Sewing Solids #3 and #4

This post should actually read ‘The Boring Black Shorts’. Because they are! The plainest, most unexciting, unadventurous item of clothing made so far. And exactly why I love them I bought this fabric quite a while ago, purely for it’s good bottom weight and nice feel. Technical! And now that I think about it, a plain black linen cotton seems a pretty unlikely purchase for a print fiend. Maybe at the time I already knew the closet was headed towards print Armageddon. But the thing about the boring black shorts is they’re actually pretty awesome. Pretty and awesome, even. First of all, with just a few mods this pattern gives a fit that you can be hard pressed to find in a store bought short. Second, they’re just a good looking pair of shorts, that rare variety you could even wear with a heel. And don’t get me wrong, I love my minty polka dot pair but now in a solid I’m really appreciating this pattern and all its charms: welt pockets, side pockets, subtle scallops, top-stitching etc. And more surprising still, the boring black shorts have inspired a whole new flurry of sewing activity: things to wear with them, like this top.
Fabric: Linen- cotton- lycra blend.
Sizingxs, same as this pair. If between sizes, go down and especially if fabric has width-ways stretch. This pair actually fit a lot better, whereas the spotty pair give me camel toe when driving.
Mods: The usual for this pattern; 3/8″ off the sides and a wedge off sides of back pieces, where hips are would fill out if I were endowed some. I shaved a little off the hem of the back pieces, about 1/4″.
Do you ever find yourself spending all this time dreaming up the perfect ‘to-sew’ list only to have something totally random pop up and skip to the front? I think it’s called ‘inspiration’ and it is does not care about my carefully curated sewing queue. The Hannah Top by Salme Patterns was one such pusher-inner. I’ve been noticing this silhouette around lately, ‘around’ being code for Pinterest, my only real source of what’s going on out there in the fashion world. Lots of cute cropped length tees and tanks with midi skirts and high waist shorts and loads of this 90’s neckline that I can only best describe as looking like a halter but not. So when the Hannah Top popped up in my Pinterest feed it was one of those majestic moments where trend and pattern become one. Its an interesting shape and cut-right you can wear a cross-over bra with this style. Being able to don a semi-normal bra seems to be my green light go ahead these days.
IMG_7059Pattern//Salme Patterns ‘Hannah’ Top.

Size // No games played, just a straight 8 according to measurements.
Mods // Removed darts and added width to front piece from armpit to waist in their place. Shortened to cropped length. Took 1/4″ off neckline. To cover bra straps, I widened shoulder straps approx 3/8″ and slightly changed the shape of the front piece curve. But don’t be put off by what sounds like a nightmare on mod street, all these tweaks came out of the first and only muslin (which was in a print. Naughty!).
Other Bits and Bobs // French seamed back and sides, hand-stitched invisible hem (which I will now pull out and sew with a teensy weensy hem) because its all lumpy. Telling myself it was the fabric. I used a self cover button for closure and made the button loop by sewing down the length of a strip of bias and cutting off excess. A good shortcut to remember.

IMG_7276IMG_7337The pattern has a full facing, which means no lining and no visible top-stitching and makes the whole finish ultra tight and neat. You do have to add seam allowances though. I made a cotton muslin, tried it on with the boring black shorts and decided the proportions looked much better if the top was cropped about 5″-6″ shorter. I tweaked a few bits of the pattern mentioned above, jumped right in with the silk and then it was all very obvious that cotton made nice flat darts and silk made pointy nipple darts. Not impressed. Slashing and flattening the darts upon Gerties advice didn’t fix the problem, maybe because the problem was the silk not the dart shape. So as a last resort I ironed interfacing over the darts which did flatten them and might have been a completely genius idea except you could see a the outline from the right side. So, on the verge of mega tanty I re-drafted the front without darts, kind of like the difference between the Grainline tiny pocket tank (darted) and the Wiksten Tank (no darts). I ignored the dart by pinning it shut, added a tiny bit of extra width to each side of the front piece, petering out to just the seam allowance at the waist. I think it worked because the silk is drapey and the top is a loose-ish shape.

Well, that’s it, the end of the Solids Experiment. I’m free! And I don’t want to go! There’s quite a few pieces I want to sew before I run back into the arms of beloved prints. But maybe we will have a more balanced relationship now, the prints and I. Thanks to everyone who left a comment about your own personal battles with prints vs solids. It comforting to know there are so many of us of the print-happy variety. Print fiends unite! On reflection, not being able to touch a print gave me a new perspective on sewing, as I had to seek inspiraiton from things like shapes of clothes, details and obviously color. If I wasn’t ‘on solids’ when I spotted this top pattern maybe I would never have looked twice at it.  And with that I will leave you with my best face-for-radio. #keepinitreal

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  • sallie oleta barbeewrote:

    Gorgeous!! You know, sometimes it takes a bit of a ‘print diet’ to learn how to create a healthy balance between prints and solids! I think after your awesome experiment you will probably go forth and sew prints AND solids quite happily! Looks like you definitely made some good wardrobe staples to start off. Those shorts are total winners!

  • Craft Sanctuarywrote:

    I could definitely use a solids experiment! I love me some prints!

    And, the inspiration thing happens to me ALL THE TIME. I’ll be all “oh, I really need to cut out a simple top.” 20 mins later I’m cutting another printed dress…but the “inspired” garments tend to be my favorites, so go figure 🙂

    Anyway, I love the shorts, and the top came out really cute, despite the fussiness with the silk!

  • Heather Louwrote:

    Your solids experiment has totally inspired me – how else to explain the SOLIDS ONLY binge I went on in NY this week? Seriously. Not one print, except for a few swimsuit lycras. Love both of these pieces – I have to make those shorts next spring. I’m planning on making 2 pairs of black pants this fall; while boring, they go with EVERYTHING. And that washed silk top is making me sigh nostalgically for the heat…. it’s already getting cold here. GRRR.

  • Stephaniewrote:

    Both pieces are gorgeous. I love solids and simple silhouettes.

  • LKwrote:

    As black shorts go, I’d say these are the least boring that I’ve seen. Amazing fit too, brava!

  • lisa g.wrote:

    i think your solids experiment was a huge success! love this outfit. the boring shorts are anything but, and the color on that top is awesome. nice job!

  • SaraJwrote:

    Love the shorts! I am going to attempt to make shorts for our southern hemisphere summer as well – thanks for the pattern idea!!

  • Kelli Wardwrote:

    these shorts are so great! basic with a twist. i wear a crazy amount of black and these would get worn all of the time!

  • SewingMrsCwrote:

    Love both pieces, the short scallop is so cute!

  • Mariewrote:

    Sophie, you totally make solids look cool and appealing to me! You look gorgeous sporting this new look and I’m sure you’ll find a healthy balance between prints and solids in the future. When you do, please teach it to me too ;o)

  • Crab and Beewrote:

    I love this look! The colors and design lines really do the talking, as well as make your shoes look awesome.

  • Iliska Dreamswrote:

    The powerhouse is the perfect backdrop for those perfect shorts! If you even get sick of solids I will buy them off you!!! They are the exact shorts I have been looking every where for. WANT!

  • Debbie Elzingwrote:

    Love that top! Thank you for listing your alterations. I’m going to try omitting darts.

  • Masustak eguzkitanwrote:

    Love the whole outfit!! Sewing with solids, sometimes can be boring but I think that they are necessary in our closet, then you can combine them!

  • nine stitcheswrote:

    I have the same problem with too many prints in my wardrobe. I just love them so much! This outfit looks super stylish though and you have inspired me to “‘sexeperiment” with solids too (as soon as I finish a liberty print dress)!

  • Amandawrote:

    Simply lovely! Check you and your block colours out 😉

  • Colettewrote:

    Lovely Sophie. What a gorgeous silk colour! Have now bought the shorts pattern thanks to (both) your versions.

  • Reana Louisewrote:

    Hmmmm…. Your top half looks like a delicious emerald smoothie.

    • Reana Louisewrote:

      Oops. That was supposed to me ‘Mmmmm’ as in I find it delicious, not ‘Hmmm’ as in I find it suspicious.

  • grainlinewrote:

    Love the color of that top, it looks so good on you!

  • Rosalindwrote:

    oh thanks for all the tips! They look great.

  • zosews.comwrote:

    Hot hot hot. That is all. I know want those shorts. Who am I kidding, I want the top too.

  • sewamysew.comwrote:

    I totally know what you mean about having too many mad fabrics in the wardrobe, I can’t wear any of my me made items together!! So frustrating. Wardrobe detox/diet/balance is a must unless I want to start looking like a crazy person and scaring children in my neighbourhood 😉

  • Kimwrote:

    Wow they look super good! And cute together as well! Smart work on redrafting the top without the darts. I know everything about patterns trying to jump the to-make-queue, I’ve got a bikini which is trying to jump the queue. So far I’ve been able to push it back for now..

  • Tarawrote:

    you look gorgeous in this outfit! Someday I want to feel brave enough to sew with silk. It’s delicious!

  • crystalpleatswrote:

    Both pieces are beautiful and are sure to mix into your wardrobe well. I just love this shorts pattern, and the color of the top is very rich.

  • gingermakeswrote:

    Gorgeous! This outfit is so sophisticated! You look great!

  • Sew Brunswickwrote:

    Beautiful. I love that green colour on you. I hate shopping for solid colour fabric. It is so uninspiring. I am drawn to the crazy prints!!

  • Amywrote:

    That’s a really gorgeous green on you! And that shorts pattern is one of my faves. Solids do you well! I am very cautious about prints so it’s fun to hear that some sewists are the other way around!

  • Yingwrote:

    I seriously adore the color of the silk tank. It’s so lush and gorgeous. And of course your sewing is on point (hehe, no pun intended). <3

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