My summer top -> Winter top!


The other day I was rooting through the closet looking for something new to wear when I found the yellow plaid shirt. I put it on and was pretty thrilled with the summer-turned-winter outfit and then went online to see the pictures from when I posted it. Summer Top Week ’08? WAAH?? Can it really be that old? The problem with having a blog where you catalog all the things you make is that you always know exactly how old your clothes are. This top is now 2.5 years old but I’ll wager y’all have much older stuff in your closet, am I right? Thought so. And the thing is, I do still really like the collar, it’s pretty classic, and man I was ahead of the times with the whole yellow trend which has hit it’s stride of late, so I still think this makes a rather lovely outfit for winter.

looks nice w/ cozy shawl collared sweater!

This shirt was made with a designer cotton which I have never been able to find online and am pretty sure is no longer available. But that’s not really important, what I want to point out is how well this shirt is standing up over time. The fabric is just as nice today as the day I bought it. And this may seem obvious to some but I’m not sure that everyone knows this so I’m just going to say it again: there’s a pretty big difference in quality when it come to buying high quality designer fabrics and the stuff they sell at the major fabric chains. I know because I’ve made alot of clothing with both, and guess which clothes are already pilly or cut up into cleaning rags? $4/yard or $6/yard seemed like a bargain at the time but it’s just a waste now that I can’t wear the stuff I made out of it anymore. Another thing I’ve noticed lately is that the quality of many of the fabrics at JoAnn seems to be getting worse (has anyone else noticed this with their fleece? I can’t even stand to touch it lately…it makes my hair stand on end. And don’t even get me started on the flannel…).

would have been a pretty fine picture had it not been so blurry. meh.

I make a point of mentioning this because I’ve just recently become aware of the fact that worldwide cotton shortages are already causing increases in the price of designer cottons (thanks to Deborah for writing such a nice economics-for-dummies post about this) and I just want to make sure I say that I for one am not going to be a whiner if the price of my designer fabric goes up. That’s all.

52 thoughts on “My summer top -> Winter top!

  1. Great post! Although many people are draw to sewing for themselves for the fun of designing garments, there is also something to be said about quality control. Creating a quality, lasting garment (in an awesome color!) is so satisfying.

  2. Just had to state you're looking smokin' hot in the yellow. Agreed on the worth of higher end fabrics. Thank goodness for online deals.

  3. Love the outfit. And I definitely have clothes in my closet that our over 2.5 years old, some twice that or more. I say way to go with bringing a fresh look to an older piece. Love your necklace by the way. Where did you get it? I've been wanting to get a simple charm necklace like that with my kiddos initials on it.

  4. How cute is that outfit (and you)!! Love the pop of yellow … yea for shopping from your closet ;).

    (P.S. Need to send you e-mail about measurements & a guest post idea for da boys ;D).

  5. the top looks great, and I agree pretty classic. I have way older clothes that I wear regularly. As long as they weren't trendy when new, no one would be the wiser that it's older.

    yes, joanns is utter crap. I hate that place with nearly ever fiber of my being. too bad it's the only fabric store we have and buying online is tedious and difficult. i've had some success online, but it still scares me.

  6. Hey Rae- You posted that you were moving… but then no more discussion. Too difficult to bring up? Just wondering if you were moving out of state or locally. In May we are probably moving out of state and I'm looking around at my house going "Where did I get all this junk?!". So much clutter! Wanted to know if I was alone in this thought at the prospect of moving. … Oh and i like you top!

  7. I love the shirt & think it looks fabulous. Almost better then the shirt itself – which is hard to believe.

  8. I completely agree with the Joann's statement. I have purchased flannel from them twice now that have had flaws (actual defects in the weave of the fabric!)! And of course I don't notice it until I'm cutting pattern pieces from it… talk about frustrating! I'm such a spur-of-the-moment sewer that, unfortunately, Joann's is often a necessity. Grrr! Love the top!

  9. I wounder how the quality of fabric is being affected as America's cotten manufactures go out of bussiness. I started sewing this past summer so am not able to tell the difference in my fabrics yet. I love the blouse.

  10. SUPER cute outfit. I really am mega impressed with not only the fact that you made that shirt for yourself (clothing I make for myself always turns out pretty bad despite having taken college courses in just that), but your adorable and classy sense of style.

    Also, amen on high quality fabric. Even though it's a little hypocritical of me to agree since we're still in the college phase of life and buy–you know–that kind of fabric. But I'm still totally with you. If that makes sense.

  11. Totally hating the fabric at Joann's. The flannel shrinks like crazy and not thick at all. I go to my local quilt store for flannel, now. Gorgeous, thick, soft!
    Unfortunately, for designer fabrics, I pretty much have to shop online, which is hard, I really love to feel the fabric first.

  12. Loved reading this. Some people just don't get it when they buy cheap stuff. Sidebar: I read the post you linked to on Whipstitch. Why is it that I always find great stores like that AFTER I move a bazillion miles away?! πŸ™‚ I used to live about 30 minutes from there!

  13. OK, dumb question – I've been sewing since I was 5 – 30 years later I should know where to look for good fabric, but I'm afraid I haven't figured it out! Any suggestions? And, how do I decide if it's good or not??
    Very cute shirt by the way!

  14. Thanks for posting again about the shirt – I wasn't following you (or anyone!) back then. I love it. I also heartily agree on the quality fabrics issue. Because of that, I'd also like to thank you for helping justify my large online fabric purchase after a couple of drinks last night, haha! (All quality, quality!)

  15. That looks so good on you! I love the combo… I'd be blogging about that, too! Nice job, lady!



  16. LOVE the shirt and the color… my absolute favorite! (my car is even yellow! hee-hee!) I agree on higher quality of fabrics. I've bought many fabrics from JoAnn's and after so many washings… BLAH!

  17. Thanks for the link to the post on cotton. I just encountered a price increase on the Kona Cotton at my local Hancock's this past week. Up $1/yard. Very interesting. Such a small world it is!

  18. Love your blog. I recently noticed the width of some cottons at Joann's as 40-42 inches instead of 45. That won't work for all pattern pieces.

  19. I totally agree! I cant buy any fabric at joanns anymore and I've noticed their fleece down turn also. I sell high quality cottons in my shop:, but for less then what you can find in the stores (i got an awesome deal, so i give my buyers the same).
    anyways, love the top, love your honest blogging!

  20. You look adorable as always πŸ™‚ When I'm…NOT pregnant….I want to look like you when I grow up ;o)

  21. You know I still have stuff in my closet from high school (just a few). That top looks perfect with that sweater. What a cute look.

  22. That top looks awesome! I love your sweater too. I can't bring myself to spend a lot on fabric for my daughter's clothes since she stains them/outgrows them so quickly. I will think twice about something for myself though. BTW you look so pretty in that last picture.

  23. My favorite part is that you can still fit into the same shirt after 2 1/2 years and having a baby!

  24. Ha! I just linked to Deborah's article as well. I could not agree more about the quality (or complete lack thereof) of Joann's Fabrics going down. Which is sad, but also not considering I'd much rather patron an independently owned business.

  25. So I will admit I had this epiphany over the holidays when in comes to sewing that I'm not sewing to save money on clothes that I but at Wal-Mart but to make clothes like I might have purchased at a name brand store which means the money I invest in supplies should match the quality I want. In knitting I say 'crap in crap out' but it hasn't translated into sewing yet (working on it).

    This leads me to ask what do you look for in quality fabric & thread? I will admit that I am a thread snob because I know how crappy thread messes with my machine but fabric…well I still need more info. If you know of a great link for information, could do a post or even email me if I'm like the only one who doesn't know I'd truly appreciate it.


  26. Rae, I totally agree! I am sooooo willing to pay more for good quality, and how fun is it to go to your locally owned quilt shop for fabric, where the owner knows your name (and your kids names!) and can help you pick out the perfect fabric to go with the vintage Amy Butler that you won on Made-by-Rae (hee hee!) This is my favorite shop, which is located in my home town- every time I go to visit my parents I make sure I go fondle the lovely fabric, and take as much home with me as I can πŸ™‚

  27. Christie and I just had this conversation the other day. Fabric quality makes a huge difference. The shirt looks great with that outfit. And I really love your hair!

  28. I just had to laugh because in my closet something that's 2.5 years old is still the new stuff up front. Hahahaha! Love the shirt with that sweater though!

  29. I read your blog all the time, and very much enjoy it…but I'm having an issue with the classism inherent in this post.

  30. Love the top with the sweater! What a great combo.

    Yep – quality at the larger stores seems to have gone down. I love to shop at my local quilt shop – unfortunately, have not found a lot of the lines I like… I will be looking online. Know any good online shops?

  31. Thanks for the shout-out! Loving the soft yellow for the cloudy months–always cheers me up to pull out something bright that I made in the summer and find a way to wear it in the winter. Lookin' good, sister!

  32. Went back to your original post about this shirt (which I really do like!) and found that you bought the fabric where I shop! I love Field's Fabric in Holland!

  33. I agree with you about quality fabric and occasionally even splurge on Liberty lawn. After all, it feels like silk, but you save on the dry cleaning, so it does work out. I'm also glad that so many of the quilting fabric designers are producing voile because it's so much more versatile than quilting cotton. I'd love to see even more corduroy, velveteen and such from them too. The problem with quality fabrics is that my shopping choices are limited to quilting stores or JoAnn – even though I live in a big city! Our fabric row in Philly ain't what it used to be. Quilting cottons are wonderful for lots of things, but they're really not great for grown-up clothes. Where does one shop for a range of apparel fabric?

  34. JOANNE FLANNEL!!! ARRRRRGHHHH!!! I know better now, but let me tell you, it was so frustrating to make the cutest flannel top for my little girl, only to have it look like it's 10 years old after washing it twice. *shakes fist* I need to find a good fabric source online, I'm tired of being disappointed.

  35. It would be super-duper awesome if you did a post on where you get your fabric — both brick & mortar stores, and online! It's hard to know (without possibly blowing a chunk of money first) which online retailers have good fabric.

  36. I agree about the fabric at the big retailers. The same day I read this, I had just pinned together my first baby quilt made from Riley Blake fabric on the front with JoAnn's flannel on the back. I guess we'll see what happens. At this time in life, I can't really afford designer fabric except in small doses. The basic knit at JoAnn's is pretty terrible, though – my daughter's leggings I made pilled the first washing!! Trying to find decent apparel fabric at a price that doesn't kill me, especially for kids clothes, is a real challenge. The funny thing is, I really am saving money, because I don't want to put them in just Walmart stock stuff, either. I can imitate Child's Place or Gymboree for much less!

    The one fabric line at JoAnn's that wasn't so bad for kids stuff was the Tutti Fruitti juvenile prints – and I think they discontinued it! It held up really well in about 4 play dresses.

  37. So, where do you recomend buying quality fabric? I didn't realize there was a garment cotton. How can I tell? Thanks!!

  38. I recently spent $10 a yard on some cotton at a quilt store…got it home, and it was the same quality as the cheapest solids at joanns…full of runs, broken threads, extremely thin, useless. i was so angry. so, one cant assume that price=quality! i should have examined it more closely. that being said, there is a HUGE different between cottons, and if you think joanns is bad, you should check out walmart. i have never seen such cheap, nasty fabric. I wont use their cottons for anything. it is often worth it to pay more for the good stuff.

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