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Sammy, Charlotte and Blair

I have had these done for several weeks, but a pulled back muscle put a hold on taking photos and such. Now it’s time to play catch up before starting fresh with a new month, and Yikes – April already! Sammy is a free cami pattern from Iconic patterns , Blair is a simple batwing top from Named , and Charlotte was the first pattern release of By Hand London. I have just a simple twist knot in the tee that sits at the top edge of the waistband – it is a high-waist skirt, but not too high.


I was organizing my fabric stash and “found” this sheer striped knit that I had purchased from Fabric Mart for $1/yard during one of their many sales. Charlotte I had since last year, Blair was a fairly recent purchase and Sammy had just been released. Everything just clicked and I knew the outfit I wanted! I could have sworn that I had that black and gold cotton sateen in my stash, but no. I really had my heart set on it and even though it was from last summer( at JoAnns) I took a chance. Unbelievable – not only did they have it, but it was in the red tag area which was currently on sale for 50% off!


Sammy is a pretty easy sew and I just love Lena’s instructions for the binding for people without coverstitch machines. Did I mention it’s a free pattern? I followed the instructions for size selection and my fabric was a cotton spandex with a 60-70% stretch (recommended is 70-80%). I have on a black bra in this shot, but the next one, I’m wearing a bright yellow bra – the coverage is excellent, with just a little peeking through where the straps join front and just a little at the back strap. Awesome! My first muslin fit fine from the front, but the back had a lot of wrinkles.

sam3 It’s not a swayback thing – it’s a not enough bust room thing. I think if you are a small B, you would be OK, – I needed close to a 2″ dart taken out of the back to get rid of the wrinkles. For my 2nd version I added a total length of 1″  to the front – 1/2″ at bust line, 1/2″ at hem tapering to nothing at side seam to match back. I still needed a small dart taken out at the back and shortened the straps a little as well. I still had some minor wrinkling. I think my final version will take out about 1/2″ through the center back and add that width back at the side seams from the waist down.  With a little tweaking, this is a great basic and so easy to make a coordinating cami for sheer tops!


I am really happy with the fit I got on the skirt, close through the hip and yet comfortable to sit in, although without the vent (which will be in the next version) I’m going to have a hard time getting into DH’s truck!

The BHL site has a tutorial for the skirt including how to adjust to your size. At 5’4″ – I needed some significant length adjustments – I just took them out of 2 different areas and tapered the hem to the width designed for my hip size. Since I needed a larger waist size, I sized up a little, but also decreased the dart width – with 4 darts, it was easier to get the sizing I needed. I did do a muslin and shortened the darts a little as well.

I did my lining a little differently so I could attach it at the zipper by machine. First I finished the edges with a serger, then pinned the lining to the zipper tape right side of lining to inside edge of zipper tape – it’s just the center back seam allowance and zipper tape. First picture shows what it looks like after pinning and flipped back. I leave the edges below the zipper open and seam that last. Next pic is another view – again, make sure you are only pinning in the seam allowance. The lower side is what it looks like after seaming. Finally, you need your zipper foot to get close to the edge, but not too close or your zipper could catch in the lining.

step1 step2 step3a

I really thought hard about purchasing Blair – it seems like such a simple pattern – and it is. One thing I’ve found out, simple patterns require meticulous drafting too and I was not disappointed with Blair. I’ve accepted that I will just always have to make petite adjustments from the between waist and shoulder. I started by using the neck/shoulder line for the smaller size, graded out to between size 1 and 2 for the width (there are only 2 sizes). I shortened the armhole to have it end at my waist – it looked like that is where it was hitting on the model.
Adjusting the sleeve to fit the new armsyce was done with tucks down the length. The tuck created uneven side seam (right). I placed paper under the side seam and then drew a new seam curving to fit (left). The sleeve cuff end was still loose – I took in 3 pleats to reduce to 8″ and added a narrow band. Now when I want to push up the sleeves, they stay up and I like the look of the pleats. My other alteration was to add a neck band instead of the turn and sew neck edge. It was still a fast sew as I did most on my serger, and just left the bands to be done on my regular sewing machine. The other thing I liked about Blair, was that I could knot the front before dinner, and leave it loose after…


This fabric is talking to me

and it’s saying “dress!!!”. Would you believe that dress was already Named Leini

I fell in love with this pattern, OK, I admit, it’s that whole collection! This dress is a mostly a simple shift. The angled front pleats are what really make this dress something special. It’s just the right touch to distinguish this dress from all the other shifts out there.  I’m doing my best to stick to one of my resolutions to not buy any more patterns unless I’m planning on using them right away! Yeah, I should have been doing that from the start – with fabric too. What appeals to me most about this collection, is that it is both simple and sophisticated. So far I have found the drafting and fit to be excellent. These are PDF patterns, and I really appreciate that most patterns print over 12 pages – nice to save on paper and ink.

lined pleat

The instructions included are for lined/unlined bodice. My version is self-lined bodice  and nylon tricot for the skirt. This was sewn entirely on my sewing machine as sometimes the serged seam adds bulk that shows with pressing on a light weight knit like this. I used a universal needle (80) ,  lightened up the pressure a tad, straight stitch 2.8 for all seams except the waist – used the lighting bolt stitch there. I chose those stitches as the dress is loose fit and completely lined so I didn’t need to worry about stress on seams or stitches popping.

This was my first time to line a bodice without any handstitching! I owe it all to Made by Rae and her fab tutorial

Pattern Alterations: For reference, I am 5’4″, frame on the smaller side of normal, short-waisted (back waist length is barely 15″, narrow back, normal waist to hip length. Usual adjustments for me are to remove as much as an inch(sometimes more) in the armhole depth/midriff area. This pattern, I removed 2cm (.75 inches) and that will need to be replaced at waist level when I make my next version of this dress. The elastic is sitting as an empire waist – the model photo shows the waist to be at or slightly above the navel. I didn’t muslin the pattern, so had to remove all the extra length from the shoulder. Now the neck is higher than I’d like (still comfortable), waist a little high, and length a little shorter than I had planned. Despite all that, I still love this dress and can see myself living in this all summer. I wonder if I have any really big sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat!

One more week to finish the dress for the LWD contest – guess I better quit getting side tracked!