Scout Tee: Handmade Wardrobe 2016

Scout Tee 1/6

I am definitely riding a sewing high lately. Four garments sewn in the span of one week and three, including this one, blogged. And another pattern (for me!) traced and cut, fabric purchased. Will all of this sewing activity be followed by a sewing crash and burn? Let’s hope not.

This shirt, item #2 in my Handmade Wardrobe 2016, is the Scout Tee from Grainline Studio. Continuing my trend of being late to the *hot* sewing pattern party, this is my first time sewing the Scout Tee. I am, so far, on the fence about it. To be fair, I’ve worn it for only about an hour so far. While it might not be love at first site, it may grow on me; and it may just need a few tweaks and some customizing for the next round in order to elevate its status. I’m not giving up on it! And I do love the clean look of the bias trim-finished scoop neckline.

Scout Tee 3/6

I must admit I shrugged this pattern off for quite some time despite the fact that it was popping up all over the sewing blog world. The Scout Tee is made from woven fabric, not stretchy knit, and I just couldn’t convince myself that a woven tee would be comfortable enough to merit the effort.

The Grainline Studio site describes this pattern as follows: A woven t-shirt with capped sleeves and scoop neck. Fitted at the shoulders, this top falls into a loose shape below the bust. Let’s repeat together, “loose shape.” My failure to fully embrace this finished product is definitely due to the boxy-ness of it. I’m not sure it’s a pear-shaped girl’s best friend.

My wariness, and the reason for such, is fully displayed below.

Scout 6/6

Based on the pattern sizing and my body measurements, I sewed a size 6 graded to a 10 at the waist/hips. There is plenty of ease to pull it on overhead (obviously necessary given the lack of stretch in woven fabrics). But that straight front hemline….. notsosureaboutthat. I suppose an easy modification for next time might be to adjust the shape of that front hem. Or maybe it needs a little shaping through the waist? Or maybe just go down a size. I’ve got some tinkering to do. I would have been well-served to have sewn up a muslin for this pattern, says the Monday morning quarterback in me.

Scout 5/6

The backline hemline is lower for more coverage.

Scout Tee 4/6

Although, it’s still cut mostly straight across.

I should note — the pattern design is fully viewable before purchase. I’m not trying to indicate that the design/shape was a surprise. It’s more that I didn’t fully appreciate how the boxy, straight hem would ultimately look on my body.

Let’s focus instead on something I’m really happy about — the fabric! I finally caved on purchasing the Scout Tee pattern when Art Gallery released its new denim fabric collection a few weeks ago. I purchased three different denims, all in different fabric compositions. This fabric is the Cool Foliage from the Solid Smooth Denim palette. It’s a lightweight 80/20% cotton/polyester blend. The best way to describe the color is a grey-green; it’s definitely a cool undertone as the name suggests. It was a pleasure to sew; the hardest part was finding a complementary thread color. If you still think of denim as a thick, jeans-only material, you will not believe this is denim. It feels awesome.

Scout Tee 2/6

Although I’m not yet enamored with this shirt, all is not lost. It will definitely be worn. And, Grainline Studio offers several tutorials to hack the original pattern into different looks. I am eyeing the Madewell Scout variation.

Be well!

Handmade Wardrobe 2016: Gallery Tunic

GalleryTunic1

I am happy to report that project #1 in Operation Handmade Wardrobe 2016 (original title, huh) is complete.

Last week I participated in the Liesl & Co. sew-along for the Gallery Tunic and Dress Pattern, and it was a success. This was my first time sewing this pattern and I chose the collared tunic version (Version A), made with a lightweight stretch shirting fabric I purchased at Joanns.

GalleryTunic3

The shirt has a placket front with pleat detail, and an inverted pleat in the back. It’s a relaxed fit that pulls on, without the need for any button or zipper closures.

I sewed the tunic in a size 6 graded to a size 10 through the hips based on the pattern size chart. The grading was the only pattern modification I made.  Based on the relaxed fit and a-line shape of the tunic, I may not have needed to grade out so much at the hips, but I am pleased with the fit nonetheless.

GalleryTunic2

The fit of this tunic is spot on for me through the shoulders and chest.  I did not make a muslin before cutting into this fabric so I was holding my breath in anticipation when I first tried it on.  Knowing the fit is so great through the shoulders gives me plenty of ideas for using this pattern as a jumping off point for different variations. I’m already envisioning a shorter blouse-length in a crisp white, to be worn tucked in (or a half-tuck) for a more dressy look. I am also looking forward to making the dress version.

GalleryTunic4

I paid particular attention to the fabric layout when cutting my pattern pieces, and I am giving myself a big round of applause for pattern matching throughout — some instances, perhaps, more luck than skill!

I have to admit I really liked this fabric print when I first saw it, but the longer I sewed with it, the more I started to doubt my selection. Is it too busy? I think it will be a fun piece for my spring/summer wardrobe, and I can always mute it a bit by layering a lightweight navy blue cardigan over it. Add some white jeans … (and by the way, who makes good white jeans, as in thick enough not to be embarrassing. Or are white jeans a no-no once you hit a certain age? Thoughts?)

GalleryTunic5

For now I should be concentrating on sewing for Kids Clothes Week, but I already have fabric and a sewing pattern selected for my next Handmade Wardrobe 2016 project, so we’ll see how much kid’s sewing gets done this week.

Gallery Tunic: Joining the Sew-Along

I’ve decided I need to focus on sewing up some pieces for my own wardrobe this year. My first step in making good on that decision is joining the Liesl & Co. Gallery Tunic and Dress Sew-Along this week.

Liesl + Co. Gallery Tunic + Dress sew-along

The Gallery Tunic and Dress Pattern has been around for a while, so it’s a little sad that I am just getting around to making it for the first time. So far my sewing has been about 98% focused on projects for my children, so I have a lot of catching up to do in the realm of women’s sewing patterns. In fact, when I look at the “projects for me” list I compiled earlier this month, barely any of the projects are new patterns (and that’s even using a rather generous definition of “new”). I’d like to think I’ve selected some classics; hopefully they will be timeless pieces, and patterns I’ll enjoy sewing more than once.

For the Sew-Along, I’ll be making the tunic version of the pattern, with the full collar and three-quarter length sleeves. I’ve selected a printed stretch shirting fabric from Joann’s for my tunic; here’s a quick peek at the fabric below. This fabric is super light-weight, so the tunic is definitely destined for spring and summer wear.

Azure Tide Pool Stretch Shirting Fabric-Floral Red

Azure Tide Pool Stretch Shirting from Jo-Ann fabrics; photo credit joann.com

I originally intended to stick with solids and neutral colors for the first set of wardrobe pieces I’m planning to sew (to, hopefully, support my goal of adding timeless pieces), but this fabric really appealed to me, and it was on sale, and it seemed so fun and summery as I shopped in the dead of winter, and …. oh well, so much for neutrals on this project!

I’ll be posting updates on my Instagram account, and will post again here once the project is complete.

Interested in joining the sew-along? The discussion board can be found here.

Pattern Testing: Cali Faye Collection Valley Blouse

Valley Blouse by Cali Faye Collection

I recently was lucky enough to test the newest pattern from Cali Faye Collection — the Valley Blouse.  The women’s pattern is going to debut this week, and the corresponding girl’s pattern will be arriving right on its heels.

I get such a kick out of pattern testing. Not only do you get a sneak peek at a new pattern, but knowing the designer has put so much energy into creating a top notch design, I can’t help but feel a contagious excitement bringing the pattern to life. I personally enjoy the addition of more quality patterns for the modern sewer; so, selfishly, it also lets me feel I am “doing my part” in that regard.

The Valley Blouse is a generous, drapey peasant-style blouse with a scooped neckline featuring a keyhole detail and puffed sleeves with a cuff. It is suggested for very lightweight fabrics with a nice drape. As with other patterns from Cali Faye Collection, it works very nicely as drafted, but is also a great starting point for personalizing to your own style and taste. In fact, Sarah, the talented founder of CFC, greatly encourages such modifications; “our patterns are a skeleton of your talent.”

**I feel the need to apologize for the quality of these photos. I was using the camera on timer for the first set and lighting wasn’t great, so they’re all over-exposed in order to provide some detail of the pattern. Otherwise the shirt just looked like a dark blob against a light wall — not so good.

Valley Blouse sewing pattern

I sewed two versions of the pattern.

For the first attempt, I sewed up a straight size medium based on the pattern’s sizing chart, using only my chest measurement as the determining measurement, and made no modifications to the pattern. I am a pear shape and my hip measurement would have bumped me up a size, but I found the overall fit to be generous enough to allow me to size based solely on my bodice measurements. I used a linen/rayon blend in a maroon-ish color. I should receive a demerit for not following the pattern’s suggestion of sticking to a very lightweight fabric. I’ve used this particular fabric for prior projects and love the drape, but it definitely is more of a mid-weight fabric.

Valley Blouse back view

Valley Blouse Shoulder View

Valley Blouse women's sewing pattern

The pattern sewing is straight forward, nothing too tricky, and the pattern instructions and tips are helpful guides. I would suggest making a muslin of the shirt yoke before cutting into your good fabric. For this first version of the blouse, I felt like the scoop hit too low on my chest for my own personal taste, and that combined with the width across the shoulders meant I was inadvertently sporting an off-the-shoulder look at times.

I should note that the bodice in this first version is simply pinned shut for now. I want to add a button closure, but I haven’t found the perfect button yet!

For the second version, I changed things up a bit. For starters, I used one of the recommended fabrics. This second version is made from a pale blue rayon challis with small yellow polka dots, which I found at Jo-Ann’s. (Is it just me, or are they really starting to step up their apparel fabric selection?) This fabric is definitely lightweight! And while the rayon/linen blend I used above wasn’t exactly bad or wrong, sewing the pattern in this rayon challis truly felt like I was working with the right instrument! The photos below are not the best example but this fabric allows for a much softer drape and fit than the rayon/linen blend.

Valley Blouse in rayon challis

I also made a few modifications to the pattern to suit my personal comfort level. I shortened the shoulder slope slightly, raised the scoop neck by about an inch and cut a smaller keyhole opening, all for a bit more modesty up top. I also reduced the width of the sleeves by 1.5 inches and shortened the length by almost 3 inches; I like a shorter sleeve length on blouses. I added a button detail on the front yoke. I also enclosed the front yoke seam with a hand-sewn blind stitch, rather than machine-stitching in the ditch, for a cleaner look on the inside of the blouse.

Valley Blouse cuff detail

And, by the way, apparently winter decided to stop by a couple months early. Can you see those goosebumps in the photo below?! Nothing like an outdoor photo shoot in a very lightweight blouse when it’s 33 degrees! Brrrr! I handed my husband the camera and told him he had about 1 minute to try to shoot a few decent photos — these were the best we could manage!

Valley Blouse modified yoke detail

The rayon challis fabric is so soft and drapes so nicely, I can easily see wearing this blouse tucked in, for a completely different look. I’d also love to pair it with a mustard-y colored cardigan to draw out the yellow polka dots.

Here are some thoughts and tips for making the Valley Blouse, based on my experiences:

— the overall fit is definitely generous, so a muslin may be very helpful here to help you decide on sizing and whether to reduce any width, etc.

— I wish I’d used a bit more interfacing with the rayon challis version. Even with understitching at the back yoke, the back lining tends to roll up a bit at the neckline. I think some lightweight interfacing may have provided enough stability to keep things in place. Note: I think this is particular to the slipperiness of rayon challis; this wasn’t an issue with the rayon/linen blend version. Also, when I decided to add in the buttons and loop buttonholes, I should have added a bit more interfacing to add stability and prevent pulling — my bad.

— the keyhole feature on the blouse front will allow some skin to peek through; if you desire more modesty, shorten the length of the opening, and remember to pinch the keyhole bottom with a stitch or two (Cali Faye Collection has a short tutorial on tackling the keyhole)

— I am able to easily fit the blouse on and off without having to open the keyhole or front yoke buttons, so sewing the front yoke as one piece, may be an option for you, if you are looking for an easy modification to the blouse front

Now get sewing! You will be able to find the Valley Blouse Pattern, and all the other great Cali Faye Collection sewing patterns, here: Cali Faye Collection.