Shilly-Shallying and such

So just what have you been up to?

I hate that phrase. Where others hear solicitous enquiries I feel like I’ve been caught in my pajamas at two in the afternoon with Netflix and spoon that has been directly in the peanut butter jar.

It’s also where I would start defending things I’ve done- re-covering  all the throw pillows in the den- look at Bruderlein- doesn’t he make them look handsome?



A 12 x12 cross stitch interpretation of a William Morris Tapestry- 6 months and 35 skeins of DMC floss. That may sound like a crazy amount, but I get knotted up easily and during some episodes of Suits I got off track and put one bunny a little farther down the trail than the artist intended- rip it out and curse accordingly. I am obviously not the reincarnation of a Belgian tatting nun.  I’m glad to be done with it- honestly, it was the husbands giggly references to ‘show me the bunnies’ that were really killing my spirit.


I’ve made a dress- Vogue 9159. It turned into a top and skirt when I didn’t like how it fell over my hips. Ok, it didn’t so much fall as act like I pushed it over my hips.  But now I don’t think it looks good as a set and that spandex nylony business I used is hotter than Keith Partridge in a fringed vest.


So now I have a skirt that matches my favorite black t-shirt. You know how one bad sew makes you question your skills and pack everything up in a bunch of old amazon boxes and put the machine by the curb and think about renting out the converted sewing room to a drifter you found on Craigs List?

Yeah, ok, maybe that’s just me.  Well, the bad fit and drag lines and my issues with a narrow chest and how my necklines rise up in the back and have to be reshaped before I make a facing is almost conquered on most of my makes as an assumed plan of attack, but lately I’ve been just not feeling like wrestling the fabric into submission.  My sewing has not been joyful. So I decided to go thru my pinterest boards and see what catches my interest.

I spent 3 hours looking at gifs of Tom Hiddleston.  No, honestly, more like 45 minutes tops. I swear.

Then I saw this:

bow front


I thought this shape was lovely and oh, lookee- a chestal neckline pleat that I can tailor to my slopy Mary Todd Lincoln profile! Wardrobe soulmate:


A perfect shape and a goto pattern were just the thing- this pattern has been a favorite resident of the ‘VALLEY OF THE UNBLOGGED’ . You know I have a short attention span and once I’ve worn it a few times, no matter how strong the love, I feel weird taking blog pictures of it. I’m bored with your French seams, let’s agree to keep our relationship out of the papers, shall we? Simplicity 1253:


This is the 3rd version of this I have made-

I love this one- it’s got a contrasting neck facing using the border print. Oh, and zebra beading- cuz, well…… IT SHOULD HAVE ZEBRA BEADING!! ver1

I’m ok with this one- the sleeves are a little narrow and the fabric is a little stiff.


Using the pink and pa-recious pinterest top as a jumping off point, I made number 3- Sh! Don’t tell the others- you’re my favorite!


I used the same technique I use to make the upper bodice narrow- but in reverse.  Usually I lay the center front pattern piece on a narrowing angle on the fabric fold- widening at the hip. This time I widened it at the bust.

After I got my shoulder seams frenched, I let Ms Holloway wear it while I decided on the perfect bustal pleat and sassy bow.  I like my bows sassy with a little droop (like my men) so I didn’t interface my bow- I let it go ‘au natural’ as the French say!

At the back neckline I added a smaller pleat and topped it with a decorative bead- to repeat my bead theme.

Now, everytime I’ve sewn this I’ve widened the sleeves about 2 inches- they are not wide enough when they end at the bicep area for me to type my manifestos all day. I did the same here. Also, no hem- I just let it go in stretchy lace tatters.


This material is so sheer- how do you feel about facings in sheer garments? I’m not a fan- it’s like seeing the label thru the material- rookie mistake in my mind. So I used a bias edging .

I didn’t hem this, I liked the soft edge it had without it. I swear, it was a style choice- not because I’m lazy! I waited 3 weeks to post this because I’m lazy, but the hem was a choice!

Spring is here- I’m hoping I’ll feel more like adorning myself with new pretties soon and get back to some serious texture massacring in the sewing room!

Hey, this last shot is in honor of the talented actor, advocate for mental health issues and mother of hobbits- miss you Anna!


Photo credits: pattern review, Pinterest, little me. All images remain the property of their original owners.

49 thoughts on “Shilly-Shallying and such

  1. I’ve just finished a dress with a neck pleat like this so we are both so on trend! I don’t have that gorgeous bow though so am now feeling miffed. Also deeply envious of your tapestry skills – is there no end to your talents???


  2. OK Anne, I want those tops…they are equally perfect for pinning yards and yards of lace and satin hems on my brides beside typing hot and heavy memos and directives to your minions. The last one is my favorite too as it is softer and has some muted greys blended in…can’t pass up a droopy bow…it says, “Come on over big boy”.


  3. “Show me the bunnies”!! HAHAHAHA!! That’s awesome. 😛 I like this shirt (blouse? Does it become a blouse if you put a bow on it? I’m never sure…) And yes, I can completely relate to your feelings of wanting to just toss it all to the curb sometimes. I think I tell my husband that very thing at least once a month. I’m glad you keep on truckin’ though, because even if it’s a fail, your posts are always amazing. 🙂


  4. hamletta says:

    They’re all lovely, but that last one…I can see why it’s your favorite. It’s beautiful, and it looks fantastic on you.


  5. ellegeemakes says:

    Love that tapestry!! omg!!! So cool. The tops are great too, and I not a fan of neck facings with sheer fabric either. Your bias solution looks great!


  6. Jenny says:

    The third version is gorgeous, love the fabric and that colourway suits you to perfection.
    I currently have a top I am making that has been pushed behind a cushion in an effort to make it disappear! I have the same problem as you with the neck at the back riding up, I haven’t yet worked out why as I don’t have that problem with RTW. This one though is the sleeves – too much sleeve and not enough armhole! I have to be very brave and recut the top of the sleeve – which is why it’s been stuffed behind the cushion.


  7. danvillegirl says:

    I like this blouse pattern, may add to wish list! I like all of your versions and this new one with bow is very similar to Pinterest version. Seems lately all patterns have too narrow sleeves, not everyone has Michelle Obama’s sleek and define arms.


  8. Oh, these are lovely!

    Facings. A few years ago I bought a Kwik Sew pattern that had no facings and I felt much high-minded contempt for their instruction to use bias binding. It just seemed wrong somehow – like cheating. I almost made facings anyway but decided to try it their way “just once”. Ever since I have been totally sold on bias binding instead of facings. Only problem is that I have yet to figure out how make it look good. My necklines and especially my arm holes on sleeveless garments are always a little twisted and puckery.


  9. You always have the best posts. I have to be careful reading at my work desk lest I turn heads with the weird giggling coming from my cubicle. I’m in the middle of similarly-pleated knit top, but mine is pleated in desperation to help with a too-wide neckline. If it turns out half as nice as your 3 tops here, I’ll be thrilled.


  10. sewbussted says:

    Where to start?!! The cross stitch piece is a masterpiece.
    Personally, and that doesn’t count for much ;), I like the first top so, so much. But then, I like red 🙂
    Number 3 does look beautiful on you. And who cares about a hem? If Armani can leave a raw hem, we can too!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Prolific in your sewing endeavours! And three perfect tops into the bargain. Third is my favourite too. Believe me, my sewing machine while not being put out on the curb yet, has been stuffed under the table and out of sight many, many times.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I love all of “what you’ve been doing”! Your tops are great, and so is your needle work, You know, I started a big “frame worthy” cross stitch scene about 10 or more years back and got put down by not feeling like I was getting anywhere with it…maybe I should put my two cents into it again after seeing your work!

    Also, yes, I have it too where one bad project can throw me into a sewing slump – I think of it as my machines and I not getting along!

    Finally, you definitely have the right idea for your furniture because everything looks better with a dachshund laying on it…he’s so cute (they love burrowing don’t they)!


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