I don’t know about you, but I love tweed. Goodness gracious. I thought it would be a great week to highlight this fun fabric!

Whenever I think of tweed, I think of the British Isles. Harris Tweed, Linton Tweed. Gorgeous, gorgeous stuff. So many of them are so unique too. Yum! There’s lots of tweed to choose from when you really start looking.


Tweed is a textured fabric. Additionally it’s usually woven with at least two different color yarns which can give it a speckled look. This is great for hiding stitching irregularities which makes it a favorite for those beginning their journey into tailoring (as in making a jacket). From far away it looks like a softer version of the dominant color. This (above) is the kind of fabric that I usually associate with tweed, but don’t be fooled. It comes in a combination of textures, colors and weaves. Here’s another tweed that I have, direct from Linton Tweeds. Not your typical tweed, eh?


Tweeds that carry a name, like Harris tweed originate a from a specific district from whence they are made. For example, Harris Tweed comes from Scotland. A few common tweed names are Harris, Linton, Donegal, Shetland and Bannockburn. If the tweed isn’t labelled with a district name it’s just a regular tweed and could have been manufactured/made anywhere (doesn’t mean it’s bad though!).

Most tweeds are usually firmly woven and easy to sew with. Wool tweed takes heat and moisture wonderfully and shapes into just about anything – great for making jackets! Some tweeds are woven with a combination of fibers like wool and silk or wool and cotton. They can even get really exciting and be woven with a metallic thread or cellophane (for a little sparkle!).


These fabrics are great for jackets or coats, as I’ve already said above. They also make great pencil skirts and trousers because the hand has a nice structure to it.

Now, bragging rights time! Do you have any tweed? What about Harris Tweed or possibly Linton?

For more about Wools, visit the Working with Wool Section!

  • Tasha - Ooh, I just cut into my first wool tweed ever yesterday! It’s an unnamed herringbone. Such an interesting texture, too. I’m crap at describing qualities of fabric but it’s kind of spongy and thick. It’s slightly ravel-y at the edges so I have to be careful transporting the pieces around, but I know it’s going to be worth it in the end!ReplyCancel

  • Louise - I love wool fabrics like these – they’re so cosy! I made a wool skirt just recently :) https://sewsensational.wordpress.com/2015/01/03/blogger-network-10-winter-wool-skirt/ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - Ooh, I love love love tweed! It’s just so lovely and fun to sew!ReplyCancel

  • Maria Shell - I have some BEAUTIFUL tweed I purchased from you! Love it.ReplyCancel

  • Sam - loooove tweed! I am actually lucky enough to have a pair of leather brogues with panels of Harris tweed on the side. They’re pretty magnificent. :-)ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - Tweed is so delicious – sort of tough to find here, too, so when I found an amazing rust coloured wool tweed with multi-coloured speckles in it recently, I nabbed it right up (even though my fiancé thinks it’s ugly haha) – it’s gonna become a stellar pair of trousers very soon! ^___^ReplyCancel

  • eimear - i love your articles on wool – as i think it is possibly the nicest fabric to work on as there are so many possibilities. i upcycle wool coats sometimes, and although cumbersome, they are easy in their own way. sometimes sewing with wool is like a give-take. i find if i steam it and brush it a lot first (after taking each coat apart), and then let it rest overnight then its the best start and the wool has settled back into itself.ReplyCancel

  • Catharine - I was wondering if you have ever found a tweed that has no wool of any kind. I am not able to wear it and have always loved the look of those wonderful winter coats. It really is no fun to be cold cause nobody has a coat to fit and not be made some amount of wool. Thanks for the help, CatharineReplyCancel

  • Suits Me - I’ve got several pieces of delicious Linton tweed that I’ve been hemming and haw-ing over unable to decide what to make with it. Some will definitely be make into a jacket or two, but I am wondering about skirts and dresses.
    My fear: how do you handle the lining/underlining so that it doesn’t bag out at the seat?ReplyCancel

Tutorial Thursday today! Yessss! Today, I thought I would share a quick tip for creating a contoured waistband. I’ve done this many times on many patterns. I thought I would show how to do this on the Hollyburn skirt waistband piece as it’s a perfect candidate for this type of thing. Just so everyone is up to date, Hollyburn is a sewing pattern put out by Sewaholic. You can view my latest versions here. Before we get to the tutorial, I thought I would share why you might want to do something like this. I find that on my particular figure and with a waistband piece that is anything more than 1 inch wide, I have to do this. Maybe I have a bit too fluffy of a tummy – Dr. Pepper is my vice after all. And chocolate and all that. I find that a little contouring at the waist helps it to sit better on my figure and quite frankly, it’s a little nip and tuck that looks good for me. Now, take it away Contoured Waistband tutorial!



On the Hollyburn waistband piece, you’ll find that it’s a rectangular piece that is folded in half to create a waistband on the skirt section. To contour this waistband we’ll have to change this up a fair bit. We’re going to create two separate waistband pieces – a waistband and a waistband facing and both pieces will be cut on the fold at center front. Follow me? First, find the fold line on the waistband, mark it and then add on 5/8″ seam allowance to one side. I’ve marked my fold line in pink and the seam allowance in green. Cut away the excess.


The Hollyburn waistband is one entire piece so you’ll need to find the center front of it and cut that away too. That center front will now be cut on the fold, no need to add seam allowance.


Mark the seam line (in pink again) on the other side of the pattern and cut into the pattern at around the side seam area, to but not through the seamline. Cut on the other side of the seamline, to but not through the seamline which will create a paper hinge. Oh, paper hinges. The story of my life.


From there you can nip in the waist however much you need by overlapping and taping the longer cut section together. The pictures do a much better job of explaining this, I think. Right about now, you’re probably wondering how you’ll know how much to nip in. When I do this adjustment, I measure how wide the waistband section is (this is the vertical measurement of the waistband). Then I take two pieces of elastic and tie them around my waist. The first I tie at my waist – or where I want the top of the skirt to hit – and then I tie the other piece around the section of my waist that is down the vertical width of the waistband. In the case of the Hollyburn, the waistband is 2 inches wide. So I would tie that second elastic 2 inches below the first. Make sense? Now take the measurements around both areas and compare. I’m usually about 1 inch off or so. You’ll divide that number by 2 since you’re working with half of the waistband piece (because we just chopped off at the center front and now we’re cutting the waistband on the fold). So I need to overlap 1/2 inch. WHEWWWW!


Once you’ve figured all that out, then it’s time to smooth out those angles. Not only are those lines hard to sew, but it wouldn’t look all that great if we sewed this piece up as is at the moment. To smooth out the lines, you’ll need to use a curved ruler. Shimmy up your curved ruler along the angles and find a curve that connects and fills in (or takes away) in a nice looking curve. You’ll be adding to the valley and subtracting from the peak. I’ve added to the valley in red and then I subtracted approximately the same amount from the peak and cut that off.


To make this whole thing a bit easier to see, I opted to retrace the waistband for you. See how you have a nice smooth curved waistband now? You’ll cut the center front on the fold, cut two pieces and voila! Contoured waistband!

If you have a major contouring that is needed in the waistband (like more than 1 inch in the round), I would say that it would be best to do the above in two places instead of one. So think of the waistband in thirds and nip and tuck at 1/3 and then 2/3 mark. Make sense? Sometimes when the waistband gets wider – like 5 inches, which would be more of a yoke – then it’s better to do this in more places than just at the side seam. Makes for a softer curve.

And that’s it for today’s tutorial. Enjoy friends!

  • Angela - I’m right there with you – a little fluff in the tummy (too much Coke… and fries…and food over all….but it tastes so good!) I tried a contoured waistband once and it really did help the garment to fit better, but I’m certainly not a pro at them either.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Oh good! I’m so glad I’m not the only foodie, junk eater out there! Yay!ReplyCancel

  • Hester - I’ve replaced a straight waistband with a curved one before; it really does improve the fit a great deal! I just cheated, though, and used a waistband from a different pattern which I already had; good to know how to do it properly!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - This is a great way to do it too! I’m all about cheating. It’s the only way to sew.ReplyCancel

  • Stillsewing - Well done, you always manage to come up with bright tips even for people like myself who have been sewing for over 60 years!

    Hope your classes go well too.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Awww! Thank you! Classes are going wonderfully! It feels great to be teaching again and I am loving getting know new people and seeing all my old sewing friends again. It’s quite the life, I tell ya!ReplyCancel

  • Kerry - What a great tutorial, I find the same on the Hollyburn and on the Gabriola and I fudged a curved waistband but this would be such an improvement on that!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - So glad I could help! I’m all about trial and error – it seems one of the best ways to learn sewing, fitting and pattern drafting.ReplyCancel

  • Jo - Thank you so much for this, going to bookmark. I often find straight waistbands sit a bit funny on me because there’s such a big difference/curve between my waist and hip measurement. Contoured waistbands are so much more flattering for me :)ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I feel the same. It’s a small thing, but it’s awesome. I read on a bumper sticker the other day that said, “It’s a thing, you wouldn’t understand.” Totally feel that way a little about this – but its really fun because all of you do understand. Ha ha!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy an - Wow, do you believe that JUST LAST WEEKEND I was making one of these. Being a sewing bear of little brain, I cut a nice bias piece. It worked out pretty well, all things considered, but this would’ve been much better!
    Nancy NReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Oh this is a GREAT idea! Thanks for your input too – Bias waistbands can seriously be the bomb!ReplyCancel

  • Sabrina B. - Thanks for doing this!! I have a Hollyburn in my future and after reading that you made the modification I was hoping hoping that you’d do a tutorial. I love your tutorials.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Thank you – that made my day! So happy you love my tutorials!ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany - Ok–so I’ve got tummy fluff, but still a beginner. What are the advantages of doing this? I would love to understand it a little bit more. :)ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Hi Tiffany!
      I find that doing this makes me “feel” like my waistline is smaller. So VAIN! It’s comparable to cinching it all in with a belt, if you catch my meaning. Also, it allows my skirt to hit a little below my natural waistline – which can feel right up in my ribcage sometimes. Adding a little contour at the waist, justs adds a little polishing to the final garment – in my opinion only. Having the straight waistband is just fine too and that works really well for some. This is just a tip for those it doesn’t work for as well. I would say, test this out! You might find you really like it or you might find it makes no difference whatsoever.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara - Great tutorial. It’s so nice to have an updated reminder of these basic skills that I learned years ago. Thanks!!ReplyCancel

  • The Nerdy Seamstress - I just bought this Pattern the other day because of your version. This is a great tutorial! I’ll be doing this to My version!ReplyCancel

  • Julia at Home on 129 Acres - Great tutorial. I will definitely be using this to deal with the dreaded gaposis that I’m so often faced with.ReplyCancel

  • Jeannie Neely - Great and simple tutorial, thanks so much!
    Jeannie in SeattleReplyCancel

  • aslipperysloper - Thanks for the tutorial. I love the way the Hollyburn looks on me, but this may just make it sit even better.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - Your timing is impeccable! I am making my first Hollyburn this weekend and this will make it even better.


  • Lavinia - Thank you! so very helpful, i really don’t like the rectangle type bands. Question: how do hem these types of skirts? i kind of feel that the horsebraid makes them a little too costume-y…many thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Suzie - Thank you for this Sunni. I made the Holyburn for the first time last year, and while I loved the skirt I have always felt there is something not quite right about the waist – I believe this may be the fix that I need!!!
    Will definitely be trying this out (after baby arrives)!ReplyCancel

  • Tutorial: Create a contoured waistband – Sewing - […] How To: Create a Contoured Waistband, by A Fashionable Stitch […]ReplyCancel

  • Phoebe - thanks so much for putting this together, I will definitely be trying this out. Just curious, do you choose a waistband size a little larger than your actual waist? Because you are overlapping the pieces rather than spreading them, wouldn’t that make the top of the waistband too small?ReplyCancel

  • francesca - Oh wow, Sunni, I can’t believe you posted this – as you know I’ve bought your fabulous wool crepe, and am planning to make at least one hollyburn out of it – and when I saw your recent post, I really wished you’d post how to do a contour waistband, but didn’t want to ask – you are so busy! So thank you very very much! I can’t wear straight cut bands anything wider than an inch either. this is brilliant!ReplyCancel

  • FrougieFashionista - Thanks so much for this. I don’t know why I thought it would be much more complicated.ReplyCancel

I’ve been hard at work on a lot of things behind the scenes to, hopefully, make my life better and easier.  Today, I thought I would just pop in with a post and tell you all what I’ve been up to.


In a moment of quiet desperation, I decided that my personal sewing space needed a new lease on life. I changed the entire set-up, reorganized fabrics and junked about 3 giant garbage bags of scraps and other funny, weird stuff I just didn’t need. We’ve still got several things to go through, but workflow is way better and my space feels more zen. yeah.


In keeping with my sewing space effieciency program, I decided to go through my ever growing UFO pile. It’s desolation is near! I junked a whole bunch of items that will never get finished and then I kept things that I thought would be good to finish and finishing them I am! This here is a pencil skirt that’s almost done. Pretty sure you’ll see it soon!


Another McCall’s 6649. Another Liberty of London Lawn – this one I officially planned to never cut because I love it that much, but now I’m wearing it! Yay! Then I reverse engineered McCall’s 6649 into sloper form and. made. myself. an. official. sloper!!!!! More on this to come on this!


I’m working on official Sewing Room curriculum that give you all my tips and tricks for specific workshops. Almost finished up with my Classic Shirt handout. Exciting times for the Sewing Room!

What’s going on with you? Do you have a sloper? What about a UFO pile? Did 2015 bring a much needed breath of fresh air to inspire you to rearrange your sewing space?

  • Eleanor - What a gorgeous shirt! Excellent choice for the fabric.
    And well done on going through your UFO pile and being honest about what is not ever going to get finished. I think I might need to do the same.ReplyCancel

  • Lesley - Oh Sunni, that fabric us gorgeous. I gave a one make, one fix policy that seems to work well. It means after every item I finish, I go to the mending pile and fix something. It’s pretty satisfying! I told myself that I go to a lot of trouble to start a project and finishing/fixing it is more instantly gratifying than starting again!
    Looking forward to your shirt handout. I’ve been making some tutorials as a way of putting my shirt techniques into words too – on my site if you’re interested?ReplyCancel

  • justine - I just finished a workout pant sloper today. Your organized fabrics are inspiring!ReplyCancel

  • Ana - I’m in the middle of working out a sloper from McCall’s 6649!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy N - Love the pencil skirt! What did you use for the waistband–it looked like a stretchy braid. My UFO pile is EMBARASSING, and a reorganization would only happen when I decide I no longer need a bed in my bedroom. But meanwhile, I DO have a pants sloper that I copied off an old pair and have made about 6 times.

    Love your blog. Very inspirational!
    Nancy NReplyCancel

  • Tanya A - Love the liberty Sunni! I had a sloper made for me as part of the process of sewing my wedding dress. It was the best sewing decision I could have made! I can attack any style with confidence, and actually enjoy all the mathsy dart triangulation etc…ReplyCancel

  • Judi - I love the Liberty blouse! Yesterday I thought about getting rid of all my UFO’s that I know I will never finish. AND a bunch of fabric that falls into the “what was I thinking” category. Today it’s a “go”!!!! :)ReplyCancel

  • SJ Kurtz - I do enjoy cleaning out the cupboards and finding treasures to finish (and duds to dump). In an ’emergency sew’, I finally cut into My Precious and made a dress I wore as often as was humanly possible last summer. It’s a jump to cut the beloved yardage (fear of failing the perfection is very high), but 9 times out of ten it means I can spend more time appreciating the beauty. And yes, that blouse is beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Laura S. - LOVE the fabrics of your projects! That icy violet skirt — lovely. And of course, the Liberty is stunning.

    I actually just revamped my sewing room, too. We have a spare room, and when we moved into our home we’d set up a queen-sized bed as a guest room. We haven’t hosted enough guests to make it a really worthwhile use of the space, though, so about two weeks ago I got a bee in my bonnet to do something different. I took out the bed, painted the room, and am working on organizing my sewing supplies in there. I have a vintage sewing desk and a bookshelf, plus closet space and various tubs. I put in a loveseat so my kiddos can watch DVDs in there (or *I* can, if I’m sewing by myself). It’s definitely a more functional room for our family now.ReplyCancel

  • Miss Crayola Creepy - Oh my gosh, that Liberty fabric is gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Rochelle New - I really need to get some basic slopers down for myself. I think reverse engineering one actually makes more sense for me! p.s. SERIOUSLY LOVING the minty star/floral combo you have going on in that last photo!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - I’ve been telling myself that I should get back to sewing again. I’ve been distracted by my quilting & knitting projects. This shirt makes me want to sew something nice for spring. In Liberty Lawn!ReplyCancel

  • Jo - Your new shirt looks gorgeous and a sloper sounds so exciting! I really want to get one done this year, but first I *need* to finish the panelled skirt which has been sitting on my floor in a sad, half finished state for over a week.ReplyCancel

  • Margo - Reorganizing my sewing space always helps me achieve more in there! Your shirt is great!ReplyCancel

  • charlotte - a good old tidy up just makes you feel bright and breezy ready to take on a new challenge. I too have had a tidy up, so liberating!
    I totally love the liberty, thats enough to brighten any day.ReplyCancel

  • BeckyLeeSews - Would someone please tell me what a “sloper” is? I see it everywhere and I can’t find a definition. I even have a sloper pattern from Vogue and I still don’t get it. Is it a muslin of a garment?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Hi BeckyLee!
      A sloper is a basic pattern. In the most simplest terms it’s a sewing pattern without seam allowances and it’s used as a base to manipulate and create other sewing patterns from. This is a great topic of discussion so I’ll try to work up a post about it. Hopefully this helps clarify a bit!ReplyCancel


Whoosh! And my life is off to a running start this week. I just need to take a moment, stop down and say, Thanks. The Sewing Room is officially open and we are running our workshops now – February workshops are now available, working on March too. As January has progressed, the Sewing Room has been steadily getting more and more busy. This is so wonderful to watch. SO WONDERFUL! I love seeing others taking part in sewing and having it happen here in my studio is marvelous. Thanks to all of you who have signed up for a workshop! I look forward to seeing more of you this year! Yay!

Now, for Fabric Friday! Today’s fabric is Wool Melton. I see this fabric a lot and I find that it’s fairly common. What is Wool Melton? Well…..


It’s a coating fabric, meaning very specifically that you would usually use this fabric to make a coat with. That means it’s a nice, substantial, beefy and thick fabric. The better to keep you warm! It’s very dense and very tightly woven. This makes a great candidate for coats because nothing gets through melton cloth. That cold winter wind is kept at bay! Additionally melton goes through a fulling process and then it’s brushed. To be honest, it’s akin to wool flannel (though flannel is a looser weave), but quite a bit beefier.


When I see wool melton, it’s usually mixed with another fiber. I daresay I’ve never seen one that is 100% wool, which definitely doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, I just haven’t ever seen one. Wool melton is usually a mix of wool, polyester, acrylic, nylon or a combination of all of these. The higher the wool content though, the better your shaping/sculpting/pressing experience will be when you make a garment out of it.

Wool melton is wonderfully thick so, it goes without saying that you would probably make a coat with it. You could also do winterized accessories like hats too. It might be possible to do a heavyweight woven cardigan as well. A wintry blanket with a bias binding would be uber warm. This cloth will fray a bit, but not as much as others. It’s fairly easy to work with, until the layers start building up – keep those seam allowances trimmed and graded and pick designs that don’t have a lot of intersecting seams.

Got some wool melton in your stash? Have you made anything out of one?

For more about Wools, visit the Working with Wool Section!

  • Crimson Needle - I just want to say thanks for your fabric fridays. I haven’t been sewing for that long and as much as I am expending my repertoire of fabric knowledge (often through trial and error), I am rather guilty of having that “deer in headlights” look sometimes while looking at tags and names. Your little bite size full of straight-to-the-point info articles are just perfect for me and help me know what I’m aiming for when I go in the store. Until I get distracted by all the other fabric in the store, but that’s just another problem entirely.ReplyCancel

  • Alice - Thank you for such a great post. I have some what I will call “wool coating” in my stash, but can’t tell you whether it is wool melton as such (but know it’s not boiled wool)….Having also recently made my first wool coat – I love working with, err, “wool coating”!ReplyCancel

  • Bill Jones - Melton is “fulled” not felted.ReplyCancel

  • Miss J - I love the way you explain everything so well Sunni! I’ve mostly avoided wool up to now, and now I know what I’ve been missing!ReplyCancel

  • Rachelle - Warming Crafts - I do have some in my stash and it’s 100% wool if I remember correctly. I’m looking for the perfect pattern for it. Mine has definitely been fulled; it’s gorgeous.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy N - LOVE Melton! I made my first Melton coat in 1976. It was dove grey, and the pattern was princess line with a two piece sleeve and a self belt. It fit like heaven, and the lady who sold it to me from her little fabric store in Rhode Island recommended a lovely grey sun back for the lining. I wore it to death — it was warm and stylish from the top of its turned up collar to its nearly ankle grazing skirts! I’ll never forget the joy of watching the curve of the sleeve cap steam into place as I played with the iron. It was terrific training for the coats to follow. Dive in ladies, and enjoy the fun!ReplyCancel

  • Alice - I am a first time reader and I am so pleased to read your Melton blog. I bought a 100% Melton wool a few years back which I haven’t used because of fear! It is gorgeous and I am insecure about cutting into it I have a 1940’s coat pattern that I dream of sewing. The coat is boxy (straight up and down) which I’d love to make. I appreciate your insight and I will continue to read your blog. Thank you!ReplyCancel


Confession time! You know that I love gorgeous fabric right? I really do. I have this funny thing I do though. I’ll buy a piece of fabric – a really knock-out piece – and then I won’t use it. I save it. And this year, I was like, we are not going to be doing this anymore! I’m TIRED of saving things. And excuse me, but what in the world am I saving my fabric for? The day I become perfect? I know, this is weird. When I really sit and think about what I’m saving my fabric for, I can’t even find a logical answer to this question.


Another confession. I LOVE fine cotton lawn/voile (by the way, I have no idea what the difference between these two are, there doesn’t seem to be one). I have a pretty good stash of Liberty of London Lawn and these new Art Gallery Voiles. I had been saving this rather loud Art Gallery Voile for well, I don’t know. It was one of those fabrics. It’s time, and it’s been time for some time (ha ha!), to get with the program and start making some things with all this saved fabric.


As someone who has never been able to find an abundance of button-up shirts that fit, making one’s own shirts is a major win. In point of fact, who even knew that I liked button-up shirts until I made one that fit me and didn’t feel like a straight jacket?! As someone who absolutely loves loud flower prints and has longed for a closetful of such printed button-up shirts, being able to beautifully fit, sew and choose my fabric (from my own stash!) is dreamy. Dare I even say, luxurious.


This is another McCall’s 6649 – and I’m pretty sure you’ll be seeing a few more of these colorful button-ups as the year progresses. In fact I can guarantee it. I’ve got the pattern perfected now. I’m excited to start hacking it. Very excited. One of the reasons I think this pattern is so great is because it has all the darts – two front and two back vertical darts for fit and shaping and also bust darts. The reason this is so great is because there is so much that can be manipulated – to create new designs – when all the darts are present. I have some fun ideas to share with you for future hacks for this pattern and I hope you’ll find that once you’ve mastered fit and perfected a basic pattern, you can start creating your own patterns instead of trying to reinvent the wheel every time you want to sew a different style. Plus I’m starting to get really overwhelmed with all of the amassing of not only fabric, but sewing patterns. I need another sewing pattern like a hole in the head. It’s starting to get nuts (like I just don’t have room for all of this nor the time to make them all!). Maybe 2015 is the year I start getting real with myself. What about you?


I was most definitely saving this fabric choice. I love it so much. I left off the front vertical darts on this particular shirt, just to change it up. I’ve actually made up this pattern a couple of times and after tweaking it several times over, I’m feeling confident that I finally hit the gold mine.  I used a contrasting fabric (the stripe) for the cuff and collar stand facing and also the sleeve placket. I love doing this! Love it! I also think I did a pretty good button picking job – the hardest part for me! I didn’t want anything that was too loud, too big or competed for attention.


Are you a shirt lover? Do you save fabric? I find that the classic shirt is a very, very satisfying sew. I use many of the techniques from David Coffin’s book on the subject and I’ve also amassed a few old Thread’s articles that are pretty clever too. This shirt, it’s one for the books – I finally used up a beloved fabric piece and now, I’m wearing it. Loud and proud.

  • Michele - This post really speaks to me! I have been “saving” fabric for years! I always think I need to practice more before I let myself use the good stuff. But really, I need to use my favorites regardless. It’s not like I won’t find more fabric I love. Thank you for reminding me to use the stuff I already have and love and stop waiting until my skills are up to par….maybe my great fabrics will elevate my makes enough that my sewing will look better.ReplyCancel

  • Jet Set Sewing - First, I love that shirt in that fabric! It’s so in-your-face to winter. Liberty fabric is the best.
    And yes I save fabric, who doesn’t! But sometimes I’m glad I did, because after awhile it tells me what it wants to be. In the meantime, I like to pet it.ReplyCancel

  • Hélène - This shirt is a total success. Your TNT McCall pattern totally shows off the print. And the way you styled is sooo cool along with your pixie!ReplyCancel

  • Ramona Putnam - I’ve loved this fabric since it was first introduced and not at all sure what I wanted to do with it. Now I know. I have to have a button down like yours. It’s amazing.

    I’m with you on the fabric and the patterns! A few years ago, (after YEARS of not sewing), I started going through my stash to purge with the intention of retiring the sewing machine. Of course that just woke the sewing bug and I started buying again!
    But the patterns! Seriously, so many of the same styles and I keep going back! There should be a drug for that!!ReplyCancel

  • Karen - What a great shirt! I love the perfect fit. I am working on the same pattern, and will follow with interest your hacks. Thanks a million.ReplyCancel

  • Alice - love your shirt. And that you are not saving the “good stuff”.ReplyCancel

  • TamsinW-P - Love the shirt and the fabric. I also save fabric – for what I don’t know… I have been going to a pattern cutting class for a while and my latest project is a classic shirt that fits *me* and hopefully the fabric won’t tear at the back of the armholes like a RWT one has done recently!ReplyCancel

  • Mary Lee - How striking! I’m curious… When you buy a fabric with no particular pattern in mind, how much yardage do you get? I have the same problem with yarn. My stash of each never seems to have the right amount of yardage for whatever project I later decide to attempt, so the piles keep growing.ReplyCancel

    • LinB - Three yards is a good average to purchase. You can almost always get a dress or a pair of slacks out of three yards, and certainly a shirt or blouse. Well, depending how wide is the fabric, and how wide is your body.ReplyCancel

  • sallie - Gorgeous!! You’ve definitely done this fabric proud! Even better that you made this beloved fabric into a classic shirt that can be worn and loved everyday, rather than a precious party dress or something that only gets to come out for air once or twice a year! I think that’s REALLY doing your special fabric proud!ReplyCancel

  • Tia Dia - Gorgeous! I have a the same tendency to save all my nicer fabrics… for what? This shirt is wonderful. Can’t wait to see more of what you’ve made with ‘saved’ fabrics.ReplyCancel

  • Laura S. - I love the fabric, love the shirt! Great job. I made a button-down shirt a year and a half ago, inspired by your “Everyday Wardrobe” series. It’s a blue chambray, very wearable: http://www.quietudeblog.blogspot.com/2013/08/burda-style-7136-chambray-shirt.html I haven’t made any more since because I was pregnant and then losing baby weight. I’m finally back to the point where I’m fitting into my “normal” clothes so I hope to do some sewing for myself this spring.ReplyCancel

  • Debbie Cook - Great print for a great shirt! I “save” some fabrics until I have a TNT pattern match. Don’t want to waste a really nice fabric on a pattern that doesn’t work. But I’ve definitely gotten more ruthless over the years. I mean, there’s always more fabric.ReplyCancel

  • justine - Last week when you showed that fabric I almost bought some for a button down. I love yours! Now I need this fabric. Looks great on you.ReplyCancel

  • Natalie @ Threads & Bobbins - I am a fabric saver too! Though I am making it my mission this year to use everything in my stash before I buy anything else…. you have tempted me with this fabric!! It looks great!!ReplyCancel

  • Anna - Love this shirt! I just ordered this fabric from your shop last night to make my own button down shirt the sewaholic granville. I love that it has a black background it makes the loudness of the print so much more wearable in my opinion.ReplyCancel

  • Sandra - Awesome shirt, love the loud fabric. I save fabric too, but, this year I’m participating in the Stashbusting Sewalong of 2015 on FB and so I am committed to using the fabric I have already and so far so good! haven’t bought any fabric since December. Unless it’s for a specific garment/project, ha!
    I love looking at your shop and hope to buy some of your fabric next year!ReplyCancel

  • Hearthrose - Yes, 2015 is the year when I fit my perfect sloper and then make patterns off of it for personal use. Too many fitting changes, I just don’t have time for that!ReplyCancel

  • Joen - Yep I’m a fabric saver too, usually waiting for that perfect project for my perfect fabric. 2015 is the year I start using it too! I would love to conquer a button up, I have this button hole phobia that I am going to overcome in 2015 too – I know its a big year for me!LOL Your button up fits great and I love your fabric choice. (any button hole tips would be greatly appreciated – suggestions on the best interfacing to use as I’ve read that it key to a good button hole)ReplyCancel

  • Debbie - Love the shirt and the fabric!!! Do you interface the collar, front band and cuffs? I find that the store bought shirts mostly aren’t interfaced anymore and everything is limp. I don’t buy shirts anymore because of that.ReplyCancel

  • Judi - Your shirt is awesome! I don’t think it’s loud. I love the colors.

    You said it perfectly…I do the same thing…buy and save beautiful fabric. Mainly because I don’t want to make a mistake when I cut it. (So what if I do? What will happen?) I want to save it for something “special”. Really? Why not make every day “special”?ReplyCancel

  • Judi - and…the striped contrast is perfect!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - Yes, I save fabric for some point in the future when I’m perfect and I have so many patterns it becomes paralyzing to figure out what to sew… sigh. Anyway, your shirt is SO amazing! I love the peeks of stripe contrast and the fabric is wonderful.ReplyCancel

  • Nayla - Yes! I do that too! I buy beautiful fabric that seems too beautiful to sew up! It’s completely illogical. I love your gorgeous colourful shirt.ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn - Sunni, everything about this post is fabulous. That fabric is obviously gorgeous, and I’m so glad you finally decided to sew it up… into a stunner of a shirt! The stripes are such a great contrast to the floral, and adding a contrast along the button band is one of my favorite ways to elevate a shirt a bit. Your version looks super luxurious. Wear it with pride!ReplyCancel

  • MadeByMeg - I’ll admit, I’m a bit scared of loud prints. Often I’ll see a bright dress or top and think, That’s great for her but it isn’t for me. But this top I love! I think because the floral pring makes it very feminine, but the button-up style keeps it classic and wearable. And, of course, the striped details are great!ReplyCancel

  • Tasha - Okay first A) I ADORE this and it looks stunning on you. Such a breath of fresh air in winter. B) This fabric is doing my head in and I’m now totally considering using it as a lining for a short version of Grainline’s new Cascade duffle coat. But back to your shirt! I totally know what you mean about saving fabric. I do it too (especially vintage yardage, oy) and it’s stupid. I’ve already resolved to do that less this year and sew through some of what I’ve been saving. It does no one any good just sitting there in your stash being stared at. Make yourself happy and whip up something awesome with it, like your shirt! :)ReplyCancel

  • sarah - LOVE LOVE LOVE. I have admired that fabric and wondered what to do with it, but now I know that it is meant to be made into button ups. I have to join the party. TWINSIES? TWINSIES.ReplyCancel

  • Lady ID - 1. I love cotton voile as well. I want to buy more of it but I need to deplete my stash

    2. Great top. Love the striped facing details.

    3. Seriously!!! Why do we save fabric. I have some fabric I save for years. By the time I sew it, it may be out of style, lol. But I am depleting my stash.ReplyCancel

  • David Coffin - Gorgeous shirt! And congrats on perfecting a shirt pattern, definitely a landmark occasion, and an excellent (even logical!) reason to start bringing out the saving-til-I’m-better fabrics we all apparently have. I’ve certainly got plenty, along with well worked out reasons why it makes sense to keep skipping over them.

    Along with needing to perfect my patterns first, my favorite is that I often seem to prefer to dream about all the amazing things I COULD do with my always too short length of treasured stuff, than to commit…at which point all the potential gets frozen into something specific, never quite perfect…OR so perfect that I soon wear it out. I mean, until you cut into it, your fabric’s full of dreams! But as soon as you cut…it’s on a one-way slide to some ignominious end, like the thrift shop, the worn-out bin, or, almost worse, if you’re a teacher, off to the rack of too-good-to-wear/needed-as-a-sample!

    All that’s why I was so delighted to hear of Claire Shaeffer’s wonderful recognition that she’s a sewer AND a fabric collector; hey, me too! And what’s more fun than realizing you have to go buy some more fabric right now, anyway?

    Re: voile/lawn, I was certain I could jump in and clear THAT up…but some quick googling reveals that relentless language/usage entropy seems to have thoroughly muddied up water I thought was clear (as per usual).

    I’d understood that voile was always semi-transparent. AND woven with a distinctive hard-spun (and expensive) yarn, so it was also quite crisp, not as much as organdy, but more so than batiste, all sheer fabrics. Lawn was NOT sheer and woven from a much looser-spun, silkier sort of yarn, always thinner, softer and finer than, say, poplin or broadcloth, all NOT-sheer. Certainly the old-school shirting sellers I swatched from and canvassed when I wanted to define these terms in my shirt book supported those distinctions; e.g.:Tana Lawn’s not sheer! But look around now at both sellers and even textile historians posting online and “sheer”, “soft”, “crisp”, “fine”, etc., etc. appear to be applied equally in definitions of either fabric, plus many others. So…I’d say they’ve basically become…undifferentiated, as you say. Too bad, I think, but so it goes.ReplyCancel

  • Tanya - Yes! I save fabric too. Thinking it’s so lovely I need the perfect pattern to come along. I also have a hard time with button down shirts. I love to be able to get the right fit soon. Your shirt rocks!!! I am looking forward to your future post to come.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - I’m pretty sure there are plenty of us who save fabric, likely for many of the same reasons :) If I see a piece of fabric I love, I buy it (depending on the situation and money availability of course LOL). It does get used when the time is right, and usually that means either a) when I find the right pattern for it, or b) when I run out of money to buy more fabric! (which is happening right now, as a matter of fact!) LOL

    It’s a very good feeling now that I have begun to actually use fabric I stashed when I first began sewing because even though I’m nowhere NEAR perfect, I at least know better now how to use the fabric to its best advantage and make things I will actually wear. It’s super satisfying to be able to transform these long-saved gems into something wonderful that can be loved and worn as it should be – that said, I do love perusing my beloved unused treasures occasionally and dreaming of what they might become :)ReplyCancel

  • Gail - Love your loud and proud shirt. Your comment about saving fabric “until you are perfect” really resonated with me. I think we’d be friends if we lived in the same part of the planet.ReplyCancel

  • Martha - OMG! I just bought this fabric from you with the intention of saving it! Oh no! Not now! This is a great look and I’m going for it! Thanks for the kick in the butt!ReplyCancel

  • Julie R. - This is a gorgeous shirt! I’m in love with this fabric. I’ve never made a button down shirt, but would really love to. I’ll have to try this McCall’s pattern and see what I can come up with!ReplyCancel

  • Teri - I loved seeing this shirt in process on Instagram and the finished product is so great! That fabric is so much fun and the contrasting striped fabric is such a great touch. It looks perfect on you!!ReplyCancel

  • EmSewCrazy - You are the coolest fake rocker I have ever seen. You should be rocking out in that gorgeous shirt!
    Love your thoughts on saving fabric and all the patterns. I am trying to use the patterns I have this year too! Hurrah for the resources we already own.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - Oh how I wish I could sew a blouse to fit me perfectly! I love button up shirts too but being short, busty and, um, chubby…well, needless to say a good fit is hard to find off the racks. This is beautiful and I love the contrasting bits.ReplyCancel

  • Emily - Love this, although I could never pull it off! I made my first shirt at the end of last year so I’m very much into shirts at the moment…great patternReplyCancel

  • Alice - I love a classic button-up! So many details, and they always look so tidy on the inside. And, in my case, there is a LOT of room for improvement! I always make mine for my boyfriend which means no darts!

    That is a gorgeous fabric. I definitely save fabric, but usually because I have a Plan for it that I don’t have the time/skill/pattern for. Or else I’m still trying to come up with one…ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - Love your shirt! And yes I save fabric for some crazy reason. I’ve been trying to use it up.ReplyCancel

  • Liza Jane - It IS fantastic! I want a whole closet full of button up shirts like this, too. Love, love, love it.ReplyCancel

  • acharmofmagpies - I can tell from your posts that you’re interested in textiles and their definitions and differences, so after your comment thought you might like this post by The Dreamstress on the difference between lawn and voile (and other fabrics)! http://thedreamstress.com/2010/07/voile-lawn-muslin-whats-the-difference-the-long-answer/ReplyCancel

  • acharmofmagpies - I should add, your shirt is gorgeous! Love these bright colours, so unusual for a shirt but just perfect.ReplyCancel

  • Camilla - Awesome shirt the colours look great on you. I hoard too and have some expensive Japanese gauze I can’t bring myself to cut.ReplyCancel

  • Elaine - I really like the colors and the ‘loudness’ and the gorgeous flowers on the material. Thank you fro sharing your strengths & ‘weaknesses’ like hoarding material. I think most of us do that.ReplyCancel

  • Diane - Totally Cool! I’ll put my fabric stash up against anyone; however, I’m not at all proud of that. This really speaks to me…..get out of the ditch and begin using that luscious fabric. Great post and love the shirt.ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - Ahhhh, this is awesome! I’ve definitely been guilty of hoarding favorite fabrics, but as I was looking over my 2014 makes, I realized that three of my very favorite things were made with fabric I’d been saving for ages. That’s a pretty good case for using stuff you love! I just cut into a Liberty silk twill (!!!) that I’ve been too scared to used, and tragedy’s been averted so far!ReplyCancel

  • SusanM - I like to think that I “collect” fabric more than I save it for the right project but it amounts to the same thing. Due in part to my love of fabric but lack of confidence in my sewing skills. Won’t get better unless I actually sew. Great shirt (love the boots too)!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - I’m taking your zipper class on craftsy! So great! I love the class and learning a lot. I have to agree with you that I can’t find enough button up shirts that fit. ugh! I’m going to try to make my own.ReplyCancel

  • Hanne - Great shirt and lovely colors in that print!
    I butchered a great deal of good fabric already, but you know, I still get better results with a fabric I enjoy working with than with a so-so one.

    About the lawn/voile thing. I’m currently working on an e-book on this topic (what’s the difference between types of fabric and what’s it called in Dutch/French, for easy shopping online) This is what I came up with in my research:
    “Lawn is a semi-transparant, lightweight cloth manufactured using a plain-weave. If the yarn is combed the fabric is usually named Nainsouk. It usually has a bit more of lustrous shine to it. If it’s brushed it’s usually named lawn. Lawn is great for tops, shirts and light summer dresses”
    “voile is a semi-shear, lightweight fabric made using a plain weave. It’s very fine and has a net-like quality. Ideally made out of cotton, it’s perfect against the skin.”
    So from this research I’d say that voile is more “netlike” than lawn and a tad less firm.
    (But hard to spot the difference, still!)ReplyCancel

  • Shelly - Yes it’s bright, but oh, how I love it! I have some ‘bright’ black floral cotton I’ve been saving for a button down shirt. Now I’m convinced I really need to use it. I may even steel your idea of contrasting plackets.ReplyCancel

  • Francesca - God, this is gorgeous. not loud at all, either – just happy and cool! I too save certain fabrics – one liberty lawn print in particular i cannot but cannot bring myself to cut – I can’t find it anywhere and love it so much and keep waiting for the perfect style to jump out at me! It’s in shades of blue and it is flowery but not ditsy – it’s very 70s, actually – and I can never decide what to do with it. Others I have no problems with:).

    I think that classically the diff between lawn and voile is that the latter is supposed to be sheerer and slightly drapier. I find liberty lawn is not sheer – I never felt the need to line dresses made from it. Certain voiles, I have. But nowadays they are practically all the same!ReplyCancel

  • Jo - Your shirt looks fantastic – I love the colours against your hair and complexion. Adding stripes for contrasting details is a stroke of genius too.

    Also love your green clock!ReplyCancel

  • Sassy T - Wow. That fabric is da bomb! SSB https://facebook.com/sassysewingbeesReplyCancel

  • Alessa - Oh, that fabric is absolutely gorgeous, I totally get why you wanted to save it. The shirt looks perfect!ReplyCancel

  • Rebekah - I love your style! And this shirt! Fantastic job, especially in the details. I am the same way: owning an insane amount of sewing patterns. Hopefully, 2015 will be a saner year for me in the pattern department.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - Ahh, an absolute stunner of a fabric and perfect for a shirt. I’m such a sucker for florals. And you are so right–what am I saving that Liberty of London fabric for? Actually I finally figured that out this week, but that makes me want to cut all my nice fabric now.ReplyCancel

  • LinB - 1. There is little in the world easier to sew up — and more satisfying to wear — than a classic shirtwaist. I lub me some shirts. There are many reasons why a yoked shirt with a stand collar has been a standard garment for men and women for a thousand years or more. Both the “shirt” and the “skirt” are derived from the same, unisex garment: the shift. Men and women wore long linen shifts under their robes in medieval times. As men began to favor trousers, the garment was shortened so they could tuck it in. Women, on the other hand, began to favor dresses that nipped in at the waist. They lopped off the bottoms of their shifts and used them as petticoats. Consonant shift turned “shirt” into “skirt.” (This happened to fish, too, who travel either in a “shoal” or a “school.” The word “schedule” is going the same way: it can be pronounced either with a hard or a soft “ch.”)

    2. I not only save-for-later good cuts of cloth that I have bought, but friends and neighbors gift me with good cuts of cloth that their mothers and grandmothers hoarded until death. I have GOT to start using some of those silk chiffons … .ReplyCancel