Welcome to my blog today. As the title has hinted, this is another sewing story. During this summer, two of the pieces I’ve sewn for myself are a new pair of palazzo pants and a knit dolmen sleeve top. These two pieces are from different patterns and not especially meant to go with each other but together I think they make a good team.
I’m pretty excited about these two pieces and their versatility.
The Palazzo Pants-Pattern & Fabric
My palazzo pants are from a TAT (tried and true);Vogue 1168. Over the years, I’ve made three pairs of pants from this pattern; two for me and one for my daughter Rachelle. Because of the zipper, I would rate this pattern as an advance beginner. Everything else was easy.
I absolutely love palazzo pants! Have you tried them? With the right type of fabric they can be elegant and move wonderfully when you walk. Mine are made in a 2 way stretch polyester designed by Nicole Miller for Joanne’s Fabric. As I remember, she did this collaboration three or four years ago. I’ve made three pieces from this collection and wish she was still designing fabric because everything she did was beautiful.The first piece that I made using her designs is found HERE.
Some of her fabric can still be found on ESTY and eBay; just search Nicole Miller fabric. I think any silky or drapy fabric does well with a palazzo style design. The pattern recommends Charmeause or Crepe Backed Satin which makes for a pretty fancy pair of pants and I didn’t want that. As long as you fabric has some drape, I think you would be fine. But, now I’m wondering how they would move in a cotton or cotton/linen mix.
This pattern has been long discontinued but it can still be found on eBay and ETSY for under $10. I originally bought the pattern because of the top, but have never gotten around to making it….awwww, someday!
My favorite part of the pants is the comfortable wide waist yoke which you can’t usually see when I’m wearing them. Also, there is a zipper in the back and I used an invisible zipper.
My first make using Vogue 1168. These black pants are a closet staple! I used Peachskin polyester from Joanne’s fabric and have worn them so much. I first talk about them HERE and give a small overview of the history of palazzo pants in American fashion.
The second pair I made was for Rachelle, this time in off white Peachskin from Joanne’s fabric. The abstract overlay you see was printed on Spoonflower using her artwork as a graphic.
If you want unique fabric or have a design you want to create, Spoonflower is the place to go.
Other Pattern Options
For the beginner, there is Simplicity 8131. This would be super conformable to wear because it has an elastic waist.
The Dolmen Sleeve Knit Top
My top is from Vogue 1567, which also has a skirt that I am definitely also making.
This top is easy to wear and a fairly simple sew (beginner level) with a self neckline facing. However, in the end, because of it’s almost off the shoulder style, I had to make major pattern adjustments. I did use my serger for some seams but that would not be necessary. I’ve made plenty of stretch knit garments long before I had a serger.
This pattern calls for a 2-way stretch with a 50% cross grain stretch.
The fabric I chose was Ken-Dor’s T7880 – Tencel™ Organic Cotton Jersey, which is 70% Lyocell (Tencel™), 30% Organic Cotton. I love Ken-Dor fabric because, “Ken-Dor takes great pride in specializing in environmentally & socially responsible knit and woven textiles and strives to ensure that partner mills adhere to multiple global standards of environmental and social compliance.”
Ken-Dor does not sell directly to consumers. I use the The Sourcing District but there is a five yard minimum on fabric orders. My five yards are gone already.
How I Have Worn It
Below you see one of my usual tricks. I’ve taken a thick hair band and gathered up a bit of my top at the bottom. I like the asymmetrical look this creates and use this technique quite a lot with my knit tops.
My back neckline is slightly different than the patterns. More about that later.
My back neckline is slightly different than the patterns. More about that later in the next section.
This just seemed the perfect outfit to pop on a hat. Darcy says Hi!
I already have my fabric for the skirt.
The Big Uh-Oh (but I did get a new cami out of it)
Now on to my tale of woe! But, you know what they say, “if you’re given lemons, make lemonade,” and I think that is what I have done.
Yes, you have seen this photo before. It’s from my last post.
As I mentioned earlier, my neckline is different. From the pattern photo, I felt the neckline might not work for me. To be physically comfortable, I need to wear a full support bra. That has just been a fact of my life-forever! I can wear a halter bra but that strap around my neck is not comfortable (but, I can do it for a few hours) and have never felt secure in strapless bras. It does limit some styles I can wear, but I’ve lived with this for decades and just work around it.
With new untried patterns, I usually made a practice piece for fit (called a muslin). For this top I needed some cheap knit, which i didn’t have. This sew happened during late May when we weren’t going anywhere because of Covid-19 so I decided to use a piece of woven fabric, thinking it might give me close enough accuracy. Wrong! My muslin told me the neckline was OK. I cut the top, sewed it up and was dismayed when I tried it on. The neckline was much wider in the knit! With the way the pattern was designed, there was no way to alter it. I just had to scrap the whole thing!
I went back and redrafted the pattern’s neckline to create a narrower neckline and fortunately had just enough knit to cut a new top.
That wasted top gnawed at me and I had to find a way to use that fabric. That is when I remembered an old pattern I had for the 70’s. It had a perfect cami top and I had made it before-perfect match! Now, I’m a happy camper because I will wear both tops a lot.
All Together Now
And, finally the two pieces together…or the 1+1=1
I love these wide legs! They are retro, elegant and cool all at the same time. It surprises me that I’ve only made two pairs of these pants for myself.
That’s the end of this sewing and style tale. I hope you have enjoyed this creative journey of mine. I’m always interested in how many of my readers have sewn during sometime in their life. Did you take that beginning Home Economics course that a lot of us did? I still have the wrap around skirt that I made in 8th grade! The fabric pattern is of questionable taste but it’s fun to get out and have a chuckle over.
If you ever want to dip your toes into this sewing pond, I have to recommend Anita by Design’s YouTube channel. She’s a great teacher and has beginning sewing lessons where she takes you from creating skirts, tops and finally a dress.
Independent Pattern Companies
I am unabashedly plugging my newest page. There was a time when we could get Vogue patterns quite regularly for $6.00 from their website but I think those days are pretty much over. This is bad and good. The bad is that I probably won’t be getting to many more patterns from what has been my favorite pattern company since high school. I even made my senior prom dress from a Vogue! However, the good is that it has made me seriously explore indie patterns and I have found some amazing designers! So much so, that I now have a extensive source list of Indie patterns.
OK, that was the shameless plug!
Indie patterns are PDFs (sometimes for a higher price you can get a paper pattern). You can print them from home (and do a lot of taping together) or send a file copy to a print shop and have your pattern printed in one piece. I don’t mind the taping but I know that my daughter Michelle has taken the A0 file to her local print shop to have them printed but she now also prefers to print and tape at home too.
Being able to download PDFs means, I can use designers from around the world. It has been so much fun to see what is going on in Denmark, France, Australian and Germany, etc. I’ve always admired Name Patterns from Denmark, but really hadn’t expanded my knowledge of to many other designers. I now have 71 designers on my list! These designs run from super simple for absolute beginners, to advanced and even zero waste designs! Honestly, I feel better putting money directly in the hands of a talented entrepreneur.
OK, that’s it for today.
Take care and stay safe,