White Collared Peplum Top

I guess peplum tops aren't really cool any more but I still really like them. I love the shape and I think they are a nice way to add a little bit of femininity to a casual jeans-and-sneakers outfit. 

This is Simplicity 1425 from a few years ago. When I looked up how other bloggers were making it, I was actually surprised to see how many people were sewing it up as written, with a weird button back closure. It's easy to swap out for a zipper, and I think it makes it much more functional! I also ditched the yoke, taping that piece to the center front along the seamline. 

I love the collar-- If I make another of these I'll change the construction so there's less hand sewing, but it looks really nice I think. After making several peter pan collar shirts last year, I think I've given up on sewing collared shirts without collar stands, they just never look as good. This is obviously a little different, but I think the principle is the same!

Simplicity patterns fit me so well out of the package--people hate on big 4 but I like the standardization. I also like that they are $1 and I don't feel guilty about cutting right in--no tracing for me! This is a straight size 8. I think it is a smidgeon big in the upper chest but that could just be because of my pattern hacking. 

I messed up the pleats, but anyway, I don't think I really like pleats on a peplum? I've never done a circle but I think I would like that better for a low-volume peplum, but who am I kidding--I like ruffles! I have a ruffled peplum on my work table now, so you'll be seeing one of those soon! 

What do you think? Pleats on a peplum? Circle "skirt"? Ruffles? Or are you over peplums as a whole?


ps: watch this space... i'll have something special on friday! (not an april fools joke, i promise.)

allie J.

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Make your own (fake) crop top

I'm a firm believer in wearing just about anything that makes you feel good, but if you feel like you can't (or don't want to) pull off a crop top for whatever reason, or you just want something a little different, today I'll be teaching you how to transform a regular top pattern into one for a tuck-in crop top. I've made a couple of these fake crop tops (or "tuck-in blouse with look of short overblouse" as the original pattern described them), and I loveeee them. They're so easy to wear and offer good coverage while looking cool and, as my mom said, "neat and tidy."

Last year I happened to stumble across McCall's 4933 (available on etsy here!!) and noticed that it was not a crop top, as it seemed, but a faker posing as a crop top. I couldn't find it in my size so I did some sleuthing and the back of the pattern envelope shows that it is basically just an extra long top with a big tuck in it--I can do that! You can too! Hop on down below the cut for the full tutorial!

Friday Favorites

received a lovely glittery award from miss madalynne--thanks for voting me in, y'all!

stopped by Spoonflower to make Rare Bears: teddy bears for children with rare diseases

the boys

a sneaky behind-the-scenes look at the making of my skillshare class
(and get 3 months of skillshare premium for 99 cents when you enroll here)


ps: have a nice holiday weekend!

allie J.

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A Perfect Spring Outfit + #alliejXskillshare

I'm kind of feeling like crop tops are my signature piece on this blog at this point (and I also do have that faux crop tutorial coming up) but I swear, they are the perfect clothing item for this time of year. A crop top and a knee length skirt is the perfect combination--demure, but not overly sweet. 

I returned to my standby vintage pattern, Simplicity 3480 for the top. I'm still not sure what year it's from, but I assume early 60s. I love this pattern!

I just realized that in fact, I have never made it as written--it is supposed to have a button back. I have put a zipper in before, but since I don't need it to get in and out, it's just as easy to leave it off entirely. 

My skirt is an extra-full (three widths of fabric) dirndl with a flat waistband and a hook and eye closure for a neat look. It's so simple, but the hook and eye and invisible finishes give it a professional finish.

And y'all! If you are one of allie J.'s non-sewing readers, I am super excited to tell you that if you want to learn how to make a skirt like this--you can take my brand new Skillshare class!!

It's a step-by-step video lesson that will take you from inspiration to completed garment, and teach you everything you need to know to design and sew a beautiful gathered skirt.

Here's the description from the site:

"In this class, you’ll turn inspiration into reality as you select the style you want to create, then master the skills needed to turn a flat piece of material into a fun vintage-style skirt, including fool-proof gathering, the easiest ever zipper insertion, and creating an invisible hem. We’ll be using a mixture of hand- and machine-sewing for the best possible finish--with the least time investment.
Some sewing experience is required--you’ll need to know how to use a needle and thread, how to operate your machine, and how to sew a straight line.

When you’ve completed the class, you’ll twirl away in your very own custom skirt, ready to go anywhere from brunch to the ballroom."

When Skillshare reached out to me, I was like yeah, making a sewing class sounds fun, but I have no video skills whatsoever. Fortunately, I had a great videographer--Taylor made it so fun even though it took about 6 hours to make this skirt, at least twice as long as usual. 

I had so much fun putting this class together, and I really, really hope y'all love it as much as I do. You can click here to sign up for Skillshare and get three months of premium free (the regular membership is always free!). I've been taking some of the other classes--there's some really good ones on design, branding, and photography. 

I really hope you like the class and your completed garment--I know I plan on making a bunch of this skirt + crop top/faux crop top combination and wearing them all spring and summer. Please let me know what you think of it! I'd love to hear from you...

hat | bag


ps: i really, really hope you like it! also--while you're signing up for skillshare classes, sign up for ada spragg's!

allie J.

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#VintagePledge 2016

my big dress project for the year, Simplicity 4468 from the early 60s 
(much lower stakes than last year's dress project)

A bit late in the year to be declaring my intentions, I suppose, but it's always good to write down your goals, don't you think?

Last year I excelled at vintage pledging. I did a lot of sewing in general--the most I've ever done in a year. I took sewing and blogging more seriously and made great strides in both (in my opinion).

This year, I'll still be sewing in that vintage-inspired "modern mid-century" style I've defined for myself (clean lines, feminine touches, classic styling, luxe fabrics), but I don't think I'll have the same emphasis on sewing true vintage patterns. Of the things I've shown on the blog so far this year, I've used mostly Big 4 patterns (including some vintage repro patterns and a vintage-inspired Gertie pattern) and skipped a pattern altogether for my mariniere top.  I also recently purchased about 15 Simplicity patterns for $1 each, so... I have some sewing to do! Overall, I think my pledge is something less like "sew 5 vintage patterns" and more like like "be intentional in my pattern and fabric selection, continue to develop my 60s-inspired everyday wardrobe." Ugh, sounds like Wardrobe Architect has struck another innocent sewing blogger!

Simplicity's 60s rereleases have just been so great! 
i have this cape muslined, just waiting on that perfect fabric. 

Most of the patterns I purchased are for tops, and so, to go along with them, I also want to make more knee-length full skirts. I'm loving the slightly longer length of my neon skirt, and I find full skirts feel very "me," and they are easy for me to work in. While these are certainly vintage-inspired, they don't use a pattern at all, so they aren't necessarily part of my #vintagepledge, you know?

I still have some vintage patterns that I plan on whipping up though--I want to make a few more of Simplicity 3480, which I have altered twice to have a nice tuck-in feature inspired by another vintage pattern (and which I wrote about in my Seamwork article this month). I have also agreed (enthusiastically!) to sew something up for Vintage Month, and I have a few options in my pattern drawer (including that top dress) that await fabric...

What vintage (or vintage-inspired) sewing pledges do you have this year? Have any great patterns in your queue?


ps: i have some completed items to show you, but my pictures weren't quite up to par. hoping for sunny days ahead; it was so dreary this weekend!

allie J.

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Friday Favorites

finally warm enough for bonfires with friends / practicing my nighttime photography

What ho, Wooster!

A photo posted by @uu_inspiration on

voting on tuesday... not necessarily a "favorite" but good to do

gingham season


allie J.

Sheer White Faux Crop Top

A crop top and a simple full  skirt are, in my opinion, the perfect outfit to take you through spring and into summer. Even better when the crop top is actually a "tuck-in blouse with look of short overblouse"!

This is my altered version of Simplicity 3480. I showed my alterations in this post from last June--although I hadn't made another one after my red wearable muslin, I didn't forget about this vintage oddity! I wrote about it in my recent Seamwork article, and whipped one up for the sunny weather we've been having this week here in North Carolina.

The only change I made this time was to lengthen the pattern pieces by an additional 6 inches. It seems so long when you're cutting it out, but a lot of it gets taken up in the tuck that creates the fake hem. I wish my hem were a tiny bit shorter to show off my waist a bit more, but I really love this effect. I may take it up half an inch or so.

I love it in this semi-sheer white cotton muslin--it protects your shoulders from the sun and yet it is light and cool enough that I expect it to take me through the summer.

My necklace is from Happiness Boutique, it's this one. I love costume jewelry; I have some great sparkly pieces from my great-grandmother, and I think this over-the-top, blingy look is a fun touch paired with a more casual outfit, but I also think it would be gorgeous layered over a vintage dress with a jewel neckline.  (You can get 10% off with code alliemjackson, and they have free shipping and a rewards program!)

I want to make and wear some more crop tops this spring and summer--I have lots of full skirts (you can never have too many!) which will pair well with tuck-in faux crop tops for work, and I think I'll try and make them whenever I have remnants left over from bigger projects. You can layer one over a dress, which is a nice vintage look, or pair it with a skirt for a matched set. I'm starting to think the question is when can't you wear a crop top?

Would you wear a crop top--if it wasn't reeeally a crop top? What do you think is more practical, a fake crop top or a regular crop top + a tank underneath? Do you want a full tutorial or is my explanation from the original post comprehensive enough?


ps: the building behind me is the former Julian S. Carr Junior High School, the first junior high in durham to be integrated. Andree McKissick and Henry Vickers enrolled in 1959, 5 years after brown v. board of education.

allie J.

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Grainline Lark Tee

A white v-neck tee is suuuuper basic, but kind of totally necessary, right?

This is the v-neck, short sleeved Lark tee in a straight size four. As y'all know, I'm pretty new to knits, but I didn't find this tee to be super tricky; the most difficult part was the v-neck binding, but I stay stitched and clipped and trimmed and I was successful.

The parts that have some issues are the sleeves. I realized after the fact that I had forgotten to run a test bit of fabric through my serger, so they could just be a bit stretched out in the back, but I'm also wondering if I inserted them backwards? I'm not sure.

I'll definitely still wear this, probably often. But next time I make this pattern (which I think I will, I mean, it's a v-neck tee), I'll pay close attention to the sleeve insertion and my machine tension. We learn something from every project!

tee: grainline lark | jeans: j. crew (similar) | shoes: keds


ps: 97% of my pictures look like this:

allie J.

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Spring Accessories Wish List

Is it spring yet?

Here in NC we've been going back and forth, with a few days of 70 degree winter proceeded by several of cold rain. My heart, on the other hand, is firmly rooted in springtime and every year around this time I get super antsy to perk up my wardrobe.

While some of y'all are making alllll your wardrobe (and get after it if that's your thing), I think I'll stick to pretty dresses and bold coats for now, and lust over these shoes and bags that come pre-assembled--imagine that!

Jack Rogers sandals: I wear these all spring and summer and they go perfectly with shift dresses (and jeans too).

Jack Rogers boots: These heeled booties dress up a casual outfit and just looook at the cute scallops!

MICHAEL Michael Kors wedges: For long, long legs in those summer outfit shots ;) 

Foley + Corinna bag: I've been wearing my nude shoes a lot more recently and I don't have any bags that match? I have never heard of this brand but I like the knotted strap detail.

Kate Spade bag: Orrrr I could just go for bright pink. Pink's a neutral, right?

Ted Baker bag: This pretty blush bag falls right in the middle of the previous two, color wise. Plus, a bow is always a good idea.

What's on your wishlist for this spring?


ps: do you stick to neutrals for your shoes and bags, or do you go for brights? i'm trying to work on buying/making more neutrals, although pink will never leave my wardrobe!

allie J.

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