Named Inari Tee Dress Review

apr 7 inari linen hanging

Oh, Inari, how you’ve stolen my heart. This fabric has been patiently waiting to be made up for over 8 months. It came about when Vickie Hallmark came to visit with her dyes and we decided to experiment with some linens that weren’t flattering for my skin tone. What did I have to lose?

apr 7 Inari linen collage

Jazz hands to convey my extreme excitement!

apr 7 inari linen good front

Turns out, those happy mistakes- the ones like forgetting to serge the cut ends to avoid tangling in the washing machine- are the ones we end up loving the most. At least, it certainly turned out that way for this fabric. It was originally a pale aqua, then Vickie put in soda ash and that made it slightly gray. Then we added the fuchsia dye and it turned into this organic/psychedelic piece of lovely hand-dyed linen.

Research was a lifesaver, since a lot have mentioned problems with arm mobility and taking height from the sleeve and armscye seemed to help. Find more fitting help on Gail’s blog, she posted plenty of pics for the visual learners among us.

apr 3 inari muslin collage

It’s not perfect, but it’s loved regardless. There is some gorgeous Liberty of London burning a hole in my stash waiting to be used for another Inari.  Size and fit details:

Size 42, with 3″ added in length since I’m 5’8-1/2″ tall. 1″ was added below the underarms, then 2″ added below the hip lengthen/shorten line. My current measurements are around 39/32/40. Took out nearly an inch in sleeve height and armscye.

The sleeves were a piece of cake, I had made a mountain out of a mole hill worrying about puckers, etc., but they went in perfect the first time. Normally, I always try to sew sleeves flat and then sew the sides and underarm seam at the same time. But if I don’t practice, I won’t improve and this was a fabulously drafted sleeve. The easing within the seam allowance probably helped, as well.

apr 7 inari back pumped

apr 7 inari linen back better


Style Arc Ethel Designer Top and Butterick 6178 Culottes

I drank the kool-aid.

aug 11 style arc ethel designer top and B6178 Culottes collage

Culottes have been on my mind for MONTHS, if not a year. I’ve pinned many a cute pair on my Pinterest boards.

aug 11 style arc and butterick culottes

They can be tricky to fit and look ghastly when they go wrong. To be honest, there is a red linen already cut out in to UFO pile waiting to be sewn up in a Burda pattern that has been sitting for weeks now. However, I saw this pattern made up here and it totally jumped the queue. Go straight to view D, don’t let yourself be thrown off by the cover model’s outfit!

They go to your natural waist, which I like since I can wear the more cropped top look that I’m slowly coming around to. The Style Arc Ethel Designer Top has been in constant rotation ever since it was finished. The yarn dyed linen has started to relax and lay a little more softly. Really need to make another since it is perfect for summer. My measurements have me falling nearly perfectly into a 14, but there was so much ease that I ended up making a 10. Still worked out nicely. Style Arc has been getting a lot of my money lately, can’t seem to resist their look and end up loving most of my makes.

aug 11 style arc butterick side waist culottes

aug 11 style arc culottes waist

There was a lovely neutral/cool brown cotton-linen in my stash from last year when the ISGB Gathering was in Houston. We managed to sneak a quick trip to High Fashion Fabrics and got 2 yards of this Armani linen. It’s a crossweave with brown and off white- incredibly fine and smooth. It was just enough to make in View D, size 18.

aug 11 style arc untucked with flip flops and culottes

The instructions were good, and only managed to make one major rookie mistake. And it’s a doozy. Almost didn’t show it, but I like to see the whole truth in other blogs, so here you go:

aug 11 back detail of zipper on culottes

Argh, why didn’t I rip it out and fix it when it would’ve been easier?! Hindsight and lost patience. They have you putting a centered zipper on the CB seam and have a dot to place your zipper. Maybe I misunderstood and placed my zipper too low because there is an inch of space that the zipper was supposed to take up before it meets the waistband. Face, meet Palm. (Apologies for the wrinkles, we went to the store before photos and, well, it’s linen)

aug 11 style arc and culottes side sandals

aug 11 style arc and culottes side view

BUT! I still like awful lot, but I’m not sure about where the hem hits me. Adding an inch may not have been a most genius idea without doing a muslin first. Took a deep 2″ hem- can’t recall what the original allowance was, maybe 1-1/4″?

Then the question of footwear. Sandals or wedge?

How it usually is when trying to get good photos:

aug 11 kids collage with sewn outfit

Merchant and Mills Workbook, The Curlew Sleeveless Top

This is a book I’ve been looking forward to getting my hands on ever since I first got wind of it being published. I’ve loved all my Merchant and Mills patterns and the only one I’ve held back on making was The Factory Dress– but after seeing this video of Carolyn Denham wearing hers, it has moved up the queue drastically.

So happy!! @ute_ig what have you made so far?! I'm just about to start flipping through it, need to refresh my coffee first 😂😍✂️

I had mentioned in a previous make how nice it would be to have finished garment measurements on the patterns and my dream came true in The Workbook! The sizes show FINISHED measurements so you can know precisely how much ease will be built into your usual size. This came in particularly handy when I was deciding on which size to trace out for the Heron, a bat-wing wrap top.

july 12 curlew muslin in crossweave collage

There are 6 timeless patterns and The Curlew Sleeveless T-shirt is a bias cut top with bust darts for additional shaping. The fabric choice is a crossweave cotton in a lovely teal/emerald with cross threads of black. This has been in the stash for a year, back when I went home to Indiana for a visit with family and went to Margie’s Country Store in Madison, In. It is much thicker and more stiff than what is recommended, but this is a wearable muslin since I wanted to check fit on size 16, which falls on my body measurements the closest.

july 12 curlew sleeveless muslin in crossweave full

My guess is that it will be a bit more tricky to sew with a more shifty fabric when I make my next/nicer one in a linen or silk. Since my wearable muslin is more of quilting cotton weight, the bias cut drape isn’t really noticeable. It is incredibly comfy to wear and easy to pull on and off even with the close fit. july 12 curlew muslin in crossweave front detail

My main problem after finally figuring out how to correctly join the bias tape, was the bust darts. These are to be sewn with a stretch stitch since the bias cut makes it similar to a knit with the give in the fabric. I’d never sewn a bust dart quite like this and it shows, unfortunately. I’m wondering if it’s trickier on bias to sew smooth dart points or if it was a combination of user error/stretch stitch/bias-cut trifecta of terror. Using the ham to try and iron it into a smooth shape didn’t work, either. It will be fixed since I love this top..maybe start a short line of straight stitches near the end of the dart and try to get a smooth tapering? If you’ve sewn with a stretch stitch then you know what a b*tch it is to unpick.

july 12 curlew with sweater front

I can see this book one that is used again and again for me, I’m already thinking of making this a short sleeved top. Oh, the possibilities! Thanks, Carolyn, for such an ace sewing book- I’m looking forward to seeing my sewing skills advance with the more involved patterns.

Simplicity 1080 Dottie Angel Frock

Granny Chic is something of a phenomenon to which I was oblivious. Dottie Angel has been selling her lovely vintage fabric aprons on Etsy for years and I loved her aesthetic..the vintage style appealed to me. Seeing her pattern come up on the Simplicity website was a most happy surprise. Simplicity 1080 embodies her most well-known vintage frocks in a tunic and dress length.

july 10 dottie angel nani iro collage

For close to a year I’ve had some gorgeous Nani Iro double gauze from Miss Matatabi in my stash waiting to be used. The happy colors really appeal to me right now since the kids and I are missing hubby while he’s stationed in Korea for the next year.

Granny chic FTW! Think I've finally narrowed down which fabric will be used for my view B #dottieangel tunic. #naniiro #ilovenaniiro #doublegauze #simplicity1080 #thatsalotofbiastape #grannychic #sewing #isew #missmatatabi

july 10 dottie angel in nani iro front

The light fabric is great for summer and I chose the tunic length with yarn dyed linen pockets in a beautiful lilac with white in the cross weave. It was a small remnant in the doggie bag section from here. The only regret for this is that I didn’t make the ties in the lilac, as well. This is the direct link to the fabric, it’s a fairly new addition to their mid-weight yarn-dyed line.


I made the large since I was between sizes and it’s a bit big on me. Next time, I’ll make a medium and add just a little ease for my broad back. You can definitely tell from the back how loose it is on me. But this is super comfy in the summer heat, especially since it’s currently creeping closer to triple digits as the month drags on.

Nitty gritty:

I didn’t use the bias tape in all the places the pattern recommended. And I cheated and used my serger on the shoulder and side seams to help with fraying after sewing the seam with my machine. The shoulder hem stumped me slightly and I should have looked more closely at the diagram since I flubbed the bias at the beginning and end by stopping at the dot rather than sewing to the edge of the fabric. My guess, and it is just a guess- the bias tape for the seams probably helps give support when using vintage/delicate fabrics like Dottie is known for.

For those worried about color matching, etc- the only part that is exposed is the 1/4″ double-fold that is sewn around the pockets. If you don’t want to buy 1/2″ single fold since you have a plethora already in your stash or they don’t have the color you want at the store, go for long as your fabric won’t show through that you used a clashing color 😉  Also, instead of basting the 1/4″ to the pocket before sewing it down, I just unfolded one side, lined up the edges and sewed into the nearest crease, being careful to follow the pocket curves. I clipped the curvy parts before enclosing the seam with the bias tape and ironed it smooth.

This pattern is a winner in my book! Now to think about my next frock, this time in dress length..

july 10 dottie angel in nani iro front1

Me Made May ’15

It’s really May! This is my second year participating in Me Made May and my first outfit is comfy and quick since the scramble for getting the kids up and out of the house for school is a little hectic..hence the sleepy look on my face in the photos.

may1 lemon drop and claudia pants collage

The top is AMH’s Lemon Drop Tunic in knit from Girl Charlee, bought more than a year ago. Finally able to use- notice the placement of the design..late night sewing strikes and had to fiddle with getting the remaining yardage to fit since I added 3″ to the length without checking to see if it would work with the yardage. Luckily, the stretch was two-way.

mmmay15 day 1 front

The pants are a pdf version of the Claudia Pant by Style Arc. I’ve fallen in love with their aesthetic, but not with how much ease was added for what is supposed to be a ‘cigarette pant’ which makes me think of the close/snug fit that Audrey Hepburn made famous.

mmmay15 day 1 back

#stylearcpatterns #claudiapant finished. Way too big for the size that fit my measurements, had to take it in more than an inch in a few places.  May just reprint in a smaller size and see if that saves trouble. Super comfy in the stretch #bengaline I fou

They were made with a stretch bengaline from Joann’s. Super comfy but had to take in more than an inch all over and more in some places. Also got rid of the seam on the front pant leg. They’re still a bit too loose for my liking in certain places, but they’ll do as a wearable muslin and plan to make them in a smaller size when getting back around to trying again. And I took a *very* deep hem which basically took care of eliminating the hem dart- I’m 5’8″ so these had a lot of extra length. Next time I’ll take away some length at the lengthen/shorten line, as well.

Looking through the wardrobe for this month made it clear that a lot of the tops/dresses are more suited to cooler weather. This time of year in San Antonio can be scorching hot with the occasional mild day, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed. More bottoms are desperately needed, too. Here is the photo from Instagram, lots of blue..need to work on that:

Quick pic of #memade clothes since #mmmay15 starts tomorrow, could've sworn there was another week in April!  Good news? I have enough for every day. Bad news? Nearly a third is suited to cooler weather.  And I have a most decided leaning towards blue ton

My pledge was to wear handmade at least four times a week, shouldn’t be a problem unless the weather stays in the 80+ degree range. Looking forward to seeing everyone’s makes, this is such an exciting month and new patterns and interesting wardrobes are always fun to see. If there is sewing done this month, it’s with the thought of having a unified and easily mixed and matched wardrobe.

Vintage Wrap Skirt and Simplicity 1366

One of my favorite color pairings is indigo and mustard- probably why I like this outfit so much, not to forget that it’s downright comfy, as well. Maybe it’s the cooler weather and dreary days, but my wardrobe has had some extra chroma added lately. Between my first Liberty top and now this Simplicity 1366 top, jewel tones and saturated color seems to be my panacea for the winter doldrums.

Feb. 4 Vintage Anne Adams wrap skirt pattern and Simplicity 1366

The vintage wrap skirt is Anne Adam 9066 in a Michael Miller yarn dyed ikat.

View B. No going back now. Really love the fabric, can't wait to see how it looks. #vintagepledge #vintagepatterns #sewing #isew

I found it last year at my LQS, Las Colchas, and bought the last two yards. Good golly, yarn dyed fabric is aces. And it fulfills my first Handmade Pledge of 2015. Double win.

Modified the skirt by leaving off the waistband. My first #vintagepledge finished. #isew #vintagepatterns #iloveikat

An easy skirt, left off the waistband since I didn’t feel like fussing with it and wanted to make sure there was enough fabric for the facing. Lined it will Bemberg rayon in cream/natural in case I decide to wear it with tights. Of course, I tried my best to get the seams to line up. Unfortunately, my two sides got switched and the seams don’t match up as perfectly as expected since yarn dyed fabric can be impossible to tell right side from wrong side. So that means my wrap is suppose to fold over to the other side. Live and learn.

Feb. 4 Vintage Anne Adams wrap skirt pattern and Simplicity 1366

You can see on the photo below how my skirt sat too low before I took out some ease to have it sit higher. Pardon my RBF, the lighting wasn’t the best and I was rushing. I may end up dying that top since it’s too pale for my skin- maybe a dark gray would be better. I got it last year on a whim when I ran into Marshall’s unexpectedly. Although, I bet the Sewaholic Belcarra would be very similar to this top..hmm.

feb 2 vintage pledge ikat skirt pale collage

It’s always a nice feeling when I manage to go out the door in a handmade outfit- not to say that all my makes are successes- but today it felt good to throw this outfit together and run to the post office. Three cheers for chroma, ikat and handmade love!

Feb. 4 Vintage Anne Adams wrap skirt pattern and Simplicity 1366

Simplicity 2211 Modified Lisette Market Tunic

Simplicity 2211 Lisette Market Tunic in Liberty of London Alma

This has been another pattern I’ve been wanting to use for a very long time. The main thing missing were comes Top 64 from Merchant and Mills for mods, and voilà we have the making of a (fun)ctional top.

Momentous moment, finally cut into my First Liberty of London fabric for a modified #LisetteMarketTunic. #lisettepattern #simplicity2211 #markettunic

Simplicity 2211 Lisette Market Tunic in Liberty of London Alma

There was only 1-1/2 yards of this Liberty of London in Alma to use, so the black linen came in handy, although I ran out before I could add cuffs for my sleeves. I’d been sitting on this fabric for more than a year, trying to decide what to make. It’s definitely a pricey fabric, but the idea is to make quality over quantity and I plan to wear this til it falls apart. Going thru a lot of my fabric makes me wince when I see how often only a yard or yard and a half was bought- little did I know then that it really limits what you can make. So I’ve been more careful about ordering in 2-1/2 to 3+ yards if they’re meant for clothes. Live and learn.

Simplicity 2211 Lisette Market Tunic in Liberty of London Alma

This is a size 14 and thought I would have plenty of room for my broad back according to the finished measurements. However, I forgot to take into account the sleeves. These are close fitting sleeves- quite nice actually, without all the extra looseness around the armscye. The problem is that I never thought about how the sleeve’s construction can change the ease in the back. So it fits, but it is a little snug when I bring my arms forward while driving, etc. When this is back on my cutting table, I’ll add an inch at the back for extra ease.

Simplicity 2211 Lisette Market Tunic in Liberty of London Alma

All hail, Liberty of London fabric- and the colors are so nicely saturated. A bit out of my comfort zone, but the black gives a litte relief.

Simplicity 2211 Lisette Market Tunic in Liberty of London Alma

Merchant and Mills Dress Shirt Pattern

dec 21 merchant and mills gauze dress shirt collage1

To say that the last few days have been trying is like saying San Antonio summers are a little warm. Eva is firmly entrenched in her terrible twos and the holidays have me scrambling. I almost reached my tipping point a couple of days ago when Z walked into the living room, gasped and said, “MAMA! look what sister diiiid!” This usually is a terrible precursor to something that will either be covered in marker, leaves a wet mess, or her with all her clothes off in a combination of the first two. But let me backtrack.

dec 21 merchant and mills gauze dress shirt collage

I had been sewing, and had the iron on which was nearby on the iron board for easy reach. The last month has been an ongoing love affair of Merchant and Mills patterns, and that day was reserved for The Dress Shirt pattern. In a lovely single gauze purchased at, you guessed it, Miss Matatabi on Etsy.

dec 21 merchant and mills gauze dress shirt sleeve adjust

So there I was enjoying the whir of the sewing machine, the puff, hiss of my iron as it waited patiently to be used to press a seam. The faint scent of starch was a pleasant aroma. As so often it happens, time got away from me and I lost sight of how quiet E had become for the last 20 minutes..never a good thing for a two year old. Z comes clomping down the stairs and goes into the living room and starts screeching.

dec 21 merchant and mills gauze dress shirt back

Turns out, that pleasant aroma of starch was drifting from the living room, not my ironing board like I’d thought. She had decided to try and completely cover the TV stand and TV with starch. She was quite proud that she had figured out how to work the spray nozzle, and had the area completely saturated. Much drama ensued as this was our only big TV and it was quite important to the kids and hubby. (I couldn’t care less if we had a TV at all in the house, but that is neither here nor there)

dec 21 merchant and mills gauze dress shirt full

We thought it was a goner, lights blinked crazily and the screen was fuzzy. Of course, hubby tinkered and got the back casing off and managed to soak up most of the starch and the next morning it was working again. Just another catastrophe averted in the Vaz household. That’s just one day that has blended into many days of the same these past few months. Some days I think I’m crazy to say yes to more teaching gigs, since there is so much coordinating to be done, etc. But the time will pass anyway, and I’d rather avoid that loathsome feeling of, ‘what if?’ There have been special orders for customers that have been delayed for lack of torch time and class supply lists that needed to be updated before getting sent out for a future class in the Seattle area. These crazy days of kids running around underfoot will be short and soon missed once they get old enough to be embarrassed by their parents.

dec 21 merchant and mills gauze dress shirt

Lots of little things that have added up to a big headache before the end of the year. But this is nothing new for most of us, by the time the end of the year is on the horizon, I usually start reflecting. Of course, I’d like it to be deep and profound- but let’s face it; with a two year old and a first grader in the house it’s mostly been about messes that had to be cleaned, dirty diapers you hoped didn’t leak before they were changed and trying to maintain some sort of balance for sanity’s sake.

dec 21 merchant and mills gauze dress shirt akimbo

My hubs has coined this make ‘the Reverse Penguin’ since he said the bib is black instead of white. Men. Fit for me and details on the make:

Size 12 and the fit in the shoulders is quite nice. The waist and hips are quite spacious, perhaps a bit too much- maybe go down a size in that area? I’m thinking I may do an inverted pleat and sew it down a couple of inches below the bib to control some of the billowing. Again, I’m really wishing the pattern had a finished garment measurement  on it somewhere. This fabric is quite thin and semi-sheer in the light, not sure how it will withstand the inevitable tugging and grasping of a two and 6 year old. The fold back sleeve is a nice touch, you can leave it rolled down if you looking for a little bit more length. I’d love to make this again in a yarn dye linen. Maybe next time add some in seam pockets since my hands had nowhere to hide. There is still much love for all things Merchant and Mills (ack! Entomology pins) and look forward to trying this one again.

Here’s to a merry and bright holiday season!

Sewaholic Renfrew Top and Handmade Outfit

It was bound to happen with all the sewing I’ve done this year. I was picking out clothes to wear with my (finally) finished Sewaholic Renfrew Top, and managed to put a complete handmade outfit on. The best part was that I wasn’t trying to grab something made by me, it just happened to catch my eye and let’s face it, white will go with pretty much anything!

dec 12 renfrew ensemble

dec 12 renfrew collage

Although the photos may not capture it, the fabric isn’t bright white- maybe a bone or slight off-white. Ponte knit bought frommmm..Girl Charlee, I believe. The jacket is my favorite make from Sew Chic Happy Homemade, Jacket J. The skirt was in heavy rotation this summer and is Simplicity 1428 in View D with French General fabric by Moda.

Almost made myself crazy trying to pick a pattern- finally decided to keep it simple and remembered how much I've been wanting to make skirt D. Pull up skirt with pockets FTW! #sewing #simplicity1428

I traced a size 12 in the Renfrew and it has been sitting on my table for the better part of a year. Which is probably why I forgot and sewed the recommended 5/8″ seam rather than a 3/8″. It’s a little more snug than I like, especially in the arms. The cowl neck version is very flattering and if you Google images for this pattern, you’ll find some fabulous makes. Just need to narrow down the fabric so I can get one made.

dec 12 renfrew top1

dec 12 renfrew back

You can see how it’s too snug in the back, I’m hoping the extra seam allowance will make enough of a difference so I don’t have to really tweak the fit.

dec 12 renfrew ensemble full

It even looks slightly festive for this time of year.

Endless Summer Tunic

dec 8 endless summer tunic with jacket j

Finished the Endless Summer Tunic from A Verb for Keeping Warm. The fabric was from High Fashion Fabrics bought this summer in Houston while I was at the ISGB Gathering. It’s a soft and slightly crisp chambray shirting in solid blue on one side and a subtle pinstripe on the back. May not be the best use of fabric for this pattern since it has some body, but it will do for a wearable muslin.

Late night sewing leads to 'interesting' color matching. I've decided that it works since there is enough of this mint/celadon bias strip that I'll do the hem as well. #sewing #endlesssummertunicpattern

It was late sewing on the night I picked out bias binding. This was on clearance at Joann’s, I believe, and now love this color against the blue- the hem was also done using this way. And I must say, doing the shirt-tail hem was a little easier for me using this method- especially when I used the invisible hemming foot to help keep my stitching straight.

dec 8 endless summer tunic2

My son was the photographer since I couldn’t find my remote, he did a pretty good job, regardless.

dec 8 endless summer tunic with jacket j and ze

dec 8 endless summer tunic with jacket ze

This is a size 41, and has room for layering to transition the seasons. I love the fact that the size is the finished measurements- one of my pet peeves for Merchant and Mills patterns is that they don’t include finished garment sizes! But that is for another day.

dec 8 endless summer tunic back

dec 8 endless summer tunic back closer

The armscye was *almost* too low for my comfort in wearing it sleeveless. And I’m enjoying the look of yokes, although they’re not my favorite to sew.

The jacket is my Jacket J from Happy Homemade, a Japanese sewing book translated into English. Such a great layering piece, in olive green linen.