Bell Sleeve Pullover Top

I am so proud of my newest make, McCall's M7542, a trendy bell sleeved pullover blouse in blue and white striped shirting. This top is one of my favorite makes this year and I can certainly see myself making a few more yet this fall. And best yet, this is one of the patterns I won from the #royalweddingsewalong; thanks McCall's!

I cut out a standard size eight and added two inches to the length of the bodice. I love the fit of the finished garment and it is the perfect transitional, summer to autumn top. The fabric is light and airy with a nice drape and with the right and wrong sides of the fabric so similar the inside of the bell sleeve is just a cute as the outside.

For all the great qualities of this fabric it is also a bit opaque and you can see the neck facing through the front of the top which is one of my least favorite aspects of the garment. When I make it again I may try a bias binding neck facing instead for a more minimal outward appearance.

I found most of the curved sections of the pattern a bit difficult but manageable with much pinning, ironing, and hand basting. Setting in the sleeve was more challenging for me on this project than it has been in the recent past, feeling like there was just too much fabric to slightly gather into the armscye. With so much gathering the serged seam finish was effective but not very pretty. At least I had a cute companion!

As I said, I'm thrilled with this top and plan to wear it all fall. What are your favorite transitional pieces?

Time estimate: 6 hours
Size: 8
Material used: shirting, 68% cotton, 28% nylon, 4% spandex
Care instructions: machine wash gentle cold, non-chlorine bleach, tumble dry low, cool iron

Cost to make:
pattern - free to me
fabric - $13
*hook and eye, thread from my stash
TOTAL: $13

The Great Big Pattern Swap

I recently participated in the #greatbigpatternswap, sending two patterns to other sewers and receiving two new-to-me patterns in the mail. I love the idea behind this swap; patterns are easy and inexpensive to mail and you get to meet other fabulous sewers all while curating a library patterns that better align with your wardrobe goals!

Each of the patterns I received were still uncut, so I got to work right away cutting them out while I asked my Instagram friends which pattern I should try first. By the time I was ready to cut into my fabric, Simplicity 1716 was in the lead by a hair. I just love the cowl neckline of views D, E, and F and had enough floral knit fabric leftover from a pair of leggings I made earlier this year that I was able to get to work right away.

The pattern called for stay tape in the shoulder seams and although I knew about this technique before making this top, I think it is the first time I used stay tape in one of my own garments. I've worn the top twice so far and the should seams are holding up well. Adding the stay tape didn't complicate the project in any way and I can see myself using it all other knit tops in the future.

I love how the back neck and arm facings turned out, although the armscye is a bit big for me. In the future I may try to slightly reduce the armscye and slightly elongate the cowl as some of the wrong side of the fabric can peak through from time to time. All in all, this pattern was a super fast sew and I loved the results. I can see adding a number of these tops into my regular work wardrobe rotation! Now to make time to sew my second new pattern...

Time estimate: 2-4 hours
Size: 12
Material used: knit print, 97% rayon and 3% spandex
Care instructions: machine wash cold, gentle cycle, line dry, cool iron as needed

Cost to make leggings:
pattern - free to me, approximately $3.50 to mail one pattern to other participant
*fabric and thread from my stash
TOTAL: $3.50

My Chai Tee

I have adored this cutely named "chai tee" pattern since I first saw it at a Cincinnati fabric store this spring. It will be a great addition to my work wardrobe, with my morning black tea!

The pattern is created for both wovens and knits, which makes it the perfect addition to my collection. I made my first chai tee with woven material allows for slightly more formal, business casual feel. As the pattern suggested, I sized up one size to compensate for the reduced stretch of a woven material.

I deviated from the pattern instructions in a few places, enclosing both of the yoke pieces inside using the rolling technique detailed in the instructions. Honestly, I did this on accident because I wasn't paying close enough attention... but in the end it was a happy mistake that I think made the final product feel more finished. Because both shoulder seams were already finished I pinned the neck binding in place, sewed it together into a closed circle, and continued to follow the instructions for attaching the binding.

After trying to stitch in the neck binding unsuccessfully a few time I decided to hand based it on, with much more success. One additional note I had about the neck binding was that I had to cut a second neck binding out because the pattern piece did not indicate that it should be on the bias for woven materials, although the pattern instructions did. Although this was a minor annoyance it was worth the effort to not fight an ill fitting binding.

One last note on the pattern instructions was that I had to add a basting line or two to the sleeve to get them set inside well. I was happy with this quick sew and was able to make it work for me with a few tweaks.

This is wonderful and wearable muslin, and I am glad I tried the pattern once before cutting into my final fashion fabric. As you can see, a straight size small is roomy enough in the bust, but much too tight around my hips. When I make this pattern again I will need to grade the hips out to at least a size medium. I can't wait to have more, tailored chai tees!

Time estimate: 5 hours
Size: small
Material used: polyester blend
Care instructions: machine wash cold, line dry, warm iron when needed

Cost to make dress:
pattern - $15
material - gifted
*thread from my stash
TOTAL: $15 plus tax
[name=Marissa] [img=//] [description=Hi, I'm Marissa, a hobby seamstress. Thanks for joining me on my journey as I create a handmade wardrobe. Like and follow via the social media links below to see my newest makes!] [(instagram=] [(facebook=] [(bloglovin=]