Coral polka dots at the sea

These four-day weeks are confusing the heck out of me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the long weekends, but wow. How did it get to be Wednesday already?? My work schedule has completely flown out the window for the last three weeks, and with it, my concept of how much time has passed since my last blog post.

One look at my blog history tells me I had the exact same problem last year. Oh well. I’m here now, right? Right!

Polka Dot Sorbetto Tank @lclarke522

So, I wanted to tell you about my latest Sorbetto. I only managed to make one more after the three vintage sheet versions I showed you and before my Ocean City trip, and I haven’t been back to the sewing machine since (see above re: scheduling).

I think this may be my favorite one yet. It’s got a bit of a vintage flair with the polka dots and all, and that color is just really super.

I wore it to the beach (that’s where I took these pictures) and it was not a warm or sunny day. Rather than be bummed about that, I took it as my cue to accessorize when I took a walk into downtown Ocean City.

Polka Dot Sorbetto Tank @lclarke522

I got this scarf on clearance at Macy’s a few months ago, and it’s sooooo soft. The girl at the bead shop complemented me on how great the pale aqua and deep orange looked together.

Polka Dot Sorbetto Tank @lclarke522

I actually wore it with a sweater, too, for my walk. Like I said, it was not warm.

A few hours later, we headed out to our boardwalk supper and I got to try yet another look for this shirt:

Polka Dot Sorbetto Tank @lclarke522

Yeah. Barely peeking out under the heaviest sweater I had with me. It had progressed from “not warm” to “darn chilly.”

This week, we are staring down the barrel of some 90-degree days, so I’m going to have plenty of time to wear it again without the sweater accompaniments.

Some details: like I mentioned earlier, it’s the Colette Sorbetto tank (available for free!). I had previously done a full bust adjustment on the pattern and added 3 inches in length, and the pattern is now a perfect fit for me. For this polka dot version, I eliminated the pleat in the center, and made my own bias tape. The fabric is a cotton lawn from Fashion Fabrics Club, which I have had mixed results from. One order took nearly two weeks to reach (a very very impatient) me, and another order got here in about five days. Your mileage may vary.

With the hot weather on the horizon, I may whip up a few more of these. I have a new green gingham I got on sale, and some dark medallion-style prints that would all look good in this pattern. These tanks are so versatile, as you can see. They can be worn alone, or with layers, depending on the weather. And if you’re at the ocean, your wind and sun will probably vary so much from morning to evening, you’ll get to wear all of those options on the same day!

Tea and the Atlantic Ocean @lclarke522

P.S. I’m ready to go back to the ocean. Anyone want to blow off their responsibilities and road trip it? (oh, if only!)

Vintage sheet extravaganza

Do you remember when we did the sheet swap last summer? It all happened right around the same time as Neil’s health issues were cropping up, and so I didn’t get to be as efficient at it as I had liked. And then when it was all over, I took my own precious little stack of sheets and tucked it away in my stash instead of using it on something cool.

Well, here we are 10-ish months later, and I finally dug into that stack. Three Sorbetto tanks, just for me:

Colette Sorbetto Tank made from vintage sheet @lclarke522

Colette Sorbetto Tanks made from vintage sheets @lclarke522This pattern gets easier to make with each one I do. I’m getting much better at darts and bias tape, that’s for sure.

The first top has some neckline issues, as does the third, but neither problem is a deal-breaker. I don’t even intend to fix the blue one. The gold one, though, I think I can improve upon, if I take a few minutes to re-sew that part.

I used custom bias tape where I had enough fabric, and store-bought where I didn’t. I like both looks.

And, bonus! The small pieces I had left of each sheet remnant were perfect for these:

Made By Petchy Baby Dresses made from vintage sheets @lclarke522

These are for my 4-month-old niece. I made them all using the same pattern I have used before: the Made By Petchy Baby Dress. Aren’t they adorable? They’re so quick to whip up, and a great way to use those small pieces of fabric.  I made each one just a tiny bit different from each other, either in the way the ties are threaded through the casing, or at the hemline (one of them is zig-zag stitched).

I wasn’t planning on using all of these swapped sheets for shirt-making, but the cotton lawns I ordered still aren’t here after nearly two weeks, and I just couldn’t wait any longer!  I’ll just have to sew a few more shirts when the fabric finally arrives. You can never have too many handmade summer tops, I say!



I put some distance between me and the failed sewing from yesterday. Distance and:

  • an open window in the kitchen with The Proclaimers on Pandora and half a glass of wine while I chopped vegetables for a supper salad
  • strawberries and cream on angel food cake with the family around the kitchen table before bed
  • a good night’s sleep.

126/365: May 6 - Making the adjustments

And this morning, I woke up ready to try again. I decided I really did want to get that Sorbetto right after all, and so I pulled out my patterns, my tracing paper, and some instructions, and went to town on that FBA. I had made a size 14 before, but this time I cut out a 10, made a 1.5-ish-inch adjustment, tapered the waist back in about an inch, and added 2 inches of length.

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I did a test run on this vintage sheet, eliminating the pleat in the front, and I must say, it’s pretty perfect.

Imagine that.

This bodes very well for the four cotton lawn prints I ordered on the internet last week.

If I’m being completely honest here, I do have a couple of issues with the way I look in this shirt, but I suspect they are more of a body-image problem than anything else. After all, this shirt really does fit this body pretty well. The next tops I make will use a less stiff fabric, which will probably make me love them more. That’s the plan, anyway.

I appreciate all of your comments on my whiny post yesterday! The moral of the story, of course, is one that I never seem to learn: take the time to tweak the pattern up front (aka do the darn FBA aready) and it will save you a lot of frustration (and wasted fabric) in the long run.

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So, anyway, Mission: Expose Shoulders, accomplished! This pattern is definitely going to be my go-to pattern for sleevelessness. Yay!

Sewing FAIL

125/365: May 5 - Bad sewing day


It was not a successful sewing day for me on Sunday. But, hey, before we get to that, let me show you something that I sewed a few weeks ago that is not a miserable disaster! I’ve been meaning to post about these, but I kept forgetting to photograph them while I had some daylight.

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Ok, so these are the newest Built By Wendy Simplicity 3835 shirts in my closet. They join about a million others, but I keep making this pattern because I know I will be happy with the results.

These are both cotton lawns in gingham. I couldn’t decide between red or navy, and then I couldn’t decide between tiny checks or big, so I just finally got two: one in each color, in two different sizes. This was pretty inexpensive fabric, so why not?

I also made two different sleeve lengths. I wanted one that was longer so I could wear it with my Milady vest, and another that was shorter and would be good for the summer with shorts and beachy pants and such. I am pleased with both of these. So, yay!

Now on to my not-so-happy sewing…

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I wanted some sleeveless Summer tops. I like to have my shoulders out when I’m in the sun, so I can avoid weird mid-arm tan (oh, ok, burn) lines, and I’m thinking ahead to our annual end-of-May beach trip. Sooooo excited for that!

I saw that Beki has been making some sleeveless tops using the free Sorbetto pattern from Colette. You may have noticed a bunch of Sorbetto images in my Flickr favorites this weekend. I was doing my research. My research suggested that I might want to consider a full bust adjustment. My first mistake? ignoring my research.

My Sorbetto looks terrible on me. I actually didn’t bother finishing it – the sleeves are still unhemmed. It’s far too wide, and far too short. And the stitching around the neckline? Oh, just awful. If I want to try this pattern again, I probably need to cut out a size much smaller, do a FBA, and add a few inches to the length. I’m not sure it’s worth it, though. I can’t decide if I have the potential to love this pattern on me or not.

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Hot on the heels of that failure, I dug through my patterns and looked for one I remembered tracing from a dress I liked. A long time ago, I had made modifications to it to improve it, but I guess I wasn’t quite finished with my editing, because I ended up with another awful, awful finished object.

First? Too wide. Again. Second? I had wanted to take advantage of the built-in hem on the vintage sheet I was using, but apparently I lined the patterns up poorly, and the back hangs over an inch lower than the front. This was really really long anyway, so I can easily cut the bottom off and re-hem it, but I doubt it’s worth it. Even if I can make it more narrow in the waist, the neckline annoys me.

Here’s the thing: every time I try to make a sleeveless shirt, I end up with something too wide, too short, and with a collar that doesn’t lay flat. Is this because I’m busty? Or is it because I’m lazy? Or maybe a little bit of both? It seriously doesn’t matter what pattern I use. Always too wide, too short.

I think one of the reasons I love the Built By Wendy design so much is that elastic in the neckline is super forgiving, and the pattern itself is super easy. I am considering forgetting about the other patterns, and spending some time modifying the BBW pattern to be sleeveless. I am not sure it can be done in an attractive way, but I’m about ready to admit defeat on all of the other patterns I’m trying.

It’s funny – in just about every craft I do, I enjoy fiddling and making changes, but sewing? Not so much. I want it to be perfect right out of the gate, and I hate having to make multiple versions in order to get it right.

I don’t suppose you can suggest a super easy (read: foolproof, and in plain english) pattern that would require minimal fussing to fit “the girls” properly, but not look like a tent in the process? In the meantime, I’ll just be hacking at my BBW pattern and seeing what I can come up with…