Summer Sewing Roundup: Part 2

After all of the tops I shared in my previous post, I knew I needed something to wear with these tops. Now, living in California, most people would think that my mind would jump to shorts and/or skirts for summer. Well, I’ve never claimed to be like everyone else, and the first thing I thought to make was a jacket. Which isn’t as crazy as it sounds because my office does run cool and most people there wear some sort of layering piece through the summer. Some of us like to joke that we can dress for summer for the drive to/from work, but that it isn’t summer in the building. Since all of the tops I’d made recently had shades of blue, I decided to draw on that for my jackets.

WithNeedleAndThread - Lekala 4268

On the jacket front, I’ve had my eye on Lekala 4268, a short-sleeved jacket with front and back princess seams, a darted front, welt pockets, and a shawl collar with angled front corners, since I first discovered Lekala patterns, but I never bought it because of the short sleeves. It finally dawned on me while watching a Peggy Saegers/Silhouette Patterns webcast that all I had to do was take a long sleeve that I liked the fit of and transfer that armscye/armhole onto the other pattern to use the long sleeve. I ended up taking a two-piece sleeve from another Lekala pattern and had to make virtually no adjustments to the armscye, even for fit, which I’ve had to do on a few Lekala jacket muslins.

Even though this jacket looked somewhat complicated, and Lekala is not known for its great directions, the only problems I ran into were the welt pockets, which I had never done before. I read some tutorials online, and ended up just going for it. They aren’t perfect, and I ended up making  them faux pockets, but in such a busy/texture fabric, I think (and/or hope) that I’m the only one who sees the flaws.

For this jacket, I used a textured knit that I got from FabricMart Fabrics and a coincidentally matching button that I took off of an old raincoat back my freshman year of college when I used the rest of the raincoat to make a waterproof bag to put in my bike baskets, and kept knowing it would come in handy at some point. Though I found a matching button easily, I had a hard time getting a buttonhole to look good on this fabric, so I wound up sewing a snap closure in, and putting the button on as a non-functioning decoration.

WithNeedleAndThread - Lekala 4162

Still thinking of summer-style jackets, I also tackled another blazer pattern that had been on my mental to-make list: Lekala 4162, a classic blazer with princess seams, a notched collar, and a single button closure in front. I used another textured knit from FabricMart, this time in a slightly sparkly light blue. I didn’t make any fit adjustments to this pattern, either, but in the future, I may raise the armscye a little, as there is a little too much room even with the shoulder pads. I left off the welt pockets, thinking that the fabric was busy enough on its own, and pockets would just make it look a little less clean. I also chose to serge the seams and leave off the lining. With no lining, this jacket came together fairly easily. Finding the right button may have taken longer than most of the sewing of the jacket. I do love this jacket, and have plans to make it in several other fabrics, both classic blazer type fabrics and a few fun colors/fabrics.

I’m loving textured knits for jackets/blazers and cardigans lately. At some point, I’m thinking that I have to tell myself that I have enough textured, colored jackets, but I don’t think I’ve hit that point quite yet.


Jumping on the Peplum Trend with McCall’s 6844

I, along with a lot of others based on the number of recent reviews on, loved the line drawing/envelope photo for McCall’s 6844, an open-front knit cardigan with a collar that extends into a front band, with two hem shapes and lengths. I liked the line drawings for both of the shorter views, but decided to first make view C, the shorter version with an asymmetric peplum hem.

M6844 Cardigan - withneedleandthread

Several of the reviews suggested that the pattern runs large. I measure for a size 10-12 in Big4 patterns, but have found that that includes way too much wearing ease, especially in knit patterns. This pattern comes in XS (6-8), S (10-12), M (14-16), and I decided to make an XS and followed the suggestions on the pattern for petite adjustments (shortening the bodice and sleeves). Even with the petite adjustments, the waist seam still hit a bit lower than I wanted it, so I just used a slightly larger seam allowance to sew the peplum to the bodice, which served not only to raise the waist seam, but also to shorten the peplum. I also took the same increased seam from the center back of the collar to maintain proportion between the pieces.

Even with the larger seam, the back of the peplum hit far too low to be flattering on me. I ended up chopping off 3 inches from the center back of the peplum, tapering to nothing at the side seam (which would then meet with the front) and love the length that it ended up, just long enough in the back to make it clear that it was supposed to be longer. Also, if I were making it again, I would narrow the shoulders just a bit.

This is an easy piece to make and a very versatile addition to my wardrobe. I originally thought I didn’t need two peplum cardigans, but I love this one and now see another in my future, maybe in a color (rather than a neutral, I mean. I do know that grey is a color, thanks Dad). I’ll definitely be trying view A come spring.

Summer 2013 6PAC Plan

Now that I’ve completed SWAP, I am hooked on the idea of capsule collections. Lucky for me, I’m not the only one. There is a thread on Stitcher’s Guild dedicated to 6-piece collections of basic wardrobe items, complete with seasonal guidelines.

Here are the Summer guidelines:

  1. a jacket or cardigan that will set the tone for the whole collection – in neutral
  2. a pair of trousers or shorts or a skirt in the same neutral (but not necessarily EXACTLY the same — can vary in shade or texture)
  3. another bottom in the second color
  4. an underlayer top in the neutral
  5. an underlayer top in the color
  6. an overlayer top in a linking print or in the color

Here’s my plan based on a combination of these guidelines and what I need/want in my closet. Though, the only pieces I’m set on doing are the white top, white jeans, and navy jeans.  The navy top will happen, but possibly in a different pattern, and I’m not sold on either of the jackets. I made a muslin of M5668 last week, and didn’t love the fit. I think I may need to go down a size (or two). The jacket may just be too boxy for my tastes. I seem to be drawn to more fitted silhouettes lately.

Summer 6PAC Plan

I started with the white Simplicity 1613 top. After cutting all of the pieces out, I felt like it was a jigsaw puzzle that was in no way ever going to come together. It took far longer than I care to admit to figure out how the pieces worked, even though the instructions are long and full of pictures. Finally, I stopped thinking about it and just did what the directions were telling me to. Of course, that worked just fine the first time. I have the front neck detail sewn, and am now veering from the instructions to flat-set the sleeves. I hope to finish this in the next few days.


Welcome to my new blog.  Before I get to the sewing, here’s a little bit about me. 

I have loved sewing and crafting since I was little. Some of my best memories of growing up are of my friend and I hanging out in my backyard or in my room doing crafts.  I spent my childhood making clothes and furniture for my dolls with glue, foam, fabric, and whatever other scraps I could get my hands on.  Then I moved on to simple sewing projects.  I think everyone I knew got fleece scarves one winter, and pillows and stuffed animals for their birthdays.  Gradually, without anyone really realizing it, sewing took over my free time.  I now make everything from stuffed animals and toys to purses, bags, wallets, clothing, electronics cases, semi-custom embroideries and more.  I currently have six sewing machines (a standard Babylock sewing machine, a Babylock embroidery machine, a Janome serger, and three old Singers in cabinets) and love them all.   I’ve been forbidden to bring home any more, that hasn’t stopped me from looking. 

Stay tuned for my next project.