Monday, March 30, 2015

Sew Ready for Spring

Waves of springtime color are starting to cascade through my habitat here in the southeastern US. The temps still dip near freezing some nights. But in my sewing space, I am getting ready for spring with some cheery colors and fun patterns.

Today I finished a top designed by Louise Cutting called Relax A Little (RAL). I've seen so many pretty versions of this on friends, in the blogosphere, on Flickr and on But this is my first.

My fabric is a turquoise linen that has aged nicely in my stash. I do love linen, especially for spring and summer. I had already prepared it using Sandra Betzina's technique - press unwashed linen on high heat, then wash and dry on hot. After that it is soft. The inevitable wrinkles are also soft and pretty, IMO.

I made very few changes to the pattern's original design. I did add about 2 inches to the hem and then used a bias strip to hem it so that it is really more like 2.5 inches longer than the original. I'm glad I did not make it as short as intended. My tummy needs to be under wraps, or at least in the shadows.

Since this is intended for hot weather, I decided to omit the collar, going with just the collar band. I have always been drawn to a mandarin-style collar and it makes for a cooler hot-weather top.

Speaking of an Asian look, I love Chinese knots as buttons but I rarely find a good place to use them. This would have been perfect.

I pulled out my favorite knot instructions from a wonderful Sandra Betzina book, created the tiniest bias tubes I could manage with the linen fabric. Then I made the buttons as tight (that is, small) as I could manage:

Aren't they sweet?

Sadly they did not work for this garment. The top has cut-on front facings that are too narrow for the buttonholes these knots required. Next time I'll remember and make the facings wide enough. I hope.

The mother-of-pearl buttons seem to fit well with this design and I like them too. And of course, I added a little sashiko stitching.

I really like the instructions for patch pockets. These CLD patterns always provide opportunities for neat and attractive results, don't they?


  1. It is so neatly sewn. A very pretty top in an on trend color.

  2. Is your beautiful decorative topstitching done by machine? What did you use for thread and what length is the stitch? I really like what you did!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Beckye. My top-stitching (sashiko) is done by hand. I use a size 5 DMC Pearl cotton thread. My stitches are a smidge smaller than 1/4 inch in length and in separation. I just go with the stitch length that works best for a given fabric. That is, too small and the edges crimp up. Too widely spaced and the stitches catch on things. HTH.

    2. Thank you, Martha! You have opened up a whole new area for me. I will pursue this myself!