Friday, December 28, 2012

December 28 Update - End of Year

The Simplicity 5190 autumnal floral dress is finished! It looks exactly like the little illustration from a few posts ago! I will wear it tomorrow and hopefully get pictures taken then.

The Grainline Moss skirt has not been cut out. So it will be 10 in 2012 after all. I'm not bothered about it at all because since it is not cut out, it will not count as an unfinished object (UFO). I will start the new year fresh with three muslins that I can then sew right off the bat. Sounds good to me.

My last projects of 2012 are two fleece dresses and one fleece sweatshirt for two children in my extended family. As of this moment they are not done but hopefully will be by Saturday afternoon when I will see them in Maryland. I guess I'm just not me unless I'm stressing myself out!

Currently reading: Wish You Were Here: The Official Biography of Douglas Adams (of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fame) by Nick Webb and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson.

Listening to: Ceremonials by Florence and the Machine, pretty much all the time.

Most recent movies seen: Skyfall, Hitchcock, Les Miserables

Have a Happy NEW Year!!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays To One And All

This past year:

Wow, what can one say. 2012 had it ups and downs. Unfortunately, it is ending on some truly tragic negatives. Which I can only hope means that 2013 will be our salvation: that real change and responsibility will be put in place to benefit all and not just some. This sentiment amazingly, refers to so many things this year, not just the obvious. We are in this together; that's the only way we prosper, as a world, a country, and as individuals.

Hug your family and friends, let them know you love them, and look forward to a new shinier year.

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 16 Weekend Update

I had a very productive weekend, sewing-wise*:
I have completed my Grainline Moss skirt muslin, incorporating the new pattern alterations. It wasn't perfect but it is at the point where it will only need small adjustments in the final fabric. This time I even completed the waistband to see how it will really look, and I liked it.

I am about one third through Simplicity 5190, which will be my holiday dress this season. I like to complete garments in pieces if possible so I stitched up the sleeves, leaving the hems till later. I also completed the belt ties. Right now I'm working on the neck bands which is probably the most difficult part of this dress. With a five-day (!)** weekend next week and not celebrating the holiday with family until the 28th I believe I will have time to finish both of these completely.

*Unlike Sunni, I just couldn't work on one project at a time, this just worked better for me.

** Normally would be a good thing, but I'm paid by the hour! : (

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

No Sewing Here...

I’ve decided that maybe once a week I’ll write about non sewing-related things. This blog originally was for everything but has been sewing or fashion focused for quite awhile. So here’s some not-particularly-sewing-related stuff:
  • Sometimes I try to take a short nap after work, always less than an hour. Yesterday, I got in bed, turned on NPR, and set the alarm for 7:45 PM. Well, I awoke at 5:30 AM!  Yup, I slept all night! Well, I HAD planned to dye my hair or either work on the Moss skirt pattern or cut out my next dress project.

    However, since I didn’t have to be at work until 9AM…within the next 3 hours I successfully dyed my hair (perhaps a bit too dark), deep-conditioned it, did some web surfing, and laid out the pattern pieces for Simplicity 5190, view A. I did not start cutting because I don’t actually have enough fabric for the view I want and will have to get creative.
  • Somebody save me from Pinterest! I just noticed that I have 669 Pins, and 245 Likes. That’s a lot more than I meant to accumulate. With that many, if you can't keep track of them, how can you use them? Especially the free patterns and the recipes.

    So my question is, if you start to edit your boards and delete images, how does that effect the people who have linked to them from you? Do they suddenly disappear from their boards? I’d like to know because these pins are making me anxious. Anxious, like the way I get with too many unfinished sewing projects. Not good, not good.
  • I’m really loving The Mindy Project. Have you seen it? I’ve linked to that tracks down the female cast's outfits by episode.  However, I want to know about that brown lipstick Mindy wears. I think this is it but I will not spend $48 on a lipstick! Anyway, we need more minority led TV shows. By the way, also loving Scandal. Did you see that Oval Office love scene last week? Wow.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Unique Sewing-related Boo Boo...

Last Friday night, I tested out my newly sharpened pinking shears. I grabbed about six of my completed garments and finally finished the seams satisfactorily. I had a bit of difficulty with the thicker corduroy pieces but just applied more pressure to power through the layers. At the time, I did feel a bit of numbness in my right thumb but I just kept going until done.

Three days later, the middle and interior side of my thumb still feels numb. Not completely numb but about 50% of it is. Sometimes I think it's healing and I have more feeling and then suddenly it's numb again. I've tried warm to hot water, shaking my arm around to boost circulation, and trying to keep weight off of it but nothing has worked. I did a Google search and loads of people have the same issue but no one has found a definite explanation or a surefire solution. It's not carpel tunnel but consensus is that the nerve has been bruised and that time is the only healer. As this is my right hand that I use for typing, hand sewing, cutting (scissor or rotary) this is a bit of a problem.

Update: I realize from the comments that I should have said I'm not feeling any pain. I can use my hand (and thumb) like normal, it just feels weird.

Updated update: It took a little over a month for full feeling to come back to my thumb. Strange.
Has this happened to any of you before?

Sunday, December 09, 2012

VA/DC/MD Blogger Meetup - Part 2

Here are the goodies that I brought home from the meetup, along with a roll of 18" wide tracing paper.


1 2/3 yards red Lycra knit in a chain link fence print
30" brown wool plaid with 30" Bemberg lining - just enough to make a lined skirt!
3 yards blue, pale yellow, black, green, and cream polyester print
3 yards navy, brown, rust, white, blue, and red color-flecked wool tweed coating
2 yards blueish-green double knit
2 yards green, purple, orange, and khaki madras plaid


Simplicity 5289, Vogue 2747, Vogue 8652

  Vogue 8606, Vogue 2002, Vogue 1654

Vogue 2453, Vogue 1649, Vogue 1540

I love Vogue Designer patterns and I made out like a Bandit! Check it out: DKNY, Claire Shaeffer, Calvin Klein, Geoffrey Beene, Donna KaranMariot Chanet, and Claude Montana!

So, yeah, no fabric shopping or pattern sales for me any time soon.

Fabric images created with fd's Flickr Toys

Thursday, December 06, 2012

VA/DC/MD Meetup - Part 1

Sewing meetups have become commonplace in places like New York, Scotland, and England. However, reading about a recent one in Birmingham gave me a sudden idea. How many sewists exist in my particular part of the world? Starting with the few that I already knew of in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, I started checking blogrolls and About Me pages. I was amazed at how many I was able to find; a cursory search came up with eighteen!

Would they be interested in meeting in person? I sent out a post on October 16 and most of them were interested. Among these women, it was a diverse group of ethnicities, ages, skill levels, length of time sewing, and also a variety of projects that they devoted their time to creating.

I'm sure I'm not the only one that received strange looks when they told people, "I'm going to meet with a group of women I met on the Internet." I know I did. However, it was more like a meeting of pen pals than complete strangers. As bloggers we communicate through our blogs and know each other from what we share there. We may have followed people through career changes, relationships, child rearing, and the steady development of our sewing skills. Some have collaborated or assisted on projects (by email, phone, or in person), enabled serious $$$ fabric shopping, and became friends in real life.  During our meetup two separate pairs of women found out they were neighbors!

To say I'm happy that this worked out would be a huge understatement. However, without the gracious and generous offer of Robin D. to open up her beautiful home as a comfortable and cosy space for us to meet this might have just been a trip to G Street with far fewer people. You see, more wanted to meet than to actually shop. I know. Shocking.

BeeBee, Lisette, Cidell, Lauren, Sue, Paula, Trena,
Audrey, Robin, me, Allison, Sophie, Elaine

Fabric sorted by fabric/fiber type

Pattern table with window seat overflow

More patterns! I myself contributed about 65 of them.

Elaine, Alison, Lauren, Cidell, Sue

Lisette, Anna, Sophie, Mary*, Trena, Audrey

Audrey, BeeBee, Paula

Robin (our hostess), Cidell, Sue, my haul*

Thank you everyone for coming, it was a pleasure and honor to meet you all!! We must do this again!

*Thank you so much for bringing that huge box of 1990s Vogue Designer patterns!

*Yes, that's my huge takeaway pile on the couch next to Sue. Details forthcoming...

Images: Top photo is c/o of A Little Sewing, all other grainy cell phone pictures are by me.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

My G Street Cheat Sheet UPDATED!

First off, today was a total blast! I just got home three hours ago and thought I would write something. However, I can't possibly write about everything now. So, I am starting with the jaunt to G Street first and the VA/DC/MD meetup/swap will be second. Mostly because I could just update this same post and the time at G Street is just easier to process at this time. In a few days, I think I will be up to writing about the first half of the day and perhaps even have some pictures to show you. Oh, yes, pictures were taken. Now, on with the recap...

Okay, this is what I am looking for at G Street Fabrics this weekend:

Foldover lingerie elastic in brown, white, pale blue, lavender, or orange:
  • Not a lot of variety available, I ended up with 5 yards of a white and black stripe ($.89 per), 3 yards of a pink, purple and white stripe ($.89 per), and one yard of lavender seersucker ($4.95) foldover elastic. None of the vibrant solid color ones that I wanted.
Lycra knit prints, especially stripes in all widths and color combinations:
  • I did receive one red/black/white print Lycra knit at the swap though!
Lingerie guards:
  • I will make my own before I buy them for $4.99 for just one set!
Get my fabric scissors and pinking shears sharpened for $15:
  • After getting scared because of a random comment about the quality, I only had the pinking shears done. I am very happy with the job, as they were exceedingly dull before.

Specific fabric and lengths to look at (and dream of):

Textured, multi-colored wool for a Simplicity 6529 short sleeve jacket:
  • Received a 100% wool tweed that may fit the bill at the swap!
Some yardage of black double knit or Ponte (one yard for a New Look 6977 skirt (view D) or two yards for the Vogue 8712 Marcy Tilton pants, view C):
  • Not quite, but did receive yards of a scrumptious dark green double knit at the swap. There's too much for just one skirt. However, I'm not sure if I really want green pants so instead, I might make Butterick 5672, or vintage Vogue 7164 (sleeved version of both) out of it.

I also want to check out (but not buy):

Swedish sewing tracing paper:
  • I can wait, I received a roll of tracing paper at the swap. It cannot be stitched on like the Swedish type, but it was free.
Stretch lace for lingerie:
  • They did not have a lot of variety. There were only four different wide ones and in none of the colors I like.
Lingerie elastic:
  • They had the same kind that Joann and Hancock carry.
Check out patterns from independent pattern companies in person:
  • No can do! They now only carry the Big Four. Can you believe that? That was what made them unique back in the day, along with carrying all the great sewing books, including imports.
G Street zippers:
  • They looked great but I had no specific zipper needs and already have a healthy stash of vintage ones from the Ruth Harvey collection.
One 5/8 to one inch blue button for my Grainline Moss skirt:
  • Still no luck. This skirt has been hard to coordinate with because of the color. Maybe, if I had looked at the buttons stored behind the counter; however, I didn't want to go to the trouble or the expense, only wanting to spend $5 or less.
If any of the fabric can be found on their $2.97 discount table, all the better!
  • The discount table was three levels high and at least 20 feet long; however, most of the fabric was in piles on the floor. You couldn't even get close to the actual tables without moving or walking on that fabric. By the way, plenty of people took that last option! Sigh.
Too bad I didn't see something I couldn't live without this trip because the G Street downloadable coupon combined with the current sale totaled 35% percent off! I made out so much better at the just wait and see! I will get around to photographing my haul for you to see at some point.

Thank you Audrey for driving and being a great travel buddy!

Thank you Robin for hosting a truly fabulous meetup/swap! Oh, the food! Check out her post on the event here.

More details forthcoming after I get some sleep and process all that went down.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Messing With My Moss Muslin - Part 1

Well, I have made it to the tenth project on my official list. Two weekends ago, I constructed a muslin for the Grainline Moss Miniskirt.

I am so glad that I sewed up a muslin for this skirt. It looked good and fit on the front side. Though I used the correct size for my measurements, the distribution of my "stuff" requires a little more width at my hip and perhaps a little bit more length center front for a protruding abdomen. My copies of Sewing Pants That Fit and A Perfect Fit informed me that I also needed an alteration for protruding front thighs.
See the indentation under the stomach and the horizontal stretch below that at upper thigh level.

However, the back was a fitting mess. It seems my "badonkadonk" is just too "bootylicious" for this skirt! The shaping that was designed for the back skirt pieces was not enough for me.

There is a 10" difference between my hip and waist measurements and a lot of gaping above my most protruding part. The problem must be the way my "stuff" is distributed back there. The center back waist-to-hip area needed to come in a lot. I placed two 1" wide darts in the yoke and waistband part only. This seemed to work but I still needed to know how to alter the actual pattern pieces in order to cut my fashion fabric.

At first, I thought of opening up this post to reader ideas when I realized I could do one better. I emailed Jen Beeman of Grainline Studio, the designer of the pattern, and she supplied the details on how to complete the skirt. She even hand drew me helpful illustrations and actually did all that over the Thanksgiving holiday! Way to go, Jen, thanks!

Next time I post, hopefully it will be to show you the corrected muslin and altered pattern pieces or the final garment. However, I know it won't be this weekend as I will be attending the MD/DC/VA sewing blogger meetup on Saturday!!!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pants, Pants, And More Pants (The U.S. Meaning!)

It seems that wide legged trousers are now trendy.

This is strange to me, because I don't dress in-time with fads. Which is obvious because I've had a pair of wide leg pants in my wardrobe every year since high school. But then, I'm the girl that was wearing Japanese designer-inspired fashion in junior and high school and vintage full-skirted dresses, and men's sport jackets and gabardine shirts in college. I just find fluid wide legged pants to be the comfiest thing to wear when it gets cold (and when it gets hot!) I am notoriously cold all the time in winter and wear tights or long underwear almost daily. Wide leg trousers give me the room to layer up and still look stylish. Below, evidence from my pattern archives:

High School/College

McCall's 5867, Vogue 1986, McCall's 7550, Vogue 2938, Vogue 2853, McCall's 2684
You can see that in College I also played around with silhouette, where I had a few pairs of "carrot" pants, where they are fuller with pleats at the top and narrow considerably down the length. In fact, that last pattern in a stable knit was a favorite pair of mine. I would love to find that pattern again, they were the closest I've come to harem pants.


Simplicity 6529, Vogue 2532, New Look 6836

My love of these structured yet loose wearing trousers obviously comes from the glamorous film stars of the 1930-40s; Garbo, Dietrich, Hepburn, and Lombard. Check out this link at Fashionable Forties for fabulous images of women wearing the many varieties of trousers worn at that time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

9. Flat Front Trousers - Vogue 9745 (OOP)

Pattern: Vogue 9745 (OOP) from the VogueElements line (1997)

Pattern Description: Straight-legged (below waist) trousers with low contour waistband and side pockets. View B.

Pattern Sizing: Size 12-16. To be safe, I started with size 16, which matched my waist and hip measurements. However, with 4.5 inches of ease (!) included, I ended up cutting down to size 14.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. The VogueElements patterns usually have only one page of instructions for their garments and use simple techniques. However, this kind of brevity might be difficult for less experienced sewists or anyone who has not made a pair of pants before.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the slim sleek look of view B without the cuffs and belt carriers. The only issues I had were with some confusing pattern markings. There is only one pattern piece used for the waistband and its facing. However, even though the right and left sides of the front waistband are to be treated differently because of the fly front all of the markings are on this one piece. The markings that show that one side seam should be 5/8" and the other more like 1" are hard to distinguish from the other markings for constructing the fly and for all of the other sizes. You can only get that information from closely looking at the illustrated instructions. For future use, I copied the piece eliminating any markings that I do not need for my size so I won't have to deal with the issue next time.

Fabric Used: 2 1/4 yards 58" stretch bengaline in Potting Soil (81% poly, 15% rayon, 4% spandex) from Jo-Ann for $11.24 (orig. $9.99 per yard at 50% off), Coats and Clark all purpose matching thread in #8950, Coats and Clark 7" zipper in Cloister Brown, #56B, and Pellon Easy-Knit fusible interfacing.

Recently I started checking the grain of all my fabric when I bring it home and before I wash it. Unfortunately, this bengaline was very off-grain. I clipped the fabric at 1/4" in from the edge, pulled a thread and ended up 2 1/2 inches in on the other side! That's a lot of fabric to lose; that could make or break a garment in terms of having the right amount of fabric for a chosen pattern. The fabric care instructions indicated this fabric should be handwashed and line dried. I normally pre-wash everything in the washing machine since I rarely dry clean, however, this time I followed instructions. I don't know yet if that was a good thing or not.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Besides cutting down one size I made no other changes or alterations to this pattern! However, I didn't think that would be the case, so the construction of these took forever and a lot of basting when I could have just sewn them straight through. From now on, watch out! My first TNT* pants pattern has arrived!

I liked the bengaline fabric; however, because the stretch is parallel to the selvedge, along the length, if I wasn't careful it would stretch oddly like when I machine basted the side seams the one side would end up longer. I had to switch over to my walking foot. This fabric needed to be handled carefully, no letting hang over the edge of tables or pressing at too high a heat. However, light steam and gentle pressing worked well on getting flat open seams and defined creases.

Because of the sleek look of the pants when they were basted, I chose not to have pockets, which in this fabric would only add bulk and the possibility of stretching out of shape over time.

The rest of the fit was right, the "c-curve" and all. So well that I will transfer the same curve to my other pants patterns even before I create muslins. The zipper installation on the faux fly went along easily after I translated the markings on the pattern piece.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I made this pattern hoping to end up with a TNT pattern for full-leg pants and that's what I got! As part of the VogueElements line, I have to say they are batting 4 out of 4 with their patterns! Yes, I would definitely recommend this pattern, if you can get your hands on it. If you can't find one online, the current Vogue 8751 looks very similar.

Conclusion:  I learned a huge lesson with these...stop being scared of pants/trousers. I made them without fear when I began sewing in high school and it seems that only in the last few blog-reading years that I became doubtful due to a fear of pants in the sewing blog world. The most important thing though is I now have a TNT pattern for this type of pants. There will definitely be another pair made this winter season, perhaps in denim or no-wale corduroy?
* TNT = tried and true
Images: my own photos

Friday, November 09, 2012

Oooh, Look...Fabric!

Wow, where is this?

Mood Fabrics in New York?
No, G Street Fabrics in Rockville, MD. As it turns out, the Rockville store changed location since I was there last, so this trip will be new for me too.
Prepare yourselves. Do not, repeat, DO NOT arrive at G Street without a list of what you need or what you are specifically looking for. It’s a good bet that without a list you will either overspend or forget something very important that you could only check out there.

Each G Street store has a discount wall, I'm not sure what the current price is but it is definitely less than $5 per yard and you never know what you will find.
G Street carries hundreds of their own zippers in amazing colors so make sure to have your wish list of lengths and fabric swatches to match with you.
Think of your specialty interfacing and button needs, because they have lots of choices.
They also carry some of the independent pattern lines out there but check the prices elsewhere first to see if you can get a better deal online. By buying them in person you can eliminate the postage cost at least.
Trena, who will be with us on our visit, wrote a great post back in 2008 on what you will find at G Street on her blog here.

Confirmed for the December 1 meetup:

Trena - DC
Sophie - DC
Robin - DC
Cidell - MD
Lisette - MD
Anna - MD
Lauren - MD
Kyle - NJ
Cynthia - VA
Audrey - VA
Sue - VA
Me – VA

G Street Fabrics 
in the Montrose Shopping Center
5520 Randolph Road
Rockville, Maryland 20852 
Phone: 301-231-8998

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Oh, What....

A Beautiful Morning, Oh What A Beautiful Day!

Goody, I can relax now.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Bottoms Up! 4 in 2012 Update

Looking through my closet, I've noticed that I have short-sleeve or sleeveless tops a-plenty. What I really need is some long-sleeved knit and woven shirts for the cooler weather now. Towards that goal I spent some graduation money on two striped knits from Girl Charlee, one in black/white and the other mustard/ivory (they shipped yesterday!) for some basic long-sleeved t-shirts. Both shirts will go with several items in my wardrobe, including the pants and skirt below.

Of course, I have some lower body clothing to make:

I finally started on the Vogue 9745 full-legged pants in tobacco brown stretch bengaline that I had cut out months ago. Two weeks ago I basted them together to check on the size. I had cut out a 16, which according to the pattern matched my measurements perfectly. But with the included 4.5 inches of too-much ease I took them apart and cut down to the size 14. I had been warned of this by Mikhaela who also made these but I was scared to cut the smaller size, just in case. The rest of the fit seems about right, you know...the "c-curve" and all. Zipper installation went great.* I'm working on the waistband and overall fit now. I'm liking this bengaline fabric but if you're not careful it can stretch oddly like when I was machine basting the side seams. One side would always end up longer. I will remember to switch over to my walking foot for the final seams.

The project I had on my list for next garment was McCall's 8926, a jean-style skirt made out of a saturated turquoise denim. Though the pattern style did work for this fabric I wasn't really motivated to make it up. I had already made that pattern a decade ago and no longer have the skirt. Luckily, Jen from Grainline just released the Moss Mini Skirt 32001 pattern. It's similar enough in its styling but has a contoured waistband (yeah!), no belt loops (too fiddly to make), addition of a back yoke detail, and an optional fabric band at the bottom. Wouldn't it be cute with a contrast colored band and pockets? Maybe next time.

I don't want to get ahead of myself but watching the leaves change I really want to make Simplicity 5190 with my autumnal floral print right now! And of course, waiting in the background is the dotted duster coat, which is now going to be a mixture of Vogue 9745 and New Look 6656. Having these four and the two knit t-shirts completed would make me a very happy girl.

* I don't think traditional zippers are hard at all. I have never had a zipper I put in break or come loose on me unlike all the stories I hear about that happening with the invisible ones.

Friday, October 26, 2012

VA/DC/MD Meet-up Information needed!

I still have no way of contacting by email the four women below. I would like to start communicating through emails to the group instead of these posts on the blog. So please email me (also see questions below) at metamorphpursuit(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Robin of A Little Sewing - need email
"Greytone" of Gotcha Covered - need email
Jamie of A Strange Girl - need email
"Merry-one" of Originally Styled - need email

Which Saturday?

A few people let me know which dates would not work for them, so I have narrowed down the options.

November 10 or 17

December 1 or 15

Could everyone please send me the following information:

  1. Your prefered date of the trip
  2. If you could drive some people if we set up carpools?
  3. If you need a ride to Rockville?
  4. Your zip code so I can see who could travel together.
  5. Preference for type of cuisine?
  6. If you have any dietary concerns I should plan for?
  7. Would you all like to participate in a pattern/fabric swap like all the other meet-ups?

Thanks! I am really getting excited to meet you all. This is going to be a blast. I'm calling G Street-Rockville on Monday!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

VA/DC/MD Blogger Meetup Update!

Woo Hoo!  We now have ELEVEN bloggers interested!

Audrey of Sew Tawdry
"Smunch" of Smuch
Robin of A Little Sewing
"Greytone" of Gotcha Covered
Jamie of A Strange Girl
Kyle of Vacuuming The Lawn
Sue of Sewing Steady
"Merry-one" of Originally Styled
Lisette of La Cubinita Cose new!
Sophie of FilASewphie  new!

I am getting so excited! I'm in the process of researching and making plans now. Can you believe I've found 18 bloggers in the Metro area since I started this? We're even getting word-of-mouth participants.
  1. If I haven't sent you an email it means I don't have one for you. Email me at metamorphpursuit(at)yahoo(dot)com with your real first name please if you don't go by that on your blog.
  2. Of course G Street Fabrics will be involved, we're going to the original Rockville location.
  3. If we want to do this in 2012 (which I do!), we have to move quickly so I can arrange things with G. Street. Let me know which of the following Saturday dates will work for you:

    November 3, 10, 17
    December 1,
    8, or 15?


Monday, October 22, 2012

8. Summer End Tops - Vogue 9772 (OOP)

Pattern: Vogue 9772 (OOP) from the VogueElements line, c. 1997

Pattern Description: Two bias pullover tops: 1) fitted, v-neck with bodice seaming, side slits and 2) loose-fitting, scoop neck with back extension to upper front (to be worn over first top).

Pattern Sizing: Available in XS-XL (6-22). I made a M (sizes 12-14).

Did they look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing? Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very much.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It was very easy to put together, though I ended up making it more involved by underling the fabric and using French seams throughout. I liked that the visible seaming on the front of each top was topstitched.

Fabric Used: 1) Multi-colored (orange, gray, white, tan, ruby red on an off-white ground) Prairie Rose Swiss dot fabric from Joann, $4.85. I bought the very last bit, actually less than the 1-1/4 yards needed according to the pattern. 2) 1-1/8 yards of Daphne batiste in papyrus, $12.48 for the overblouse and enough left over to completely underline top 1.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:

Top 1: Originally this top was going to be one layer, but luckily I had purchased enough of the coordinating batiste that I could underline all four pieces. This Vogue Elements top is a simpler variation of a Marc Jacob pattern, Vogue 2068, that was released the very same year. I made a version of that top years ago. The necklines are different and the Jacobs pattern used French seams throughout. I wanted that same quality so I incorporated the French seam construction for this top too.

It is hard to see but the pieces are basted using intersecting diagonal lines.

Since I was going to use French seams I thought I should also use the correct method of underlining according to the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing. This method has you reposition the underlining because that layer should be slightly smaller that the outer layer to reduce bulk.The technique involves hand basting and the spine of a thick magazine, pretty cool!

Once that was done, the rest was easy, I just followed the seaming instructions from the earlier pattern. Once I made the first French seam at the shoulders I decided to baste the rest of the top together and see what I had. The V-neck was really too low; you can see that in the drawing but I thought that was an exaggeration.  I ended up taking that seam out and taking one inch off both the front and back pieces. This not only brought the neckline and armholes up but also put the waist curve of the pattern where it should be, at my actual waist. There was also an issue of a bit too much length in the front armscye, so instead of cutting out a replacement front I added an ease line and lightly eased/gathered some of the length out.

Top 2: There couldn't be an easier pattern or instructions. Again, I incorporated French seams to match the other top which will be worn under this one. Despite using the instructions from Vogue 2068 I decided to start with a 3/8" seam first and then 1/4", the reverse of what they indicated. This top assembled quickly with tiny 1/4" hems and seams all-around. The batiste ended up being a really nice fabric, in look, feel, and weight.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Perhaps. I did end up making alterations to the garment during construction until I was satisfied and unfortunately, I did not transfer those changes to the pattern pieces before completion. I would highly recommend this pattern if you can find it online.

Conclusion: I love how both of these tops came out with a flattering fit and clean interior finish. However, at least from the way that I made them, the second top does not really work as an overblouse to the first one. It is too bulky. However, it works as a perfect complement over the original Marc Jacobs top, which it matches in color. So, win-win.