result and the interlining made resolution of  big problem possible.

I could press the faux leather but it did not keep a press very well. I found myself pressing and repressing over and over and was feeling pretty gloomy about how the jacket was going to work if the seams wouldn’t stay pressed. I was getting to the last steps before completion when…yes, you guessed it! I used a herringbone catch stitch on all those seam allowances. I wouldn’t have been able to fix the problem of the seams without being able to attach them to that interlining. The solution was pretty basic, but having never needed to use a catch stitch before, it was slow to come to me.

Faux leather jacket by mahlicadesigns

I used the pattern instructions only as a general guide. I did not want seam lines on my cuffs and hem, so I tacked the cuff to the side seam to keep it in place. Using a jump hem, and tacking the hem up at the bodice seams was the solution for the hem line.

Details: Burda 7140 View A Size 12.

Alterations: Added 1/2in to the depth of the shoulder darts. Shortened sleeves by 3in and it looks like they could use some more attention. Used a 1/2in seam allowance on the bodice seams to give a little extra ease. The ease stated in the pattern was nowhere to be found in my muslin or final version.

Next time I would slim down the sleeves a bit and consider going up a size to compensate for the lack of ease.

Fabric: knit faux leather from Fabricmart (Similar to), faux suede, poly interlining and lining.

Burda 7140 took me 14.5 hours to complete, but if you choose an easier fabric you could probably get yours done in half that time. Seriously.

Fabric/Supplies $33.50    Pattern $2  Total $35.50

Feeling like a bad a**: Priceless


On another note, I’ve added a Buy It page up there in the menu. I have a few things I’ve made, some fabric to destash, and even a few free things*

*you pay to ship

Core Wardrobe in review

At the beginning of this year I was feeling pretty committed about working on my Core Wardrobe. My strategy was to follow along with Wardrobe Architect from Colette and the Vivian Files.

What worked and what didn’t:

I found the Wardrobe Architect hard to follow. I felt like I was always searching around the Colette site for the latest post on the Wardrobe Architect and the time between their posts made me feel like I never quite knew what I was supposed to be doing. I take the blame here, my attention was lacking.

I had a reminder in my calendar to continue working through the Vivian Files, but just kept ignoring it.

On the positive, I feel like I have a better idea of what styles I’d like to be wearing and what looks good on me. When picking projects, I was more thoughtful about what role an item was filling in my wardrobe, if the style fits me, and if the colors fit my Core Color scheme.

Core Colors: Black, Ivory/Cream, Charcoal Gray. Cobalt blue and biker Red accents.

I continue to like the Core Colors I chose at the the beginning of the Wardrobe Architect process, but may switch out the black which is not great against my fair skin and use navy instead. I’m still deciding on that because the navy won’t pair up with the cobalt blue.

Looking back at the items I made this year and the fabrics I continue to buy, I have a lot of charcoal gray. I need to refocus on adding all the Core Colors I chose.

I wasn’t planning this at the time, but I also reduced purchasing ready to wear clothing almost entirely. I purchased a dress for a Christmas party and a pair of pants off clearance racks this year. I hope to continue to avoid purchasing clothes altogether, save for undergarments and socks.

Going forward:

I’m still going to use the ideas I’ve learned and have a list of the basic items that need making, but don’t know when I’ll get back to completing the Wardrobe Architect process.

I find I have the greatest success when I plan out ahead of time what I want to do for the next season. In September, I started planning my spring/summer pieces for 2016 by looking at what pieces I wanted to add, what patterns in my stash met the need, and then collecting fabrics. So far I have many tops planned and a vague idea that I should figure out how to make pants sometime. I’d like to continue to be able to plan ahead like this, but you know, stuff.

Burda 6928, the most boring skirt ever.

The last piece I’m sharing from the Sew With Me challenge is Burda Young #6928, a pieced straight skirt.

Burda Skirt
Burda Skirt

I ordered this fabric for its ivory/vanilla/putty color to fit in with my Core Wardrobe color palette. What I got looks exactly like unbleached muslin, it even has some of those flecks of color like muslin. I was under a deadline and sending it back didn’t make $ense, so I used it anyway. The resulting skirt is perfectly fine as a basic and fills a hole in my Core Wardrobe, but it’s resemblance to muslin and shape make it a pretty boring piece.

Burda Skirt by mahlicadesigns

Pattern Notes:

Burda #6928 View A, Size 12. Bottom weight cotton/lycra twill in Vanilla from Fabric mart (sold out)

Apparently the “Young” part of the pattern means no shaping through the hips. If you are straight up and down this pattern is for you, I am not. A pretty stretchy fabric and altering the waist band redeemed this pattern.

Burda 6928 Skirt by mahlicadesigns

I added 3in in length to make this mini a workable length for me (I’m 5’4″ and modest). The back waistband gapped a bit. Two 1/4in darts positioned right above the two back seams did the trick. I was not loving this skirt from almost the start, so I did not bother redrafting and recutting the back waist band. With the stretch of the fabric I was able to eliminate the zipper altogether. I also skipped the piping detail, which may have made this a little less boring but I was not inspired to do so at the time.

burda skirt detail

Burda 6928 should take you 2.75 hours to make, but honestly find a better pattern.

Pattern $1.99 Fabric $4.75  Total $6.75

Tonic 2 Tee pattern hack by mahlicadesigns

As part of the Sew With Me challenge in September to make four coordinates, I used some of the remaining fabric from my Matilda leggings, to make a color blocked version of the Tonic 2 Tee from SBCC patterns. (Previous Tonic 2’s here & here & here )

Tonic 2 Tee hack by mahlicadesigns

I made a size small with a few adjustments to the pattern this time. I raised the neckline  by 1in at center front, narrowed the neckline by 1/2in at the shoulders and drew a new neckline curve. I also shortened the sleeves to about 17in finished length to make a 3/4 sleeve.

Tonic 2 Tee hack by mahlicadesigns

For the color blocked portion, I used one of my previous versions to determine where I’d like the new sewing line to be, retraced pattern pieces and added seam allowances. I also noted where my center bust point was so I could slightly curve the color block line down from center bust to about 1/2in lower at the sides.

Tonic 2 Tee hack by mahlicadesigns

It didn’t quite come out as hoped. Next time I’ll move the sewing line up a little more above my bust and redraw the curve to be more noticeable. I also learned to consider stretch more carefully. The stretch in the top fabric is much less than previous fabrics used and pulls across the top of my shoulders.

Tonic 2 Tee hack by mahlicadesigns

The Tonic 2 Tee should take you about 2.25 hours cut to finish, plus time to redraft your pattern.

Fabric $5  Pattern $0   Total $5

I also entered my Tonic 2 into the Sewing Indie Month contest.

Sew With Me Challenge

One of my facebook groups, Sew Alongs & Contests put on the Sew With Me Challenge in September to create four coordinates; a pant, skirt, top, and an accessory. Even with my efforts working towards a Core Wardrobe, I still struggle with a haphazard approach to what I’m making. I thought participating in the challenge would give me good practice at purposely making separates that go together.

Although a couple of the pieces are not true love, I do feel good about the cohesiveness of the four. I hope I can maintain the mindset of being more purposeful about making pieces that have wardrobe partners.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll post about each of the pieces including a tutorial on how to make the Twisted Tuck Wristlet.

Do you have an approach that keeps you from making wardrobe orphans?

Jalie Drop Pocket Cardigan for Core Wardrobe building

Holi-Daze week for my Sew Long Summer sew along was a bit of a challenge sewing wise. I was hoping to make a big batch of tees or undies, but it just didn’t happen. Weekends are not where I get my sewing time, so I just barely finished the Jalie cardigan I was working on to show off with my sewing tips post.

Drop Pocket Cardigan 1

I’ve had the Jalie Drop Pocket Cardigan on my list since I saw Jamie’s last December. I’ve also been seeing Hacci knits around and wondered what they are like to sew and if using one would give me a warmer cardigan. The jury is still out on the warmth; it’s not quite cardigan weather yet. I purchased my Hacci sweater knit from Girl Charlee during their July 4 sale.

Drop Pocket Cardigan by mahlicadesigns

A little about the pattern. Jalie patterns come on a large sheet for you to trace off and include a huge range of sizes. The seam allowance on this one was pretty narrow at 1/4inch. Since I was using my serger I was ok with it, but otherwise I would recommend you think about adding more of a seam allowance as you trace. The pattern is put together to enclose as many seams as possible, because of this there were points in the instructions that I definitely would have been lost without the diagrams, so have both handy.

The pattern is a fabric hog, needing four of the front pieces shaped like a big “L” so the pocket part folds over the front. With stripe matching and my best pattern Tetris skills, I got a size U for 36in bust out of 2.25 yards (60in wide).

Drop Pocket Cardigan by mahlicadesigns

Hot Tip: Check your length before you cut. The pocket does not allow for much to be just cropped off the bottom if you forget.

Working with the Hacci sweater knit was very similar to working with a jersey knit; a little rolling at the edges but no fraying. I had some trouble getting the tension adjusted on my Janome 4618LE sewing machine to handle the stretch of the Hacci, but had no problem using my serger for the majority of the construction. I would think twice if I only had my machine to use.

Jalie’s Drop Pocket Cardigan should take you about 3.5 hours cut to finish.

Fabric $9      Pattern $ free     Total $9

Burda’s Asymmetric tee for Core Wardrobe building

This shirt really was rollercoaster experience for me. At first site I was pretty crazy about this top. I mean come on; black and white, stripes, asymmetry, mod styling. In true fashion I had to think about it, wait for the pattern to go on sale, and find the perfect fabric. Still very excited about it.

Burda 01/2014 122

Then, fabric ready and pattern printed, hesitation set in like no tomorrow. I was concerned this would be too long and the funky shaped pattern pieces did not lend themselves to getting a good measure of the finished product. I’m on the shorter side (5’4″) and really did not want a too long top, which could easily happen with this design. I also wanted this top to be more fitted so the gathers weren’t too droopy.

Burda Asymetric tee

In true Burda fashion, pattern details like finished measurements and instructions are of little help or non-existent, so I would have to make guesses at getting a good fit. After a few days of hemming and hawing, I just dove in. Still unsure. Hoping I wasn’t wasting this great fabric.

Burda asymmetric tee

Let me include that I downloaded the pattern, so I did not have the advantage of the better sewing instructions that are included in the January 2014 magazine.

I  used my size, a 40,  but did not add a seam allowance (they are not included in the pattern) I serged with a 3/8in seam allowance. Success number one, it’s fitted but not tight.  I shortened the pattern by removing 2.5in from the bodice hem line and 3in from the sleeve length. Success number two is a length that is working for me. I tried to stripe match between the sleeve and bodice but used a point that ended up under the arm. I should have lined up the stripes at the top of the sleeve. Stripe matching was a bust but not really a big deal.

Burda Asymmetric tee

A few more details:  I gathered the sides with a basting stitch, basted clear elastic tape on top of the gathers, then serged the side seams. I serged the sleeve seams then inserted them into the bodice. One sleeve connects with a gathered part of the bodice. I pinned the sleeve in, then gathered that part of the bodice to fit before serging in that sleeve.

Burda Asymmetric tee

I did a neckline insertion by sewing in an 18in neckband loop into the 21in opening. I hemmed the sleeves and bodice by folding up 1in secured with a stretch stitch.

Burda Asymmetric tee by mahlicadesigns

I used a cotton/spandex jersey knit in Midnight Navy/Heathered Gray Stripe (no longer available) from Fabric Mart.

Burda 01/2014 #122  should take you less than 2 hours.

Fabric $13*   Pattern $5    Total Cost: $18

*I include shipping in my calculations

The Wendy Top Simplicity 3964 for Core Wardrobe building

My blogging calendar says I should be planning ahead for fall and I even worked up a long sleeve tee in obedience, but the summer heat says “Sun’s out Guns out” and who am I to argue. I still need summer pieces for my Core Wardrobe.

There are a lot of cute woven tanks roaming about the internet and I have the Ella Top and Isabella Tank on my list, but I decided I’d make up a stash pattern. Simplicity 3964, a Built By Wendy design that I purchased last year.

Wendy Top by mahlicadesigns

I made a few modifications to the pattern. Flutter cap sleeves look dopey on me, so, sleeveless. This was super easy, you just skip the sleeve in the instructions and proceed on to inserting the armhole facing.

Wendy Top S3964 by mahlicadesigns

I decided to do a button and loop for the back closure instead of bias binding for the neckline and a tie. When I was choosing a button, I thought I should see if I could just slip the top on with the back opening closed and voila! No neckline opening is even needed. I unpicked the back opening and sewed it shut (making it a CB seam in the back yoke). I then attached the facing pieces right sides together with the bodice, understitched and turned the facing to the inside to get a cleanly finished neckline without having to use bias binding.

Wendy Top by mahlicadesigns

For a cleaner look, I eliminated a lot of the top stitching  by sewing the back facing and much of the front facing to the seam allowance of their corresponding bodice pieces. I did have to do a little hand stitching around the facing for the insert, but not much.

I used French seams at the sides by sewing 5/8, trimming, pressing, and then sewing again using a 3/8 seam allowance. Looking at my photos I think I took in the sides too much. They are pulling across my high chest though it doesn’t feel snug.

Wendy Top by mahlicadesigns

Now, let’s talk about where this pattern beat me down. Those angles, arrgg. The center front angle on the insert just would not come out sharply or without a pucker. Dang it. After many tries, I just said good enough and moved on. With pressing it doesn’t look bad, but with wearing the angles start to look mooshy.  I’ve done some post make investigating on how to do it better for next time.

wendy Top by mahlicadesigns

Paired up with a closet orphan (an item I have nothing to wear with)

Fabric: Black cotton/poly voile.

Fabric $8  Pattern $12.50  Total $20.50

Simplicity 3964 took me about 6 hours including extra time for some hand stitching.

Summer StashAThon SQ2

Throwback Sew Days with Butterick 5029

Me Made May was quite a spark for me to continue evaluating my wardrobe.  I had already paired down my closet and done a little work with the Wardrobe Architect series, so taking pictures and trying to make outfits during MeMadeMay was a logical step in continuing the process. So, while digging through my closet for me made clothes to wear,  I was confronted with my decision to save anything handmade from my initial paring down session.

Frankly there’s stuff in there that doesn’t get worn much. My solution is to trot it out for all to see and ask you to chime in on it. And hence, my Throwback Sew Days posts begin.

First up for evaluation is this Butterick 5029 dress I made a few years back. It’s a cotton in an almost tribal print detail.

Butterick 5029 by mahlicadesigns

My evaluation: At the time, I modified the front cross over portion of the bodice to cover a bit more. You can see I wasn’t quite successful. I have more coverage but it’s too wide where the ties cross my shoulders. I think putting in a little tuck will make it more narrow at the shoulder and may help with the gapping at the bust. The waist yoke is also a little too wide. I should have adjusted it more for my short waist. There’s no fixing it now.

Butterick 5029 by mahlicadesigns

I go back and forth on if this color is flattering for me, it’s pretty close to my skin tone.

Butterick 5029 by mahlicadesigns

So what do you think? Is it a keeper or should I put it in the upcycle pile?

Charcoal Shorts S1430 for Core Wardrobe building

I got lucky with a good fit on my Cobalt Shorts using simplicity 1430, so I decided to make one more pair in charcoal to fill out the shorts portion of my summer core wardrobe.

Charcoal Shorts by mahlicadesignsToo bad luck doesn’t strike twice. I used a reversible bottom weight in a poly blend from Joann’s. Its a classic and more dressy looking fabric, but I had a harder time with fitting since it has no stretch.

Here are the shorts almost done.

Charcoal Shorts pullingThere’s a little pulling across the front and gapping pockets. From the side you can see the too tight seat is pulling at the hip which is distorting the front.

Charcoal Shorts pulling I let out the center back seam as much as I could for only a minor improvement. I was too lazy to unpick the side seams for a little more help.

Charcoal Shorts by mahicadesignsYeah, not as slimming as one would hope. I guess rear pockets may be in order the next time I feel daring enough to try pants or shorts again.

A few details:

Simplicity 1430 view D size 12. The pattern calls for 1 1/4yrd. For both versions I made used closer to 3/4 yrd.

I narrowed the leg by grading the width at the inseam from 5/8in at the crotch to 1in wide at the hem.

I spent a little extra time cutting out each piece individually to make sure the stripe of the fabric was lined up properly. I used a printed quilting cotton instead for the pocket facing to reduce bulk. (The wrong side of the fabric was a hounds tooth, interesting)

pocket detail

I made a small position adjustment so the top of the zipper would not peak out like on my last version. Next time, I need to take into account that a little wider zipper overlap is needed when using a thicker fabric.

Charcoal Shorts by mahlicadesigns

Simplicity 1430 view D should take you about 6 hours.

Fabric $12*   Zipper $1.50*   Pattern from stash    Total Cost: $13.50

*Price after using discount coupons.


Me-Made-May ’15 Wrap Up #2

My Me-Made pledge was to wear three handmade items per week. My goal in participating was to use these pictures to help with my Core Wardrobe work.

Week Three I wore: Ann T top, jeans and jacket; Simplicity 2601 blouse and jeans; Peasant Blouse and Lindy Petal Skirt. My observations:  T-shirt and jeans are nothing special, but hey, I wore a belt and jacket too! The silver/gray stripes on the simplicity 2601 blouse are really hard to pair up and I feel the peplum part sits too high on my waist, I think it is giveaway bound. Peasant blouse and skirt go well together, which I’m glad since they are both part of my core wardrobe and thats the point.

Week Four I wore: Orange Zip skirt with silk blouse; Lindy Petal Skirt and knit top. My observations: I like the Lindy skirt and knit top, I don’t look so frumpy. Silk blouse and Orange Zip Skirt are not bad, the poofy skirt would look better with a slimmer black top. Please feel free to chime in with your feedback. Do you think these outfits work? Are they the right shape and color for me? Any suggestions on how to do it better?

Lindy Petal Skirt from Itch To Stitch; Core Wardrobe Building

Lindy Skirt by mahlicadesigns

A lot of times I hem and haw when deciding on a pattern and then spend even more time on fabric. As you may know, I’m slowly working on building my Core Wardrobe. One of the items on my list is a summer weight skirt in charcoal gray. I associate charcoal gray with the winter season, so it’s been a challenge to find a pattern and fabric inspiration for this piece.

Lindy Petal Skirt
Lindy Petal Skirt

The Lindy Petal Skirt pattern was released a couple weeks ago and gave me that ah-ha moment I needed. The Lindy is a knit skirt, which I hadn’t thought of doing, and I had just enough of this rayon terry left over from one of my Jaspers to use. The length, silhouette, and wrap look of the petals all said spring/summer to me.


If you’re looking for a quick and easy sew that ends with a great look the Lindy has what you need. The pattern is free from Itch To Stitch and it looks like she takes care to make quality patterns.

I used a medium weight terry knit, I think using a lighter weight knit like a jersey with a little stretch would be ideal so you don’t get some of the lumpiness at the side seams like mine. Shortening by 1in was my only pattern alteration. I’m 5’4.

So what do you think? Did I get a spring/summer success? I feel pretty good about it.

Oh, and yeah I got a hair cut between photos.

The Lindy Petal Skirt should take you about 1.5  hours.

Fabric $8  Total Cost: $8  Yea, more stash busting.

Me-Made-May ’15 Wrap Up #1

My Me-Made pledge is to wear three handmade items per week. My goal in participating is to use these pictures to help with my Core Wardrobe work.

Week One I wore:Peasant Blouse & bootcut jeans; Jasper Sweater & bootcut jeans; Cobalt shorts and embroidered tee; Orange Zip Skirt & Teal Tee.

My observations: Wear cobalt shorts with that tee tucked in and a belt.

Week Two I wore: Rose Tee & straight leg trousers; Bonnell Dress; Simplicity 4420 skirt (unblogged) & tee.

My observations: Rose tee looks a bit matronly, maybe this will be an around the house tee.

Please feel free to chime in with your feedback. Do you think these outfits work? Are they the right shape and color for me? Any suggestions on how to do it better?