Thursday, June 11, 2020

Pattern making, Tops for summer, and bonus shorts

This past week I've seen so many posts that touched me, and helped me better understand the daily struggle to just live a peaceful, safe and happy life as a black person in our society. Other people have expressed far better than I can the extent of racial injustice and the steps we can all take to move forward.
The fall election is a crucial step in solidifying change, police reform and racial justice. I will post more on this on my Instagram stories but just let me say that I am 100% committed to electing Democrats in the House, Senate, governorships, and the presidency. Being in a solidly blue state of California my votes don't necessarily have as much impact as I would like (although I appreciate the political climate here, it's not perfect but it's not some other places I could mention...Kentucky) Here are two organizations that I'm supporting: and  Contests in these swing states can be won and they are working to that end.

I'm looking forward to seeing the next posts from @blkmakersmatter on IG which will highlight black makers in the sewing community. Today's post highlighted a historic maker - really interesting and I love seeing fashion history from a new perspective.

As for sewing, I've been working on a few different things. Before I forget I must mention that the number of comments on my "how to use Burda magazine" post really surprised me. There is a lot of interest in using the magazine patterns and I'm glad the information was helpful. A few people asked about the next steps. i.e. adding seam allowances and fitting the pattern. Stay tuned - I just worked on that part of the process and took all the photos so I think that will be my next post.  Here's a sneak peek with more to come next week.
Burda skirt pattern adjustments

For June I was sewing with an eye to joining in the 2020 #FayesTopsThatPop Summer Sewalong and started on a couple of tops for that. Plus having cute tops is ever more important in the summer of Zoom and FaceTime, right? Reviving this sew along was the brainchild of Dressmaking Debacles, she wrote a post recalling Faye, who was a wonderful sewing blogger no longer with us. Understandably she's decided to postpone it for a while so we all have more time to sew some great tops.

My first top might seem a little underwhelming - but it's based on a ready to wear t-shirt that I have had for quite a few years and really like. I would say this one is more of a proof of concept, as I made the pattern from the existing top. I always use this pink top in my classes to show how to do it, but have never gone ahead and finished the pattern, so now seemed like a good time. Also it was around 100℉ here last week so sleeveless tops are necessary.

teal knit top copy front

teal knit top front and back on form

I made in in some rayon jersey remnant from my stash, perhaps a bit lighter in weight than the cotton knit of the original but it worked fine. It's not really visible but the top has an inset neckband and then a small gather at the center front.  Here's the original top.

Pink knit top original
pink knit top

Here are the pattern pieces for this simple top. I think in my next version I will take some width out of the keyhole opening as the new version doesn't lay as flat as I would like right there. I think this will be ideal for some embellishment or fabric mixing. In the original the neckband is in knit, and then embroidered. I really dislike doing decorative machine stitching but perhaps some beading would be pretty? lots of possibilities and it uses about 7/8 of a yard of knit fabric.

pattern pieces knit top copy

Next up, this one is a bit more interesting, and had a pattern feature I've never seen before.

Flint shorts turq burda top1

Also I'm wearing the Megan Nielsen Flint pattern, which has two views, trousers or shorts. Mine are not really either, I wanted something like culottes but I'm not sure I've achieved it. They fit fine but I used some cotton sateen from the stash that is perhaps too stiff. I think in a softer fabric they would be just right.

Here's a look a the top. I ordered this pattern recently when scrolling through eBay. I had in mind to make the dress but now that I've made the top I've lost interest in that idea. However it might appear as a top again in a different fabric. This was a mystery polyester from the stash, another sort of test garment that is a nice color but yucky fabric. Not yet hemmed.

Burda pleated bias top on form2

Here's how you get to that pleated neckline.

Burda pleat bias top composite

The pattern has the pleats which you sew up, then place the template for your neck size over it and trim away the center portion, resulting in a round neckline with the pleats going into the seam of the facing. Clever, I thought.

Burda 6503 pattern envelope bias top

I had to do quite a bit of adjustment to get the armholes to fit right, they were way too high which almost never happens. I think in the right fabric it would be really pretty. What do you think? should I try it again in a nice silk?

Burda pleat bias top front on form1

Flint shorts back

Yeah, that shorts fabric is definitely not right. But they are super quick to sew!

flint shorts 3

So that's the sewing scoop for now. I hope everyone is well and getting out to enjoy some summer weather.

Take care and stay well, Beth

today's garden picture - well you can see the hydrangeas are going wild and I'm happy about that but this just delighted me when I was out walking last week. It seemed like it was posing for the camera. Since then I've seen a few in my yard but so far no Monarch butterflies yet despite planting plenty of milkweed. I think this is a Swallowtail butterfly?

swallowtail butterfly


  1. What an interesting top. Thanks for the review. I would not have known about it otherwise.

    Your statements re recent events and commitment to moving forward to finding justice for everyone are very much appreciated.

  2. Hi Beth, Thank you for your thoughtful comments regarding the recent events. It's been very difficult and heartbreaking to say the least. Much appreciated.

    I was glad to see that Kesha was continuing Faye's challenge, "Tops That Pop". I'm making a few as well. You are already off to a great start with some lovely tops. My favorite is the last one with the pleated shoulder. I must have that pattern. :-)

    Stay safe.

  3. Yeah, ever since I walked next to my college roommate doing errands in DT Berkeley, I knew we have a very serious race problem. It's surprising to me how long it persists and how few people think about it. The BLM movement is long-overdue.

    That top is gorgeous and the pattern is clever. The color is just so you, even if it is just a mystery poly muslin.

  4. Really interesting tops. I especially like the Burda pattern. I have found some older Burda top patterns in unique styles on Etsy. The sellers were in Canada, Germany or Australia which makes me wonder if different styles were distributed in those countries versus the US. I would have guessed the butterfly was on an agapanthus, a flower I so want to grow, but it does not tolerate our heat.

  5. Ooh, gorgeous pleats - definitely worth playing around with to get a good fit, the style of that top is quite special :)
    Events since George Floyd's murder have even been reverberating where I live - with a focus on treatment of our own Indiginous People at the hands of police, and the policies and structure that aid in maintaining this. Having the voices raised up to have their stories told where previously this wouldn't be so has been so enlightening... and heartbreaking. It's been a journey of personal growth and learning, which now we need to hone into action. We owe it to those who have suffered.