Tag Archives: separates

Pleated semi-sheer tee–aka blatant idea theft

Pleated sheer tee

I love Fiona’s Pleated Voile Scout Tee. Love it.  So when the fabric I bought intending to make Simplicity 2444 turned out to be completely unsuitable for a dress, owing to the fact that it was completely see-through, my thoughts turned at once to Fiona’s tee.

Except that I had forgotten on whose blog I saw it and remembered only that it was a pleated version of the Scout Woven Tee.  Google Imaging “pleats scout woven tee” happily revealed not only Fiona’s version, but also Claire’s Happy Skulls Tee, which is equally amazing.

Now, if only I owned the Scout Woven Tee pattern…

However, I did not own the Scout pattern, and didn’t much want to buy it, so some ingenuity was required.  I used the Colette Sorbetto as a base.  I wanted pleats across the bust, so the bust dart had to go.  I pinned it together then cut straight up from the hem to the bust point to flatten out the pattern.  This meant an extra couple of inches were added to the width of the front piece at the hem.  I then chopped the new front pattern piece across just above the bust and spread it out just over a foot.

I cut the front section out very roughly, made 6 one inch horizontal pleats starting just over the bust and then re-cut to get an accurate piece.  The back section was just the Colette Sorbetto back without any alterations, except my usual addition of a couple of inches of length.

I french seamed the shoulders and faux french seamed the side seams.  I use faux french seams all the time.  I’m too lazy to muslin anything and faux french seams let you fiddle around with the fit while still getting a beautiful finish.  I took the side seams in by a good 4cms on each side in the end.

Faux french seams

Faux french seams

Self-bias neckline

Self-bias neckline

I bound the neckline with self-bias binding and would have been home and hosed, except I wanted sleeves.  Fiona and Claire had sleeves, and I wanted them too. As you may know, the Colette Sorbetto is sleeve-less.  What to do?

I decided to just use the Simplicity 2444 sleeve pattern.  This did not go well.

Attempt 1.  The sleeves insert like a dream.  I have never sewn such perfect sleeves.  I am overcome with smugness.  I try the top on and realise I cannot move my arms.

Attempt 2.  I reinsert the same sleeves with a 0.5cm seam allowance.  I try the top on and find I can move my arms somewhat.  Then I realise I have sewn one sleeve in inside out.

Attempt 3.  I reinsert the sleeve the right way round.  I make a hash of it.  There are puckers and pleats everywhere.  I decide I do not care.

Attempt 4.  I realise I do care, and also that only moving my arms somewhat is not really very satisfactory.  I completely recut the sleeves, using this tutorial to reshape them to have more ease at the back.  I am very very careful when inserting them and use a lot of pins.




The result?  Not bad.

Pleated tee

Pleated tee

I have a better range of movement, and the sleeves are set pretty smoothly.  Not as smoothly as Attempt 1, but not bad.  I’m still not entirely happy with the fit of the sleeves but am not sure what would improve it.  Reshaping the armscye? Adding still more ease at the back of the sleeve?  Cutting a larger size in the sleeve?  Any suggestions gratefully received.

Despite the less than perfect sleeves, I like this top very much.  It looks exactly as I pictured it in my head, which is always satisfying.  Isn’t the fabric beautiful?  It’s a Japanese 100% cotton lawn/voile (anyone know what the difference is?) and was lovely to sew.

Risen from the dead–the zombie skirt


Zombie Skirt

So long ago I can’t even remember the year, I bought a black tulip skirt from Table Eight in Australia.  It was perfect.  It hugged my waist and flattered my hips; its hem kissed the most attractive point of my knees.  It went with everything and I wore it everywhere.

But, like us all, it aged.  I loved it and so I looked past the slow greying of its once glossy black.  I barely noticed the slow but steady decline of its lining.  I darned the little hole that appeared above its vent.  It was only once that little hole shredded into a giant rent that I accepted that it was time to let the skirt go.

Knowing I needed to replace it, on the recent Goldhawk Rd meetup of the London Dressmakers Club I bought 1m of a heavy black cotton with a shine and a slight stretch.  I also spent ridiculous money on 1m of beautiful printed silk for a lining.


One evening of unpicking in front of Orange is the New Black and I had my original skirt to use as a pattern.  Sewing the skirt shell was easy–I already knew it fit so I jumped right in and French seamed the side seams.  The waistband is in three pieces (plus three facing pieces), all interfaced.  I guess it is the pieced waistband that makes this skirt fit so nicely.  I’m going to use this as my standard waistband pattern from now on as the single piece rectangular waistbands always stand away from my waist at the top.

I did a beautiful invisible zip.  I had never sewn one before and was all psyched out about how hard it was going to be.  Especially as I don’t have an invisible zip foot.  But it was easy.  So easy.  Easier than a regular zipper.  I fear the invisible zip no more.  All credit to Sew Serendipity‘s tutorial.


Invisible zip

Everything was going so well.  But alas, the trouble started with the lining.  The original skirt lining was so shredded I couldn’t use it as a pattern so I just used the shell pattern.   You can see where this is going, right?  Yes, indeed.  Not enough ease.  The beautiful, delicate, expensive silk started to rip at the centre back seam on the very first wear.  I have salvaged it by unpicking the centre back seam and herringbone stitching to the shell seam allowance, but it’s not pretty.



I wanted to fully line the vent in the skirt.  I used Sunni’s tutorial, as well as the Fashion Sewing Blog but could I make it work?  Could I hell.  Despite the excellent tutorials, it just doesn’t make sense in my head, so I was blindly following along without any grasp of the overall picture.  I think I may have stitched my shell vent to the wrong side and so my lining didn’t match up.  But I may have gotten something else wrong instead, or in addition.  I have no real idea.  I ended up just cutting a horseshoe shape in the lining to fit around the vent and leaving it at that.


How Not to Line a Vent

How Not to Line a Vent

I have already worn this skirt to work twice.  It’s fab.  Despite the lining debacle, from the outside the skirt looks cute and professional and fits me beautifully.  The weight and very slight stretch of the fabric are perfect for this type of fitted, structured shape and the silk lining feels amazing against my skin.

I’ll leave you with a gratuitous shot of my arse, so you can see the vent.  Just try and pretend it’s a lined vent, okay?

Arse shot