Monday, June 22, 2020


Hello everyone.  Sometimes we just want to simplify our lives.  We need to sew up a quick but attractive little top, and we're impatient to get it done. Plus, we want it to be versatile and attractive.

What to do, what to do?

Try a pattern hack.  Seriously--simplify the Simplify Your Life pattern, view B.  Here's how.
 I'm talking about the shell on the left of the pattern envelope.  As you can see, it has a great detail on the left shoulder, where it incorporates facings, buttonholes, and buttons.  When you have time, it's a great look.  But if you're in a hurry, make the top without that detail.  

(Do measure the neckline and your head.  Mine goes over my head just fine as a closed neckline, but it's good to be sure ahead of time!  If needed, sew the neckline facings to the garment with a 3/4" seam allowance rather than the standard 5/8" seam allowance.  That makes the neckline just a bit bigger.)

So I just make up my top with the left shoulder looking the same as the right shoulder--with no buttoned opening.  Here's how I modify the pattern--so simple

First, use the patterns for the right sleeve only.

You'll use these pieces for the left sleeve as well, so pay attention to cutting them properly for both sides.

Then modify the neck facing patterns.  

Use only the portion of the facing that is not covered by the ruler.  I'd trace off the portion not under the ruler that extends from the shoulder seam to center back.  Then you'll cut that traced piece with the center back on the fold of the fabric.

Do the same with the front facing.  Trace a new pattern piece that extends from the shoulder seam to center front and cut the new traced pattern piece on the fold of the fabric to give you a whole front facing.

Of course, I used some of the exquisite, lightweight fusible interfacings that we stock at Cutting Line Designs.  In the instructions for each pattern, we tell you how to preshrink your interfacings and how to fuse them.  

Then you'll need the body of the garment.  As you can see, we've cleverly extended the center front line all the way from the neck to the hem.  How convenient is that?  Let's look.  You can see that I've marked the left and right of the front pattern piece, and we only need the right portion.

We don't really have to trace this piece, but you can if you want to.   To save time, you can just fold the front piece along the center front line.  Of course, you'll need to cut this piece with the center front line on the fold of the fabric.

You'll need to follow the same procedure with the back, but with one little change.  First, the simple part.

Look carefully.  The left shoulder is higher than the right shoulder.  Let's fold.

That pesky left shoulder is sticking up.  Here's a closer view.

Just fold it down out of the way.

So that's it.  I love this top because it can be a basic to go under jackets, and it can be half of a slightly elegant outfit if it is the same color as pants or a skirt.  Then in a print it's a standout and can go with a variety of  jackets, skirts, pants, or shirts layered over it. 

Here's one I made using this pattern hack.  

I hope you find this easy change useful.  Maybe I'll see some of these on the Cutting Line Designs Facebook Forum!

Friday, June 12, 2020


At last I have made progress on my summer wardrobe.  I thought I might not get done before the holiday season--and I don't mean 4th of July.

I've completed 2 more pieces, so take a look:

Sometimes I have to play around in my fabric stash.  That quiet time can give me a push forward into my next project.  I had purchased a pretty striped linen years ago that was white with plum and green stripes in it.  I pulled it out and browsed the other shelves.  Sure enough, there was a plum that worked, then a green, then this floral print that had both the plum and green in it----------and I was off and running.  Found a couple more things as well, and you'll see those soon.

Anyway, the whole idea was to create several garments in fabrics that are cool in Florida's heat and humidity, so these cottons and linens worked.  Also, I chose designs that were a bit loose and easy to wear.

This top is made from View A of Simplify Your Life.
 I left off the pocket because it would not have showed on this lively print, and I eliminated the sleeve bands to make it easier to pull on a jacket over the top.  So here's a closeup of my version:

 Pretty neckline and a pleat at center front.

The pants are soft linen, made from the tapered version of the One-Seam Pants.

 My pants are soft with tapered legs.  But I decided to pull my pants in at the ankle with a detail I found while snoop-shopping.  I simply pleated each pant leg at center front and sewed a button on to hold the pleat.  Looks great when worn.

The idea of a wardrobe is to have a group of garments that can be mixed.  To be more specific, I like to aim for 3 tops that can go with each bottom.  And of course, the tops for one bottom should go with the other bottoms.  It's multiplication. 

So my start is the Simplify Your Life above, the plum One-Seam Pants, and the modified shirt from The Blouse Perfected that you saw in an earlier post.  

So far, I have 2 tops and 1 pant = 2 outfits.  I'll keep you posted on my progress.  If I get with the program, I'll finish before there's snow on the ground.