Seersucker Scrappy Top (Sewaholic Pendrell Blouse)

As a pear-shaped person, I've wound up with a lot of Sewaholic patterns over the years. Generally, whenever they have a sale, I add one or two to my collection--I really should just buy the lot and not have to pay for any more shipping, but as my tastes change and sewing improves I feel like there is always one there that didn't previously catch my eye. Tragically, Sewaholic is no longer (although I've been saying that for ages and every time I do, the new owners pop up out of the woodwork to say "new pattern coming soon"--I've yet to see it materialize, but let me know if it does I guess) but that just means I can catch up on stockpiled patterns not yet made, including today's top, the Pendrell!

If you are looking at this top thinking "so cute, just like a Ralph Lauren crazy shirt" a) you must be from below the Mason Dixon Line and b) thank you! On the other hand, if you are thinking "Allie has officially gone round the bend, what is that" the answer is that having cleaned up my stash a bit I decided to make this "semi-wearable muslin" using all the scraps of seersucker I had left so yes, it's a bit wild. This took some doing, it's pieced in about 100 different parts. Yes it looks sort of wild. That's what we do here in The South.

As far as fit, I made a straight size six and didn't change anything on purpose, although in all my piecing I accidentally cut the back in two pieces, so it's about 1/2" narrower than intended to be. Since it was in two pieces anyway, I added a simple back neck keyhole, and I actually prefer this and will probably add to future versions. I also shortened the princess seam ruffles about 2-3" due to lack of fabric, so they are slightly less ruffly than written (though they are the intended finished length on the bodice). I suppose I could use a swayback adjustment, but I'm not sure if it would make it difficult/impossible to get over my shoulders, since it doesn't have any closures (yay!). The length as written is really long, almost tunic length, on my 5'7" frame, so keep that in mind; I lopped off the original hem and rehemmed this one, and I'll be shortening the next one several inches.

The only downside to this pattern is that sadly, it doesn't have a proper sleeve piece--if it had a nice little short sleeve, I would swap that in with some combination of ruffles and make infinite versions. As it is, I will probably still make several versions--I was distracted by the cute ruffles when I bought this pattern, but noticed while sewing that it's constructed much like a fitting shell, making it a good base to fit and then hack from! I think it would make a really sweet ruffly nightgown and would be easy to hack into a dress using my patented rae + elastic waist method. I'd also like to draft a little peter pan collar for it--the sleevelessness and close but comfortable fit will make this the perfect layering piece under cardis and sweaters! I have big plans for this blouse--expect to see it again!


ps: (you can see the original seersucker projects here here here and here <YELLOW ONE)

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Jiffy Tropics (Simplicity 4977)

I have a few vintage patterns that I return to again and again and one of them is Simplicity 6820, a 60s trapeze "Jiffy" dress that lauds itself on only having "3 main pattern pieces." I've made it a few times and the leopard one, especially, is basically never in my closet, always either in the laundry basket or on my body as I head off to work. Recently when browsing etsy, though, I saw this (quite similar) pattern, Simplicity 4977 and seeing that it boasted only "2 main pattern pieces" I could not resist temptation!

Simplicity 4977 is slightly earlier 60s Jiffy dress, and the main difference in the two patterns is that while 6820 (from 1966) has raglan sleeves, 4977 (c. early 60s) has kimono sleeves. 4977 also has a slightly less full skirt and bust darts. Due to the slightly less full skirt (and the tendancy of 60s patterns to be rather straight up-and-down with no allowance for hips whatsoever!) I went with the size medium (but 34/36) rather than my usual 32 bust. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was huge! The bust was quite large--I am used to doing slight small bust adjustments (for example, 3/8" on my go-to fitted bodice, Simplicity 4475) this one I did a full inch adjustment. I think this basically had the effect of both taking the front down a size and doing a small bust adjustment.

You might notice that although I mentioned a bust dart on the pattern, there is not one on my dress! I've rotated the side bust dart into the skirt to gain back a little bit of the ease lost when I did the SBA. Since the pattern ended up with no darts, no sleeves, no zipper, no nothing, it took about 2 seconds to sew, once I finished making all the pattern adjustments!

Will it replace my standby Simplicity 6820? After all that, I'm not sure it will. I think I prefer the swingier skirt that 6820 has, and although I could just make the skirt on 4977 a bit wider, I'm not sure I want to spend a lot more time making alterations to the pattern. After all, I know that 6820 can also be made without a zipper (like I did here) and the raglan sleeves don't add all that much difficulty (although they do take up a bit more fabric). I'd like to make at least one more version of this pattern, in a plain black stretch rayon crepe that would be a pain to do the raglan sleeves in (because it's a lot of bias cutting/sewing) and maybe add some cuffs for a little bit of detail. After that... I may return to 6820 for dresses. I do think I'm likely to use the pattern as a top though--since I went through all that trouble getting it to fit!


ps: i'm sorry 6820 isn't available on etsy right now! i talk about it so much that i think y'all have snapped them all up :)

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My Pattern Wardrobe

My first Sewaholic Rae and the only one I made as written.

For the past few years, I've sewn most of my clothes--almost all of them. This year, for the rtw fast, I've been sewing allll my clothes, which--since I already was sewing almost everything--has been more of a mental shift than a practical one. When I didn't have to sew everything, I could rely on rtw for certain basics, and then branch out a bit more with my pattern selection. This year, although I have made some wilder pieces, my focus has been quite constrained to what I think I will wear all the time, and one thing I've noticed myself doing is relying increasingly on tried and true patterns. I'm sorry if this blog has been a bit repetitive--it's not because I'm stuck in a rut, but because I really think I'm figuring out what I like to wear! I thought today I'd take a bit of time to write down my thoughts on the selection of tried and true patterns I've been slowly but surely coming to over this year, in particular. I consider this my "pattern wardrobe" and honestly? I should never buy a pattern again. I am constantly buying new patterns and then making these ones over and over.

Side note: just because these patterms work for me doesn't necessarily mean that they will work for you--however, they do all have the Allie stamp of approval so if you've been on the fence, give it a shot!

Simplicity 6820 (vintage//my makes//purchase): I haven't made a version of this dress in a while but I ought to return to it soon. My leopard dress is my go-to dress when I don't know what to wear--for work, for date night, for whatever.

Simplicity 4475 (vintage//my makes//purchase): I recently made three new versions of the dress after not having touched it for a couple years, and am very thankful to have such an easy-to-make, well-fitting staple dress in my pattern wardrobe. In an easy cotton, it's the perfect dress to wear to work with flats or heels, to a outside event with sneakers, whatever--and still get compliments. Between this and 6820, I have a pair of versatile dress patterns that I feel comfortable in and love to wear. Yay vintage!

Rae Skirt (my makes//purchase - cheaper here than the Sewaholic website): I've made about a zillion rae skirts--and I've also used it as the skirt portion of several dresses! The shape is perfect, it's economical with fabric, and it's very versatile. Make it in 10 different fabrics and it will look like 10 different skirts.

Ginger Jeans (my makes//purchase): I have 5 Gingers now--shorts in black and white and pants in black, white, and blue denim. At this point, if I am wearing pants or shorts, I'm wearing gingers.

Ogden Cami (my makes//purchase): I've made like 10 of these but you may not realize it since about half are hiding as dresses, slips, pajamas... etc. I went on a weekend trip recently and literally just packed 2 gingers (black jeans and white shorts), four different Ogdens (including one pj top version) and a sweatshirt, and called it done. Packing at it's finest.

Granville Shirt (my makes//purchase - cheaper here than the Sewaholic website): I've only made two of these but look forward to making more, especially now that I am more confident in sewing shirt collars and button plackets and cuffs. Cute with short or long sleeves, tuck in nicely, look put-together with very little effort.

Lexi Boxers (my makes//purchase): These are the perfect accompaniment to an Ogden cami top for pjs that are super easy to make but still cute cute cute.

Carolyn Pajamas (my makes//purchase): For "fancier" pajamas Carolyn is so perfect. Haven't quite decided if it's worth it to make the shorts when the Lexi boxers are so much easier, but the long sleeve top is the absolute best pajama top. Possibly the most complex pattern on this whole list, and it's for pajamas!

Last but not least, this year I've added some underwear patterns to my wardrobe!

Berkeley Bra (my makes//purchase): A bit cheating since it's also the only bra pattern I've made, but I now have two very wearable, comfortable versions of this pattern (in lavender and black) and I'm excited to add this pattern to the list.

Acacia undies (purchase): A super basic pair of underwear that do everything they need to and nothing else--and it's a free pattern!

Obviously, there will always be things I need to purchase patterns for in the future--specific items like coats for example, that I may not have in my stash--but I do feel that I'm very close to a well-rounded collection of patterns I return to again and again, patterns that comprise the bulk of my physical wardrobe. I'm going to challenge myself to not purchase any patterns (well, maybe one) for the rest of the year, and do a big purge to get rid of unused ones.


ps: if anyone is interested in some of those destashed patterns--i'll be at craft habit in raleigh this sunday for the fabric swap!! (

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Rae Ruffle Slip (Sewaholic Rae)

This is an extra-sweet little post that is both totally necessary and completely ridiculous at the same time: a vintage-inspired slip using my favorite skirt pattern, the Sewaholic Rae! I wear a lot of skirts, and don't typically line my handmade clothing, which means I wear a lot of half slips. I don't know why, but wearing a full skirt with nothing underneath (I mean, besides underwear) feels so naked to me! I own a very boring white poly slip (purchased years ago in a moment of skirt-clinging-to-tights desperation) and a slightly prettier bias silk slip I made ages ago (blog post here), but when this post popped up in my bloglovin' feed I knew I had to add a ruffled slip to my collection as soon as possible!

Mine is a bit different than the inspiration garment since I wanted an elastic waistband for comfort, which means gathers at the waist. Since the Rae is a gored skirt, it isn't as gathered as my full dirndl-style skirts and lays nicely underneath them. I also used the less full of the two mini-length views for this slip, so actually, I can wear this under my Raes (as seen above) if I want to since almost all of them are the fuller view!

I used a white seersucker from my stash and a little snip of white elastic topstitched down. Because of the fabric, this is a summer-only slip; it won't prevent your skirt and tights from sticking together, but it is light and breezy under fuller skirts for hot summer months!

I made only some very simple changes to the Rae--this is a pretty easy pattern hack! I cut off the waistband, shortened hem by about 6", added a gathered rectangular strip to the bottom, popped on a ribbon bow at center front hem, and voila!

Do you prefer to line your handmade clothing, or wear a slip?


ps: that blog (which appears to be called "carrot") is one of my favorites for vintage sewing, even though i can't understand a word on it! :)

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Sweet Mint Dress (Introducing Measure Fabric)

Thank you to Measure Fabric for providing the materials for this post.

You know how sometimes you have the perfect pattern, and just need to find the perfect fabric? This was a case of having some perfect fabric and not being able to find the exact pattern to do it justice!

This pique-style woven fabric is from Measure Fabric, a small boutique with a brick-and-mortar shop in Savannah GA and a new webshop. They specialize in unique fabrics and they have a lot of really interesting fabrics that you haven't seen every other sewing blogger wearing already. This fabric isn't up on the website yet but go check out the rest of their inventory. It's super spongy and bouncy and feels almost like a technical polo fabric--like Lacoste's sport polos--but it's a stretchy woven, not a knit. It instantly brought to mind tennis and I thought I'd do a little play on a tennis dress, not that I, you know, play tennis.

The bodice of this dress is my tried and true vintage favorite, Simplicity 4475. The stretch fabric gives it a slightly less fitted silhouette than it's meant to have, which I love. I finally (after three other versions) made a slight small bust adjustment, but other than that, I left it the same. The skirt, on the other hand, took some hacking! This is the slim mini view of another of my tried and true patterns, the Sewaholic Rae. It generally has six panels, but I spliced the center front/back panel together with the side panel (disclaimer: not in a very official way) and then added a shaped facing to the hem for that little shirttail-style hem. It's just a subtle change but I'm obsessed with the difference it makes! This is a trendy detail in sewing patterns right now, and it's so easy to add to any pattern. I made a little mini tutorial on how to do it on my story highlights, or here's a blog post from colette that shows basically the same technique, just a different shape. I topstitched the neckline and hem facings and the sleeves to add to the casual, "sporty" look.

Measure also sent me a gorgeous large-scale black lace--that will be posted next month, but I'm so excited I might start sewing today! I may even use this same bodice pattern... we'll have to wait and see. What is the most times you've repeated one pattern? This S4475/Rae combo brings together what I believe are now my two most repeated patterns!


ps: i did take like, six tennis lessons, ten years ago.

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Basics in Black and White

Thank you to So Sew English for providing the materials for this post.

I'm back with a few more basics for my RTW fast! As you probably already know I love Grana for their great basics--silk camis, jeans, tees--and they are basically the one place I've missed so far this year as I fast. One of my favorite items from them is a cute blush pink tee, which I wore as a pajama top on the blog here and with a simple skirt here. I love the slightly boxy yet still flattering shape and the cuffed sleeves. When the Jeanne pattern came out, I was immediate tempted to buy it, since it looked so similar... but I thought I'd start out by simply tracing my Grana tee and see how it went before I spent the $10.

So Sew English offered to send some knits my way and jumpstarted this project. I think they are more well known for their prints but I really needed a few basic tees rather than pretty florals, so I went with a plain black and plain white in two different substrates so that I could show you all the difference the fabric makes in sewing the same pattern (sort of a theme here I guess).

The first is their viscose from bamboo knit in black:

This is a super luxe-feeling, drapey, soft knit that makes a pretty slinky teeshirt. This is definitely a little sexy in black!

The second is their micro viscose cotton spandex which is (I think) basically the "micromodal" that MeUndies etc. are made of.

It is also very soft and cosy, and has nice stretch and recovery due to the spandex, but is a little bit less drapey and more solid. I think you can see in the comparison photos that this one is more a the classic tee shirt weight, and in white it is, I think, the ultimate tee shirt fabric. I'll definitely be returning to get more of this particular fabric in different colors.

As far as my "pattern" goes, the fit on this tee could be better, I think. I'm not worried about it all that much--I'll be wearing the black one tomorrow, because I really like them--but there's certainly room for improvement! The cuffed sleeves are perfect and although I'm still not super confident sewing with knits, I do think I'm getting better! The more I practice the better I will get, just like anything--and I have a little of each of these fabrics left over, so I see more practice in my future :)


ps: i don't see these two particular colors on their site at the moment but they are constantly restocking!

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My second and Third Bras (Orange Lingerie Berkeley)

Since bras only take a few hours to make I'm back already with bras 2 and 3! I mention in my first post about the Berkeley that the fit was pretty close but that I would be sizing up and making a few tweaks, and here they are. First, bra number two in purple lace (left over from a Bella panties kit) and white leftovers from the first pink and white Berkeley kit (and some random stash).

This is the 32C, which is one cup size up from the modified 30C I made in the white and pink. The fit is soooo gooood y'all!! Not only is this a bra that really fits nicely, I think (and this could just be the post-sewing high talking) that this might be the best bra I've ever had. I love the look of the lace (although the purple and white is a sort of strange combination), the power bar does great things for my shape, and I'm generally just very. into. it. Yes! (I do think that it makes my boobs look slightly smaller since my usual bra has a foam lining. If that matters to you keep that in mind.)

Having worn it all day for the first time, it was clear to me that something was up with the underwire, though--it was digging in painfully at the gore. I consulted with literally anyone who would listen and replaced the wires (a regular 34 wire) with a pair of RTW wires (significantly shorter!) and now it really is the best bra ever.
Berkeley number three is in black lace left over from... I honestly don't know what, and two of them, since I realized half way through that the scraps of lace I was using didn't actually match. For this version, I kept the 32C size and the narrow gore, and made one slight modification that you probably can't even see: I moved the front strap attachments in by 3/8". The purple version (number 2) doesn't dig into my armpits but it's a close call, so I thought I'd try it out and see if I preferred the straps moved in some. (to do this I modified the upper cup and power bar pattern pieces slightly--I'm not confident about bra alterations but it wasn't too hard.)

I also changed the strap style some so that the sliders are in the back. I know that having the sliders in the front is the cool thing but mine end right on top of my shoulders and it's weird! I just cut the elastic short in back and attached a ring there as well as in the front. It's a tiny bit more work but I do think I prefer it.

This time, I used a standard 34 wire and clipped the outer edges about 5/8" shorter. It is better... but I still get some digging in at the gore! I have ordered some of Arte Crafts' "demi" wires (since I think I'd like to use those for the Fenway anyway) and I'll try out those next. I haven't put the little black bow in the center because I think there will be some seam ripping and wire replacement in my future for this one.

I now have two Berkeley bras in my drawer that fit as well, if not better, than my go-to rtw bras. Although my bra drawer is overflowing, I only wear 2 or 3 of them regularly, so I've basically doubled my wardrobe! Bra sewing is so fun--and quick! How many bras is too many?


ps: back to regularly scheduled programming soon! :)

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