Santa Fe Tops

I’ve had a three-yard cut of black rayon-spandex jersey in my stash that has been taunting me for years. I hate sewing rayon-spandex jersey. It is shifty and floppy and impossible to cut out and fidgety to sew together, even with a serger. So I stopped buying it a long time ago, and had rooted all of it from my stash except this one remaining piece. I wear so much black jersey that a big cut of the stuff seemed too practical to get rid of, even if it was in a substrate that I didn’t like working with.

Hey June Santa Fe Top View C

When I was making my Avery leggings, I was finally inspired to just use the fabric up—I realized that I didn’t have great options for shirts to wear with my leggings and that some loose fitting black tees would make for a perfect combo. I decided to use the Hey June Santa Fe top. I thought the loose fit would be a good match for the rayon-spandex, given its ultra-clingy nature, and I liked that the pattern had several different views so I could make two different shirts without needing to pull out two different patterns.

In the end I decided to make View B, which is the tank top with the higher cut neckline, and View C which has cuffed, cut-on sleeves. I powered through cutting the pattern pieces out and, from there, the sewing was pretty straight-forward. I decided to press the center front and center back seams on both tops flat and then top-stitch on either side of the seam. It was more time-consuming and the top-stitching isn’t very visible but I prefer the way this approach helps control the seam allowance at these points.

Hey June Santa Fe Top View B

The necklines of both tops and the armholes of the tank top are all finished with a knit binding, which I actually prefer to a band finish. I just find that binding wears a bit better over time and actually seems a bit less tricky to sew. The pattern even calls for my preferred binding method, which made things that much easier.

My current bust measurement is 43”, so I made a straight 1X in both tops and sewed both views as is. I’m happy with the fit and feel of both tops and I know that I’ll get a ton of wear out of them. I’m also really happy to finally have that fabric out of my stash. Good riddance!

Tulip Print Stevie Top

Just a couple of weeks after Jude was born, while I was still fully immersed in the post-partum haze, I did some ill-advised online fabric shopping. The history of this blog shows that I primarily sew knits. It furthermore shows that I primarily sew solids, mostly in neutral colors. And yet, despite these clear preferences, I order several lightweight woven fabrics in prints—some florals, some novelty prints, some bright colors. Why? I have absolutely no idea. But I do know that I now have 2 yards of a blue flamingo print rayon voile that I have no plan for.

Tilly and the Buttons Stevie Top

Maybe my post-partum brain could see something my rational, rested brain could not. Because I used this tulip-print rayon challis from Cotton + Steel to make the Stevie Top from Tilly and the Buttons and it’s become one of my favorite garment projects to date.

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I made the largest size in the pattern, which is labeled a size 8 and fits a 44” bust. I skipped the bust pocket and used a button loop closure rather than the back ties. I lengthened the body by 1″ but otherwise made the pattern as is.  This was simple, straight-forward, pure pleasure sewing. I love that the facing is stitched down—it means the facing isn’t flopping around but I also like the way the top-stitching looks. The boxy fit with the cuffed, cut-on sleeve is probably my favorite warm-weather style right now, and I wish I had a whole closet full of shirts like this for summer.

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The Cotton + Steel rayon was really easy to work with and the weight and drape is perfect for this top. The simple style lines of the Stevie make it a perfect pattern for a larger scale print. I honestly did not think I would ever enjoy wearing a floral top this much, but I feel very comfortable and very much like myself when I wear this. I’m so pleased with this shirt, I wore it to Convocation, which kind of made it my back-to-school outfit for this year.

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What will become of the other prints in my stash? I have no idea. I know that a lot of sewists find prints super inspiring to work with, but anything more adventurous than a minimalist, monochrome motif seems to really stress me out. And yet, I can’t seem to just get rid of these fabrics. So I’ll keep staring at them and keep looking for the right pattern and maybe in another 10 months, I’ll hit the project jackpot again.

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Ogden Cami

I officiated a friend’s wedding at the very beginning of the month. It ended up being a fun experience, but the lead up was kind of nerve-wracking. I was worried that I would either 1) ruin my friend’s day by putting together a shoddy, awkward ceremony or 2) end up looking like a fool because I don’t really go to weddings and thus have no sense of what people wear to them.

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Proof that I did the thing.

The question of what to wear was complicated by the fact that I do not wear dresses or skirts, which seem to be the wedding guest outfit of choice for 97% of women. And if you try to seek out pants-based wedding outfit ideas for women, you mostly get pictures of tragic mother-of-the-bride pantsuits, which was definitely not the look I was going for. In general, anything more formal than, say, a Friday night dinner at Olive Garden is a little outside my comfort zone. My life is 100% casual so occasion dressing as a concept is more or less a mystery to me. For awhile, I figured it would be easiest to make myself something to wear but I gave up on that idea a couple of months ago when I realized that it’s kind of impossible to make sewing plans when you have no sense of where to even begin.

So I ended up doing the shopping thing, which remains one of my least favorite activities in life. But after trying on anything that seemed remotely appropriate, I ended up finding something I liked a lot. And, of course, multiple people asked me if I made my outfit, which is a thing that never happens in my day-to-day life when the chances that I’ve actually made what I’m wearing are significantly higher.

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A rare photo of Aidan and I dressed up.

The only handmade item I wore to the wedding was this Ogden Cami. I didn’t make it specifically for the wedding—I’ve had this project planned since the pattern was released—but I did move it up to the top of the queue once I’d purchased my wedding clothes and recognized the danger of potential movement-related button gape with the shirt. I finished it the night before we left and was thus safe from flashing any bra peeks at any point during the event.

True Bias Ogden Cami

I’ve been looking for a camisole pattern that is not cut on the bias for a long time, and that’s primarily why I bought this pattern. But I also appreciate that it’s finished with a partial lining, which I found easier and cleaner than something like a bias facing. Overall, the pattern was really straightforward and makes it very easy to get a nice-looking garment.

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A shot of the inside–this is the back partial lining

The most challenging aspect of this project was simply dealing with my fabric, which is a very light, very soft rayon. It was described online as a “viscose rayon challis” but feels more like a rayon voile to me. It’s the first time I’ve sewn with something so light and so shifty, so it took some experimenting to figure out how to get the best stitch results on my machine (65/9 universal needle/straight stitch foot/1.8mm stitches, in case you were curious). Because the fabric was so light, I used French seams on the sides, so the inside all looks quite nice.

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I didn’t do much to adjust the fit. My bust and waist measurements put me right between a 14 and a 16, so I just cut between the lines for those two sizes. True Bias drafts for a C cup, and my current pattern cup size is between a C and D, so I didn’t bother with an FBA, but I was still a little concerned that there might not be sufficient length at the front and on the front lining to cover my bust. So I added an additional ½” to the center front of both pieces, blending to nothing at the sides. The cami looked a bit on the short side to me, so I also added 1” of length to the body.

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All in all, this is one of those boring-to-look-at and impossible-to-photograph projects that I’m really glad to have in my closet. It’s useful, it feels and fits much nicer than the cotton layering tanks I’ve been wearing, and I don’t have anything else like it right now. This isn’t the kind of garment I’m likely to wear on it’s own, but I could probably use another one in a lighter color for layering.

True Bias Ogden Cami

Let me know if you want me to officiate your wedding. I have a fancy outfit from Kohl’s and have been ordained by the internet—only the best for your special day.