Key Largo Top in 3 Different Substrates!

Today I’m over at Hey June Handmade sharing a tutorial on how to add ruffle sleeves to the Key Largo Top.  I’m totally honored to be there, and ruffle sleeves are so big right now (sorry, bad pun!) that you really will want to add them to all your tops!

In creating the tutorial, and falling in love with the Key Largo Top, I sewed up three of them, all in different fabric substrates!  So I want to share them all with you, including my thoughts on how each works.

Key Largo Top fabric comparison by Skirt Fixation

For the first Key Largo Top I sewed, I used Art Gallery Sage Painted Desert Night Fabric.  This is the ONLY brand of quilting cotton I’d use for apparel sewing because it’s so soft and has some drape.  But as you can see, the whole shirt ends up a little stiffer.  If you look around the neckline, you can especially see some stiffness.

Key Largo Top fabric comparison by Skirt Fixation

Please note, quilting cotton is not one of the recommended fabrics for making the Key Largo Top.  This was my muslin.  And yes, I felt comfortable enough with Hey June Patterns to sew up my muslin in expensive Art Gallery Fabric quilting cotton!  This is because I have sewn these patterns enough to know how they fit.

Key Largo Top fabric comparison by Skirt Fixation

That said, I made NO adjustments to the pattern for this first version, and it’s completely wearable and I love it!  After this one though, I added 1 inch width to each shoulder and 2 inches to the length.  You can see how the shoulder seams ended up too far in.  And even though this top is designed to be cropped, I needed the extra length because I’m 6′ tall, and that’s my standard adjustment for Hey June Patterns.

Key Largo Top fabric comparison by Skirt Fixation

The next Key Largo Top I sewed from Art Gallery Observer Voile Indigo Window Crystal Fabric.  If I could only keep one of these 3 shirts, this is probably the one I would choose!  As you can see, I added ruffles to the sleeves.  (Remember to check out my tutorial over at Hey June Handmade.)

Key Largo Top fabric comparison by Skirt Fixation

The voile is lightweight and drape-y and cool for summertime wear.  The voile is a dream to work with too.  Because all the inside edges are enclosed or finished, the issue of voile fraying is eliminated.  Voile is slightly sheer, so I’m wearing a tank underneath.

Key Largo Top fabric comparison by Skirt Fixation

The voile does wrinkle slightly by the end of the day.  Even though I sewed the same size as the 1st Key Largo, I think this version is more flatterning/slimming due to the way the fabric drapes with the curves of my body.

Key Largo Top fabric comparison by Skirt Fixation

The 3rd and final (for now!) Key Largo Top I sewed is from Art Gallery Spices Fusion Rayon Challis Paparounes Spices Fabric.  This was my 1st time working with Art Gallery Fabrics rayon.  I’ve seen the drape of this fabric described as liquid, and that word is truly accurate!  The sleeve ruffles are pure magic on this version.  It’s too bad these photos are stills and not videos!

Key Largo Top fabric comparison by Skirt Fixation

This rayon fabric seems to resist wrinkling, at least it did for me, and I wore it all day!  Rayon fabric is shifty when cutting, so you have to be super careful.  The stripes in this fabric actually helped keep track of where things were supposed to be.  One thing I noticed is that even though I used the exact same method and measurements to create the ruffles on these sleeves as the voile Key Largo Top, these ruffles end lower on my arm.  In my opinion, it’s due to the heavier weight per ounce of the rayon fabric than voile fabric.

Key Largo Top fabric comparison by Skirt Fixation

And the rayon fabric does “relax” during the day while wearing it, so it doesn’t look quite as fitted at the end of the day as at the beginning.  Also, this version will extend into fall wear because it has less breathability than rayon.  It is also slightly sheer fabric, and I’m wearing the same tank underneath.

Want to see them all side by side?  Here you go:

Key Largo Top fabric comparison by Skirt Fixation

Overall, I’m pretty excited about my 3 new Key Largo Tops!  They each have slightly different feel and look when being worn.  Now head over to Hey June Handmade so you can add ruffles to all your Key Largo Tops too!  Leave me a comment about which of these versions you like best and why.

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Lace Skirt to Trevi Top Refashion

In my last post I promised a full review on how I refashioned a lace skirt into the Trevi Top.

Lace skirt refashion to a Trevi Top

First of all, here’s the skirt I started with.  It’s lace (crocheted maybe?) and very pretty, but not super flattering to my figure, not long enough, and not really me as is.  So of course I had to refashion it and make it mine!

Because I was afraid the skirt would unravel once I cut into it, I tried to preserve as many of the existing seams as I could.  It seems the original makers of the skirt had the same idea because there was only 1 seam around the skirt, on one side.

The Trevi Top and Dress pattern was a perfect choice for this refashion because the arm and neck openings are bound with bias tape.  The other seams are french seams, leaving no raw edges either.  And the back placket is all enclosed on the edges as well.

Lace Skirt refashion step 1:

Lace skirt refashion to a Trevi Top

I laid out the front pattern piece lining up the bottom of the pattern piece with the hem of the skirt.  Then I carefully cut through 1 layer only across the armhole opening across the shoulder and down the neckline.

Lace Skirt refashion step 2:

Lace skirt refashion to a Trevi Top

I flipped over the front pattern piece and continued cutting the neckline opening, across the other shoulder, and back down the armhole opening, again only through 1 layer of the skirt.

Lace Skirt refashion step 3:

Lace skirt refashion to a Trevi Top

First I folded down the part of the skirt I’d cut out for the front.  Then I laid out the back piece of the Trevi Top and Dress pattern.  I did fold in the amount allowed for the placket up the back.  Then I continued cutting up the armhole opening, across the shoulder and down the back neckline opening.  Then I flipped over the back pattern piece and cut out the other half in the same manner as the front.

Lace Skirt Refashion step 4:

Lace skirt refashion to a Trevi Top

Carefully cutting through the top layer only, I cut up the center back of the skirt which was now looking more like a top!

Lace Skirt Refashion step 5:

Lace skirt refashion to a Trevi Top

The skirt had more width than I wanted the top to have, but I didn’t want to create side seams to take out some of that width after I’d worked so hard to preserve the integrity of the skirt this far!  I used the lining fabric (it was the perfect color, of course) to make both the back plackets and the bias tape for finishing both the arm and neck openings.  Once I had my placket pieces interfaced, I laid them out as you can see above, thus eliminating some of the fullness from the width and preserving the seamless construction.

Sandbridge Skirt sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

After this step, I continued with the instructions for the Trevi Top and Dress.  The only change I made to accommodate the original construction was making only the top button on the back placket functional, and eliminating the need for many buttonholes and cuts!

Sandbridge Skirt sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

I also kept the original waist tie, and by weaving it in and out of the holes at the waist level, I can have another look, slightly more fitted.

Needless to say I’m pretty pleased with this lace skirt refashion!  I only wish I had another lace skirt to play around with!

Lace Skirt to vest refashion by Skirt Fixation

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Sandbridge Skirt & Trevi Top Outfit

Sandbridge Skirt sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

The Sandbridge Skirt is basically a dream skirt come true!  Several Indie designers have produced patterns for sewing your own jeans, but this is the first one we’ve found for a denim skirt.  And because it’s from one of our favorite pattern companies, Hey June Patterns, we’re totally enthralled.

Sandbridge Skirt sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

The Sandbridge Skirt has all the details of jeans, in a skirt.  The Sandbridge Skirt pattern can be sewn in 11 sizes from 2 to 22.  There are 2 possible views to sew, View A, which is a mini, and View B which I sewed.  Both views can have a raw hem like I made, or there are instructions to give the hem a more finished look.  To make this one knee length for my 6’ tall frame, I added 3 inches to the hem.

Sandbridge Skirt sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

 

The Sandbridge Skirt is designed to sit on the hips, and I made the size 6, expecting my body shape to still change a little due to being 5 months postpartum.  It currently sits lower than my waist, but not quite on my hips.  In the above photo, you can see the little reason it’s not fitting quite yet peeking out over my arm!  Also, it’s paired with my navy blue Seafarer top, for a more casual look.

Sandbridge Skirt sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

For the next Sandbridge Skirt I make, I plan to change the shape of the hem to be slightly a-line rather than narrowing at the hem as this one does.  This is simply due to the fact that I have to randomly break into a sprint to catch one child or another.  And this hemline is just a bit constricting for that type of activity.

Sandbridge Skirt sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

The fabric for this Sandbridge Skirt is some Richloom Ellery Floral Denim Fabric By The Yard purchased from fabric.com several years ago.   It is actually cotton duck fabric, but acts just like denim.

Sandbridge Skirt sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

The Sandbridge Skirt pattern is very well drafted.  Since I have sewn jeans for my sons, that gives me some experience in this type of sewing.  But I have to say the zip fly instructions are the best I’ve come across!

Sandbridge Skirt sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

Speaking of finished look, the inside of the Sandbridge Skirt is a thing of beauty!  I used the opportunity to use some delicious chambray to finish the waistband inside, and a little yellow grosgrain ribbon tag.

Sandbridge Skirt sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

As with any jean pattern, topstitching is key to making the finished product not look home made.  Once again, I find it ironic to spend hours making an article of clothing NOT look like I sewed it!  I had fun with the back pockets, and what you see here is actually my 2nd attempt, the first ended up too fancy for my liking with everything else going on with this skirt!  And those back crossed belt loops tickle me too.

Sandbridge Skirt sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

The other garment featured in these photos is the Trevi Top.  It is another pattern by Hey June Patterns, and has some really special details.  When this pattern was released, I immediately envisioned it in lace!  My version happens to be a skirt I refashioned, and I’ll have a full tutorial later in the week.

Sandbridge Skirt sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

The button up back feature is one of my favorite parts of the Trevi Top.  I kept the original tie from the waist of the skirt, and by weaving it in and out of the holes I can give the waistline a little definition if I want to.  In my opinion, it looks better belted with a long skirt, and unbelted with a shorter skirt like this.

Sandbridge Skirt sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

Incidentally, only the top button on this Trevi Top is functional, and I forgot to button it for this photo shoot!  This makes is easier to button up, and made the construction easier because of the lace.  Is the Sandbridge Skirt worth it?  For me it’s a definite yes!

If you’ve made it this far in this very loooong post, leave me a comment!

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Tips for sewing double brushed poly fabric

Recently I’ve had fun working with a new kind of fabric.  Double brushed poly fabric is a knit polyester fabric that has been brushed on both sides, making it super soft to wear, but a little tricky to work with.

Tips for sewing double brushed poly fabric on a regular sewing machine

Before I started sewing with double brushed poly fabric, I researched it a little bit.  I concluded that if you have a serger you will have almost no trouble sewing with double brushed poly fabric.  Since I didn’t sew either of the shirts in this post with a serger (because I don’t HAVE one!) I’ll give you some tips I’ve picked up along the way about sewing double brushed poly fabric with a regular sewing machine.

Tips for sewing double brushed poly fabric on a regular sewing machine

Double brushed poly fabric has a 4 way stretch that is greater than 100% and it has good recovery, which means it’s very forgiving to sew with.  It also has beautiful drape so there are many garments that look quite lovely sewn up with double brushed poly.

Tips for sewing double brushed poly fabric on a regular sewing machine

Quite a few seamstresses used double brushed poly fabric to make leggings, which is what I used it for my 1st time working with it.  This fabric is 96% polyester, which the name indicates, and can be a little too hot to wear as a fitted garment in the summer.  The other 4% is spandex.  Some have found that looser, breezier garments from double brushed poly fabric work great in the heat.  Personally, I’ve worn these 2 tops all summer with no trouble.

Tips for sewing double brushed poly fabric on a regular sewing machine

My biggest tip for sewing with double brushed poly fabric on a regular sewing machine is to use the right needle.  A new stretch or ballpoint needle will help your machine NOT skip stitches.

My 2nd tip is to use the right thread.  I had much better luck with 100% polyester thread than cotton or even a cotton/polyester blend.

My 3rd tip is to use the right stitch.  My machine has a stretch stitch which worked great for straight seams.  (You can also use a narrow zigzag stitch.)

The next tip is that if your machine starts skipping stitches (which seems to be the biggest problem when sewing with double brushed poly fabric) stop!  Rethread both the bobbin and the main thread, and try again.

Tips for sewing double brushed poly fabric on a regular sewing machine

And finally, a tip few tips for hemming double brushed poly fabric:

use a double needle (or zigzag stitch,)

a longer stitch length (I used about 3.5)

some Lite EZ-Steam II fusible tape inside the hems

I also buried the ends of the thread inside my seams so they didn’t come unraveled.  This means I had to hem the sleeves and bottom before I sewed the side seams.  But it works great, and in almost 3 months of wearing, no popped hems!

Tips for sewing double brushed poly fabric on a regular sewing machine

Pink shirt details:

Pattern source: Hey June Handmade Union St Tee

Fabric source:  Raspberry Creek Fabrics (no longer available, but a nice selection of double brushed poly fabric)

Blue shirt details:

Pattern source: Hey June Handmade Lane Raglan

Fabric source:  CaliFabrics (no longer available, but a nice selection of double brushed poly fabric)

Tips for sewing double brushed poly fabric on a regular sewing machine

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Santa Fe Dress

Allegra’s summer job requires her to be on her feet in an uncomfortable uniform all day long.  So when she gets home she just wants to be comfortable in non-constricting clothes.  She described to me exactly what she wanted; a loose, flowy dress with dolman sleeves and no shaping.  Immediately my thoughts turned to the Santa Fe pattern.

Santa Fe top turned dress by Skirt Fixation

TO make the Santa Fe top into a dress, I simply measured from her shoulder to her knee, and made the pattern that long.  I kept the same angle of the A shape at the side seams, and dipped the hem down in front.  I think I ended up adding about 15 inches to the length.

For the fabric I used some super lightweight rayon jersey from the stash.  I don’t remember exactly where we sourced it, but you can find similar here: Rayon Jersey Yarn Dye Knit Grey Fabric.

Santa Fe top turned dress by Skirt Fixation

Right now the Santa Fe top is the featured pattern over at Hey June Handmade, so you can grab it for 15% off.  It’s already a steal, at full price with 6 different views.  You can see the other Santa Fe tops we’ve sewn here and our review of the pattern here.  Be prepared for a new favorite pattern!

Allegra is delighted with this Santa Fe dress.  She says it’s like wearing a cloud!  Whenever she get home, she slips into this dress for some R&R time!

Santa Fe top turned dress by Skirt Fixation

Leave us a comment below…what do you wear when you just need to relax?

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