Last week I met up with some fellow San Francisco bay area sewing bloggers, a super fun evening. (check out these posts from Shams of Communing with Fabric and Amy of Sew Well). Even better, I got to meet someone new, Cindy of Cation Designs. I have been reading her blog for a while so it was great to finally talk and hear about her sewing adventures. She made me laugh because I showed a couple of things I have sewn with fabrics purchased at a local thrift store or estate sale. She was amazed at my lucky finds (as am I) and was ready to go shopping with me anytime. While I don't always find something I do get the feeling there is someone who is my shopping doppelganger slowly doling out her donations to the local thrift store I frequent as I now have more than 7 big pieces of yardage waiting to be sewn up. Everything I have purchased at this thrift store is blue, ranging from dark cobalt to pale sky blue, with a good dollop of turquoise and aqua. Interesting, huh? I tell you, my shopping/sewing doppelganger. Although she is apparently decreasing her stash whereas I am adding to mine.
Back to the tunic top. Fabric content is a mystery, it is 60" wide and has a linen-y texture but is super soft and presses beautifully. Here is the original black and white tunic top which is 100% linen. It looks great but is just a bit heavy. I do like the white outline on the solid black placket etc. but I didn't have any white fabric that seemed the right weight so I skipped that feature on the blue version. I also skipped the trim on the bottom because visually it seemed to chop off the look in the blue.
Here is a closer look at the blue fabric. I happened to have the solid blue fabric in my stash, hurrah.
I made the paper pattern by copying the original top, which was quite easy as garment clones go, since it is a relatively simple garment and can be laid flat. I run a contrast line of basting down the center front and back of the top, and then just trace the seam lines of the garment, adding seam allowances later. I laid the sleeves flat, and traced the front half and back half, and then taped them together, truing up the sleeve cap a bit. Normally I would pleat in the dart as I pinned the tissue on the garment for tracing but I just couldn't get the paper to cooperate so I traced the front almost flat, and then went back and added a bust dart using the slash and pivot technique. Then I trued up the front side seam to the back. I marked the neckline placket and then retraced that section to make the pattern piece.
For the placket I did use a lightweight knit interfacing, stay-stitched the seam allowance all around and then turned and pressed. The neckline placket is sewn inside, right side to wrong side, and then flipped outside and top-stitched, so the right side shows. The RTW top was made this way, easy and not bulky.
So I gave it to Mom this week and she loves it. another hurrah! I have enough fabric remaining to make another one - so I might have one as well. Which might require some pre-event telephoning, to make sure we don't arrive somewhere looking like twins. Could happen :)
Getting back to my thrift store finds, in addition to this tunic top fabric, here are a few other finds which came from the same store.
My McCalls vintage look, made with a blue wool tweed. Still have a good 2 yards remaining, so I am thinking a jacket will be made this winter.
This one is a crinkled cotton in a tropical orchid and palm leaf print. I made a summer sundress (what else?) using Butterick 5351. Another good one for our 100 degree days.
The fabric shown below I found at an estate sale, not my unnamed thrift store, so it is not blue, but one of my other preferred colors - plum or is it purple? Blog post: Vogue 1117 Michael Kors dress. Lots of sewing details in that blog post and the previous one if you are interested in this pattern.
Total investment in these 3 fabrics is less than $ 20. How I love a fabric bargain and now I feel I must check my local unnamed thrift store weekly in case my shopping doppelganger has made another donation. You didn't think I was going to drop the name/location of this retail establishment, did you? We couldn't have that, as much as I like you all, dear readers. Someone might swoop in and take my next piece of blue fabric.
Sunnygal garden photo in shades of purple to compliment the dress above.
Foxglove, a new plant I tried on a whim and it is a winner, expect to see more of these next year.
Happy Summer sewing, Beth