Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Ninja Turtle And A Bum Gallbladder

Well hello there!  Long time no see, er... you know what I mean.  I'm alive.  For the most part.  I didn't mean to disappear for so long because I very much enjoy interacting in this space.  But life has been interesting lately.  I actually have been sick.  My gallbladder!  Having a bum gallbladder has been pretty life altering.  I got really sick at the end of July and then missed the entire first month of school while being sick and having all sorts of inconclusive tests done.  Don't you love it when doctors tell you there is nothing wrong with you when there very obviously is? Twenty-two pound weight loss later,  I made an appointment with a surgeon and had my gallbladder out.  I have been recovering ever since (doing much better now).  It was no fun.  I also have completely changed my diet.  I'm eating very carefully and avoiding all sorts of things at the moment.  Which means I have learned to cook.  And I am cooking all the time.  All the time.  It doesn't leave much time for sewing, this making-dinner-from-scratch thing.  I miss it.  Anyway, I'm figuring out how to balance it all.  I recently sat down at my sewing machine after a three month long hiatus and I made this:

Who is this girl?  This is Jane.  She's definitely not Baby Jane anymore.  She has somehow morphed in to this tall, long-legged little girl who love ninja turtles.  She is such a nut.  She wanted to be a ninja turtle for Halloween.  The orange ninja turtle, to be specific.  I could have bought a costume this year but I'm so glad I didn't.  This is my Halloween tradition.  I wish I could explain how I made this little vest/hoodie thing but I made it up as I went along.  I used fleece again.  I think I've used fleece for all of her Halloween costumes so far.  Its so easy to sew a costume with.  Hides mistakes well.  I used the same McCalls hoodie pattern that I used last year for her dinosaur costume.  I had already cut the pattern but had another pattern piece where I could see the size differences.  I cut the longest length (a size 5, I think) and added a little bit of width to the body (which previously was a size 2).  I didn't change the shoulders at all since her dinosaur hoodie still seems to fit her.  I could have used a bit more width in the body but I think that's because of the shell on the back.

The order of construction is what I made up as I went along.  The shell mainly.  I cut two oval-ish shapes for the shell, stitching hexagon-ish shapes on the top piece.  I sewed darts at each 'corner' of the top shell piece to give it more shape.  I sewed the bottom oval to the back hoodie piece first.  I stitched it on as a big oval in the middle.  Then, I sewed the front pieces of the hoodie to the back.  Then I sewed the top of the turtle shell to the bottom shell, pinning the hoodie inside. I left a hole and flipped the whole thing inside out through the hole.  I probably didn't explain that very well but like I said, I was making it up as I went along.  There was a belt in there somewhere, too.  I was pumped it all worked, especially since I was so rusty on the sewing machine.  There is some seriously shoddy sewing on this costume, so don't look too closely.  I lined the whole thing with some thin knit in my stash and added the drawstring to the hoodie.

The shell is stuffed with polyfill.  It  kind reminds me of a backpack.  I should have made it a backpack! Ah well.  Jane was insistent on having me make the orange mask, but then refused to wear it on Halloween.  She wore the hoodie and carried the pizza slice.  The pizza was a last minute idea/addition.  

She has some great girly ninja poses, doesn't she?  She is so funny.  I can't tell you how entertaining it is to have a three year old.  I'm pretty sure she loved her costume and we had a blast trick or treating the the other night.

Hope everyone is doing well!  Life seems to be returning to normal but I'm probably going to be absent from this space for a while longer.  At least until I get the hang of this cooking thing.  Ugh, meal planning...  

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Faux Jumpsuit

Jumpsuit!  Who would have thought I would make a jumpsuit?  Not me. I have to admit that I wasn't sold on the trend last summer.  But I've seen so many awesome jumpsuits out there in sewing blog land now that I've been convinced.  However, the bathroom issue was a big hurdle for me.  I think I would be ok with the whole having to undress to use the restroom every once in a while.  But that would definitely stop me from wearing it on a regular basis.  I wanted something wearable for the summer.  Enter the faux jumpsuit!  This jumpsuit is actually two pieces- a top and wide leg pants. 

I've had Simplicity 1112 in my stash for a while.  I liked the wide leg pants as part of a jumpsuit.  They are basically like big pajama pants.  And I like the tie belt.  I think the belt makes it look more jumpsuit like.  I made the pants first.  I planned on making the top from the pattern as well but when I looked at it again, I changed my mind.  Strapless bra.  Nothing will stop me from wearing something faster than having to put on a strapless bra.  I wanted a simple v-neck tank I could tuck in with some bra coverage.  I searched through all my billions of patterns and came up with nada.  I wasn't interested in purchasing anything new so I traced a favorite rtw top for a pattern.  I was really uncertain if it would work but it was simple enough for me to try.  There is a front seam and the neckline and armholes are finished with a knit facing.  Nothing special but I was very pleased with how it works as a jumpsuit.  The original top I traced was a woven top so there are some issues because of that.  

Here is a quick pattern review of the pants.
Pattern Description: Sportswear pattern that includes pull on pants, shorts, high-low skirt all with elastic waist.  Also includes a strappy top.

Pattern Sizing: Sizes 4-20.  I made the pants in a size 16.

Fabric Used:  I think the success of this faux jumpsuit really lies in the fabric.  I used a really fabulous rayon jersey.  I love the blue and black print and the weight was just perfect.  It has great drape but it's not too thin.  Nice stuff.  It was an impulse buy from  I did my best to keep the pattern placement balanced.  Not necessarily matched but just balanced.  I think I did a pretty good job on the pants but I screwed it up on the front seam of my top.  It's not that noticeable, though.

Likes/Dislikes:  The pants are fine.  They are your basic wide leg pants with an elastic waist.  Wide leg pants are pretty forgiving to sew.  They are nice and long, too.  I did add some length when I cut them them out but I didn't need to.  I took it back off when I hemmed them.  But beware of the rise!  See below.

Alterations/Deviations:   I held up the pattern tissue to check the length before I cut out my fabric and  noticed the crazy high rise.  I took a two inch tuck from the rise to shorten them.  And I am long waisted!  I am sure the rise is long because they are wide legs pants and the crotch seam is supposed to sit lower.  But I didn't need all that length.  I do think I could use just a touch more room in the seat, but that may have something to do with shortening the rise. 

Conclusion:  Easy little pants pattern.  I made a shorts version for my faux romper (below) and I've made another shorts version for lounging around that I'm not blogging about.

I'm very happy with the faux jumpsuit. And the best part is that I can also wear the top and pants separately.

After the success of my faux jumpsuit, I decided to make a faux romper (shorts) for our upcoming beach trip.  I made the same Simplicity 1112 pants pattern and v-neck top rub off.  But blergh.  I did not like the look of the v-neck top tucked in to the shorts.  I think it would look better if the shorts were shorter but I'm not going any shorter than this.  This is the shorts hem line per the pattern minus about one inch.  I know it's longer for shorts but it's a length I'm comfortable with.  I do like the look of the two pieces untucked.  It's perfect for going to the beach and the pool.  And honestly, it's great for presentable pajamas, too.  

After I made the faux romper, I had enough fabric left for another top.  So I decided to try the Hey June Patterns Santa Fe top that I've seen so many awesome versions of.  This is just the first of many, I am sure.  I must really like it because I actually bought and put together a pdf pattern.  I hate pdf's with a passion, but I will put one together if it's something I really want to make.

Pattern Description:  The Santa Fe top is a loose, flowy tank or dolman sleeve top.  There are some interesting seam lines on some of the variations that resemble raglan sleeves.  I was drawn to the relaxed shape of the dolman sleeve top and the sleeve cuffs.  There are lots of options with the pattern that makes it worth the price (this comes from someone who pretty much just buys Big 4 patterns on sale).

Pattern Sizing:  XS-2XL.  Lot of sizes, too.  I made a medium.

Fabric Used:  This fabric is pretty fabulous, too.  It's a shibori dyed bamboo jersey.  It's so soft and drape-y.  Perfect for lounge wear.

Likes/Dislikes:  No dislikes on this version.  I made the pattern as is except for the neckband.

Alterations/Deviations:  I did a neckband instead of binding per the instructions.  Mainly because I am terrible at top stitching my binding.  Making a band is much faster and I don't have to stress over wobbly top stitching.

Conclusion:  Nice little tee pattern.  I've already made another dolman tee (with the insets) that I love. I've also made the tank but am not loving the silhouette as much as the tee with sleeves.  I plan on making another, though!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Rompin' Around

I'm going to apologize in advance for the picture overload.  This might be the cutest thing I've ever made.  Except, of course, for the cute thing I made that's wearing it!  There was a little bit of bribery involved in taking these photos, but for the most part she cooperated.  She's got personality, this girl, that's for sure.

Pattern Description: McCalls 7376.  Girls' blouson romper and jumpsuit pattern.  There are strap and length variations and some cutesy little trim details.  I made view C with the single ruffle and elasticized, below-the-knee legs.  Is this not the sweetest little pattern?  I was buying other McCalls patterns at the latest pattern sale and saw this one from their early summer release.  It moved to the top of the queue and I made it right away.  It's just so adorable.

Pattern Sizing: Children's sizes 2-8.  I made a size 4.  Jane is three years old but she wears a 4T in rtw.  She's tall for her age, too.

Fabric Used: Rayon poplin. When I made my recent maxi dress, I also bought a yard and half of this same Cotton and Steel rayon poplin in this color way.  When I ordered it, I though the navy would be the same and I could use this one with the teal diamonds for contrast.  The navy is not the same, however.  This particular blue is much more of a denim blue.  I also figured I would have some of the original rayon left over and I could always make another garment with the two.  Well, I used every scrap to make that maxi dress and then stuck this small piece in stash.  It was perfect for this romper.  So Jane's romper is made of some pretty swanky fabric.

I do wish the camera had focused on her instead of the background.  I was lazy and took all these on an automatic setting. But this photo.  I love it.

Alterations/Deviations:  While being a super cute pattern, it was very fiddly to sew.  There was lots of trying on to measure elastic and placing straps.  The elastic guide for the casing at the chest was way, way too long.  I pulled that piece of elastic pretty tight to hold up the romper.  The waist casing didn't have an elastic guide.  I left that piece of elastic pretty loose for comfort.  The elastic in the leg casings are loose, too, which is why you see them riding up above her knee in photos.  It's cute either way.  I also had to give her some more room in the crotch after the fact.  It fit when I was done, but when she moved around it definitely rode up and looked a little uncomfortable. I unpicked the waist seam and sewed the crotch seam about 3/8" lower.  And I then I sewed the waist seam back on with a smaller seam allowance (using a smaller width of elastic) to give even more room- probably another 3/8" inch.  So I gave her more room in the crotch by lowering everything almost 3/4" inch.  Just something to pay attention to if you are sewing this pattern.  But she is tall.

Likes/Dislikes:  I mean, again- how stinkin' cute is finished product.  I can't help but love it.  But I do have to complain a little about the instructions.  They were confusing.  All the instructions for the different views are written together.  I had to use a highlighter to mark which parts were for my view.  I did follow the instructions closely since I wasn't sure about the order of construction.  And it all worked out. Except in the end, there was never a proper explanation of how to attach the front straps for view C.  The instructions and illustrations didn't take in to account the ruffle.  I worked it out but I can see that this would be frustrating for someone who was new to sewing, since this is a "Learn to Sew" pattern.  I flipped the ruffle up and sewed along the top of casing to attach the front of the straps  in case you are wondering.  I also need to tighten up that one strap a little.  It keeps slipping off her shoulder.  If I made this again, I'd just use the straps that tie.  They would be much easier to sew in and would also be adjustable after the fact.

This is when I told her to "strike a pose."  Lol.

Conclusion: I love the end result.  Jane loves it, too.  She wore it straight off the sewing machine.  She says it's comfy.  I know we'll get lots of use from it this summer.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Four *New Tops

*Only two of them are actually new makes.  The other two are previously sewn tops with a few changes.  I'm collecting them all in one blog post simply because they are the last four things to come off my sewing machine and I took pictures of them the other day.  I actually worked on all of them at the same time and then finished them all in one weekend.  Nothing makes you feel more accomplished than finishing four things in one weekend!

Anyway, the first top is my grey floral Burdastyle shirt that I recently blogged about here.  I went back to the fabric store and bought another yard of this rayon to do 3/4 length sleeves like my other version.  And I like it so much better.  I was able to wear it once on a cool day a week or so ago, but this top will go in the closet until fall. Too hot for longer sleeves already.  I painstakingly unpicked the armhole seams- stitched twice and then serged!  I'm always so thorough on seams I need to undo.  Looks better with longer sleeves, doesn't it?   I think it does. I get a more billowy, bohemian vibe instead of a granny chic vibe with the shorter sleeves.

My next alteration was to this rayon challis and linen McCalls 7095 top I made last summer.  I never wore it.  Not once.  The elastic waist was too bulky.  I think there was just too much volume gathered in to the elastic waist.  So I unpicked the channel the elastic was sewn in to- again, painstakingly, because it was several rows of stitching.  And then I chopped it shorter and hemmed it.  Unfortunately, I hemmed it too short the first time around.  So I then unpicked the hem and sewed a strip of fabric on the bottom to make it longer.  Can you tell I'm missing a stripe in there?  It was definitely a dedicated remake.  But I am so glad I persevered and fixed it because I have worn this top multiple times already.  It will be a staple this summer.

The next top is a new make.  I made this as a wearable muslin.  I bought McCalls 7361 without any real intention of making it right away, but then I noticed the striped version on the pattern envelope.  I had this super cheap rayon challis in stash that I figured would be perfect.  It was not fun to cut, however. I starched the hell out of it to keep the stripe as straight as possible.  I think I did an ok job.   

Pattern Description:  McCalls 7361, a loose fitting, pullover top with neck and hemline variations.  There is some very interesting seaming in this pattern.  I made view D, the striped version, but with the v-neck.  The sleeves are cut on the bias.  

Pattern Sizing: 6-22.  I cut a 12 to try and reduce some of the width even though I normally cut a 14.

Fabric Used:  Rayon challis.

Alterations/Deviations: The finished top was so, so short.  In an attempt to save it, I added a strip of fabric to hem.  I actually kind of like the added band around the hem.  We'll just pretend it was a design feature.  So pay attention to the length if you are making this.   I also had to straighten the shoulder seam after the fact.  I should just do a square shoulder adjustment all the time now, no questions asked.  I straightened the shoulder seam from shoulder point to neckline.  I probably took a 3/4" wedge out.  Not the proper way to do it but it helped.  I'll do a proper square shoulder adjustment next time around.

Likes/Dislikes:  I like the shape.  I like all the interesting seaming with the stripe.  I do not like how low the armholes are.  You can see straight to my bra.  I'll wear a camisole under this one but maybe I'll try and raise the armholes a bit next time.  Can you do that with a cut on sleeve?  I figure I'll just redraw that underarm curve up a little higher.

Conclusion:  It's funky little top pattern.  I would like to make it again with all the changes I listed above.  I'm even kind of interested in the pleated side panels.

The last top was super quick and is probably my favorite of the bunch.

Pattern Description: Kwik Sew 3891, batwing top with curved hemline and raglan sleeves.  I think this pattern has been around for a long time.  This is the first Kwik Sew pattern I've ever sewn.  I bought a few at Hancock the other day on deep discount.  I made view A but with the scoop neckline.

Pattern Sizing: XS-XL.  I made a S with the length of a M.  I'd say generous sizing in this pattern.  Not that sizing is super important.  As long as the neckline sits where you want it to, you're good to go with this style of top.

Fabric Used:  A Nicole Miller rayon jersey from Joann's.  I bought a few yards a while back but this is the first I've sewn up.  It's nice stuff.  Nice medium-ish weight but still pretty drape-y.  I think it was perfect for this top.  I have worn this top many, many, many times since making it.  And I have to report that the print has faded.  I'm on about the 12th wash or so and it's just now fading.  It didn't fade at first so I was pretty excited about the quality.

Alterations/Deviations:  None, other than using a longer length.  I also did my own neckband length. I always cut a neckband strip and then figure out the length as I'm sewing it on.  I don't trust the length given in patterns because I think it always varies depending upon your fabric.

Likes/Dislikes:  Love everything about this top.  I love the way the raglan seams are sewn together to make the sleeves.  I like the wide scoop neckline.  The length is good.   It's so easy to wear.  I will take more care with my hem next time.  I probably should have used some fusible to stabilize first.

Conclusion:  I will definitely make this again.   I have worn this one so much already that people might wonder if it's all I own.  It's a great, super quick sew.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Two Skirts

I made a couple of skirts.  One I am very happy with but the other is just ok.   Nothing exciting to talk about here in my intro, so on to the review.   I'm brain dead at the moment.  We are in the last week and half of school and the kids have gone bonkers.

Pattern Description:  Simplicity 8019, a vintage 70's reprint.  The pattern is a front gored, buttoned skirt in four different lengths.  My first version is the turquoise linen skirt.  My second, which I am much happier with, is the printed rayon midi length skirt.

Pattern Sizing:  The pattern offers sizes 6-24.  I made kind of a mix of sizes 16-18.  I cut the pattern as a size 16 but when I held up the waistband piece, I realized that a size 16 waistband was not going to fit me where I wanted the skirt to sit.  This must be designed to sit right on the natural waist.  I wanted my skirt to sit lower, so I cut an 18 waistband and then sewed slightly smaller seam allowances at the top of of my skirt pieces so the waistband would fit. I'm not sure that was the best decision as the skirt would probably be a lot more flattering if it sat at my natural waist.  I think it messes with the proportion a little bit.  I think this is why I don't love the turquoise version.  

Fabric Used:  Turquoise linen/rayon blend for skirt one.  Ditsy rayon challis print for skirt two.  I think this skirt pattern lends itself to all types of fabric.

Alterations/Deviations:  Other than the waistband issue I mentioned above, I made no other changes to the turquoise skirt.  The length is the shortest length offered.  Not as short as it looks on the envelope, but remember my skirt sits lower on my waist.  When I made the rayon skirt, I was worried the waistband would be too flimsy (even interfaced).  So I added elastic to the back waistband which I am patting myself on the back for.  It keeps the skirt sitting where I want it to and takes care of some fit issues I have with the first version.  If I make this again, I will definitely do the same thing again.  I just sewed the waistband on and inserted elastic in the back half, stitching it at the side seams.  I only pulled the elastic slightly.  Just enough to give the back waistband a little bit of tension.  It's smooth when it's on.  The rayon version originally began as a maxi but I think I'm kind of over maxi skirts here lately.  I kept shortening it (three times!) until I ended up with a length I liked.  Well, I guess I like it.  There is something frumpy about it in photos but I think it looks better in real life.  It's flips and swishes around when I walk and it's fun to sit and cross your legs in with the button band split at the bottom.  It's only a couple of inches longer than the turquoise skirt.  It sits just below my knees.

Likes/Dislikes:  I like the flared shape and button front.  I do have some fit issues with the linen version.  I think those wrinkles in the back have something to do with sewing the seams with smaller seam allowances.  Or I need a sway back adjustment.  I also do not like how the front of my linen skirt wrinkles.   It's pretty unflattering and makes the button band stick out.  I know I have a little belly there but I think the button band sticking out accentuates it even more (see below!).   I don't feel that way in the rayon version.  Anyway, I'm letting the turquoise skirt sit in the closet for a while to see if I grow to love it later.  The rayon one has already been worn multiple times.

Conclusion:  Nice little skirt pattern.  I would like to make it again in a longer midi length (mid calf). I actually have some black tencel fabric that would be perfect.  And who couldn't use a good black skirt.  I'll add it to the queue!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Finally Finished Object

Well, here it is.  Not my longest running ufo (that would be my partial Nicola dress that still hangs in my sewing room) but close.  I started this dress at the end of November last year and just finally called it finished this past weekend.  I'm still not sold on the maxi length but I'm leaving it for now.  I figure I'll put this dress away now that summer is almost here and then see what I think about it when it cools down again.  It's already too hot for long sleeves anyway.

Pattern Description:  McCalls 7242.  Misses button down shirt dress with elastic waist and a mandarin collar.  There are length and sleeve variations.  I was drawn to the 70's vibe of the maxi with the long blouse-y sleeves.

Pattern Sizing: 6-22.  I cut a straight size 14 out of laziness.  Actually, I did a lot of things out of laziness on this dress and I can tell.  I think I definitely needed a 16 in the waist and hip.  And maybe even the shoulder.  But the fit is decent.  This is not a pattern with an obscene amount of ease like you find sometimes in Big 4 patterns.  The skirt is pretty slim, which is nice.

Fabric Used:  I used a fabulous Cotton and Steel rayon poplin.  It is seriously nice stuff.  But it is on the more expensive side of the fabric I buy.  I had to buy five(!) yards of it to make this dress.   I really did need all that yardage, too.  So this actually ended up being kind of a pricey dress.  I think that's why I'm a little bummed that it didn't turn out as fantastic as I was hoping it would be.  The rayon poplin doesn't have the same soft drape that rayon challis has.   It's drape-y but it's also crisp, if that makes sense.   I think rayon challis might have been a better choice.

I bought the pattern when it first came out but didn't make it right away because of the yardage required.  Then I saw this version by Lisa g. and this one by Sew Busy Lizzy.  I was sold.  I browsed around online and bought the Cotton and Steel rayon because I was making this for a special event- my school wide art show at the beginning of December.  When the fabric arrived, I had exactly one week to sew up my dress.  I finished everything but the collar and the finishing and lost all steam.  Sewing under a deadline is never a good idea for me.  I didn't finish it in time for my art show and so it sat on my dress form for several months.  I'm not sure why I didn't pick it right back up after the show.  Anyway, months later I forced myself to finish it.  I sewed that damn collar five times (re-cutting it one time) before I got those curved front edges to match.  Then I screwed up the button holes and had to fix a few by hand (they don't look good up close).  And I also couldn't decide on a hem length.  I almost chopped it to knee length but I decided to leave it as a maxi for now.  It seems like a lot of fabric with the length and the long sleeves but I'll see how I feel later.

Alterations/Deviations:   After reading Lisa's post, I narrowed the front facing and top stitched it down.  I also shortened the sleeves two inches at the shorten/lengthen line.  I liked the big blouse-y sleeves but I wanted to be able to wear this to work and not dip my sleeves in paint.  I think shortening them was a smart idea.  They are still pretty big but don't billow over my hands or anything.  Other than that, no other changes.  The length of the maxi is per the pattern.  I could use another inch or two. I can only wear this with the flattest of shoes.  Nothing with a heel or it looks too short.  If you are on the taller side, you may want to add some length.

Likes/Dislikes:  I have some fit issues but I do like the way the collar sits.  However, if there is a photo that illustrates my need for a square shoulder adjustment, it's this one below. That diagonal pulling goes all the way to my shoulders.  I can feel it.  I think a square shoulder adjustment (adding to the shoulder seam) would solve that.  And a size up would probably help, too.  I like the way the elastic waist casing is sewn as well.  It's done with a larger seam allowance.  You have to read the instructions carefully.

Conclusion:  I'd love to try this again, sleeveless for summer.  In fact, I may just do that.  I have a soft rayon challis in stash that would be perfect.  If I make this again, I will definitely do a square shoulder and raise the armscye to match.  I would also go up a size in the waist and hip and add length.  I think despite my needing a few changes that this is a pretty good pattern.  I'm glad I finally finished it!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

More Shirts!

I made more shirts!  Can you believe it?  I made two, although one is a success and one not so much.  After my shirt making adventure recently, I was pretty sure I would take a good long break from sewing collared shirts.  But I received so much good advice from everyone in the comment section that I decided to have another go.

Pattern Description:   Honestly, I don't have any great take away from this shirt sewing experience because this shirt style is so different.  This is not a traditional shirt pattern, as you can see.  It's a BurdaStyle pattern-- Gathered Peplum Blouse 03/2015 #109.  It's a very roomy and wide blouse with a gathered bottom.  I'm not sure I would call it a peplum but I don't really know what to call it.  I actually bought this pattern from the BurdaStyle website last year around this time of year.  I printed it, taped it together, traced it and added seam allowances and then lost all steam to actually make it.  I find pdf's to be a lot of trouble.  Anyway, after reading a couple of comments on my post about shirt making that recommended I try a shirt pattern that had a back yoke and pleat detail, I remembered this pattern all ready to go in my sewing room.

Pattern Sizing:  I cut a 40 and it is really wide.  The style is supposed to be roomy and boxy but I could have gone down to a 38 easily.  Also, the shoulders are super wide.  Maybe they are supposed to be slightly dropped.   I'm not sure.  I had a few comments on my shirt making post that have me paying attention to where the shoulder/armscye seam hits.  This shirt tells me nothing about that, though!  I left the shoulder seam as is, however.  When I make a more traditional shirt again, I will definitely look at the width of the shoulders.

Fabric Used:  Both versions are rayon challis.  For the black version,  I used two different rayons I found at Joann's.  Not sure if they were meant to go together or not, but the tan color is a perfect match between the two.   I had fun deciding which parts of the shirt would be made from which fabric. The black shirt is a definite favorite.  I love the way it turned out.  I didn't worry too much about matching those diamonds but I did try and keep them straight when I cut out the pieces.  I did an ok job.   It veers off a little in places.  The grey and white floral short sleeve shirt is a super cheap rayon challis I found at Hancock.  I'm not as in love with it as the black version.  The grey and white print combined with the style of the shirt reminds me of the Golden Girls for some reason.  Like 80's retirement home chic.  It's a little frumpy.

Alterations/ Deviations: I made changes to the sleeves on both versions.  When cutting out the black version, I turned the one piece sleeve in to a two piece because I didn't want to try my first ever tower placket in rayon challis.  I did cut long sleeves, but later decided to shorten them to 3/4 length.  I finished the hem of the sleeves with a skinny band instead of a wide cuff.  I did keep a placket opening and did a buttonhole on the cuff to close it.  On the short sleeve version, the sleeves are really the reason I don't really like it so much.  I wanted to do a sleeveless version originally.  But when I sewed it up without sleeves, I couldn't figure out how to finish the armholes.  The shoulder seams are too dropped for binding and I couldn't wrap my brain around adding a sleeve band or something similar.  I didn't think it through.  So I cut sleeves from the pattern using the last little bit of fabric I had left.  This is all the length I could do.  Meh.  I also added an inch to the length of the shirt which I think contributes to the frump factor.  And I only did four buttons instead of five ( I spaced them myself on both).  There really needs to be a button in the middle where the gathered seam sits. Oh, and I left off the pockets in both versions- front flap pockets and in-seam pockets.

Likes/Dislikes:  I really love the first version I made with the 3/4 length sleeves.  I love the print mix and the swingy, gathered bottom.  It really is the perfect blouse to wear to work.  It's easy to wear but funky and semi-professional looking.  The grey version needs longer sleeves, I think.  I am tempted to go back to Hancock and check for more of that fabric to redo the sleeves.  The short sleeves make it look dated for some reason.  If I ever make this pattern again, I will narrow the shoulder width a bit and maybe downsize the collar.  But other than that, I like it.  I am much happier with this shirt making experience than the last.  And yes, even though I'm not sure I did that back pleat correctly, I am liking the feel and fit of the back yoke versus no yoke.  I don't notice the creeping back neckline that I lamented about before but that could also be a result of using a drape-y fabric.

Conclusion:  Fun shirt pattern.  I will definitely look at shirt patterns with a back yoke from now on.  And maybe one day I'll try my hand at a tower placket.  I love the black version and it is already being worn frequently.  The grey version will get some wear as is, but I'd love to revisit those sleeves.