Hello friends! Today I’m SUPER excited to share two makes for the Sew Americana Blog Tour! This is a super fun tour organized by my friend Katy; it’s my first year participating and I had such a great time planning outfits for it!
Ok, ok, I couldn’t resist taking a few lovey pictures, but of course I do have some that feature our actual clothes too. 🙂
For Brian’s shirt, I used the free Arrowsmith Tank from Thread Theory. This is actually the fifth version of this pattern that I’ve sewn for Brian, because he really likes it. The fit is spot on and almost identical to the shirts like this he’s bought.
It sews up very quickly (even for me, a slow sewer) and the drafting is top notch. I’ve always experienced that from Thread Theory, so this is no surprise. The pocket is a nice touch, and I really enjoy the way that the top edge is finished – it’s sewn folded over right sides together, and then turned right side out, for a nice clean edge. Then you fold the other edges over 3/8″. I used wash away tape to ensure crisp edges once sewn on to the shirt. It turns out great every time!
All of his fabric is from Raspberry Creek Fabrics; I really loved their patriotic selection this year from their CLUB custom collection. I also appreciate that these fabrics are designed and printed in the USA, so very fitting!
These fabrics are both a nice, thick cotton lycra, which I’m finding Brian really likes for these tanks. He always makes comments about how it feels; I think he likes the weight and breathability.
Also about the fabric, I did end up cutting the stripes against the grain…on purpose…shhhhh. I just really wanted to use the stripes vertically instead of horizontally, to give it a trendier feel. Brian said he’s had shirts like that in the past, so I knew he’d like it this way too. I decided to go for it and I don’t see any particular fit or drape issues, I’m sure because this shirt is meant to be semi-fitted anyway.
Now on to my dress! You know those ideas you have that hit you as soon as you see a fabric and then you must make them? This was one of those. Once I saw the red/white/blue gingham cotton lycra also from Raspberry Creek Fabrics, this dress popped in my head.
I’m always one for a dress with a vintage vibe, especially if it is just a tiny bit modernized and updated. I think this one fits the bill. 🙂
I decided to use the halter bodice from the Sunshine Dress and the circle skirt from the Sweetheart Dress, both from Patterns for Pirates. I added my new-found usually needed 1″ in the bodice/armsyce, due to height. Then, I went to town with my hacks! I definitely drew some inspiration from Molly over at Middle River Studio and used two tutorials she has outlined here and here.
First, I criss-crossed the halter straps instead of tying them. This one was easy enough! The only thing to keep in mind here to switch up some of the order of things to ensure the bodice is correctly lined (Molly has these tips outlined above).
Then, I added the cut out on the back of the bodice. Molly mentions how she did this as well, it’s also very easy. I had intended on making the cut out a little smaller, but totally forgot I was cutting horizontally on the fold, so my cut was twice as wide as I intended. I realized this, but decided to keep going. I still totally love it!
Anyway, all that was easy. Where it gets tricky is doing the modified “burrito roll” to fully enclose all seams in the lined bodice. Since I had already topstitched the top arch of the cut out (bottom seam on the bodice), I couldn’t totally unroll the bodice from the lining. Thankfully, I basted first since I assumed this might happen. Because sewing enclosed seams with a lining still feels like a mystical art to me – follow the instructions and it works out like magic! – I couldn’t figure out how to do this with the bottom seam already mostly stitched. I don’t think it’s possible.
So instead I kept one end of the criss cross straps unstitched, which allowed me to unroll the bodice. Then, I poked it back in the seam once I was done, carefully sewed it down inside and then topstitched along the top edge of the bodice. Whew! Maybe that makes sense, maybe not. But I didn’t really want to tutorial this since I’m sure there’s a better, less hacky way of doing it. But at the end of the day, all seams are enclosed so I’m happy!
To stabilize the edge of the skirt along the cut out, I sewed a piece of clear elastic in the whole seam when attaching the skirt, including the cut out. This way, it helps keep it a little more taut. I then turned down the seam allowance on the skirt along the cut out and topstitched (as Molly suggests). Seemed to work out great! Oh, I also added the clear elastic along the seam on the top/back of the bodice as well, to add some more stability.
I also modified the bodice by adding these little faux button tabs on the sides, which you can see above and below. I just eyeballed some tabs on a ready to wear Modcloth dress I had, and then made up these. It worked great! Unfortunately I kinda thought of this after I had already sewed the side seams. No big deal, I just top stitched them on close to the side seams, and then added some buttons from my stash. I thought the front needed something, and this was it. Perfection!
I’d like to take this moment to point out something shocking – I actually hemmed this circle skirt! I think I deserve an award or at the very least a cookie. The actual sewing part took forever of course, but I ironed it first and that part took even longer. So worth it though, cotton lycra hangs much better when hemmed.
Well, that’s it for now! I hope you’ve found this post at least somewhat inspirational for your own Americana sewing. If you do (or have) sewn something up, be sure to link it up here – including Instagram posts! And check out all of my amazing fellow sewists on the tour below, there’s some pretty incredible stuff there!
Thanks for reading, I know it was a long one this time…let me know what you think in the comments below, I love hearing from you!
Until next time,
Elisabeth (and Brian!)
Our Amazing “Sew Americana” Tour Lineup:
Monday, June 26: Wild & Wanderful | Handmade Boy | The Wholesome Mama | Marvelous Auntie M | Sew and Tell Project
Tuesday, June 27: EYMM | Middle River Studio | SewSophieLynn | Phat Quarters | Call Ajaire
Wednesday, June 28: Simple Life Pattern Company | Sewing By Ti | Auschick Sews | Nu Me Nu You | Swimming in a Sea of Estrogen
Thursday, June 29: Adventures with Bubba and Bug | Musings of a Seamstress | Elli and Nels | Spindle and Seams | Stylin’ Stacy
Friday, June 30: Very Blissful | Stitching and Making | Wild & Wanderful | On Wednesdays We Sew | Fairytale B&T
We would like to give a special thanks to our generous sponsors!
Love Notions | EYMM Modern Designs | Rebecca Page | Patterns for Pirates | Simple Life Pattern Company | Thread & Grain | Designs by Call Ajaire | Simply By Ti | Made for Mermaids | Petite Stichery & Co.