Blue “Duchess” Jacket – M5327

The third item for my Sudoku Wardrobe challenge is finished and it’s super fun! I was inspired by the “Duchess” blazer which is basically a standard blazer with a unique hem on the back. I used a pattern already in my stash (McCall’s 5327) which had a scalloped back hem, and used view A with short sleeves because I only had a small amount of the stashed fabric I wanted to use.

Original “Duchess” Blazer costs $595!!!!!


My version used free gifted fabric, and thrifted pattern ($0.50) and 2 buttons. Total cost, about $5!!!

I wore it to church today with my bird shirt, tank, and skirt from my closet. This is my first outfit complete! Looking at it all together now, I sort of feel like it looks like something a flight attendant would wear on a really awesome Caribbean flight…Jamaica Air maybe?

Pattern Review – M5327

Pattern Description: Semi-fitted, unlined jacket has princess seams, collar, lapels, flaps, shaped hemline with back slits and sleeve length variations.

A note on the sleeves…view A has short sleeves with lots of gathers on the cap and they are¬†really puffy! I sort of feel like Anne of Green Gables in her puff-sleeve dress. ūüôā

Pattern Sizing: 12-18 and I made size 14 which is technically 1 size too small for my bust/waist but turned out perfect. I prefer my clothes more on the fitted end and after checking finished garment sizes have tended to go down a size on big 4 patterns.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes! I really had to be creative with pattern layout to get everything to fit on the small amount I had but I got everything to fit. I only cut one layer for the sleeve and just turned the hem under (instead of having a double thick sleeve). I also cut the under collar and hem facing on the bias with a seam instead of fold, just so I could fit it on the fabric.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes! I followed them exactly and it worked out great. There is quite a bit of hand stitching necessary to attach the front facing at the side and shoulder seams as well as stitch down the collar but it wasn’t to bad and I like the way it finishes the inside nicely. The instructions do recommend folding under and stitching the seam allowances to finish them, but I just used my serger.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?¬†I really liked all of it. If I ever make this again, I think I’d add some length as I prefer my jackets longer, but with limited fabric, I just used the pattern as designed. I might also consider removing some of the puff from the sleeve for a bit of a more traditional¬†look.

Fabric Used: Bottom weight twill gifted to me by a neighbor.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I didn’t include the faux-pocket flaps (just flaps with no pocket underneath). I also used two buttons instead of one because I wanted the center front to lay flatter when closed (though I’ll more often just wear it open).

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Its a nice pattern for an unlined jacket, but with the distinctive sleeves and back hem I think I’ll try another blazer pattern to make a more traditional lined version. It was a great first try for me since it is unlined and rather simple to put together so I would recommend it (though I know the pattern is out of print).

Conclusion: Love the jacket and it will go great with everything in the Sudoku Wardrobe. This process got me excited about possibly making some more structured jackets in the future…maybe for a fall wardrobe?

Grade D…but Wearable

I once had a classmate who shared one way she saved money on groceries while a poor college student…she bought eggs labeled “Grade D, but edible.” Since then, Troy and I use this phrase whenever something¬†turns out to be not that great but we still end up doing it or using it. So that’s why this tank is “Grade D, but wearable.” ūüôā

As part of my Sudoku wardrobe I wanted to make a couple of tanks to layer under some semi-sheer tops. I was originally going to purchase the Stroop Patterns camisole pattern, but as I was cleaning up my craft room I came across this tank which I already owned. I thought this one (Ottobre Magazine 02-2010 #18) would be basic and easy to make.

Not so much.

I only just looked at the photo and didn’t really pay attention to the technical drawing. Do you see that “fold” at the front neckline. That is for real! This neckline was so wide that the shoulders were just completely falling off the end of my shoulder. Argh!

This pattern on top of S1167 tank. See the shoulder placement…so wide!

Also, it was huge! I made a size 42 which according to the measurements on the size chart is one size smaller than I needed. I still ended up having to take about 1 1/2 inches from each side seam (6″ total)!!!!

And the neckline….oh boy. I ended up just folding under the hem allowance and putting some clear elastic under the hem and stretching it in order to gather the front and back neckline centers.

Even still, I will wear it as a layering piece under other tops….like my bird top!

Pattern Review ~ Ottobre 02/2010 #18

Pattern Description: The little top worn under the shirt has a loose front neckline (I should have read this a little more carefully).

Pattern Sizing: 34-52

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes and no. Having gone back to read the description and looking at the tech sketch its obvious the neckline would be big. But that’s not how it looked on the model.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes the instructions were super easy and that’s what drew me to the pattern but the pieces themselves didn’t work well.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked the idea of it more that the execution.

Fabric Used: Interlock knit from JoAnn’s.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:¬†As mentioned above, I took in the side seams by a total of 6″ all around and added elastic to the center front neckline and center back neckline.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? No. I’ll be looking for another tank pattern.

Conclusion: Fit was off and the design didn’t work for me. I won’t be making this one again and would recommend you carefully consider the fit and shape of this top. But it is wearable and I will still use it under other tops as a layering piece.

Arara! Arara! ~ McCall’s 7472

Arara! Arara! That is of course what parrots say in Portuguese! First up from my Sudoku Wardrobe is M7472, my bird top.

The snow has mostly melted but it was still quite blustery and cold outside. Nevertheless, I braved the chill to get some pictures of my new favorite top.

I love all the details of this project. The pattern was great, easy to stitch up and the details really finish it off. The button band and stand collar finish it off nicely and the curved hem is so cute! The fabric is also fabulous for this top and the drape of it make this so comfy and it will be perfect when the weather warms up.

Pattern Review – M7472

Pattern Description: Loose-fitting button front shirt an tunics have raglan sleeve, hem, and collar variations. I made view B which has short sleeves and is about low hip length.

Pattern Sizing: 6-22. I made size 14. There is quite a bit of ease built into the pattern and in the future I may even play around with going down one more size and doing an FBA.

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes! I did the sleeve a bit differently than recommended. The instructions call for you to stitch the sleeves to the fronts and back and then hem it. I chose to hem the sleeves first and then attach to the fronts and back.

Inside view of the side seam and sleeve edge.

Another thing I did is finish the side seams with the serger first and then sewed them. I used the serger as a help to create the narrow hem so I just serged the edge then folded it over 2x to get a 1/4″ hem.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked everything!

Fabric Used:¬†Nicole Miller Parrot fabric from JoAnn’s. Its 90% Polyester and 10% spandex so it has great drape and a tiny bit of stretch. It is not quite opaque so I’ll be wearing a tank underneath.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:¬†Besides the slight construction changes I mentioned above, I sewed the side seam closed a bit longer (by about 2″ from what was marked). I wanted the bit of more coverage on the side.


Also, I didn’t want to mess with the great drape of the fabric but knew I needed to interface the button band and collar. So, I just cut a 1″ strip of very light fusible interfacing and attached it to what would end up being the back half of the band. This added the support the bands needed and also had the added benefit of making it super easy to fold and press the band which can be tricky with drapey fabric like this. When it’s time to fold and press just follow the line of the interfacing!

Button band attached to front ~ showing interfacing.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?¬†Yes, Yes, Yes! I’ll probably make a long sleeve version out of some flannel next time.

Conclusion: Love it, recommend it, and will definitely be wearing it often!

Wardrobe Sudoku – Spring 2017

I have a bit of an obsession with planning. Following through is another matter, but I’m all about planning! When Pattern Review announced the Wardrobe Sudoku contest I knew this¬†was exactly the motivation I needed to follow through with my sewing plans. I love the idea of a capsule wardrobe but find that planning it is difficult and overwhelming.

The idea with this contest is to create a “sudoku” board with each row containing one top, bottom, accessory, and shoe to create an outfit. You should end up with 10 outfits using 16 pieces (10 of which you have to make).

Here’s what I came up with:

Each row, column, and diagonal creates an outfit. Additionally each quadrant and the 4 center squares also creates an outfit for a total of 15 OUTFITS (!!!!) using only 16 items.

My color scheme is basically the same as last year’s Cruise Wardrobe which (I never fully completed). That works out well for me now because I had a lot of these fabrics still in my stash.

I decided on Navy, White/Off White, and Gray as the neutrals with Coral/Pink as the main accent color. I found an awesome bird pattern fabric at JoAnn’s (top left corner) which includes lots of colors but matches well with everything.

Even the shoes?

Since I only have to make 10 of the items I don’t have to make the shoes and chose to use an existing skirt I have (bottom right corner). But, I would really like to try making the Espadrilles in the bottom left square. This photo is actually of a Marc Jacobs shoe that retails in the ~$300s but with a Dritz shoe kit I should be able to recreate for about $20 all in. Awesome!

I have all the fabrics in my possession (after a few extra trips to JoAnn’s) and have even started on cutting and pattern tracing (dates for the contest are Feb. 1 – Mar. 31) but still need to find good fabric for the “Nettie” bodysuit and an infinity scarf. I may end up having to order something online.

Fabrics, Patterns, and Notions all waiting patiently for their turn.

I started sorting everything in my WIP bins so I can keep all the pieces together and have some kind of order as I work through everything.

But I needed it!!!

And, I bought a second sewing machine. It was a steal in the local online classifieds but didn’t have a foot pedal and was missing the entire bobbin shuttle race assembly (what the bobbin sits in).¬†Not sure how someone loses that but, whatever. So I ordered those online and am waiting not so patiently for them to arrive. With a bit of¬†work this will be like a brand new machine for 1/3 the price! I think that’s a good deal. And then I won’t have to thread and re-thread to top-stitch.¬†It is great that they are both the same brand (Singer) so the presser feet are interchangeable.

New lovely lady on the left…oh so pretty! (Singer Brilliance) Old lady on the right. (Singer Stylist)

As I work on each piece I’ll be sure to post a review of the pattern and explain the process. At the end I have to compile one composite review with all the pieces together. And maybe by the time I’m done with all the sewing it will be warm enough to wear the pieces. A girl can dream. ūüôā