Thursday, April 16, 2015

Spring Sewing Plans, Part 1: Separates

As is always the case when the seasons change in the spring or fall, I have many more things on my "want to sew" list than I know that I'll have time to sew. I'm also looking to break out of my comfort zone for warmer weather and try some of the newer looks/silhouettes that have been popping up in recent months, and that means more muslins since I'll be in unfamiliar territory from a fit and flattery standpoint.

Typically, for me, most of the patterns that I've pulled out as "candidates" are from recent releases, with a handful of holdovers from previous years/seasons that I've still been wanting to make but haven't yet.

Woven tops and blouses

I am in love with all of the pretty prints that I've been seeing lately in cotton lawns and voiles. I usually stick with knit tops because they're so much easier to fit and generally faster to sew than wovens. This year, though, I really want to add some woven basics to my closet.

HotPatterns 1186 - Plain & Simple Woven Tee and Dress

If you're going to tackle a woven blouse, you may as well start simple, right?  This pattern is HotPatterns version of the woven tees like the Grainline Scout and that several of the Big 4 offer. Trudy released this pattern a few weeks ago.

HotPatterns Woven Tee
I opted for this pattern over the others because I knew that HotPatterns' drafting works better for my figure than some of the other options, and I liked that this pattern gives a few more design options than some of the other patterns, as well--there's both a top and a dress view, and both a v-neck and boatneck option.

I've already muslined this pattern, found the muslin promising, and so made my pattern adjustments and am working on my first "good" version. I'd love to have a few of these tops in fun prints in my closet.

SBCC Mimosa Blouse

I made one of these blouses last summer and skipped the muslin stage when I shouldn't have. The blouse is wearable, but there are certain things about the fit that really irk me, and I know that I can do better. I really want to make another one of these, but apply the fit tweaks that I should have done to the first blouse.

SBCC Mimosa blouse
HotPatterns Super Fantastic Shirt

This pattern is now out-of-print (OOP), but it's been perennially on my "to sew" list for about 4 years. It's like my Colette Hawthorn of blouses! Placket-style blouses like this have been everywhere, though, for the past 2 years, and I think it's finally time for me to sew this pattern up.

HotPatterns Superfantastic Shirt
McCall's 6898

Another recently OOP pattern, with a few modifications, I'll be using this pattern to knock off and create a more plus sized friendly version of the Deer & Doe Bruyere shirt:

McCalls M6989

I like some aspects of the McCall's version better than the Deer & Doe--like the fact that the McCall's version has different cup sizes and shoulder princess seams, both of which should make this easier to fit to my own figure than the Deer & Doe, which I'd have to grade up and do a large FBA on.

HotPatterns Classix Nouveau Refined Peasant Blouse

I loved this pattern when it came out but haven't gotten around to making it up. It's looked good on everyone who's made it up, too. This pattern should be a good choice for when I want to sew a woven blouse but not spend weeks working on fitting beforehand.

HotPatterns Refined Peasant Blouse
Muse Melissa (blouse)

The Melissa, by promising newcomer Muse patterns, is a blouse/dress/skirt pattern that was released while I was taking a break from my blog. I love the open neckline and multi-princess seaming on the blouse, especially since the blouse/dress has an option for D-cup sizing.

The blouse is my favorite view of this pattern and the one that I see myself making and wearing the most:

Muse Melissa blouse, dress, skirt
I don't sew a lot of skirts, but the skirt view of this gives me flashbacks to the A-line rayon challis and corduroy skirts that I loved wearing in the 90's, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. And I think that the dress has potential, but with a bad fabric choice, you're running dangerously close to looking like you're wearing a waitress uniform. And right now, when I think "waitress uniform", I think of that awful "Di" character that they've introduced on Mad Men this season, and I really wish she'd just go away, just like everyone else who watches Mad Men.

Pants and shorts

If I'm going to sew a bunch of new blouses, I need some new pants and shorts to wear with those blouses, don't I?

HotPatterns Classix Nouveau Dolce Vita Slim Cut pant

I'm already two muslins in on this pattern. The second muslin was an improvement over the first, but they're still not where I want them to be. This is such a nice basic, classic style of pant that I'm really hoping to get a TNT pattern out of this one. How amazing would it be to think, "I really need a new pair of pants to go with such-and-such blouse, " and to be able to pull out a pattern and sew up a pair of pants that fit nicely?

HotPatterns Dolce Vita pant

StyleArc Jennifer City Short

Cute walking shorts in a current style. I suspect that the longer and slimmer length on these will also help prevent the dreaded inner-thigh-ride-up that can be an issue with shorts when you have larger inner thighs.

StyleArc Jennifer City Shorts

HotPatterns Camera Ready Culottes

I will be jumping onto the culottes bandwagon!

HotPatterns Camera-ready Culottes
I chose this pattern over some of the other culotte patterns out there because the HotPatterns version doesn't have all of the pleating over the tummy that you see in the StyleArc and Big 4 takes on this style. These have a single, small pleat on either side in front, and two darts in back. Annie from SewBaby has already made these up, and they look pretty fabulous on her. They key to making these look nice on my short, stumpy figure will be getting the length right, but I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to do that.

Final Thoughts

My plan is if I keep the bottoms fairly neutral, the blouses will all likely pair pretty well with any of the bottoms, giving me a nice capsule wardrobe of separates for spring and summer. I didn't do a whole lot of successful sewing for myself in the latter part of last year, and I'm really looking forward to refreshing my warm weather wardrobe a bit.

Have you started planning or sewing for warmer weather yet? What patterns are on your "to sew" list?


  1. You are a one-woman Hot Patterns extravaganza! I've never sewn with a HP pattern because they seem to be quite pricy (and I really only use pdfs these days) but I always enjoy seeing the designs HP offers!

    1. They're pricey if you're paying full price, but Trudy usually offers new patterns at 20-25% off, and then has sales every few months. So, if you factor in flat-rate shipping for the US, they're very much in line with other indie prices.

      HP drafting is also a lot more friendly to a large bust than a lot of other lines, too--both in drafting for a larger cup size and the fact that most designs incorporate darts, gathers, etc. It's such a PIA to fit my bust that I'll happily pay a few dollars more to get some drafting help in that area.

  2. I am so looking forward to the garments you make! Lots of inspiration! Hot patterns 1169 and 1186, and the Mimosa are especially interesting.

    1. Thanks! The muslin for HP 1186 (the woven t-shirt) was pretty boring, which is how I like my muslins. I'm already working on the "good" version for that and hope to have it finished this weekend. The Mimosa I made last year was cute, but I "cheater" FBA'ed it when I should have done a "real" FBA, and as a result, wound up with a top with too large armholes and sleeves. This is a problem because I flash my bra any time I raise my arms, so I have to wear the top with a cardigan or jacket. It's an easy enough fix for the next version, though.

  3. I like your choices! I'd add HP's track pant and Lantern skirt.

    The new Muse pattern is really interesting. I rank it skirt, top, dress.

    As much as I dislike Di on Mad Men, I wouldn't mind going as her for Halloween,complete with a dingy slip of morosity.

    1. Oh god, I love the idea of going as Di for Halloween! I was always tempted to go as Peggy, since I basically am Peggy at work, but Di is a lot more creative.

    2. I'm thinking of muslining the HP woven T this weekend. If it fits reasonably well, I may turn it into a PJ top with some SEWING IS A LIE embroidery.

  4. Really interesting selection for sewing Michelle. Really looking forward to seeing that first hot patterns top - I might dive in and buy it if yours turns out good..... No pressure LOL

    1. Based on my muslin, I *think* it would work for you. It's skimming without being overly boxy. I think it's a good shape for a rectangle or apple figure, but we'll see how the final top turns out.

  5. Oh - BTW - before you sew the StyleArc shorts check out the post from Pandora Sews

    1. Yikes! I'll be sure to flat-measure mine first. Luckily, I've got the PDF version, so if I need to go up a size or two due to a grading error, I've got the next two sizes up in my PDF bundle.

      FWIW, I've never had a major issue with StyleArc's sizing. I'm pretty much a 22 in pants and a 20/22 + FBA in tops. I did make one top that turned out too large, one that turned out too small, but for the most part, I find their sizing to be consistent. My StyleArc wadders have generally been from choosing patterns that weren't a flattering style on my figure.

  6. Girl, it hardly stopped being warm here, so I haven't really stopped with my warm weather sewing! I really like your sewing plans. There are some patterns up there I haven't taken a look at yet and probably should. I prefer knit tops, but would like to try some that don't resemble hospital scrubs. I'm really like that bow blouse and the peasant one. Everything looks so breezy, summery and cool!