Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Miss Clara and the Many Happy Returns: McCall's 6696

Hello, kittens! As promised, today I'm back with another version of McCall's 6696 and the furthering of my shirtdress obsession. Though this is my third iteration, this is actually the dress that kicked off the Autumn of 1000 Shirtdresses. When I ordered this fabric, a Ming green tufted voile from Mood, I knew its fate lay in buttons and collar stands.
This pattern is actually explicitly designed for light, translucent fabrics like eyelets, lace, and Swiss dot. Along with all the pieces you need for a shirtdress, 6696 also includes instructions and pieces for a bias-cut slip to go underneath. Perfect for my semi-sheer voile! My MSN project for September was an easy decision, with this pairing.

Construction-wise, there really isn't anything new to say about this dress. The only major difference from my previous iterations is the addition of sleeves Other than a small wide bicep adjustment, this is the original sleeve pattern, complete with a slightly puffed sleeve cap. In a sturdier fabric, I would probably remove a bit of ease from the cap to lessen that poof, but with such a drapey fabric like voile, it's a really soft look.
What's lovely about this fabric is that every design element looks softer. The pleats float around my hips, the back is gently gathered, and the collar turned beautifully. Of course, the fabric also wrinkles like crazy with one look, but that's voile for you. What you get in billowy, summer goodness, you exchange for shape retention. It really doesn't phase me at this point!
To finish the main dress off, I chose translucent white buttons for the closures. Simple, easy, and classic! Meanwhile, the yoke and waistband facings are done in the same tufted voile.

Ignore the weird sleeve happening on the right back, my dears. I spent this whole shoot with that sleeve unknowingly hiked up! Shite happens, no?

As for the slip, that was such an easy project! It's two pieces, front and back, plus straps. Everything is cut on the bias and perfectly skims over the body and under the dress. I had some green bamboo voile in my stash, which was the perfect consistency for the slip. It's slick like charmeuse, but breathes beautifully. Even better, it was the perfect color to go under this voile--just a bit brighter and deeper, to enhance the color.
Unfortunately, I also didn't hem it quite short enough for breezy Texas days. You can check out a peep of the slip in the photo below! Since that first foray out into the world I've hemmed it an additional two inches for safety's sake.

In the end, this is such a perfect end-of-summer dress. I love the fabric weight, the little tufted dots, and the way it swirls about me as I walk. Plus, it works beautifully with my light gold wedding shoes! I haven't been able to wear these since last December, but I love how retro they look with this dress. In fact, this is the exact outfit I'll be wearing at my birthday dinner tonight! What better way to ring in 29 than in my new favorite dress and my all time favorite shoes?
McCall's 6696, you continue to make me so, so happy. Perhaps a full-sleeved version is due next? For this week's sewing project, I've got my eye on Jennifer Lauren's newest, the Dalloway dress, but after that it may be a return to the Land of Shirtdresses!
Note: The fabric for this project was provided courtesy of Mood Fabrics, as part of the Mood Sewing Network. Thanks, Mood!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Miss Clara Plants the Night Flowers - McCall's 6696

Good afternoon, my dear vixens! Today, a rare and wondrous thing is happening, I'm showing you a dress I made last week. To those of you who plan out blog posts weeks ahead of time and are extra-meticulous about scheduling, this probably doesn't seem like a big deal. I am not that fastidious of a blogger, however. Usually, I make a thing, get absurdly excited, photograph it the very next morning/sunset, and throw it on the blog. 

Last week, however, I made this McCall's 6696 and let it linger. It was made in a fit of anxiety, before my dissertation defense. There was no more practicing to be done, no more prep to be written, and I wanted--no, desperately craved--something to do with my hands. A certain beloved bearded one even compared me to a hawk circling a family of tasty, defenseless mice. The words "glinty eyed" and "terrifyingly focused" were used more than once, in the soothing tones of someone talking to a stray tiger. 

I'm told all these pre-defense comparisons to carnivorous beasts are normal. I'm certainly going to pretend they are, anyhow.  Luckily for us all, I had this dress to funnel all that terrifying focus into. By the morning of my defense on Tuesday, I had everything but the buttons and button-holes done on this beauty. Well done, nerves!

This therapeutic fabric, a pink rose print on black cotton poplin, was bought on Goldhawk Road during my last trip to London, in the summer of 2012.  I came back with an embarrassing twenty-one meters of fabric from that trip, but have only made two pieces so far. The other fabrics--all florals, of course--just sit in my closet, waiting for patterns tempting enough to bring out the scissors. After the success of my first 6696, I knew this one would be a worthy sacrifice. 

With three meters of 50'' fabric, I had barely enough for the full-skirted view of this dress. The back bodice and inside collar bands had to be cut in pairs, instead of cut on the fold, but neither change bothered me overly much. Even better, this fabric is impervious to fraying, which meant bringing out the pinking shears for the inside finish. Woohoo! I used to never pink things, but after snooping inside some handmade vintage pieces, I've come around on the simplicity of that finish. 

Elsewhere on the inside of the dress, I used pink cotton shirting for the waistband facing, yoke facing, and bias bound armholes. As is glaringly obvious from the dress guts picture above, I cut the bodice back on the selvage and left that finish alone. That pop of white inside might bother some, but I love the efficiency of using selvages, whenever possible. Plus, let's be honest, I have a soft spot for those damn dots. (This selvage dress remains the coolest thing ever sewn.)

The buttons for this project were cannibalized from my first Darling Ranges dress, which after one season became completely unwearable. The fabric not only shrank, but thinned out enough that, when my pocket caught on something, the whole right side ripped open. Sigh. Sam convinced me not to throw it out, during my last closet purge, insisting that I could probably use the buttons for something. Lo, behold! I still loved these decorative little black buttons and they were perfect for the femininity of this fabric. 

Construction on this dress was time-intensive, but pretty blissful. The fabric pressed and sewed beautifully, the collar turned perfectly, and it was exactly the sort of detailed project I needed. Once again, I top-stitched the entire collar, collar stand, and button bands, to avoid even more hand-stitching. After buying an edge stitching foot a few months ago, I'm a total top-stitching convert! I love the added detail and it's so, so much quicker than slip-stitching for hours.

The only real difference between this dress and my last 6696 is the fit. Instead of using the straight 22 D-cup bodice, then grading down to a 20, I used the straight 20 everywhere and performed an FBA. The bodice fit is just a bit better and required no after-the-fact dart manipulation. Huzzah! No one else noticed the bust blousing, but I was so happy to banish it. Additionally, I raised the armhole an inch, to prevent the dreaded bra peep. The fit is so spot-on now. Go Go Gadget Happy Dance! 

Incidentally, while I was sewing this up there were some pattern issues I realized didn't get mentioned in my original review. First off, there is a discrepancy between the number of belt loops you're supposed to cut and how many markings there are on the waistband. It says you need four, but you definitely need six: two on the front, two on the side seams, and two on the back. I checked the pattern line drawing and everything. Six, six, six! Additionally, the center marking on the collar band is not actually on center. This doesn't matter much, because you should always double check your center, before you sew anyhow. Make sure your two bands are in the same position up front, then you're golden. 

Hey Mary! Why is your hip-to-waist ratio so insanely large?
*turns to the side*
*Bootylicious mysteriously begins to play*

So, that's it! Another shirtdress. In case you're not sick of this pattern already, I just finished a third one for my Mood Sewing Network project this month. That maniacal cackling you heard was, indeed, mine. Autumn of 1000 Shirtdresses, I am in you!

Oh, and just one more thing...


This dress must be very good luck, y'all. The papers are signed, the fanfare has begun, and I'm officially Dr. Mary Danielson Perry. Thus the real nature of my radio silence around here. It wasn't so much the fortitude of my willpower, but the whirling frenzy of my revelry! I can't even tell you how happy I am to finally be finished with that process. Thank you all again for your good wishes! Sewing has been my outlet through the past few years and it means so much to have a community to share that passion with.

In other words, you rock and I love you all!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Miss Clara Goes Back to School: McCall's 6696

Good afternoon, lovely ones! Are you reveling in the aroma of newly sharpened pencils and, that most hallowed of after-school snacks, spiced apple pie? If so, color me jealous! Not only is summer still kicking here in Texas, but for the first time in 24 years, I am not headed back to school. Next Tuesday, I defend my dissertation and, if all goes as planned, write The End on my life as a student. Those final two degrees won't be conferred until December, but for all intents and purposes, I will be done done done

It seems only right that I go out in style, don't you agree? To that end, I made this schoolhouse appropriate piece: a classic shirtdress in reproduction feedsack cotton with a contrasting collar and buttons. Not only does this dress revel in the primary colors, but there were tons of fun skills to practice during its construction. How academically delightful!

First off, let's talk pattern, shall we? This is McCall's 6696, or as I like to call it: The Shirtdress of Joy and Wonder. For the last five years, I have hunted for precisely this dress pattern. Not only does it have a properly constructed collar (Huzzah for collar bands!), but separate waistband and button placket pieces, a wide pleated skirt, and a cup-sized based bodice pattern. It is a brilliant, thoughtful design, with nary a shortcut in sight. Perfectionists rejoice! 

But Mary, you ask quite reasonably, this pattern was released over a year ago. Why are you just now sewing it up, if it's the holy grail of shirtdress patterns? Surely, if you were that excited about it, we would have seen 100 versions already. You're not exactly known for restraint, Blondie. 

Well, kittens, it's simple. I'm a lazy, lazy seamstress. Sure, I loved the idea of those eleven perfect buttons and hand-sewn facings, but that shite takes time.  Nowhere during all the hubbub of wedding plans and schoolwork did I feel like devoting so much time to one dress. Why make one perfect shirtdress, when I could make four perfectly fine sundresses? Slowly, that phase of delusional laziness passed, however. 

This week, I made a shirtdress.

This photo is not just to show me staring off into space, contemplating the mysteries of life.
 Check out that print up close! So cute, right?
Well, I made a wearable muslin of a shirtdress anyhow. 

In my wise older years, I've become a devotee of legit muslins, but for shirtdresses, I really like to see how everything hangs with buttons and interfacing complete. So, I tissue fit the bodice and reached for a cute cotton fabric. This feedsack reproduction print was one of the first pieces of fabric I owned. In a moment of crazed generosity, my mother let her newbie seamstress daughter steal it away. It's a miracle this fabric wasn't sacrificed to incompetency in those early days. Many of its compatriots were not so lucky. 

This fabric is definitely a quilting weight. Though it has a nice drape and is soft to the touch, it's also pretty weighty and takes pressing beautifully. For unlined dresses like this one, I actually prefer such fabrics, as they can stand on their own. I have way too many cotton lawn dresses that don't get worn, because when unlined, they feel like nighties instead of real clothes. 

As for the pattern, I really enjoyed sewing this one up. I absolutely love all the skills that go into a shirtdress, especially collar and button placket construction. As long as I'm not rushing through, it's such a calming, rewarding process. From cutting to buttons, this took me five days to complete, with about twelve hours of sewing total. 

Of course, I didn't do nearly the amount of hand sewing instructed in the pattern. This pattern has you hand-stitching the collar band, button placket, waist facing, and yoke facing down for an invisible finish. That's all fine and dandy, but I love top-stitching on shirtdresses. It's so much fun! So not only did I forego a yoke facing entirely, but I top-stitched the entire button placket and collar construction. The waistband facing and hem were the only two things catch-stitched by hand. Which just proves I can't follow instructions at all, because the hem was supposed to be top-stitched. Rebel seamstress cannot be tamed! 

The order of operations on this dress was actually way interesting, y'all. Instead of hemming the button placket and dress together, the dress hem is finished halfway through construction, before the placket is even added. So, if you're planning on hemming the dress less than its prescribed 2 inches, know that the placket piece will need lengthening. Otherwise, this was totally straightforward! Other than top-stitching, my only other major process change was to use Andrea's collar construction technique, which I highly recommend. 

Fit wise, this dress was a total experiment. The pattern claims that, using the different cup size front bodice pieces, that I could achieve a perfect gap-free fit. Tissue fitting seemed to prove that claim out, so I graded from a 20 at the shoulders, to a 22 D-cup bodice, back to a 20 for the waist and hips. (My current measurements are 46-34-45.) This was a wearable muslin, after all, so why not test the road without an FBA?

Y'all, I'm flabbergasted. I am going to take some tweaks next time around, but this is an astonishingly good fit for a pattern straight-from-the-envelope. I lengthened the dart about an inch, after my final try on, but that's the only fit alteration taken here. There is a little bubbling at the dart tip, shown in the close up below, but a bit of flat pattern reshaping should fix that in future versions. Originally, the darts ended way, way, way before the standard 1-inch from bust apex, which is what's causing that. Even with the lengthening I did, they're maybe a half-inch too short. Honestly, I might size down to a 20 and do a standard FBA next time, because I'm persnickety like that, but the dart will still need lengthening in that version. 

If you're new to fitting adjustments, however, and still haven't mastered the FBA, this is definitely a pattern to explore. With the multi-size cup options and a little dart tweaking, D and DD women should be able to get a pretty nice fit with this pattern. That's such a lovely accomplishment in a shirtdress, especially if you're used to the gaposis of RTW sizing!

In the end, this was exactly the dress I'd dreamed of. The waistband nips in perfectly and I love the belt carriers, whereas the skirt has a lovely, gentle flare. Best of all: no gaping button band! Huzzah!

Pepare yourselves, friends, because this will probably be The Autumn of 1000 Shirtdresses. McCall's 6696, you are my sunshine. Well, in addition to Sam, who is my main sunshine and who will actually be getting collared shirts of his own next week. Amazing, I know...

The Details

Things I Loved:
  • The collar! They may be more fiddly, but the classic collar construction of a placket band, collar band, and main collar looks so much better than the shortcut alternatives. 
  • The buttons! My love for sewing buttons and buttonholes knows no bounds. They're so cute and so much fun!
  • The length! At 5'8'', it's rare that a pattern hits me in exactly the right spot, but this just-below-knee length is perfect. 
  • The pockets! They're a little shallow for my taste, but constructed in a way that binds them to the waistband. No flapping about here!
  • The self-bias armhole finish! Always such a cute detail. 
  • The waistband facing! It's so fun to see the right side of the fabric on the inside, for a bit of contrast.
  • The back! Some people haven't loved the amount of blousing in the back bodice, but it didn't bother me at all. I suspect that in the larger sizes, this is a less noticeable effect. 
Things I Changed:
  • Lengthened the darts by an inch, for a better fit. 
  • Omitted the yoke facing, because this is a wearable muslin and my heart just wasn't in that detail. 
  • Top-stitched the button placket, collar, and collar stand, instead of hand-stitching them.
  • Hand-stitched the hem, instead of top-stitching it. 
Things I Will Change, Next Time Around:
  • Alter the fit a bit more. I will conquer those darts! 
  • Add the sleeves, which are a very classic length. 
Tips & Tricks:
  • Once again, I cannot recommend Andrea's collar tutorial enough. I initially had planned to go by the book on this one, but chickened out at the last minute. Her order of operations is so sensible! 
Notions & Fabric:
  • 3.5 yards of main fabric
  • 11 navy buttons
  • 1/2 yard of navy twill for collar

Construction Time:
  • 12 hours

Fun fact: The buttons I chose are crazy slippery! As a result, I spent half the time taking photos of this dress with one button unbuttoned. This picture is one such victim. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Curvy Sewing Collective Has Arrived!

It's alive!!

No, not Frankenstein's fire-averse monster, but something infinitely more exciting: the Curvy Sewing Collective website. After months of brainstorming and hard work, curvy sewing finally has its very own home on the web.

The project started earlier this year, when Jenny and I were bemoaning the lack of online plus-sized sewing resources. With such a goal in mind, we teamed up with our favorite fellow curvy bloggers, to bring the internet exactly that. We wanted a one-stop place where curvy sewists could find inspiration, fitting help, and connect with other similarly proportioned seamstresses.

Over at the CSC, you'll find all manner of interesting posts regarding plus-sized and curvy sewing. We have pattern reviews, tutorials from expert seamstresses, plenty of sewing inspiration, and even a forum dedicated to the plus-sized sewing community. It can be difficult for curvy seamstresses to find patterns that fit their bodies and tutorials tailored to their needs, which is a gap we hope to fill in the coming months.

That's enough of my chatter over how awesome the CSC is, however. Why not go check it out for yourself? As a celebration of our launch, we're even giving away a copy of Colette's latest pattern to one new reader!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Miss Melinda Fancies a BBQ: Simplicity 1873

Hello, my loves! Sam and I have made it back home, after our meandering road trip out to Georgia. We had an absolute blast visiting with family, eating delicious food, and unplugging from the world. I didn't realize how internet-dependent my morning routine was, until we were without connectivity for a week. The number of times I checked Instagram, only to belatedly realize my phone had no service, was truly embarrassing! Almost as embarrassing as the discovery that I'm allergic to pastoral charm. 

Apparently, living my whole life in a city means that one sniff of hay and one pat of a horse can set my whole system reeling. I spent much of Saturday in a Benadryl-induced coma, after said discovery. The sneezes, they just wouldn't stop! Thankfully, I was still able to finish my Mood project for this month: a striped summer party dress.

I ordered this fabric, an ecru and red cotton by Marc Jacobs, a few months ago from Mood. It was a total impulse purchase, bought for no other reason than I was struck dumb with love for these wide, scarlet stripes. They would make the perfect summer dress! Once the weather heats up, I start yearning for that classic Americana palette of red, white, and blue. (As similarly indicated by my last post.) It's a color scheme that hearkens back to summers spent on sailboats, eating apple pie and soaking up the blazing sun under a glamorous, floppy hat. 

I haven't actually experienced a summer like that, of course. If I tried eating pie on a sailboat, I'd probably slip on an errant baked apple and fall right overboard, floppy hat and all. The yearning for an elegant, traditionally "summer" outfit remains, however. Damn Ralph Lauren and all his aspirational, Ivy League designs! 

So, yeah, I wanted a striped dress. I wanted it desperately.

Luckily, this fabric ended up being perfect for such a project. It's a lovely crisp cotton, almost a poplin in weight and drape, which lent itself really well to the dress I had in mind. I wanted something classic in silhouette, but comfortably swishy and unlined. Though I fully understand all the benefits of lining a garment, I just can't do it for these mid-summer dresses. When the temperatures soar above 90 degrees, I want as few layers as possible! It may be dressmaking sacrilege, but such a sin rests east on my conscience. 

As for the dress itself, this pattern should look familiar to you. It's another iteration of Simplicity 1873, that queen among fit-and-flare patterns. I've made it a half-dozen times already and have absolutely zero plans to stop now. Tried-and-true for the win! 

For this version of 1873, I opted for the high, rounded neck bodice of View A. It's the same bodice I used in my final Project Sewn dress and I absolutely adore wearing that dress. Busty women are told so often that we can't pull off high necklines, but they don't bother me in the least. Society doesn't need to peek at my bubbies all the time and I'm tall enough that it doesn't throw off my torso proportions any, as is the worry implied in that advice. 

Note: Though, even if it did, I come down on the side of not giving a shite. Plus-sized fashion rules do nothing but harsh my sewing buzz. The word "flattering" makes my feminist nature go all wild-eyed and stabby. It intimates that women are nothing but a bucket of flaws to be hidden and camouflaged, so that we can achieve that vaunted status as pretty, decorative object. "Oh dear, this woman has a poochy stomach and extravagant breasts!  Best hide those with fabric magic or turn her toward the wall!" Such claptrap!

Back to the matter at hand, though. This dress! This lovely, stripey confection of a dress!

Instead of attempting to stripe match the bias-cut panels of 1873's usual skirt, I subbed it out for a pleated dirndl. Once again, I concentrated the pleats toward the side seams of the dress. This was both an attempt to give the skirt more swish and leave some of the stripes unbroken down the front of the dress. I spent so much time stripe matching, as I cut out this baby, that it seemed silly to break all the stripes up with pleating! So, I left the center four unbroken, then pleated like a madwoman. The resulting skirt has two box pleats on each front side and two box pleats on each back side, each folded along a stripe edge. 

The whole dress is finished with French seams and self-fabric bias tape. I absolutely adore an exposed bias-tape finish, especially with striped fabric, so that's what I went for at the neckline and armscyes. The resulting barber-pole diagonals are such a cute pop of interest, don't you think? Even if I had lined the dress, I would have been tempted to add that finish. I love it!

So, there we have it: a simple striped dress for those muggy, summer nights. It was the perfect outfit to wear for Uncle Bill's 60th birthday party! Cool, but resiliently crips against the heat. I am going to get so much wear out of this piece, as I do all my unlined cotton dresses. There is no better Texas summer staple, I promise you. Though, this one does have the added advantage of filling that sailboat attire gap in my wardrobe. 

The details...

Things I Loved:
  • The fabric! These stripes just make me so darn happy. It's all too tempting to buy the balsam colorway, as well. 
  • The silhouette! Simplicity 1873 is ever a winner for me.
  • The bias tape finish! 

Things I Changed:
  • 2 inch FBA on the bodice, done many, many moons ago. 
  • Subbed out the skirt for a pleated dirndl.
  • Omitted the lining, in favor of a simpler finish.
  • French-seamed everything possible.
  • Used a traditional zipper, instead of my nemesis, the invisible zip.

Fabric & Notions:

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Miss Taylor Believes That We Will Win: Pattern Revolution

Good morning, lovely ones! As I write this, Sam and I are wandering across the southern United States. We're Georgia bound, for his wonderful uncle's 60th birthday and a weekend of family revelry. Consequently, we're also missing the USA v. Germany match. 

Yes, there were heartbroken wails, when we realized this fact last week. Such are the sacrifices we make for beloved family members! We are not entirely unpatriotic, however. My phone is synced to a radio broadcast of the match and we're both decked out in red, white, and blue road trip attire. Sam is in the official USA kit and I...well, I'm wearing the most ridiculous shorts ever owned by a Mary.  

These are the Taylor Shorts, by Greenstyle Patterns, and the Hip Hop Tank by Love Notions. After the rousing success of my Katy & Laney Tap shorts, I was eager to try my hand at some other styles. When Robin, of Pattern Revolution, asked if I'd try any of this sale's bundled patterns, I jumped on this cute pair of shorts and awesome blouse. Shorts are only part of my wardrobe during hot weather, but it is brutally hot here until October! An easy, modern pair of shorts sounded just perfect. 

Unlike the retro silhouette of the Tap Shorts, the Taylor pattern features a low rise waist and three inseam lengths. It has a traditional zip fly, faced pockets (!), and a darted back. Since the rise is pretty low, you're directed to choose your size based on hip measurement. For me, this translated to something between a 12 and a 14. Which means, of course, that I made a size 16. 

When it comes to my lower half, I am never convinced by stated measurements. This may be from a particularly traumatic experience with Colette's Ginger skirt or just a desire for more than the standard ease. Part of the reason I love dresses is that they don't constrict my rump party. So, yeah, I refused to believe I was a smaller size and cut a 16. This was ill-advised, y'all. When I tried on the muslin, they were ginormous! I ended up sizing down to a fourteen in the hips and a twelve at the waist. PSA of the day: trust your measurements! 

As fabric, I used this red-and-white anchor print cotton canvas from Hancock fabrics. A Hancock just opened in Waco on June 14th and I've already been there six times, including one post-dinner trip to buy this fabric because it was haunting me, demanding to be nautical shorts. I sewed these shorts through Saturday night, intent to have patriotic attire for our World Cup viewing party in Austin. The sewing gods demanded it be so! That I already own a navy anchor print dress was, obviously, a nonissue. 

The construction of these shorts was pretty easy, if a bit unorthodox. I opted for the longest inseam of the three, for comfort's sake. Greenstyle provides photographs and video tutorials, along with the directions, which were super helpful in this case. The fly insertion doesn't use a fly guard and has you insert the zipper upside down, which would have been a challenge to my spatial reasoning skills, without those detailed pictures. I still somehow inserted the fly incorrectly, but it zips and looks perfectly normal. To be honest, I prefer the method in the Tap Shorts, which is a more traditional finish. Y'all know how I like to do thinks the "proper" way, after all. For a beginner, I think the Taylor method would be an easier introduction into fly zips, if not the one that should be used forever after. 

Other than that, the construction was super painless. Every piece fit together beautifully and all the instructions were clear. I did end up taking a bit more room out of the center back waistband and seam, in the end. The canvas has more stretch than muslin, so it was gaping back there and driving me insane! An additional 1.5 inches were taken out and things are still roomy, but more secure. I'm not sure my body type is proportioned well for low rise styles, honestly. When there is such a discrepancy between waist and hip measurements, fitting that middle area can be a beast. The next time, I may take the shorts in a bit more through the legs, just to perfect that fit. I quite like this comfy little pair, however. Wearing anchors makes me crave fireworks, hot dogs, and a bit of Sousa in the background. 

The only problem to deal with? What exactly one pairs with red anchor print shorts. I opted for a simple chambray tank, using Love Notions' Hip Hop Tank. The pattern comes with a ton of variations and the option of using either wovens or stable knits, which is an interesting twist. Never able to resist a button, I opted for the yoked, button-back version with a dipped hem. 

This was such an easy pattern that I had to add in some technical flair, just for fun.  Every seam is flat-felled, with white top-stitching along the hem, neckline, and every seam. If it could be top-stitched, it was. There was a great button debate, but I ended up with simple vintage white buttons from my stash. I almost went with polka-dotted red buttons, but really wanted this to be a versatile basic. As much as I love my country, I don't wear red, white, and blue together terribly often. 

There really aren't that many construction details to impart. Indicative of the knit option, this is an undarted blouse. It's flowing and loose-fitting, providing a wearable summer silhouette. Everything is finished with bias tape, which makes it a really beginner friendly pattern. If one made the straight, unembellished version of this blouse, it would be a 1.5 hour project max. As it is, my flat felled seams and top-stitching rounded me up to 3 hours. 

It's funny, I didn't expect to feel one way or another about this blouse, but I ended up loving it. It's just such a cute, summery little basic. It's well-shaped, despite the lack of darting, and so comfortable. I don't own anything with a high-low hem, as I'm rather impervious to  trends, but I like the rear coverage. If I were a busy parent, constantly chasing after a wee one, a million of these shirts would be in my wardrobe! As it is, I may make a few more, just for filling out the summer wardrobe. 

Excuse the wrinkles! This was my second round of outfit pictures, taken next to a lovely field in East Texas earlier this week. I also decided to wear it as a cutaway back, unbuttoned, as demonstrated in the pattern images. It can be buttoned all the way, but it does lose a bit of swing!

Now, let's chat about Pattern Revolution, shall we? I'm so thrilled to be part of the Bundle Up! blog tour, which features so many awesome indie patterns. Until June 27th, you're able to bundle up the patterns to fill our your own summer wardrobe. If you'd like to learn more, click here! If you'd like a bit of inspiration, check out the rest of the blog tour below.