Smocked Top for Adults

Smocking for Adults

Smocking for Adults

Love smocking!

I feel an artistic push to experiment with smocking on more adult garments!  The “long top over leggings” look seemed promising.

Teal LInen Top Back View

Teal Linen Top Back View

The muslin (actually a teal linen blend) for this experiment was completed a few months back.  For both garments, Vogue 8472 served as the pattern.

Vogue 8472

The body of the final version was originally lengthened 10″ and made of a very lightweight copper colored linen cotton blend.

Front view of top.

Front view of top.

The center back smocked panel for the final version is quite wide (31″ pre-gathers).  The teal linen panel was much narrower (13″ pre-gathers.)

Back view with smocking.

Back view with smocking.

The smocking gathers bunched to some degree, but were workable.  Two strands of a medium blue embroidery floss was used for the smocking.

After completion, the hem of the top was curved.  The length in the front (from shoulder seam) is 24″ while in the back it reaches 30″.



The buttonholes were bound with the same copper linen/cotton fabric.

Lining Fabric

Lining Fabric

The yoke and fronts were lined with a blue and brown fabric from The Stash.  The buttons are doubled – the larger button is a Bluish grey coat button and the upper button a copper metal with sun design.

I plan on wearing the top with white cropped leggings.

Wearable adult smocking! YAY!

Wearable adult smocking that is comfortable and lightweight!  Double YAY!



Posted in Clothing, Embellishment, Scrap Couture, Sewing, Stash Couture, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Butterick 6101 – Looks so nice on the Model!

B6101 looks wonderful on the model!

Love the Tilton sister’s designs… all of them.  I think The Pattern Stash contains every pattern they have ever designed.  The designs force me to step outside my rather straight-laced comfort zone.

Katherine Tilton’s Butterick 6101 looked so comfortable and on the model the sleeveless version looked perfect for the temperature extremes of airplane travel.

So stepping far outside the comfort zone, I found a rather loud geometric fabric and sewed it up.  Sewing was quite simple and straight forward.

Line Drawing

For fun, I added a grey stripe for the long front inset and “apron” pocket.

But after trying the garment on, and reducing the bulk, the combination of the fabric and the pattern fell into question.

Some garments just don't work for me.

Some garments just don’t work for me…

I tried adding sleeves.  No improvement.

Just not viable.

…or in certain fabrics.

I waited for the husband to comment.  He described it as a “combination serape and apron.”

Swing and a Miss

Swing and a Miss – but will make nice pajamas!

This is one of those garments that will not be worn in public, but I think will make a comfortable  pajama top.

I may try the pattern again in a quieter fabric, though – it just looks so nice on the model!






Posted in Clothing, Scrap Couture, Sewing, Stash Couture | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Vogue 8817 Logo Top

Logo T-shirts

Logo T-shirts – a closet full!!!

Logo T-shirts are rarely (OK, never)  included on the “must have” fashion list.  Yet, we know supporting our children’s endeavors is important, so Logo T-shirts full our closets!

I have been revising Logo T-shirts into more flattering options for more years than I care to admit.  This post, this post and this post identify three such remakes.  This year, I decided to try some longer tops to wear over leggings.

Perfect for logos and leggings!

Many thanks to Katherine Tilton, as it almost seems she created Vogue 8817 just for this purpose. The only modification I made to the pattern was to shorten it 2″.

Vogue 8817 Logo Top - Front View

Vogue 8817 Logo Top – Front View

The smaller color block sections are perfectly sized for logos and sleeves cut from T-shirts, and the length and curved hem pair well with leggings.

Vogue 8817 Logo Top - Back View

Vogue 8817 Logo Top – Back View

The $7 clearance sale cropped logo t-shirt I had purchased did not include much usable fabric, but I was able to cut the upper back and front and upper sleeves.

The striped section on the front and lower sleeves was fussy-cut from a navy/cream/orange stripe.  No orange shows in the finished top.

Fabric Detail

Fabric Detail

The lower portion was made from a lacy knit stash fabric, which like many stash fabrics is of unknown fiber and origin.

The neckline trim was also fussy cut from the striped knit (no orange here either.)

Sewing the top required less than 5 hours – fussy cutting and all!











Posted in Repurpose, Sewing, T-shirt remake | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Two hundred+ Ties

200+ Ties in a Quilt Top

200+ Ties in a Quilt Top

A family member collected over 200 ties while working as a FBI agent.  After he  retired, the ties were forwarded my way to create a quilt. Most of the ties were 1980s and 1990s vintage.

Some of the 200+ ties

Some of the 200+ ties

If you were not around to witness firsthand the neckties of the 80s and 90s – let them be summarized as not having “universal appeal.”

Ties from them 80s and 90s

Ties from them 80s and 90s

Most of these ties were silk and in very good condition.

A simple version of foundation piecing was used to piece the tessellated star pattern – the sewing lines are drawn directly onto the foundation fabric using a stencil.

Foundation Block

Foundation Block

The result were grey fabric foundation blocks with the sewing lines drawn on the back.  (The example is in off-white as the lines do not show well against grey in a photo.)

Connect 3" point to opposite corner to create pattern.

Connect side center point to opposite corner to create pattern.

This simple geometric pattern is created by drawing lines from the center point of one edge to the opposite corner for each of the 4 sides.

Sewing the first 3 triangle-shaped wedges is typical “stitch and flip” foundation piecing.  The 4th triangle requires partial “unstitching” to facilitate correct placement.

One Unit

One Unit

After sewing and trimming, each unit is 4 triangle-shaped wedges around an offset square of the foundation fabric.

Each star requires 4 units.

Each star requires 4 units.

Each star requires 4 units.

As each star connects to 4 adjacent stars, laying out the triangles must be done with care (and the occasional unstitching.)

Elvis (turquoise) and Harley Davidson ties in the quilt top

Elvis (turquoise) and Harley Davidson ties in the quilt top

What a collection of ties!  A Harley-Davidson tie, a tie from prep school, three Elvis ties, a Beatles Yellow Submarine tie, several Jerry Garcia ties – even a tie with sperm swimming across it!

Beatles Yellow Submarine and Ticket to RIde (black and white)

Beatles Yellow Submarine and Ticket to Ride (black and white)

Many were gifts and must have had been associated with rather interesting stories!

Tessellated Stars seem to almost twinkle!

Tessellated Stars seem to almost twinkle!

The rather disparate colors and patterns played against one another beautifully in the tessellated pattern.

The colors seem to recede and then reappear as the eye travels from one start to the nest, simulating a twinkle!

The few plain fabrics in the quilt top were cut from men’s shirts.

The star field is surrounded by borders of grey and small ties squares – which allowed small bow ties that were also included in the collection to be included in the quilt.

The top took some time to piece, but it was always intriguing to see how each tie worked with the colors and textures of the adjacent ties.  Now that the piecing is done – it is off to the wonderful  long armed quilter so she can work her magic!












Posted in Crazy Quilting, Crazy Quilting, Home Decor, Quilting, Quilting with Neck Ties, Repurpose, Sewing, Tutorial | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Teal Linen Top with Smocking

Smocked Teal Top

Smocked Teal Top

A yard of teal linen blend was crying out to be included in the Summer Top Series.

It was selected to create a “wearable muslin” – which is a trial attempt at new pattern.  Fitting and improving design are integral parts of the trial.

Smocking Detail (color is off)

Smocking Detail (color looks green, but linen was a true teal)

Vogue 8472 is a jacket, but the wider neckline and A-lined body  made me think it would be a lovely hot season sleeveless linen top.

One of the main reasons this design required a muslin was the length.   However, adding an inch to the front and  2 inches to the back still created a “cropped” length.

The final garment – which is to have a much more ethereal look – will require adding at least 2 more inches – and the use of a much lighter fabric!

Smocking, rather than gathering was used on the back panel.  It maintains the non-clingy A-line shape of the top and adds that “Stash Couture” element.

Not being a teal person, the Fabric Stash was somewhat bereft in that color for lining choices.  But a marbled purple blue green teal quilting cotton presented itself.  Somewhat darker than planned on, it will extend wearing of the top well into the fall!

Vogue 8472

Attaching the yoke in a sleeveless version was a bit tricky.   The yoke and its lining were sewn together – almost all the way around – but only machine basted at the bottom edge.  It was then trimmed, clipped and turned right side out and ironed.

And steamed.

And ironed again.  The lower edge basting was then removed.

Lining Fabric

Lining Fabric

This created a perfectly rounded seamline guide on both the lower linen and the lower lining edges.  The armholes of the lower body had been finished using bias binding cut from the marbeled fabric.

Teal LInen Top Back View

Teal Linen Top Back View

After understitching the neck edge of the yoke, the lower body pieces were attached to the linen yoke at the created “seamline guide.”  The shoulder edges were then sewn together – by machine – (this requires heavy pinning and some maneuvering, but was doable.)  Lastly, the yoke linings were hand stitched down. No topstitching was used.

Bound Buttonhole Detail

Bound Buttonhole Detail

Bound Buttonholes on a trial garment?  Seemed like a good place to practice them. Problem was, the garment was all but done when the decision was made to use bound buttonholes….

Note to self:  Bound buttonholes should be constructed early in the garment sewing process – certainly NOT after the linings have been attached and understitched!

Posted in Clothing, Embellishment, Sewing, Smocking, Stash Couture | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Silk Twill Tank Top with Subtle Smocking

The flowy silk used for the Shadow Embellished Silk Top was not the first fabric I cut out for the top.  Initially I had selected a crisper silk twill in a paler lavender.

Silk Twill Tank Top - front

Silk Twill Tank Top – Unflattering photo of front

Not wanting to return the cut fabric to the Fabric Stash, I was determined to finish the twill tank top.

To be truthful, I should note that what I did was take a week and remake the tank top four or five times.

Twill and Georgette do not behave the same.  Georgette is sheer and flows.  Twill is crisp and well, is crisp.

The redesigned tank pattern required several reductions in width to avoid looking like a maternity top tent.

Subtle Smocking Detail

Subtle Smocking Detail

Once under the spell of the embellish, it is difficult to embrace “plain-ness.”   Some subtle smocking replaced the pleats in the center back.

The smocking was done using a single set of iron-on smocking transfers from Vogart circa 1950s.  Perfect for just a touch of smocking.

I have always loved smocking and it is nice to work it into clothing once in a while.

Subtle Smocking on Back

Subtle Smocking on Back

During the remakes of the remakes, the tank was shortened, shoulders width reduced, neckline lowered and width increased and bust darts re-angled and relocated (the rather humorous first attempt had horizontal darts at my waistline!).

I became an expert at setting my sewing machine tension gauge for easy seam removal (I can only hope I reset it prior to final seaming!!)

All the remakes and revisions overcame the good intentions of making a true pattern post-fitting.  I did get a final version of the yoke pattern, though.

Now, what to wear it with?   Unfortunately, the top “bunches” in the front (as shown in the unflattering front view photo) when worn with the grey skirt I had in mind.

Perhaps white stretch jean skirt or leggings?








Posted in Clothing, Sewing, Smocking, Stash Couture, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Shadow Embellished SIlk Top

Shadow Embellished Silk Top - Back

Shadow Embellished Silk Top – Back

Lilac sheer silk from The Fabric Stash.

A few beads.  A few pieces of lace.  A few fun hours spent sewing….

The Result: A Shadow Embellished Top.

The Shadow Embellishment is a short piece of lace sewn between the double layers of the back.

Embellishment on vertical lace piece.

Embellishment on vertical lace piece – out of the “shadow.”

The lace was embellished by burning (with a candle flame) the edges of petals cut from scraps of dark violet fabric.  Beads and embroidery stitching were used to stitch the petals to the lace and highlight some of the lace pattern.

Embellished lace piece - in the shadow (under one layer of silk)

Embellished lace piece – in the shadow (under one layer of silk)

The burning seers the edges so no raveling will occur… yes, it is easy to burn too much! (But we try, try again!)

The desire was for the skirt of the top to have more ethereal embellishments than the yoke. By placing the embellished lace between the silk backs a silk “shadow” falls over it.  The shadow is sufficiently sheer that the lace remains visible, but it doesn’t overwhelm the top.

Right Upper Yoke Detail

Right Yoke Detail

The yoke is heavily embellished with stitching and beading.  As the sheer silk has little or no structure, it was layered over linen.

Left Yoke Embellishment Detail

Left Yoke Embellishment Detail

The natural colored linen is not visible as it is sandwiched between layers of the silk and the lining, but it provided the needed “stiffness” or structure for the embroidery and beading.

Shadow Embellished Top - Front

Shadow Embellished Top – Front

Although small portions of the yokes are visible, the front of the top was designed to highlight the flow of the fabric. An overlay, slightly shorter than the top was added to the pattern.  The silk almost flows when walking.

The pattern used was a heavily modified Simplicity 1694.  The modifications included those used for The Stash Couture Tunic. Then the front overlay was cut and the back doubled.

The curved hemline is 4″ longer in center back than the center front.  This hem variation also adds to the “float” of wearing the top.

Side seams were french seamed.  Hems and bias binding were handstitched.

Can’t wait for an occasion to wear it!

Back Yoke

Back Yoke

Yoke with "Burned" Petal Flower

Yoke with “Burned” Petal Flower

Beading and Stitching on Yoke

Beading and Stitching on Yoke

Additional photos of embellishment.




Posted in Clothing, Crazy Quilting, Embellishment, Goddess, Sewing, Stash Couture | 3 Comments