Tuesday, January 04, 2022

The NEW Itch to Stitch Azores Top

"There's no way I can wear that" was my first thought when I looked at the line drawings of this pattern. 

But then I remembered a top I tried on last summer while at Nordstrom Rack. It had a similar shape with the waist cinched in with elastic thread. I liked it enough that I almost bought it.  The almost was because I sew and you know how THAT conversation goes - "I could sew it, I will sew it, etc."

 The pattern is the newly released Azores Top and Dress from Itch to Stitch.  Here's the line drawing.

The pattern has beautiful details with a shirred waist and wrist, a buttoned yoke with gathers for the bust area, and a short peplum. The pattern has multiple cup sizes also. I sewed an 8 with the DD cup option, grading to a 10 at the waist/hip. 

While there is enough room in the bust area, I discovered I will need to add length above the shirring next time. Any movement I make causes the top to ride up making it too short (and uncomfortable to wear).  I also found that I will need to add length to the sleeves.

I think the proportion of the shorter peplum works.  Just know that you need to wear something high-waisted with a slimmer silhouette on the lower portion of your body to balance out the fullness of the top.  

The shirring is created by sewing seven rows 1/4" apart with elastic thread in the bobbin area. I did two separate bobbins (hand winding each time). One I didn't stretch the elastic thread at all, and one I put just a wee bit of tension on the elastic.  The one with the wee bit of tension worked best for me. 

My fabric is semi-sheer and white and I didn't want to use any type of marking device for the stitch lines, so I marked the first line with blue painters tape. 

 I used my BERNINA 34D foot so I could easily see while I was stitching. 

After stitching the first row I switched to my quarter-inch foot for subsequent rows of elastic. 

By the way, I stitched seven rows of elastic, and was perplexed as to why it wasn't gathering up much. I figured it just needed to be steamed, which you do after all rows are stitched. But that didn't work either. 

Then it dawned on me that my elastic thread was probably old, as I couldn't recall when I had last used it.  I ripped out seven rows of stitching, ran out and purchased new elastic thread, restitched and problem solved :-) 

The most difficult part of the top, which is why its rated intermediate, is the yoke as you need to be precise when stitching the corners. Instructions to sew the yoke and facing using the burrito method are included.  The slit at the center front has a loop and button closure.

Fabric suggestions include woven fabrics such as lightweight crepe, challis, silky, seorgette, and charmeuse. My fabric was purchased a few years ago from SR Harris and I don't know what the fiber content is. 

I was a pattern tester for this top, and in exchange for providing feedback on the instructions and fit, I received a copy of the pattern.

Be sure to check out the pictures of the other pattern testers as you can see what this looks like on many others. 

By the way, if you're interested in purchasing the pattern, this link is an affiliate link - Azores Top and Dress Pattern. The cost is the same to you but I receive a tiny commission.  You certainly don't have to use the link to purchase either if you'd rather not.  

Happy New Year!

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Sunday, December 26, 2021

McCall's 8003 - A Stretch Velvet Top with Cut-Out Detail

Two years ago McCall's posted this pattern as a Sew The Look on their Facebook page.  Most of the commenters hated the look!  Personally, I liked it and purchased the pattern when it was released. I sewed a test version in a black ITY knit (blogged about here).  

I recently sewed it again, this time in a beautiful stretch crushed velvet.

McCalls 8003 Peekaboo Knit Top in Stylemaker Fabrics stretch velvet worn by Sharon Sews
The pattern is McCall's 8003 which was released in 2019. It is described as close-fitting or pullover with snap closing tops, with mock collar or neckband and length variations.  It's basically a scoop neck tee with another piece placed over the upper bodice portion. Both are basted together and sewn into the armhole seam.

McCall's 8003 Pattern Cover on Sharon Sews blog
As someone who has a large bust I typically avoid wearing high necklines or turtlenecks, even though I like them.  I think that's why I was attracted to this pattern. The small cut-out detail showing a hint of skin breaks up the large amount of fabric on my chest. 

McCalls 8003 Peekaboo Knit Top in Stylemaker Fabrics stretch velvet worn by Sharon Sews

As you can see in my photos, the cut-out detail is more subtle than shown on the pattern cover.  Even in my first version (a stretchier knit) that cut-out is pretty conservative.

McCalls 8003 Black Knit

I added stay tape to the shoulder seams.

Stay Tape added to the shoulder seam on McCall's 8003 Sharon Sews blog
I used a low heat, a press cloth and needle board when I needed to press anything. 

McCall's 8003 Velvet Pressing with Press Cloth

I did do a full bust adjustment but I think I need even more room in that area. When I wear this top the bust area pulls up above my bust.  I had also forgotten that the top is shorter than I like. I'll need to make a note on the pattern in case I sew this one again. With the bust area pulling up and the shorter length I find myself constantly adjusting the top when its worn.

McCalls 8003 sewin my StyleMaker Fabrics stretch velvet worn by Sharon Sews
But the fabric! How beautiful is this stretch velvet? Even though I said in a previous blog post that I'm working on sewing through my stash, this was a new purchase. I bought it from Style Maker Fabrics during their Thanksgiving weekend sale.  It's named "artistic collage stretch crushed velvet" 

Let's talk about the neckline.  At the time I was sewing this (two weeks ago) it was warm (almost 80F) and muggy! I'm not used to that kind of December weather :-)  I planned to sew the mock turtleneck, but I broke out into a sweat just thinking about having something around my neck!  

So the neckline from View B it was. I narrowed the neckband though as I thought it was too wide.

McCall's 8003 peekaboo knit top in stretch velvet Sharon Sews

The neckline is REALLY high.  And tight.  It's not choking me but I can tell it's there.

I thought about lowering the neckline but I had already sewn the upper front piece to the bodice. By lowering the neckline at that point I would have eliminated a lot of that upper front piece. I didn't have enough to recut the piece so I kept everything as is. 

McCalls 8003 Stretch Velvet Peekaboo Top Sharon Sews

Oh, one more thing. The sleeves are tight on this pattern. I had to to a full bicep adjustment, adding an inch.  While my arms are a bit on the larger size, I rarely have to adjust sleeve patterns to add more width.

I like the top and it's perfect for wearing with jeans when we head out to dinner, which I must admit is a rare occasion. But I'm ready when we do :-) 

McCalls 8003 Peekaboo Knit Top Easy to Sew in Stretch Velvet worn by Sharon Sews


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Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Vogue 9329~ A Marcy Tilton Dress in Stretch Velvet

In 2018 I sewed this dress out of an ITY knit (blogged about here) and liked it so much that I sewed another using a Liverpool knit. After that I tucked the pattern away.

Earlier this month I was going through my fabrics, and came across this pink stretch velvet that has been sitting in my stash for far too long. I decided to use the velvet to sew a dress to wear to Christmas Eve service.

Vogue 9329 Marcy Tilton dress design sewn in pink stretch velvet worn by sharon sews
The pattern, Vogue 9329, is a Marcy Tilton design from 2018. It's rated easy (and this is indeed easy to sew) and is described as a pullover dress, close fitting through the bust, with pockets and sleeve length variations.

It's designed to have a partial contrast back, but I didn't do that. The back is all pink just like the front. 

The first time I sewed this dress, I had altered the pattern for a full bust. I knew this stretch velvet had less stretch than the ITY knit, so I added an additional 1 inch in the bust area. 

Vogue 9329 Marcy Tilton dress design sewn in pink stretch velvet worn by sharon sews

Although it's not obvious in these photos, I need even more room in the bust.  It feels tight and the dress is pulling across my back.  

When the pattern says two-way stretch with 50% cross grain I guess they mean it :-)  This fabric is closer to a 35% stretch. 

Vogue 9329 Marcy Tilton dress design sewn in pink stretch velvet worn by sharon sews

One thing I appreciate about this dress is the pockets. they are in the side seam, but top stitched in place to the front of the dress. Which means they don't flop around inside the dress.

Normally with velvet I would baste, baste, baste (by hand) before topstitching. But I had recently watched a YouTube video with Linda Lee (Sewing Workshop) and she mentioned using Sulky KK 2000 Temporary Spray Adhesive instead of basting the seams of velvet. Well, I had taken a Sulky Instructor course online during the stay-at-home in 2020 and just happened to have some on hand,  It worked beautifully! 

Vogue 9329 Marcy Tilton dress design sewn in pink stretch velvet worn by sharon sews

I do love this design, but am not happy with the fit in the bust area.  I posted on Instagram and received advice to let it spend time in the "magic closet" as I might like it better in a few weeks.  That is indeed where this pink dress is hanging out for the time being.  Time will tell if she gets worn by me or donated for someone else to love.

Vogue 9329 Marcy Tilton dress design sewn in pink stretch velvet worn by sharon sews

As for my Christmas Eve attire? It's a toss up between my red metallic dress with the big sleeves (blogged here) or my stretch velvet elevated lounge wear look (blogged here).  


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Friday, December 17, 2021

Elevated Loungewear - Style Arc Joan Top and McCall's 7786 Pull-on Pants

Googling the phrase elevated lounge wear will result in a multitude of articles and images showing this trend.

It appears many of us, including me, have settled into a wardrobe that favors comfort. That's why I decided to sew my own elevated lounge wear look for a recent women's event at my church. 

Stretch Black Velvet in a Style Arc Joan Woven Top and McCall's 7786 Pull on Pants worn by Sharon Sews
This fabric was an impulse buy. I was in Hobby Lobby picking up buttons for some mug rugs I was sewing and saw that the holiday fabric collection was marked 50% off. I rarely purchase fabric from Hobby Lobby, but this black stretch velvet - with glitter - caught my eye. I bought four yards planning to sew a jumpsuit.

Stretch Black Velvet in a Style Arc Joan Woven Top and McCall's 7786 Pull on Pants worn by Sharon Sews

Once I was home, busy tracing out the jumpsuit pattern from a BurdaStyle magazine, I came to my senses. I don't wear jumpsuits. Why was I planning to sew one? 

I sewed one last year, and the only time I wore it was to take pictures for Instagram.  I didn't want to waste my time sewing something that would only be worn once.

Stretch Black Velvet in a Style Arc Joan Woven Top and McCall's 7786 Pull on Pants worn by Sharon Sews

I quickly changed course, and pulled out two patterns I've sewn before that I liked (and I knew fit).  The Style Arc Joan Woven Top and McCall's 7786 pull-on-pants.

I blogged about the Joan top previously - here

The McCall's pants I have sewn many times and I put a video review together showing seven of them in different fabrics on YouTube (here)

The sewing went quick, because both were TNT (tried and true) patterns for me. 

On the top, I sewed a size 12, raised the neckline 1", shortened the top 1-1/2", and eliminated the wide hem facing.   

Black Stretch Velvet StyleArc Joan Woven Top on Sharon Sews

I'm typically a size 16 in McCall's pants. These pants have a flat front waistband, front side pockets, and back elastic.

I didn't realize until I was done that I should have sized down due to using a stretch fabric. I kept pulling the pants up at the event :-).  I can make the back elastic smaller so they fit better. 

Stretch Black Velvet in a Style Arc Joan Woven Top and McCall's 7786 Pull on Pants worn by Sharon Sews

Once I was done sewing the top and pants, I couldn't help but wonder if I had just sewn myself a fancy pair of pajamas.  That's why I styled it with necklaces and sequin booties and decided to call it elevated lounge wear!  I received multiple compliments the night of event and at the park while taking photographs. 

Stretch Black Velvet in a Style Arc Joan Woven Top and McCall's 7786 Pull on Pants worn by Sharon Sews

I felt good wearing it at the event, and was comfortable the entire evening, which involved a lot of sitting. By sewing separates, I'll get much more wear out of this look, especially the top which looks great with jeans and booties.

So tell me, are you a fan of the elevated lounge wear trend? 


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Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Christmas Apron Video Tutorial - Reversible Apron with Naughty or Nice Applique

This Christmas Apron makes a great last-minute gift! I sewed a few as gifts last year, and published a video tutorial on YouTube. 

The half apron has a pocket on each side, extra long ties so it fits most everyone, and features the words Naughty on one side and Nice on the other.  Plus there is no hand-sewing!

I used raw-edge applique technique, but if you have an embroidery machine you could use that to embroider the words. 

Check out the video tutorial here -  https://youtu.be/49Q1m6y5_sI

To help you navigate through the different steps in this video I've included chapters in the description box. 

Be sure to let me know if you sew one as I'd love to see it :-)

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