Kalle Ponte Crop Top

Kalle Ponte Crop Top

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Way back in February, my husband and I went to Las Vegas. Working in a hospital, I wear scrubs five days out of the week, and pajamas the other two. So, despite avidly sewing for myself, I don’t have a very robust closet anymore (thanks weight gain!) and went into panic mode to try and make some things to wear in the southwest. My friend gave me this lovely maxi skirt to wear there, and I had no tops to go with it. So naturally, I dug in my scrap pile and found just enough of this polka-dot ponte to whip together a Kalle crop top. And of course, to make it more complicated, I decided to alter it to be a popover rather than a full button placket!

 

I barely scraped by with enough fabric on this bad boy. I skipped the collar and made it a band collar, though I have to say, I love a good band collar. The hem facings and inner yoke are cut from black quilting cotton, and the sleeves, collar, and front button band are another black ponte I had laying around. My machine had a little trouble chugging through the thick layers of ponte, but a couple needle changes later it worked out.

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I love the overall fit of this top, which I expected since I love the Kalle shirtdress. However, I will definitely lengthen the top in my next make! The front length is nearly indecent on me, the top of this crop comes just above my high waisted jeans. Lengthening it by about 2 inches would be the perfect length, so I’ll be doing that in future makes. It takes so little fabric to whip together, I will probably be making this up frequently to use up my scraps!

It’s a shame it feels so short on me because I really do love the overall look of this shirt. It’s kind of bad ass, and makes me feel simultaneously comfortable and confident. Come summer and spring, I’ll try to pair it with more high waisted skirts and shorts to make it work.

 

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My First Archer, in Denim!

My First Archer, in Denim!

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I’ve had this pattern for a real long time, but I had bought it was a PDF and struggled to find a print shop in Des Moines that would print it off inexpensively for me! After calling about 6 different print shops, I found that Beeline and Blue was my best bet around here. Not sponsored or anything, just an FYI from my own personal struggles and research!

After seeing a million bloggers be over the moon about their Archers, I finally found the time to whip together my own. This one is made of a super lightweight denim from Fabric.com (can’t find the link for this anymore, sorry!) and has only been shorted by 1 in along the bodice and sleeves. I love the burrito method of finishing the yoke, and the easy to follow sew along¬†helped take care of any worries I had if I was doing something wrong. I finished the button band with pearlized snaps, and I absolutely love them. There’s nothing as satisfying as hulking out of a shirt at the end of a day.

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At first, I thought this shirt was way too big on me and felt unflattering. But I was reaching for it more and more in my closet. Turns out, I adore it! The only changes I’ll make in the future are to narrow the sleeves and cuffs. Even with the pleats, they feel quite large. I’ll be grading them to be 2 sizes narrower at the wrists, which is apparently a common alteration because I’ve seen this same problem on many on other blogs. I also don’t know if the chest pocket is necessary for all make ups. It is conveniently sized to hold my phone perfectly, but doesn’t add a whole lot to the look of the shirt!

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Since I’ve been so slow to post this (it’s been months), this shirt has seen the trials of wear. I’ve noticed some fraying at the bottom of the button band, because my stitching didn’t quite hit the right spot. This is entirely my mistake, I trimmed that seam allowance when I really shouldn’t have. In my next make of this, I’m not trimming the button band seam allowance at all and will also be reinforcing it with iron on hem tape to ensure that my top stitching is clean and catches all the allowances my first run through.

All things considered, I’ve had to make some fit alterations. But the overall proportions of the collar size are great. I currently have another Archer cut out and ready to sew on my sewing table, so I can’t wait to see how my other alterations change it up!

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Silk and Lace – SOI Anderson Blouse

Silk and Lace – SOI Anderson Blouse

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After working in a hospital where business casual was mandatory, and then switching to scrubs 5 days a week, I have a business casual sized hole in my heart. I absolutely miss the high-waist skirts, slacks, and button down shirts. Sew Over It’s Anderson Blouse would have fit beautifully into my business casual wardrobe, with its delicate gathers at the shoulders and conservative, yet sexy, fit. This pattern was actually the first pattern of Sew Over It’s that I had ever seen, and I was in love! I nabbed it during a Black Friday sale a year ago, and it sat collecting dust until I found a reason to whip it together.

When I found this fantastic lace at S.R. Harris, I knew I had to have it. It has embroidery at both the edge, as well as the center of the piece. I didn’t buy much of it because of my fabric budget, but I couldn’t walk away either. When I got home, I dismayed that I found that it didn’t fit into any pattern’s fabric requirements that would’ve done it justice. After some creative layouts however, I barely managed to make the pieces for the Anderson Blouse fit! That is, after some help and encouraging words from my husband.

The overall effect of the lace and the placement of it makes me so happy. I particularly love the sleeves, and how the black embroidery is at the sleeve head and the cuff. That’s not to say the back isn’t beautiful too, I mean how can anyone resist this lace!

What makes this blouse so special to me, is that it’s underlined in the silk charmeuse left over from my wedding dress. It was a struggle to underline the lace with the silk, as they’re both wiggly and slippery, but I love the final product. The feeling of slippery silk on your skin is like nothing else.

One part of the construction that confused me was how to finish the shoulder seam with the folded over neckline. I took some pictures of how I finished it, in case anyone else is also confused!

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Overall, I like the fit of the blouse straight from the pattern. It’s beautiful, flattering, and surprisingly sexy. In the future, I’ll likely put elastic at the bottom of the blouse rather than a tie, because I struggled to tuck in not only the massive amounts of fabric, but also the tie strings.

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I had this tucked into tights, and it’s still making me look like I have quite the stomach! That’s the fabric bulk.

Speaking of the tucking in… that’s one thing I struggle with in wearing this garment. The bottom of the blouse has a large amount of fabric, and which makes it difficult to tuck in without looking like you have a bulbous stomach. Leaving it untucked doesn’t look nearly as nice to me. Since this one has two layers from the underlining, this problem is made even worse. The best solution I could think of was to wear this with an a-line skirt where the bulk could be concealed, or to simply use a lighter weight fabric. If I find a nice, light challis I could see myself making this up again!

Birb Button Up – Vogue 8772

Birb Button Up – Vogue 8772

 

Don’t worry, my commitment to building my basics in my closet will soon shift away from button up blouses. But look at how nice they’ve been turning out! The more I sew them, the more I learn to enjoy each and every piece. The familiar motions were perfect for getting me through the home stretch of MLS school. Easy to conquer (unlike a lot of my exams), and satisfying at the end.

I’m yet again testing out another pattern for the fit of the bodice, this time it’s Vogue 8772. The pattern has a nice array of options, including a tie neck collar and different sleeve lengths. Due to fabric constraints, I went with a sleeveless collared version altered to have the shorter length of the normal blouse. This is a wearable muslin for me, made up of a discounted cotton fabric from Fabric.com.

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Overall, I’m happy with the out of envelope fit. I needed to add about a half inch to each side around the hips, but that’s an easy fix that I did by grading the width below the waist! Due to the stiffness of the fabric, I noticed some bunching in the sway of my back and may make an adjustment for that in the future if I choose to make this up again.

I finished the armholes and curved hem with bias tape made from the fabric scraps. I love this technique for the curved hem, as there’s no fiddling with easing the curves and it leaves such a clean finish. It’s smooth and effective!

Another detail that I like about this pattern are the little darts on the top of the shoulder blades. They lend a little shape and construction interest to the back of the garment since there’s no yoke.

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I find this pattern will be good for lightweight, draping fabrics and for when I want a flowing blouse. I won’t be again making it up in a more traditional, stiffer shirting cotton as the darts and lack of yoke better lend themselves to lightweight fabrics. This would be a great pattern to make up a rayon blouse with a long, flowing neck tie! Maybe that’s in the future for me now?

Black Sleeveless Pussy Bow Blouse – Sew Over It

Black Sleeveless Pussy Bow Blouse – Sew Over It

In the past few months, I did some soul searching for what I need in my closet. It turns out, my current wardrobe doesn’t convey what I want to reflect about myself. While I had been attempting to find my style, there was still a lot of “fashion” in my closet, which went with trends rather than the core of why I am. Following some of the directions from Colette’s Wardrobe Architect series, I identified my main words for my style: Classic, effortless, sleek, and vintage. Naturally, I started pinning to see what clothing reflected this style.

Something that kept coming up for me was a sleeveless pussy bow blouse. Being sleeveless, it transitions well between all seasons with the addition of a cardigan and looks great tucked into both skirts and pants. I love the vintage style of a pussy bow, as it adds visual interest and challenge to constructing the garment while not being overwhelming.

To fulfill my pussy bow blouse dreams, I started with Sew Over It’s Pussy Bow Blouse pattern. I purchased the printed version, but with how few pattern pieces this requires it would be a nice one to nab as a PDF. It offers two neckline variations, a keyhole opening¬†and a v-neck version. I sewed up the v-neck version, as this was the style reflected in the photos I was drawn to.

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This was made out of a black polyester chiffon from Fabric.com. It has quite a bit of drape, as the pattern requires, so I stabilized the entire piece of fabric with spray starch prior to cutting. This was incredibly helpful in ensuring accurate cutting on the grain, and allowing for sharp ironing.

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To finish the armholes without the sleeves, I bound the inside of the armholes with 1 in bias tape made from a Joann’s Halloween quilting cotton with dancing skeletons on it. Frankly, I was originally going to use the same chiffon as the body of the shirt for the bias tape, but the bias strips were stretching horribly and would have made too narrow of a binding for my taste. The change to the dancing skeletons is actually one of my favorite parts of this shirt, it’s a secret surprise inside!

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Ban-roll hem!

I added 3/4 in of width to the sides of the front and back bodice pieces based on my measurements so that it would be more loose when it is tucked in. I did not hem it according to the Sew Over It directions, because I personally despise ironing chiffon over and over. Instead, I used the Ban-roll method to have a nice, narrow hem. This technique requires a ban-roll to have the even hem, which is not a material found in most sewing shops, but I sourced mine from The Sewing Place. I have it on hand because it was the same method I used to hem my wedding dress!

Overall, this shirt was a fast make, and was finished in about 3 hours from cutting to hemming. I’m not entirely sure how to make the center of the V look nice and neat, so I may experiment with the keyhole design in the future. However, this is certainly not the last pussy bow blouse for me! I love the versatility and ease. It’s continuously in my rotation now!

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Bonus picture of Freyja, thoroughly concerned about the clicking of the shutter.