McCall’s M7093

Today I have a shirt to share that I absolutely love to wear. goodRhymes aside, I hate how it photographs. It’s a breezy, unfitted top made of a cotton gauze, and I feel good when I wear it, but I took pictures on breezy day and apparently it fills out like a sail. Not a good look.

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Ready to set sail! (This isn’t even the worst shot…)

But I like wearing it a lot, and I like the extra work I put into the construction.

See, the pattern suggest contrasting colors for parts of the shirt, which I liked. But I couldn’t find two fabrics that complemented each other and spoke to me. Instead, after cutting the side panels and sleeves, I used the end of an unsharpened pencil to stamp gold polka-dots on the fabric.DSCN5356 It’s very subtle, especially from a distance, but feels so special when worn. I also took the time to finish all the seams properly, with french seams and double-folded hems.

Bottom line, I still quite like this pattern, even if it’s not the most flattering thing I’ve ever worn. I cut a a size 22, but it has a lot of ease, so I think I’ll downsize to a 20 the next time I make it, to reduce sail potential. I might also try view D, which is a tunic and therefore beltable…good2

Simplicity 1614

I have a new favorite summer top!DSCN5358

This is Simplicity 1614 version B. I made this once years ago out of quilting cotton, and it was just a little stiff. I mean, I wear it sometimes, but didn’t love it. This one, however, is made of a light and breezy printed rayon and is wonderful and drapey. I actually bought the fabric for a different project, but changed my mind. So I rummaged through my patterns and decided to revisit. So glad I did! I sewed up a size 20, and found the fit good, except the back strap. DSCN5360I think I’ll shorten it by about an inch next time I make this baby. (And believe me, there will be a next time!)DSCN5362

Very quick and easy to sew, even with making my own bias tape.

My favorite part of this top is that I took time to sew little straps and snaps inside the shoulders.

This way I can snap my bra straps in place! I tend to stay away from tanks because I don’t like my bra showing, but these snaps have worked like an absolute dream. I think I may need to go through my wardrobe and sew them on everything I own!

Back to the Kitchen

Happy end-of-summer! DSCN4510

I know, I know, summer doesn’t actually end until mid September. But my students are back-to-school tomorrow, so I’ve been lesson-planning and bulletin board-making and bidding adieu to summer.

Fortunately I was able to do it in delicious style. Now, I’ve been mostly sharing sewing recently, but I have still been cooking and baking. Just not blogging about it.

But this week, one of my co-workers gave me a lovely bunch of home-grown tomatoes, so I made bruschetta to take to a concert at a local park.DSCN4511

I didn’t follow any one recipe. Just blanched, peeled, and gutted the tomatoes, and then chopped them up with half an onion and some chopped basil. I added a generous splash of balsamic vinaigrette and some course salt and ground pepper, and was good to go!DSCN4506

I had some garlic bread on hand, so thin sliced it, brushed it will olive oil and toasted it under the broiler. Topped with the fresh bruschetta, it was perfection!

“Light on the Water” Summer Skirt

Summer is here!DSCN2246…Which doesn’t really change my sewing habits much. I pretty much always like making cute skirts. This week’s skirt is special, though, because I made the print, as well as the skirt. The skirt is super basic: a rectangle seamed up the side, a casing for elastic and a simple folded hem. The fabric, too, is basic. I hit up the linens and bedding section of my local thrift store and found a lovely top sheet, 100% cotton in a sort of dove grey. Yards of fabric for $3? Yes, please!DSCN2249But at home, I decided the grey was a little too plain. I first thought of painting it, but even with textile medium, it felt too stiff. So I decided to play around with bleach! I used an old wine cork as a stamp, because simple shapes are sometimes best! I planned to do a sort of polka-dot ombre, with the spots getting less dense as I worked up from the hem. And that’s what I did, with the addition of a pleasant discovery — If you look closely, some of the circles are cross-hatched! DSCN2244

I worked on this table:DSCN2250And I found if I stamped lightly the bleach only imprinted the table’s design! So I worked with that discovery and love the end result! I reminds me of the way the sun sparkles on grey lake water.DSCN2243So it’s pretty, light, lovely, and a great example of letting surprises guide my work 🙂