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La Mégeve Pullover & Stirrup Pants Sewing Pattern Review

Cozy fall and winter sewing pattern for a pullover designed for faux fur, thicker sweater knits and ponte knits, the La Mégeve Pullover and Stirrup pants is an easy and cozy make for winter.

First, I’ll say, if you love vintage style patterns with style AND fun descriptions, the entire Naughty Bobbins Patterns line is a treat – each one is based on a movie character, vintage in style and yet designed with modern bodies in mind. So you’re not hacking a Vogue pattern from 1960 or 1940 and trying to go up 5 sizes. These are designed for modern bodies, and have that vintage flair. Go, read the descriptions now, they’re so fun!

I chose a cotton knit from my local fabric shop in a winter “digital” pattern and love the combination. It was easy to sew in this fabric, and the inserted princess seam pockets in this are perfect! Think inside kangaroo but not kangaroo style. The top has a wide neck with stand up collar that you can keep up or roll down. The sides are notched with a nice sized facing (no wimpy small facings, this one is wide and easy to sew with good instructions for interfacing and enclosing the edge for a clean finish. Note, I did not do this, because I was testing out this pattern first. Faux fur contains directions for lining it – and you know you will want to (faux fur is scratchy inside.)

I also made a large, and if you’re making this in faux fur, maybe that’s a good choice, but I could definitely go down to a M in this (and I’ve read that from other pattern reviews too.) I’ll go down for a M on my next sew.

The instructions are well illustrated, the digital pattern is well prepared and optimized for printing at home.

This is the PERFECT outfit for some winter hiking, snowshoeing, hiking, cross country skiing or (if you’re not a winter person) fall wine tasting or leaf peeping. The stirrup pants (haven’t made those yet) would be PERFECT in Polartec Power stretch or power wool for XC skiing or in ponte knit if you’re just lounging apres ski or apres hike by the fire with a hot toddy in hand.

If you have the sweater knit or fleece that looks like cable knit this would make an awesome ‘cable sweater’ and if you’re up for it, add length and make it a longer tunic dress.

As I’m sewing this, I’m on vaccinated COVID isolation, so I had time to sew (this is an easy and fast sew), it’s wintry out, and I don’t have awesome photos of this to share yet.

This is definitely one of several I’ll make, including faux fur or minky or that fluffy boucle fleece that’s out there right now. I plan a fleece one, a sweater knit version and at least two pair of the stirrup pants for winter and skiing.

You know a pattern is awesome when, as you finish, you change into it for the next two days! It has a fun vintage vibe, but it’s modern – it reminds me of some of the Title Nine and Carve winter dresses that are so popular in northern climates. Think apres ski but more chic.

It would also be awesome as a second layer over your base layers with your snow pants and your alpine skiing parka. Add a big fluffy neck gaiter and your snow helmet and you’re good to go. It has a very snowboarder-chic vibe.

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How to find time for sewing

Are you struggling to find time for sewing? I’ll share tips from a busy travel-sports parent on how I find time for sewing, even when I’m driving my kids to some other city 7 days a week!

My kids play travel hockey. One of my kids’ home rinks is 45 minutes to an hour away, one way. I work full time in my own business. And I still sew 30-40 garments a year. How?

  1. Those UFO and mending projects can get you in the sewing groove.
  2. Set time limits to sew of 15 -30 minutes and no more
  3. Protect your time by eliminating activities that don’t have direct emotional value to you and your family

UFOs (unfinished objects) – I keep these in a basket by my sewing bin, and if I’m struggling to start another project, I sew just one seam. Yep. Just one seam! Those UFOs will be FOs pretty soon!

I start with mending – the mending pile is not a black hole in my sewing room any longer! I start every session mending something – sewing on a Scout shirt patch or two, repairing holes in knees, replacing buttons – whatever needs doing, I am doing it with every sewing session.

Protecting time and activities:

The pandemic showed us how we could axe off everything we did and still survive OK. Now that we’re back to travel sports, I realized all the other things I did besides those had to take second fiddle. When you go from nothing outside to back to “normal” – you realize just how abnormal that was. Now, I can’t ask my kids to quit their beloved travel sports, but I can say no to other things. I said no to going to outside fitness class and bought online subscriptions to cycling (Zwift) and to a weight system, used, on FB marketplace. I have my own gym! I said no to business networking events in the evening. I carefully curtailed those because of COVID exposure but also because they took a lot of time and I don’t have it. Most people migrated online for networking and business connection and I get most of my business from a few targeted Facebook groups!

Sew every day. EVERY DAY. For five minutes, or fifteen. Sometimes I set a timer to 15 minutes, I sew one seam, or mend one thing and then I’m done, but at least I started. More often than not, I continue on for another 15 minutes or 30 minutes.

Sewing one seam means you can finish a typical project of 5 seams (a basic top has five seams, basic pants have four) in 5 days.

Log out of socials. I just log off, so that “mindless” scrolling can’t happen because I am not logged into those apps. I even removed FB from my phone (years ago) and keep it logged out on my iPad. It’s there if I need it, but it stops me from mindless activity. And boy, it can suck up hours of time. I still like to discover new sewing pattern designers on IG, so I do scroll, but I try to do it when I can’t be sewing, such as waiting at an ice rink.

Set screen time alarms if you need help with this. We all waste far too much time that we don’t even realize doing things that are unimportant to us or our families.

I sew many garments a year not because I have time, but because I don’t! And that means the time I do have, I use.

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Jalie Simone: wide leg pants & shorts pattern

This is my review of the Jalie Simone wide leg pants & shorts pattern.

I sewed these Jalie Simone shorts and pants for my teen about a year apart. The shorts are a linen rayon blend and the pants are a rayon tencel blend. They are two sizes different (smaller on the left, larger on the right) as teenagers grow like weeds!

These pants are very straightforward sew with decent Jalie instructions. They don’t often contain a lot of images as the instructions are in both French and English, but they are illustrated, they have good wording, even if it’s not super detailed.

I chose to make one alteration to the pants’ waistband – during construction, they have you sew the back band, Wrong Side together, right sides onto the top of the pants with all the raw edges serged – if you are serging this on, go for it. If you want a more finished inside and you’re not serging, sew just ONE side of the band, then flip up, press, then fold over, with another 1/4″ fold at the bottom edge and make an enclosed casing for the elastic, finishing the interior waistband.

These pants have angled front pockets, front pleats, a full elastic back waistband and wide legs. They aren’t “too wide” for a teenager, LOL.

As true with most of the time I make Jalie, tall people will love these – we cut off several inches AND did a 3″ hem (to let them down later!) But the way my teen outgrew the shorts was in the hip/seat, as Jalie runs (MHO) narrow across – but with 30 sizes, you’ll find your fit!
The best feature is the front tie and belt loops that’s captured into the sideseam. Very chic look for a dressy or casual pant. These, as you can see, make excellent “concert black” pants for chamber orchestra, but they also make great casual shorts (she wears them with graphic tees) and beach pants. I plan to make myself some of these well-designed pants.

When she tried them on for the first time she said “deep pockets!” – everyone loves pockets!

The bonus with Jalie, besides great designs on wearable basics with good drafting is the extended size range. Few other pattern companies offer this range, so if you sew for a range of sizes, Jalie’s your company to sew with!

These pants are shown made with tee shirts in matching fabrics on the Jalie site for a “jumpsuit” or “romper” look – and this is an excellent way to sew these!

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Sew a cozy midi slit skirt for fall

If you’re looking for both chic AND cozy for fall, sew a cozy midi slit skirt for fall! This skirt is a midi length, slim fitting, with a yoga style fabric waistband. It’s like a hug! I have it paired with a freecycled waffle weave top (see my recommendations for a substitute you can sew.)

I reviewed this skirt hack before. But showing it for fall with this sweater (freecycled, y’all!) is new.

This outfit, worn with my Sorel ankle booties is cozy and chic for fall. You can wear tights or leggings in the colder weather with this look. The skirt is super comfortable!

I hacked this skirt (which normally has a back slit) to a front slit, and it already comes with the yoga waistband and longer length. But I’ve also been obsessed with this Simplicity and McCalls skirt/set from JoAnn fabrics too. The top is McCalls M8144 and the skirt is Simplicity 9237.

If the slim skirt isn’t for you, try these two looser fit but still chic A-line skirts – the HotPatterns Fast & Fabulous Two Hour Skirt (reviewed that too, here.) and the Hot Patterns Fast & Fabulous 365 Drawstring skirts (I like the curved hem one but with a knit, you can raw-edge rotary-cut the waterfall hem one for a speedy finish.)

This cozy chic outfit is perfect for fall. I work from home, but this is often a travel outfit for me, because knit skirts are so comfortable to wear when you are sitting/driving or sitting/flying somewhere. The flat sporty booties are comfortable and decent for my feet. So, off you go! Sew a cozy midi slit skirt for fall! You will be happy you did. This skirt is on repeat for me. Want a slightly sexier version? Try the Ruched Pencil Skirt from Christine Jonson Patterns.

Ruched pencil skirt (I also have this in a print rayon/lycra knit) So soft and comfortable to wear!

Tops to go with this fall midi knit skirt:

I have on a freecycled waffle-weave knit top, but for a very similar top, you can try the Hot Patterns Foursquare Tee – long sleeve version. Use the straight side slit hem option (rather than the tie front version) for the same vibe as the sweater I have on in the top photos. You can add a ribbed neck band at the neckline or leave it off. I’m doing the “French tuck” in the front.

Any oversized slouchy sweater type top looks great with this slim skirt – try the Sew House Seven Toaster Sweaters, or try the Hosta Sweater Tee. Both of these are available in a slightly cropped length – the skirt is high-waisted.

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Swing Cardi Sewing Pattern

The Christine Jonson Swing Jacket swing cardi pattern is one of my go-to patterns. I’ve made it in full (maxi) length, and standard length. It has pockets!

Let’s dive into this one:

I’ve sewn this 4-5 times and find it’s a go-to in my wardrobe.

What I love about it:

The swing shape starts below the bust, so you still get a nice fitted shoulder and bust and the fun shape is below that. In a stable knit like ponte, or this sweater knit (from Boho Fabrics, in a mystery box, lots of poly/acrylic in this one), the pockets work well. In a softer knit like rayon lycra, the sideseam pockets droop on the sides – I haven’t figured out how to fix this, as it’s the weight of the pocket with the softer knit, not any stabilization, that is causing the problem. I omit them on soft knits.

This pattern is very forgiving – I’ve put this on size 10 models and on size 12 me and it works awesome. I’ve seen this in plus sizes and, same, looks wonderful on everyone.

About this look:

I have it on with a loden green O’Neill palm print graphic tee and Essex linen Pietra pants from Closet Core patterns. If you want an all-knit outfit, try the Perfect Pant Skinny from Christine Jonson – has all the fun pocket and front/back seam as this woven pant shown here, but sew it in a ponte knit, and you can crop the length too. I’m wearing my Teva sandals because, weirdly warm early October!

Design features:

I love the higher back neck and how the shawl collar construction works so nicely. There’s NO BAND on this cardi, and it has a professional look to it when sewn. The center back seam allows for some shaping at the back if you need to adjust. The pattern recommends shoulder pads, and a light pad made from a few layers of interfacing and some fashion fabric works great for this. I often use velcro to attach them so I have options on whether to leave them in or out. Pro tip, use the SOFT velcro on the jacket and the pokey velcro on the pad! I stitch the velcro on right through the shoulder seam and that is it.

I adjusted the sleeve width to be a little wider on this one when I cut it out, you can customize as you cut and sew it. The standard sleeve is narrower at the wrist so you can push the sleeves up and they’ll stay! The customer photo on the CJ pattern website (in gray, with cinnamon colored pants) shows this standard sleeve width, and she has them pushed up. My other versions have this sleeve – it is very flattering and pushing them up works! I roll my sleeves here with the wider width.

Note: For four years I managed marketing for Christine Jonson and still love her patterns. I was not provided with a pattern and this review is my own! You can see more of my versions at the Christine Jonson Patterns blog (including a maxi length striped version with Venetian lace trim!)

Design features you might consider:

I’m kind of obsessed with a curved shirt-tail style hems on cardigans right now and might try it on this one in a stable ponte knit. This alteration would involve a dinner plate, tracing the plate’s curve on the OUTER edge of the front and back pieces (at the center front, they’re still squared off). If you make curved hems, note, that to sew these, you should hem the curved edges before sewing the sideseams! It makes it a whole lot easier.

Make it in midi length – the midi cardigan is a cozy length and great for fall. I will sew one in a sweater knit (maybe leopard!) at this length and wear it with the trendy ripped “mom” (tapered, high waist) jeans that my teenager is wearing right now. I might even make my teen one too!

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Finding Sewing Inspiration

Finding Sewing Inspiration without Social Media and how to get your sewjo back using your inbox

Like many of you, I’ve made a conscious decision to limit the amount of scroll time I’m doing. Not necessarily screen time (I work from a computer, after all, and hubby and I like to watch things on our big TV at the end of the day), but scroll time. Mindless scroll isn’t good for us. It can lead to doom scrolling.

To reduce my scroll time, and still keep up my sewing and alopecia/hair inspiration, I’ve begin limiting my time on Instagram to 50 minutes per day (I set an alert, and IG reminds me). That’s still 2.5 hours of my life in the end (whatever the “end” is – as I’m sure in 10 years we won’t be using IG anymore.)

I am limiting my personal Facebook time to one hour as well (again, set yourself some alerts in the app or your device for screen time usage.)

But I STILL want to find sewing inspiration, discover new designers and patterns in that process AND stay up with trends. What’s my backup? My inbox!

Yes, you heard right, my inbox. Good old fashioned email. When you sign up for that coupon for 10% off patterns or a free pattern or a fabric discount, did you know that those retailers BEND OVER backwards to give you rich, amazing and INSPIRING content? They do! And you’ve forgotten all about it!

In your inbox, search “sewing”. It’ll find everything in your promotions, primary tabs that is relevant – and the best part is, this is way better content than just a pic on insta! It’s usually an email consisting of a roundup of several blog posts, maybe a podcast or video tutorial and it’s rich with information, tips and, well, frankly, doesn’t get filtered by anyone’s algorithm but YOURS.

I harp on the (continued) success of email marketing through documented testing with client accounts, over here on my blog at Marketing Acuity, and I also love how I can search for anything and find all those brand emails that I signed up for that I never see on social media anymore (thanks, algorithm!)

And in that is a WEALTH of sewing inspiration! Just today, I discovered the Liesel & Co Verdun tee (thank you to the Confident Stitch in Missoula, MT for that.) They’re a local fabric store in Missoula, a college town in Montana. I also have a local fabric store, Seams Fabric in East Lansing (they don’t blog or email but they do have a group and an IG that I follow.)

I searched my inbox, found the email from Confident Stitch, that I’d signed up for some years ago, and lo, there’s a great tee shirt pattern that my local fabric store doesn’t carry, so I’ll get it from Confident Stich. I recently bought the Gyo Top from Merchant and Mills from them as well, unable to find this locally.

I also find a ton of wonderful content from aaaalllll those knitting and crochet bloggers I signed up to receive emails from (who knew! I never see them on IG anymore thanks to the algorithm). In fact, my inbox gets filtered by MY taste – looking for outdoors inspo? Hey there Sierra, Moosejaw, Eddie Bauer, Patagonia and Carve, nice to see ya! How about beachy inspiration? Beachly, O’Neill, Roxy, Hapari and Carve send me stuff all the time!

I receive inspiration, tips, how to, helpful details all from these emails which I willingly signed up for to get a discount – and I am not bombarded by things I don’t want to see and I’m not scrolling endlessly. It’s much easier to get in and out of a blog than it is to stop the mindless scroll.

The Confident Stitch in Missoula Montana blog post about the Verdun tee. Isn’t this inspirational? Stop the scroll, start using your inbox and be inspired.

Oh, if you want tips, techniques, wardrobe planning for the SIMPLE and EASY sewing way, you can subscribe to MY blog here: (see what I did there!) BONUS:

I’ll send you a FREE EASY sewing wardrobe planner. I promise you can craft a me-made wardrobe easily with this method (and it will still work with the stuff you already sewed that’s in your closet!)

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2021 Sewing Pattern Roundup #makenine Challenge

What’s on your must-sew list?

Winter/Fall #makenine challenge

I set out to do a “simple more” resolution year – more dog walks, more vegetables, more knitting, more fun with family. And of course, more sewing. So my #MakeNine is really more like #MakeTwentySeven, but you have to plan things that are approachable, so #MakeNine it is

#MakeNine is the idea that you plan out a grid of 9 items to sew in the upcoming year. I sew way more than 9 (last year I sewed more than 27 garments). I will sew a lot of the patterns I already have. Why sew existing designers? You understand your sizing and can more closely predict how something will fit based on their descriptions. For instance, you might sew a pant from a designer in a 12 or 14, but a top in an 8, and you know this since you’ve made more than one of them. My goal is to sew THREE of any given pattern. Bonus if you can make even more than that. But, too, my Local Fabric Shop has great fabrics and patterns and I wish to try those, too.

Pants/#MakeNine

Pietra pants: I sewed a test pair in 2020, will shorten the front rise by 1″ and sew a smaller size (or two) and make at least two pair of the slim, one pair of the wide and at least one pair of shorts.

I will sew another pair of HotPatterns Tailored Trackpants for winter – in a camel snakeskin print poly. The camel snakeskin poly will have the cropped trouser cuff that the pattern is designed for. I’d made a pair with jogger banded cuffs in 2020.

Tops/#MakeNine

I will sew a HotPatterns Foursquare Tee (tie front version, long sleeve) for winter/spring.

I will sew a HotPatterns Milano Dolman tee with cuffed / banded edges in waffle weave knit (replacing a different shirt I sewed in the same fabric, but shrunk and gave to my teenager!)

Dresses/#MakeNine

I’ll sew a long sleeve, turtleneck True/Bias Nikko dress for the winter, with colorblocked sleeves to accommodate the lack of fabric.

Skirts/#MakeNine

Sewed a HotPatterns 2-hour A-line midi skirt the first week in January in a random cream stretch crepe from my stash.

Outerwear/#MakeNine

HotPatterns Glamour Cape

Linen Cambria Duster (sewn in 2020 but not yet worn because it got too cold)

Linen Cambria Duster pattern review

Spring/Summer/#MakeNine

With planning to be home with my kids half time this summer (again!), as well as working in my basement cutting vinyl, I anticipate a very casual summer of clothing. Most of my me-makes will be in anticipation of that.

Emerson Shorts from True/Bias

Pietra Shorts from Closet Core and Simone shorts from Jalie – I’m making the latter for my DD in her size as well.

Wide Leg linen pants from Christine Jonson with cargo pockets – think beach pant meets camping pant, which is precisely what I intend to do with them – camping at the beach! Although these are wide leg, they have a taper to the ankle – I generally alter this and chalk a new sideseam from the knee straight to the hem.

Cami/tanks – True/Bias Ogden Cami, Sew News Remmel Tank, Antero Shell, HotPatterns FourSquare Tee, Swingy Tank are all options I’ll consider – I’ll sew TWO tank top patterns this summer.

Dresses: HotPatterns Trilogy shift dress – a great, easy tee shirt dress for summer, in a blue tie dye knit.

Short sleeve dress – Ann Normandy Sewing Patterns – a great simple dress with designer details from a favorite designer that is perfect for some linen I purchased from my Local Fabric Shop.

Outerwear: Cambria Duster (sewn in 2019,) in two colors, chambray blue with navy collar and camel windowpane linen

HP Glamour Poncho (see Winter/Fall)

For the kiddos/#MakeNine

Taylor Made Pajama pants and shorts, and an OOP/vintage pajama top from Simplicity, plus a robe from an OOP/vintage Simplicity pattern (that I made for myself, and still wear!)

My DD is getting more pajama shorts and top and a new bathrobe.

Jalie Simone shorts for my DD.

DS is getting a tie for his robe (a hoodie robe, handed down from a friend, missing the tie), and pajama shorts for spring/summer. He prefers to wear whatever tee shirt he wore the day before, to bed.

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Easy Summer Midi Dress, Tunic and Top: The Trilogy

I chose a fun, easy summer midi dress tunic and top pattern, the Fast & Fabulous Trilogy, from HotPatterns, as a late-summer dress to sew. Here’s my review.

From the HotPatterns website!

The Trilogy from HotPatterns is a fun top, dress and tunic pattern with some easy to sew and good finishing details. I made the dress version.

Note: If you are not tall (I am 5’3), look at the finished back length on the back of the pattern envelope and lengthen or shorten accordingly. I should have – was making a test garment – ended up with a fun maxi dress! Not a bad problem to have though.

This dress can be made in a knit or a woven – I chose a knit from stash in a blue tie dye. This rayon/lycra knit is drapey and soft. If making in a woven check your final finished measurements against your body measurements to ensure you have enough ease. If you DO make this in a woven, be sure to choose something drapey and light. In this knit, I could have gone down a size (I sewed a 12.)

This would also make a very excellent nightgown as well, given it’s straight, easy shape. If you are considering making it for a nightgown, use a daytime fabric, and then get up and go! I won’t judge!

The shoulders have a deep pleat – you can change this to gathers – along a yoke, and some who have chosen a not-as-drapey fabric, say that this doesn’t lay well. If your fabric doesn’t drape well, wash it a bunch more times or choose a different fabric – drapey is best for this dress.

It is a straight cut dress, so as such, it’s going to hide a lot of that messy middle. It has only very gentle shaping at the waist, but you can feel free to shape it a bit more – it has a center front and back seam as well. You can use the side and center seams to add shaping, or you can add in long darts to the back (just pinch, measure and stitch after the dress is sewn.)

One of the clever things is the neck and sleeve bands! They are sewn reversed (attached to the wrong side) and the folded edge is then flipped to the right side, pressed and topstitched. PLUS, the V-neck is sewn AFTER the neckbands (no fussing over V-neckbands!) This results in a professional looking finish. I stretched this a little as I sewed, and had to press the life out of it to get it to lay flat (it did!) Next time, I will stabilize the neckline AND the neckband – or make it in a woven and dispense with all that fuss (it’s designed for woven or knit.) The sleeve bands are sewn the same way – when the dress is still in four panels (left back, right back, right front, left front.) The pattern instructions detail these neckbands so you won’t have to Google a YouTube tutorial on it (but I might show you one the next time I sew this.)

The hems are a curved, shorter front hem and a longer, straight cut back hem – I LOVE this detail, and think it makes the dress! In a midi length as designed, this will really show off the hems.

What I liked about it:

The straight, easy fit, the super easy to sew neckline and sleeve bindings, and the curved and boxed hems.

What I’d change:

It should be a midi dress, I’ll shorten it on my traced copy for next time. I already made a note on my pattern about this.

What I’ll make it in next:

I’ll choose a lightweight cotton lawn or a rayon print.

What you can wear this with:

Great shoes! Sneakers for a casual vibe, Birks, Tevas for a trendy look. Wear a shorter jacket like a denim jacket or a moto jacket over it for cooler weather.

What fabrics to choose:

Soft fabrics with drape – rayon, light chambray, voile and lawn (woven) as well as rayon/lycra knit fabrics. Consider a diagonal stripe (printed) and connect the V of the stripes in the front and back (there are FOUR spots to match stripes, just so you are aware! It would be a good lesson in how to stripe-match! But don’t plan to cut it on the bias, as you’ll not be able to given the dress length. I think you could absolutely do this with the top version (and maybe the tunic, as well.) It would lend itself very well to color blocking too!

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Upcycling a good dress

A 28-year old dress gets new life as a duster vest, with a new color, new batik design

This dress began life likely in a factory in China in about 1990. It’s a heavyweight linen, cotton and rayon blend. It’s beige. It’s a column dress, mid calf, a length popular in the 1990s and, now, again in the 2020s.

I first spotted this dress at the Cocoa Beach location of Ron Jon Surf Shop. My husband and I were visiting, probably to try to catch an elusive space shuttle launch, staying in some slightly sleazy Motel 6.

The dress, typical of the 1990s clean, minimalist, slightly oversized aesthetic, was neutral. I wore it for work at least once per week. I took it on a long weekend trip to the Pink Shell Beach Resort in Ft. Myers where my MIL suggested it was too big in the top – not exactly but, definitely too long from shoulder to bust. I sewed the shoulder up a little and it’s stayed there for 25 years.

I wore this dress to the Cayman Islands, a trip paid for by my clients, and as I stepped off the plane, in the tropical heat (I mean, I lived in South Florida, but Cayman was even hotter!) in September, I was glad I had this airy and professional looking dress.

I’m now 25 lbs heavier than that slip of a 20 year old in South Florida, but I still loved this dress!

Last summer, I decided to upgrade it and wear it again as a duster vest. I batiked the hem using copper cookie cutters and dyed it a brilliant coral – one of my favorite colors.

I now also need to lower that shoulder seam (if I have enough fabric left inside to do so) as my bust point is, sadly, a little lower!

How to batik a linen dress:

I use an electric skillet as a double boiler, with the wax in a foil tray. I add water to the skillet and keep the temp just below boiling about 180-200 degrees. The wax melts. I use wood clothespins to pick up the metal cookie cutters and dip them in the wax, then press them onto the fabric of the dress. Scroll down to see the image gallery of the steps I use to batik the linen dress.

To dye, I first submerge the dress in cold water – the wax will crack, leaving that classic batik look – and then I dip it in the dye bath. I use Procion pro dyes from Dharma trading – they have a batik kit you can order to get started.

Then I put the wet, dyed dress in a gallon zip loc bag for 12-24 hours and leave it. Once done, I rinse the dye out, pick off the wax, and as a final, I either heat the wax out using hot water in a bucket or I iron it on low heat, no steam, using old rags pressed around each side of the batiked garment. You can use plain newsprint (not with newspaper ink on it!) if you have that. You can even use brown paper bags or paper towel.

The dress is a lovely coral color, looks great with jean shorts and tee shirts, or a shorter skirt and tee. It also looks great with wide leg beachy pants, loose lightweight joggers and cropped tees too.

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Summer top sewing pattern roundup

Favorite FREE summer top sewing patterns for woven fabrics

This roundup showcases the Sew News / Sew Daily Antero Shell, the FREE Solee Top by Natalie Ebaugh and the FREE Greenbush Top by Ann Siegle.

Summer top sewing is always a joy – these three patterns are super simple to sew (two are measured rectangles!) and take very little time. I made all four of these in ONE day of sewing, and not even a whole day, a decent morning or afternoon sewing sesh and you’ll have a wardrobe of new tops.

All the fabrics shown here are from my LFS, Seams Fabric in East Lansing.

The Antero Shell is part of a Capsule Studio pattern from Sew News. In this same pattern, there’s a woven fabric tank top, a knit fabric wrap skirt with asymmetrical hem, a pair of loose fitting elastic waist pants, a collarless unlined blazer/jacket with clever in seam zippered pockets, and a tote bag.

The Solee Top is a free top with Instagram instructions from blogger Natalie Ebaugh. https://www.instagram.com/natalie_ebaugh/?hl=en

The Greenbush Top, also FREE, is designed by me, here.

I chose cotton, linen or rayon fabrics for all three. All three would work in each of these fabrics. Rayon, obviously, is very drapey, cotton has more body (less drape.) Linen is somewhere in between (once you’ve washed it several times.)

The Antero Shell is a v-neck, cut-on-cap sleeve cropped (but not too short) boxy tee that has a fully faced neckline and hemmed sleeves. This top is boxy and slightly cropped – perfect over high waist pants – I have worn these with the Luna Jogger pant by Made by Rae, the Pietra Pant by Closet Core and the Perfect Pant by Christine Jonson. Of course they look great over the Shivano pant in the pattern from Sew News too!

The Solee Top is a free measure-and-cut sewing pattern that is just like the one your mom sewed for you in 1980. I remember a similar top that I wore that I’m sure my mom (or grandma) sewed for me one summer. This top screams summer, and I’m wearing it with wide leg batiked rayon pants. If you need to dress this up for a zoom work call, just toss on a cardi, a button up shirt, or a jacket over the top.

This is an easy sew – you use the width of a yard of fabric for both the top and the straps. Two lengths of elastic – one for above bust and one for the waist, and you’re done. This yarn dyed print linen fabric is fun – and I have a coral solid linen to make joggers out of to coordinate (later.)

The Greenbush Top, designed by me, is also a measure-cut-sew top that you can make from a yard of fabric. The neck and hem openings are easy to sew with good finishing techniques, and the sleeves can be any length you like. A drapey fabric is best for this loose top, and rayon, lightweight cotton lawn, double gauze, silk or even jersey fabrics work great. You can wear this solo in the summer and over a slim fitting turtleneck or tee in the winter, too. I bought the floral rayon in January in a fit of desperation to see flowers. I just let it sit on my sewing table so I could pet it for a while!