You may recall, I made Mr. AFS a plaid flannel shirt a little over a year ago from Simplicity 1544. Since then I’ve gone on to make more versions of the shirt, perfecting fitting problems each time and so this iteration is pretty much near perfect for his body and build. Additionally, he wears that first flannel shirt a lot when it starts getting cold. In fact, it’s surprising just how much he wears it considering he doesn’t like plaid – it’s the flannel. He just loves the warmth. So I thought it was time that he received another. I hauled him on over to a Joann and had him pick out his own flannel this time. They have a surprising collection of flannels – called “plaiditudes” – that are quite thick and fluffy and soft. They wash up OK (just OK, not great) too and since I can’t get my hands on any of that Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel locally, this works.


Fitting changes for Simplicity 1544 since the first iteration: I’ve had to widen the collar – or make it 2 sizes larger because the original was too small in the neck. I narrowed the shoulder seam so that the point where the sleeve connects rests at the point where his shoulder point actually is and doesn’t droop over the side (which is not necessarily a bad thing, just not the look I was going for). Had to give him a little extra room in the upper back and then nipped in the waist section a touch. The sleeves were considerably shortened (very long in the sleeve on this pattern) and the cuff tightened.


Since this flannel is so wonderfully thick, I thought I should try my hand at a convertible collar version for this shirt as it seemed like it could cut down on the bulk in the neck area. I took a vintage pj top pattern (which I made for Mr. AFS a few years ago!) and stole the collar and the facing piece from it and converted my Simplicity 1544 to have a convertible collar option. From there, I made a few more drafting decisions based on eliminating bulk. I decided to create an all-in-one convertible collar and I did a fold over facing instead of one that is stitched on. The all-in-one convertible collar is pretty slick. It’s an idea that I saw Louise Cutting do (Threads article here) and I’ve long wanted to try it because I love basically everything that woman does. You basically take the collar piece, eliminate the seam at the collar’s edge and attach an under collar that has a seam down the center back of the collar. It has all the bells and whistles of a jacket collar, but all in one – the under collar section is on a slight bias (not a true 45• angle, but still) and has a seam down the center and that creates a nice turn of the cloth for the upper collar. Seriously, slick.


I stole a new pocket pattern from the Negroni free download – great pocket patterns by the way! – and from there it was all easy as pie. This is also one of my best ever plaid matching jobs. I opted to use Tasia’s way of cutting plaids this time – well sort of. I prep my pattern pieces a little differently for a plaid, but I used her pinning technique for the fabric. I’ve normally done the pieces one by one. I’ll lay a just cut piece on top of another that’s not cut to make sure I get an exact match and pretty much 100% of the time, the cut piece gets distorted just by moving it and/or the cutting is never as precise as doing them in double layer. It sounds a little crazy, but it happens. Cutting two layers at once eliminates that small distortion and can produce a more happy plaid matching experience. Just some food for thought.



Mr. AFS is loving his new shirt. Fits quite a bit better than the first version and I’m liking the convertible collar here. Itching to make my own! Previously, I’ve not been much of a convertible collar fan, but they have a place. Yay for plaid flannel shirt weather!



Fitting Thoughts on McCall’s 6649


Since I got you all excited about creating your own patterns – from a pattern that already fits you – in my last post, I thought I would give you some fitting thoughts of what I went through with my versions of McCall’s 6649. I posted an update about the Craftsy class with Sarah Holden in my last post, but I thought I would state it again. This particular class does not offer any help whatsoever for fitting. It focuses on pattern drafting from a pattern that fits you. The fitting process is a whole class unto itself, so that was not covered in a class like this (but see below for more info on my fitting references). Often times fitting, for me, is a really rotten and time consuming process (isn’t it for everyone?). One thing I really really don’t enjoy is that I tend to start second guessing myself at the end of it all. Do I really like the fit of this? Maybe I should make a few more tweaks? Shouldn’t it be more fitted? Hmmm, the sleeve might be an 1/8″ too long? An 1/8″? Isn’t that a little nuts? Are we actually trying to split hairs here? AHHHHH! This process is called overfitting and it happens, I think, to all of us (well I hope it does or I am a bona fide nut job). I usually have to step back from something like this and then come back to it a few days or weeks later.


With McCall’s 6649, I made an initial muslin. From there I created this flannel shirt that I blogged back in August of last year. That was my first rendition. The sleeves were too short, the collar was too tall and flopped about too much (for my taste). The shoulders needed a forward shoulder adjustment, the sleeve cuff was too big. I also like to sew the button placket in a different way (this is just too lumpy for my taste). These were things that needed fixing even after I had done a muslin and made extensive fitting adjustments before I made up this version! In case you were worried, I didn’t pick this pattern back up and finish the fitting process until December 2014. It did not take me since last August to fit this pattern! Ha ha! Now that would be bad!


My second round proved better. I measured a sleeve and cuff from a button-up shirt I had and liked the fit of and then adjusted my pattern accordingly. Also compared the collars and made more adjustments to my pattern. The sleeve cuff on this one still ended up being too big for my taste preferences. And yes, I totally added lace to this one! This is a Liberty of London print, just in case you were wondering.


I adjusted the sleeve cuff for this favorite version (read more about this one here)! The cuff is a  little more fitted and that’s exactly the way I like them. This shirt, I daresay is perfect. Again on this shirt, I opted not to sew in the vertical darts on the front bodice, just to mix it up a little. I like things boxy sometimes and I was curious to see if it still “fit” if I didn’t sew in the darts. It fits just fine, it’s just a different sort of fit which is good because then the wheels start turning and I start seeing possibilities for future hacks!


And then just to be safe, I made one more version in a most beloved Liberty of London that I had been stashing for some time for just this very purpose. I decided to go whole hog and do all of the things, including front vertical darts and pockets with flaps.

I decided to show you all of these because I feel that sometimes people might think that fitting can be solved after one muslin iteration. While a lot of it can and the garment you make next is usually just fine or at least wearable, you’ll end up wanting to tweak things for an even better fit in the next go around. Why? Because you CAN! Hello fitting ninja! The kinks come out of it pretty well when you’re into your third make from the same pattern – at least this has been my experience. Granted, there are a lot of patterns out there that I don’t make multiples of. Sometimes those patterns are just one hit wonders, but base patterns like these I take a good long time with and really get the fit right on par for what I want.


I took this class on Craftsy quite some time ago, which I found to be incredibly useful pre-muslin – Fast Track Fitting with Joi Mahon. Her follow-up class is really good too, Fast Track Fitting, in the Details. She’s also got a great book out – Create the Perfect Fit – and all of these resources stick to the same method that she really tries to drill into your brain – measure your body, measure and adjust the pattern. I like her method a lot because you use measurements from your body and then you adjust the pattern before you do your initial muslin. It clears up a lot of the big problems. After the muslin phase, I tweak the fit utilizing the first edition of Fitting & Pattern Alteration. Really, really awesome fitting book.

OK, well I think that’s enough about fitting for one day. Hopefully there’s some good information here for those of you who might be stuck or thinking about overfitting every sewing pattern you’ve ever made! Do you make multiples of patterns to get the fit just right? Do you over fit? I know, it’s totally a thing, right?

C&S Bespoke, Meet McCall’s 6649


This is one of my first pattern hacks for my beloved McCall’s 6649 (sadly out of print now, boo hoo, but you could achieve the same look with the Sewaholic Granville!). Nothing really major here. I extended the back yoke into a front yoke and then took the bust dart and turned them into shoulder gathers. If you’re interested, I’m posting these pattern hacks and several other mini tutorials on my Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. I love tips and so I thought you might like some of my tips here and there for various things that I’m working on at the moment.


Anyway, this shirt. For the next round, I’m thinking that I would increase the shoulder gathers a bit. There’s just not enough gathering for my taste, but outside of that, I love this shirt. It’s made from that new Cotton & Steel Bespoke double gauze. Sheesh, these guys are doing some really really really fun and exciting things.


This fabric is fairly interesting. If you love linen for its soft wrinkles then you’ll love cotton double gauze for the very same reason. I happen to adore this feature in linen and so double gauze is a natural for me. When Cotton & Steel announced that they were going to do double gauze (and then later announced that they were going to do rayon challis!!!!) I was all sorts of excited. Quickly bought up a stitch and decided that this couldn’t sit in the stash for an age. Feels good to be using fabric – and wearing it! Ha ha!


Long ago, I brought up this fun topic. What do you think of sewing clothing from quilting cotton? While this double gauze is technically not a typical quilting cotton, it is manufactured by a quilting cotton company. I have to admit that I feel that if you confine yourself to only using quilting cottons for garments you are seriously missing out on a whole world of fabric that’s available to you – even for quilting! Like seriously. Wools, silks, rayons, linens, different types of cotton – besides quilting – and then there’s a whole world of knits, not to mention all the different weaves and such from all of the different fabrics.

I’m really, really glad to see many of the quilting cotton manufacturers venturing beyond the plain weave quilting cotton, getting into voiles, lawns and even rayon challis. Very exciting. I’m hoping we see more exciting things come from them in the future. Wouldn’t you agree?

Well, if you’re already sick of seeing my McCall’s 6649, well, that’s just too bad. I’ve already made 2 more that I haven’t blogged and then I’m planning on more and more and more! Ha ha! I’ll try to keep it interesting by showing you all my future pattern hacks. I’ve got SOOOOOOOOO many for this pattern. Now, off to cut more button-ups. Hurrah for the button-up TNT (tried and true pattern).



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.

His & Hers Camp Shirts


Mr. AFS and myself had this grand idea of going camping this summer. This is not to say that we’ve never been camping, but going and leaving the shop is/was a big deal. I thought it would be all the more grand if I made camp shirts for the occasion. And only give myself a week to do this. Keep in mind we had muslins, fitting, alterations and plaid matching to do here, to say nothing of sewing the shirt and all that that entails. But If there was ever a call for flannel, its camping. If there was ever a call for plaid, camping is just the ticket. The awesome thing in all of this is that the mister here abhores plaid. Can you believe this? Can you believe that this man is married to a woman with a slight fetish for plaid and he hates it? I told Mr. AFS that it was possible that I could get some houndstooth flannel instead and he nearly had a heart attack. Would not stand for “houndstooth.” Heavens no! Now it was plaid or go home. So we went with plaid. Sheesh!



Well after all that emotional turmoil, I picked out some plaid cotton flannel, a sewing pattern for me and for him and went about sewing these things up. His is Simplicity 1544 and this pattern is a winner. Not too many troubles really. I made a muslin and found that the armpit was little high for Mr. AFS and he needed a bit more room in the upper back. Shortened the sleeve by a few inches too and then we hit gold. For myself, I used McCall’s 6649. This pattern actually came with a Craftsy class that I am working my way through and loving! I thought that in the process of fitting this pattern and getting all the kinks out, I would go ahead and make it up a few times. This is the first make and I still have a few kinks to go. Interestingly enough, I don’t usually get all the kinks out until about the 3rd time. That’s really just the way it goes. I mean, I don’t know if that is the way for everyone, but I tinker until I’m perfectly happy and then I make a permanent copy and blah blah blah. Someday I’ll bore you with that process. For now, you should know about this Craftsy class though. The idea is that you take this pattern, fit it and then reverse engineer it so that it is put back in sloper form! From there you create all these different tops/blouses. So much fun! Definitely recommend. To anyone.


OK, so enough of that. I had the same beefs with my pattern as my mister did with his. I increased the upper back width, though I’m going to do a little more as I don’t think I did enough and then goodness gracious, I had to take like 3 inches off the sleeve length. I feel I may have overdone this part a bit, but when my arm is at rest the sleeve hangs precisely where it’s supposed to. There are more kinks to work out here, but I’ll save those for next round’s roundup.


Being on a timetable for these shirts and as any good procrastinator would, I put these off until the last minute. The night before we left on the camping trip I was still doing buttonholes and attaching buttons. So these felt a bit rushed. Barring that, I’m surprised they turned out as well as they did. The plaids are matched pretty well and I feel I did a pretty good job with navigating the bias pieces too. Overall these were pretty successful. Mr. AFS wore his and loved it! He’s never worn or owned a plaid shirt in his life, so this is serious people. Mine turned out pretty good too. I did manage to cut a hole in mine. Don’t ask me how that worked or even how I did it because I have no idea. But I patched/mended it and now my shirt has character if nothing else. Sigh….


The idea was to get pictures of us actually camping in the shirts. But wouldn’t you know, it rained. And it rained. And it rained. We cut the trip short because of all this rain. I know. All the work of making these shirts and we weren’t able to get j.crew perfect pics of the event. Such is my luck! Ha!

At least there’s flannel for the next camping trip, or possibly some romantic getaway in the near possible future. I almost went matching plaid shirts. We might still have to do that. With some line dancing and cowboy boots for fall. Plaid flannel = true love!


I hope you all had a steamy lovey weekend filled with v-day celebrations. I did. I mean, I picked out some old Harlequin romances from my bookcase (yes, I have a select few) and read them and loved their trashiness. Les sigh. I was telling my mister about it and well, we giggled. They are rather fun! I mean, its really awesome when you already have the whole thing figured out from the beginning, the books always follow the same story line and they have as little depth as possible. I have to say, its wonderful when the goods are delivered. And you can definitely judge Harlequins by their cover. Ha ha!


Onto other pressing matters, I guess. I’m flattered to have made it thus far in Project Sewn. Seriously. It’s been pretty intense what with the workload I already have going, but I am determined to give it my all.  That said…. this week’s challenge was shoes. Here’s the thing though. I have to preface this by telling you that this outfit wasn’t actually made for the challenge. The outfit itself was actually based around these leopard heels, but I made this stuff way back in September and never blogged about them because of the hours I’ve been keeping for the last few months. And we can’t have that, now can we? I mean, I never blogged this skirt! How dare I?!! Alas, this week was one of those where my inner worker bee finally said ENOUGH! and I couldn’t bring myself to crank out anything from my sewing machine and I barely kept up at work. Taking a break has been much needed and so, it was Harlequins, Deep Space Nine and me-time as I slowly turned into a pumpkin all week.


Still, the outfit bears some pretty remarkable elements and I’m proud to say that I can finagle my way out of tight situations with finesse (thank goodness I had sense in September to feel that I needed to make this for Project Sewn). So let’s talk. You can see that I didn’t deviate from my jacket obsession. My oh my. This jacket, as you already know if you read me, is not me-made. But since I had to re-line this thing (it being my favorite jacket ever) and since re-lining a jacket isn’t exactly the easiest thing ever, I included it in this week’s challenge. I’ve done this with several jackets that I already have actually. I’m all about making a garment last as long as it possibly can and this jacket is definitely no different. This is the original jacket from challenge #1 – my green jacket there being an exact replica of this one. My love for this thing knows no bounds. It will survive!


My button-up is Simplicity 2339 (out of print, boooo!) and it’s a go-to pattern for me. Though I’m getting ready to give the famed Archer a try. I love me a good button up, especially when one can move their arms freely. You know me. I have that problem with sooooooooooooo many things. I even get tired of re-iterating the same fitting problem over and over. (Note to self: grow smaller upper back to accommodate patterns more easily). My top’s made from a Liberty of London cotton lawn. What else? This shirt, I have to say, was impeccably made. I’m singing my own praises just a little bit, but really, it’s really really good. You would never even know that I made it. I am very proud of myself on that front. I used all the tricks that I’ve gathered from everywhere and it bears some real fine workmanship.



The skirt is my own self drafted skirt. It’s made of a lace that I seriously splurged on because I’m not really a lace kind of gal and when I see one that I like, I die and like, have to have it! The lace was incredibly expensive ($80/yard – YIKES). I underlined with a 4-ply silk crepe, lined the skirt in bemberg rayon lining and finished it off with a petersham ribbon waistband. It’s pretty much gorgeous. Pretty much. This brings me to another find that I’m hesitant to tell you about because this online shop boasts some pretty remarkable fabrics and I am loathe to give up my secret sources because then it means that y’all will go out and buy all the fabric. I go there when I’m in the mood for something ….. different. Fabrics and Trimmings on Etsy has really lovely fabric. A lot of what they have is novelty apparel and I have to say, very very tasteful and well, sooooooooo cool. Oh I can’t even believe I’m telling you about them, but I have to. You’ll love the stuff you find there and you know, it’s important that we keep these little resources going. So go and shop with impunity. It’s where I found this lace that was worth every single cent. And I made sure that I went on over there before I posted this and bought up all the good stuff anyway…… You know, I tease. right? Right? (wink, wink)


And now a a pic of me and my man. I mean it was Valentine’s Day over the weekend. Mr. S told me to tell you that he got in a fight at a bar defending my honor, hence the mark on his lip that looks an awful lot like a cold sore. The blazer he’s wearing is an oldy that I altered for him (made it fit him a whole lot better) and I relined it too. Granted this was in December that I did this for him, but I instinctively knew that he would defend my honor so well that the jacket was completely justified. What can I say? We’re both hopeless romantic jacket people.

Now, enough of my silliness. Project Sewn awaits your vote!


This is another Tyler shirt. Compared to jackets (and I’ve been on a jacket kick for sometime) shirts whip up in no time, so you get a double whammy this week! As I was going along I made some spontaneous changes to the pattern. This is a silk print crepe de chine from Yellow Bird Fabrics. Its so gorgeous I think and its one of those types of colorways that goes with just about everything. Its unbelievably comfortable too. It’s been sometime since I owned a silk shirt and this one is just amazingly wonderful to wear. Chic – check, simple to wear and care – check, goes with everything – check! By the way, I have no qualms when it comes to cleaning my own garments the only exception being coats and tailored jackets.

Again, the print camouflages the raglan sleeve, but its there. I opted not to add the collar, just the collar stand resulting in a mandarin collar shirt. I like this option quite a bit for a silk shirt because otherwise the collar ends up flopping about like a fish out of water. I hate that. Additionally, I chopped off the sleeve length, widened the cuffs and just raised the cuff treatment to my elbow instead of my wrist. Kind of a poet style sleeve. Ended up looking rather marvelous with the fabric choice if I do say so myself. All in all, no major changes really. I did do pink buttons though. As I’ve stated several times, my stash is overflowing and since this fabric was in the stash and so were the buttons, I went for it.

I also made the skirt here and excuse me if I say that red is really hard to photograph. I know this thing looks photoshopped, but it ain’t. Its quite electric red. Not quite that electric in real life, but I’ll admit it is a bright orangey red. I made the skirt at the beginning of summer and just haven’t put it up here on the blog yet. Its Kwik Sew 3278 – a simple a-line skirt with welt pockets. The whole reason I bought the pattern was for the welt pockets because being a connoisseur of such details, I find it interesting to see how pockets measure up against each other, you know for science and all that. This pattern was worth it for the welts. They were breezy to construct. Additionally, you’ll notice that I left out the button down center front. I did this because first I didn’t want to mess with the buttons and second because button up skirts can tend to show more skin than feels comfortable. I mean you can wear a slip but well, you know. I just didn’t want to bother with it. Actually were I to do it with the buttons, I would make it a faux button front that is stitched closed and include a side or back zip. The skirt is made from some cotton/linen blend from Yellow Bird as well (can I say, I’m apart of the Yellow Bird Sewing Network???) and its fully lined in rayon lining. Pretty straight forward really, but its an easy piece to wear. So easy.

Actually I made two of these skirts with a 3rd cut out and ready to sew too. They are kind of a below the natural waist style and since the pattern didn’t include a contoured waistband, I ended up having to alter that a bit to get it to be contoured. End result is really comfortable and easy to wear. I also like the fact that this skirt isn’t really really a-line or not enough a-line. Its just right. Really, such a great pattern with that tweaking of the waistband.

Last thing, but I wanted to point out that my entire outfit is completely Everyday Wardrobe friendly. Again, this is very important to me as you know because I’ve been down that road of making too many dresses that go with high heeled shoes. Dresses aren’t bad at all, but I’m very careful about making dresses that are more casual or can be worn with flats now because I’ve gotten rid of nearly all of my heels. I still have a couple of pairs but they are for special occasions. I know I need to do more posts on the Everyday Wardrobe, but this idea has completely revolutionized my life and my closet. I actually have items to grab now for everyday wear that look great. So refreshing!

I still think I need one more Tyler shirt. Maybe two. I still have several cuts of Liberty I could potentially choose from and I think I do need a solid colored one too, just to show off the raglan. Are you a Tyler convert yet?