Sewing for the Hemispheres: Trying New Things and Making it Work

We've got more awesome sewing for you today with tips of how to stay the right temperature as the temperatures around you fluctuate.

We've got Rachel and Lisa sharing their awesome creations and tips!!!!


Hello again! Rachel here, with a post that is sponsored by my very grateful closet. :) In the past year or so, I’ve really begun to sew for myself in earnest and my handmade wardrobe has grown by leaps and bounds. I found that I hardly bought anything ready­-to-­wear this past summer, and as fall is quickly approaching here in the Northeastern US, it’s time for my to pack away my tank tops and shorts and start planning for cooler weather. My standard “momiform” (that’s a mom-­uniform ;) ) is a pair of jeans, casual sneakers, and a long sleeve tee. I wanted to challenge myself to sew a pair of pants that could stand in for my jeans, and would be comfy without being sloppy. The Brassie Joggers from Greenstyle fit the bill perfectly. I sewed this pair from a stretch french terry (this particular one, which is a cotton/modal/lycra blend, was from Girl Charlee a few months ago) and used ribbing for the waistband and cuffs. 

Based on the measurement chart, I sewed a size large with the medium rise and the only thing I modified was the length ­ I’m only 5’2”, so the “capri” length in the pattern was nearly to my ankles! The construction was straightforward and the fit is great. I’ll be making another pair or three for sure!When it came to tops, I sewed up a bunch of raglans for myself last winter and spring so I wanted something different to diversify my wardrobe a bit.  I’m really loving the new La Bella Donna dolman top from Love Notions and have a drawerful already. The pattern is packed with options for sleeve length and hem style, and includes hood and cowl neck options also. This one, made from Joann’s sweater knit and GC french terry, is cut straight from the pattern pieces. 

For the blue striped version, I had to color block to make use of smaller cuts of fabric and I LOVE the finished look! (I think this one is my favorite of all the LBD tops I’ve made so far ­ and I’ve made at least six or seven.) To do this, I cut the pattern piece where I wanted to color block (in this case, a little more than halfway down the “sleeve” portion of the short sleeve version). Make sure to add seam allowances to BOTH of your new pattern pieces along the line you cut, as that will become your new seam when you piece the bodice together. The short sleeve version of this pattern can be sewn from just a yard of fabric in the smaller sizes (this is a medium, shortened a bit due to my height), so it’s great for those of us who are used to sewing for kids and rarely buy more than a yard of fabric at a time!

Speaking of one ­yard wonders, I wanted to get a long sleeve top from a single yard.

Here’s a quick tutorial for how I did this. To start, I used the short sleeve cut line to cut my front and back bodices from my main fabric. (The only mod I made here was to scoop the neckline a little wider and deeper.) Next, I needed to blend the sleeve extension that extends down the shoulder with the “cuff” piece, which is super long for a modern style. When I traced my original pattern pieces (overlapped at the seam allowance) here’s what it looked like:

My original lines are in green, and then I used pencil and a quilting ruler to add in seam allowance at the shoulder and hem allowance at the wrist. This piece will be cut on the fold so I marked that for myself but didn’t add seam allowance there. The original cuff piece was a good bit narrower than the sleeve extension, so I made a new line that blended the original lines together. When I traced my sketch onto a new piece of paper, here’s what the resulting pattern piece looked like:

I cut two long sleeves from that pattern piece, and assembled per pattern instructions. The finished product looks a bit like a fun layered tee, used less than a yard of my main fabric, and gives me yet another option for a pattern that is already a staple in my wardrobe. 

Bring on the pumpkin spice and kindergarten soccer, I’m ready for fall!

Until next time,



Casual dressing for spring/summer is lovely ­ short sleeves, skirts, and sandals ­ but it can be challenging dressing for the office ­ how do I get the right mix of smart and summery, while not freezing in the air conditioning?

The Champs Elysee Cross Back Blazer from Winter Wear Designs was the first blazer I made myself. I'd seen the gorgeous photos of Suzanne modelling it, and loved the feature of the cross back ­ this is exactly the kind of thing with a bit of individual style that is hard to find in store bought clothes. I'll confess I was a little intimidated about making myself a blazer ­ but I decided this year I would challenge myself beyond my comfort zone, so I just jumped in had a go. Yep, I made a few mistakes along the way ­ I thought I was doing well until at one point I realised I had no armholes! A closer read of the instructions and a couple of "aha!" moments later and I was sorted.  It's still not perfect, but most things aren't when you try something new for the first time...and unless you looked very closely, you'd never know. 

This pattern is gorgeous ­ the instructions are clear (despite some rookie mistakes on my part) and the end result is as fabulous as I'd hoped it would be. There is a lot of attention to detail and professional finishing, including bias tape on the inside seams, which is another chance to show some individual style. My fabric here is a watermelon coloured linen/tencel blend, which is light enough to feel summery and yet still smart (and warm) enough for the office.  You'll be pleased to know my second attempt at a blazer was perfect the first time around.  And now I'm a little addicted to making Winter Wear Designs blazers for all seasons.