SPRING TOP WEEK DAY 4: Smashing Smock in Mendocino

If you’ve hung around here awhile you know that I’m a big fan of Heather Ross’ prints. Her Mendocino line is no exception. The muslin I posted about on Tuesday was a test run for this top, another Smashing Smock (pattern: Anna Maria Horner’s Seams to Me). This time, though, I made the top backwards, with the yoke pieces made out of a tiny dotted print by Lecien (I don’t think this is available anymore) and the bottom the aqua mermaid print by Heather Ross:


I trimmed it with white piping, which I curved around the corners. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: piping makes everything look better!


Smashing Smock works again for the baby belly!


Serger tidbit: One thing I’ve been doing with all my tops this week which is a huge time-saver is using my (still pretty new) serger to finish the hems with a rolled edge. It goes extremely fast, doesn’t require extra fabric allowance at the bottom for hemming, and reduces the bulk. I know many of you still have The Serger Fear, but once you try it, you never go back!

SPRING TOP WEEK Day 4: Your Creations!

Here’s today’s Spring Top Week entries for your inspiration and enjoyment!

LEFT: Lorna of Lorna Doone made the Summer Blouse from Weekend Sewing
CENTER: Mette from Mammaumulius made a top from Danish magazine Ingelise 9/08
RIGHT: Layla from Carrotflowers made this top from a Japanese pattern book

LEFT: Su from Vively Online made a vintage Simplicity top
CENTER: Bekah from Bekahomeka made New Look 6179 in white eyelet
RIGHT: Sue from Berkshire Cottage made Simplicity 4589

LEFT: Mariana from Portugal of Mae da Mafaldinha made her own version of New Look 6677
CENTER: Cheryl of SewCanDo made McCalls 5050 with vintage 60’s satin fabric
RIGHT: Kristin of PajamaMama made matching tops for herself and daughter Belle with my SMS top tutorial

LEFT: Susan made Lila Tueller’s Funked Out Peasant Blouse
CENTER: Kate of Curiositys modified a SewU pattern and added embellishments
RIGHT: Ragnhild of Anti-nostalgic made a top from Burda WoF 7/2008

LEFT: Millie made Vogue 8390 in floral jersey
CENTER: Sinje from Mighty Mouse with a circle top (see her blog for the pattern!)
RIGHT: Silvana from Miss Behave with a second trapeze sunshirt from Weekend Sewing

LEFT: Another entry from Lulu at Gus + Lulu, a Spring Ruffle Top
CENTER: Bonnie from Fishsticks and Fries with her second entry for the week, a top of her own design
RIGHT: From Ragnhild at Anti-nostalgic, her top made from Simplicity 3835

LEFT: Bonnie from Fishsticks and Fries with her third entry of the week, a modification on her Emmy blouse
CENTER: Jessie of Tiny House made a ruffle top with my tutorial
RIGHT: Raesha made Simplicity 3835 with polka dots

Tomorrow is the last day to submit your tops (please, please: remember to put the pic on Flickr AND send me an email) for Spring Top Week! I will be closing the pool at 9 pm EST so don’t miss the deadline!

SPRING TOP WEEK Day 3: Rae’s Tie Top


Here’s another one of my creations, the adult-sized version of the Itty Bitty Baby Dress. The pattern was modified from this top from last summer (from a vintage pattern my mom gave me). This time I lengthened the top part with the idea that it would be an empire-waist top, and therefore be a bit more flattering than the original version. I also lengthened the ties and added pockets, a move which would have worked had I not accidentally cut the hemline too short. So now the pockets stick out under the hem when you have your hands in them…oops. Throw this one back on the pile!


The fabric is from Amy Butler’s Midwest Modern line. The background color is almost a candy pink, but in combination with the yellows and oranges it mellows out.


While I am happy with the overall look here, I am sorry to admit that this top is not working as a maternity top for a couple of reasons. First of all, I’m not sure if you can tell from the pictures but I am stuffed into it like a sausage. I must not have measured the width correctly because I can barely breath. This unfortunately is a thing that cannot be changed because silly me (!) I trimmed the side seams to under a 1/4″ after sewing them. The other issue is the length. While it may not look too short now, believe me, I’m going to need more length in a few weeks for sure.


I do like the pockets though. I’ll move them up and maybe a seester will have to borrow it until next year…

By the way, tomorrow’s top is NOT pink!!!

SPRING TOP WEEK Day 3: Your Creations!

Happy Wednesday! Here’s another batch of new Spring Tops for you to peruse and enjoy!

LEFT: Kate of Curiositys made a top of her own design using a tank top and her Lei Neckline Tutorial (check it out on her blog)
CENTER: Sinje from Mighty Mouse with the first of two contributions today, her version of McCalls 5819
RIGHT: Shean at Diary of an Unconscious Mind made her very first top from my tutorial on SMS

LEFT: Bekah from Bekahomeka made KwikSew 3222 with a flour collar
CENTER: Lauren from Bananas for Breakfast made McCalls 5661 for her first non-baby sewing project
RIGHT: Wendy of West 38th made Jalie 2566 (I’d never heard of this pattern line before — does anyone else have Jalie favorites?)

LEFT: Emily from thedabbler made a Summer Blouse from Weekend Sewing (read about the sleeveless version she made for her aunt on her blog!)
CENTER: Julia made Vogue 5556 with some Anna Maria Horner fabric
RIGHT: Angela from Clothesline Chronicles made Simplicity 4589

LEFT: Kristin of SeeMommySew made a top from Ottobre Woman 2/2008
CENTER: JessiB made a top inspired by the Busy Bee Quilt Design Lilly Apron and a purse to match!
RIGHT: Sue of Berkshire Cottage made Simplicity 3835

LEFT: Sazzie from Sazzie Sews made up her own tunic pattern
CENTER: Silvana from Miss Behave with version 2 of the Summer Blouse in Mendocino fabric
RIGHT: Millie in Ireland with her second version of Vogue 8558, this time with jersey

LEFT: Bonnie of Fishsticks and Fries modified the Spring Ruffle Top to include sleeves
CENTER: Lulu from Gus + Lulu made Simplicity 2892
RIGHT: Meg from Fashioned by Meg made a modified Summer Blouse from Weekend Sewing

Three more lovely Spring Ruffle Tops…
LEFT: Sue at Vively Online
CENTER: Sinje at Mighty Mouse
RIGHT: Rachael at the park avenue sweat shop

LEFT: Adrienne at A Cultivated Life modified BuiltByWendy’s Simplicity 4111 (so it’s not so revealing — who else has had this problem besides us?)
CENTER: Ragnhild at Anti-nostalgic made Danish pattern Onion 5036
RIGHT: Astrid from Connecting the Dots made a top from Danish sewing magazine Ingelise

You can go to the Spring Top Week Sewalong pool to comment on any of these lovely creations or to submit a top of your own. It’s not too late! But Thursday at 9 pm EST is your last chance to submit a top, so the deadline’s almost here!

Didn’t see yours today? Check back again tomorrow or Friday; I’m spreading out the tops out over the week.

Also: make sure that if you want it posted on the blog you have:
1) Sent me an email with your name, top info and blog link, and
2) Put your image on Flickr
I still have not received emails for some of the tops in the pool — please do that so I know you’d like to be featured on the blog.

SPRING TOP WEEK Day 2: Rae’s Smashing Smock Muslin


First, let me make sure everyone knows what a muslin is. It’s basically a trial version made out of cheap fabric (hence the name) to make sure a pattern fits correctly before you cut into the fabric you really like. Since I started purchasing designer fabrics a few years ago, I’ve wasted too much of it to think about on tops that didn’t fit quite right. As a result I’ve started accruing cheap fabric to make muslins with. My secret source for muslin fabric is Urban Outfitters’ “bedspreads” (although I have yet to see one used as such); every so often they go on sale, and for about $20 or less you can get roughly 6 yards of fabric in really cute prints. That’s a little over $3/yd for those keeping track, still pricier than buying plain muslin, but much more wearable if you end up liking attempt numero uno of what you’re making. The downside is that it’s pretty rough material, certainly not smooth or anything, but the loose weave actually gives it a good drape and softness which is nice for garments. I’ve noticed that many of you have also been using thrifted sheets as muslins, an idea which I would gladly steal had I a decent source for thrifted sheets.

You can truly see the muslin quality of this garment above; that ginormous gather on the right was NOT intentional; if I had known how much I would like this finished product I would have spent more time evening out the gathers. Oops. Throw this one back on the pile!

I used store-bought piping around the top pieces. I *heart* piping. It makes everything look automatically snazzy. I get the impression that it scares some people, but really, how hard is it to baste it around the edge of a pattern piece before sewing it to the next one?

Quick Piping Tip: store-bought piping has a 3/8″ edge (the part you sew on), so I usually go around my pattern piece and mark off 1/4″ first. Then I place the piping along that line and sew it down; this positions it at exactly 5/8″ (quick remedial math lesson: 1/4 + 3/8 = 5/8), which works for any pattern which calls for 5/8 seam allowance.

Pattern: Unless you’ve been living in a hole you’ve been seeing Anna Maria Horner’s Seams to Me all over craft-blogland. This Smashing Smock pattern is pretty great. You may have noticed that more than a few of the Spring Tops this week have been Smashing Smocks. One thing I and others have noticed is that the sizing is a little small; I added a few inches of width to the pieces to make it fit.

Modifications: I can’t leave a pattern alone, I just have to tweak it. This time (and on the designer-fabric version you’ll see later this week) I curved the bottom of the bodice piece by adding 2 inches to it’s bottom center and cut a curve instead of a straight line across to the original corners. I cut out the same amount from the top of the bottom pieces. The end result is not that noticeable, but I like the look the curve creates. And here it looks even more curvy:


Look at that belly! All 26 (28?) weeks or so. I don’t actually know if that’s right…second child laziness all the way, baby! I’m already slacking by taking less pictures of this belly than the last belly. Poor child.

My goal for this week was to make a few tops that could potentially function as maternity-wear, while still working as normal tops as well. I think this top will work great for both!

SPRING TOP WEEK Day 2: Your creations!

Here’s the second batch of fabulous Spring Tops! I’m noticing lots of tops from Simplicity patterns, fresh spring floral fabrics, and small vintagey prints today…

Click on the image to see larger images, click on the links to see the blogs of the creators and details for each top, and be sure to leave them comments. Enjoy!


LEFT: Emy from Emy Sews created Simplicity 2892 with floral cotton gauze
CENTER: Shannon made Simplicity 2931 with a spring poplin
RIGHT: Caroline from Trillium Design made New Look 6407 with fabric from the Arcadia line.


LEFT: Lulu from Gus + Lulu made McCalls 5388 sleeveless version for maternity wear; check out the cute tie in the back on her blog!
CENTER: Mary Allison accidentally created an original top whilst making a dress from New Look 6700
RIGHT: Emily’s from thedabbler made BuiltByWendy’s Simplicity 3835 with a thrifted sheet


LEFT: Julia made Simplicity 2891 from a very wearable “muslin”
CENTER: Adrienne from Hermione J Schwarz made a Smashing Smock from Seams to Me by Anna Maria Horner
RIGHT: Jenny from thecreekhouse shows us another of her own original designs

LEFT: Trish at Big Purple Dragon made Simplicity 4589
CENTER: Silvana from Miss Behave started with a sundress and ended up with a top (from Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross)
RIGHT: Lorna from Doone Designs shows us her top made from Simplicity 2892


LEFT: Laura from Zip it up and start again made this top from the Afternoon Tea pattern she found on BurdaStyle
CENTER: Millie in Ireland made Vogue 8558
RIGHT: Sue from Berkshire Cottage made Simplicity It’s So Easy 2962

Hurray for Tuesday’s Tops! You can go to the Spring Top Week Sewalong pool to comment on any of these lovely creations or to submit a top of your own. It’s not too late — submissions will be accepted until Thursday evening with a vote for Best Spring Top at the end of the week.

Didn’t see yours today? Check back tomorrow; I’m spreading out the tops out over the week. Also: make sure that if you want it posted on the blog you have sent me an email with your name, top info and blog link. I still have not received emails for some of the tops in the pool — please do that so I know you’d like to be featured on the blog.

SPRING TOP WEEK Day 1: Rae’s Pink Top


: : the lovely Kricket models again! : :


: : Akward bathroom mirror shot so you can see it on me (am 24 weeks preggers in this shot, taken a few weeks ago, but you can’t really tell…) : :

This top started out as a copy of the orange knit top that I made for Kricket for Christmas this past year. I botched the neck though and decided instead of the cowl neck to go with a plain scoopneck with ruffle embellishment. I also skipped the elastic at the empire waist, although I might end up going back and adding that when my girth becomes less pronounced post-baby (hopefully).

Here’s the closeup of the pleats and ruffles again. I used this technique to attach a 1″ strip of knit fabric around the neckline.


As I mentioned the first time I made this one, I combined a basic Sew Wendy t-shirt pattern (from the book Sew U: Home Stretch) with the sleeves and bottom (armpits down) of a McCall’s pattern (am link lazy; see the orange top link above if you want the exact number). I moved the t-shirt part over 3.5″ from the fold to make 7″ worth of extra fabric in the middle. That excess became seven 1/2″ pleats, and then I added the neckline and went from there. For a solid-color top, adding just a little bit of embellishment really changes the look!

The top went to Italy with me! Here’s evidence from the Vatican Gardens. Although is there not something about this picture that looks green-screened?


And you can see that Mr Rae does indeed wear his shirt, although the same cannot be said for little E, who screamed bloody murder when I tried to put it on him the other day. It’s not a total loss yet…we discovered that we can get him to wear things using Hulu clips of Kermit and Elmo as bribery. And a little part of me just died there admitting that outloud…

SPRING TOP WEEK Day 1: Your Creations!

Get ready for the first installment of the Spring Top Sewalong Tops! I am thrilled to see so many fabulous entries — already over 30 and it’s only Monday!!! I can’t wait to see more as the week progresses. To save myself hours of cropping/editing, I’ve made mosaic trios (I apologize in advance for any of the possibly unflattering autocrops), so click on the image to see larger; click on the links to see the blogs of the creators, details for each top, and be sure to leave them comments!

So let’s get to it! In no particular order, here are a dozen new Spring Tops:

LEFT: Ashley from Film in the Fridge (check out her amazing quilts) made the Summer Blouse from Weekend Sewing (by Heather Ross) with her own sleeve and neck modifications
CENTER: Linda from Sew Lind made the Ottobre Waterfall Blouse (Linda reminded me that it’s actually autumn in Australia right now so longer sleeves are in order!)
RIGHT: Edris from Creative Sewl adapted Simplicity 3887 and added her own neck embellishments

LEFT: Silvana from Miss Behave (check out her awesome “make something” posts for great how-tos) made two versions of the Summer Blouse from Weekend Sewing (stay tuned for version two later this week!)
CENTER: Karen from dari made an adapted version of Simplicity 2970 for a pashmina scarf-turned-top
RIGHT: Lulu from Gus + Lulu made a Spring Ruffle Top from my tutorial on SMS


LEFT: Jenny from thecreekhouse submitted this top of her own design with pleats
CENTER: Emily from thedabbler made Amy Butler’s Cabo Halter in a great vintagey print
RIGHT: Julia made Amy Butler’s Lotis Cami and tailored it using a tutorial for FBA


LEFT: Dana made New Look 6868 as one of her very first sewing projects in a bold spring print
CENTER: Meg from Fashioned by Meg made the Smashing Smock from Seams to Me by Anna Maria Horner (this is going to be a popular look this week!)
RIGHT: Julie from Scribbles and Snapshots also made the Smashing Smock (two versions actually!)

Yay! You can go to the Spring Top Week Sewalong pool to comment on any of these lovely creations or to submit a top of your own. It’s not too late — submissions will be accepted until Thursday evening with a vote for Best Spring Top at the end of the week.

Didn’t see yours today? Check back tomorrow; I’ll be spreading out the tops over the week. Also, make sure that if you want it posted on the blog, you send me an email with your name, top info and blog link. I still have not received emails for some of the tops in the pool — please do that so I know you’d like to be featured on the blog.

Stay tuned for another post this afternoon with my top for today!

My Spring Top Tutorial on Sew Mama Sew!

Spring Top Week is starting early with a Spring Top Tutorial over at Sew Mama Sew!!! I’ve been working on this for a few weeks but didn’t want to give away any surprises, but now it’s up and running so I’m very excited to share it with all of you. Just in time for you last-minute sewers who wanted to make a spring top but didn’t have a pattern!!! Go check it out; you may recognize the green version from last summer’s top week.


I’d also like to thank my svelte and very non-pregant seester Kricket (in the pics above) for helping model the tops, just to show all you “normal” people out there that it looks great even without a six-month baby bump. But I did try hard to make sure that it would work for all sizes (including maternity) so give it a try and let me know what you think!


: : No belly previews yet! You’ll have to wait for next week! :