Sunday, July 19, 2015

Donna Karan Shirt


Donna Karan shirt, Vogue 1440

When this Donna Karan pattern came out last spring, I liked this top very much.

Mostly, that is.

From the front, it looks like a fairly traditional button down, sleeveless shirt. But from behind...'s fabulous!

Except that I don't wear sleeveless tops that require a racerback bra.

Then Margy told me about Sleevey Wonders. A Sleevey Wonder is a sleeved version of a dickey.


I bought a long-sleeved Sleevey Wonder in black jersey. At some point, I'll probably get another or two in different fabrications, because I really like it!

Thanks to my Sleevey Wonder, I decided to forge ahead and make the Donna Karan shirt, though there were a few alterations I wanted to make. The basic shape of the shirt is close-fitting through the bust, but then flares to an a-line silhouette. This is not a shape I like on my body, so I made some changes:

  • Removed the a-line shaping to make it more straight.
  • Nipped it in about 2" at the waist.
  • Did an FBA to increase the bust, but removed the long darts from the hem.
  • Did not want a hidden button placket, so converted it to a regular button front.
  • Made the back yoke from an ikat fabric.
  • Didn't want to cover the ikat yoke with the bands, so I finished the yoke differently: instead of bands, I cut a yoke lining from the same pattern piece. Also sewed the sleeve bands to the inside.
  • Reinforced the collar with crescent-shaped, crisp interfacing, and channel stitching to help it stand up, as shown in this post.
Inside of completed back yoke

When cutting the ikat, I placed the collar stand on the cross grain. You can just make out the channel stitching on the under collar.

This fabric, from my stash, is a novelty voile—it's quite thin. I took the next photo in the late afternoon with the sun streaming through. I purchased the ikat in Portland last spring.

I thought that this fabric is the same one I used in this tie front top, but they are actually different. This one has differently sized "dots" and has no metallic.

Do I like this top?

It's ok. I think it's a bit bland from the front—there's just I like it better from behind.

Vogue 1440

Meet Bella!

I am not typically into vintage sewing machines though, technically, I sew every day with a vintage machine. My mother purchased my Bernina 930 brand new in the mid '80s. She purchased it for herself, but I inherited it just a few years later. Anyway, I'm not one of those people who gets excited by vintage Singers, though my very first sewing machine was a very old Singer that had been converted to use electricity.

As a kid, I desperately wanted my own sewing machine and I started saving for one. The Christmas that I was 11, my mother took my savings, matched them, and bought me a used Singer. I was so happy to have my own machine, but there was one little problem. When I would sew, if my right hand or arm were at all exposed, I would get shocked. I had to wear sleeves when sewing and be very careful, because if the sleeve crept up my right hand even a tiny bit... ZZZAP.

I didn't stop sewing, because I was determined, but it was a huge annoyance.

That machine is long gone, so I can't even look up what model it was.

Despite my lack of interest in vintage machines, last January I made the decision to buy a Featherweight. Back when I was into quilting, I had a Featherweight. Later, when I thought I was done with sewing, I gave it away. Yes, I <sigh>

I wanted a Featherweight for the buttonholes, particularly the key-shaped buttonholes. On eBay I bought the buttonhole attachment and I even snagged the coveted, and rare, eyelet template.

I also bought a Singer 221 and sent it off to be painted.

I mailed my machine, insured and well packed, off to Gerald Holmes in Arkansas to be painted Candy Apple red. Gerald uses automotive paints, which works great for these old cast iron machines.

It was an interesting experience. The turnaround on the paint job was 4 months—I knew in advance that it would be several months, as he has quite a backlog, and illness and an injury caused further delays. Gerald did an excellent job, but he is not highly communicative, and he doesn't seem to know about postal tracking—when he mailed the machine back, I had no idea of when it might arrive or whether it was insured.

It was a nail-biting time.

When it arrived, I opened it gingerly and discovered some minor damage—the thread spindle had snapped off in transit. When I contacted Gerald, he immediately rectified the problem, which was a huge relief.

I'm in love.

I've never been into cars, either, but now I get those guys who lovingly polish their vintage cars, because that's how I feel about Bella. I mean, I don't typically name my machines, but this one is special.

So it was a great experience, all in all! (Though I still haven't used it to make buttonholes!)


As you may have noticed, a huge trend right now in RTW is the kimono-style cardigan or jacket. This morning I received an email from Uniqlo and was surprised to see that they are selling women's yukata—lightweight cotton kimonos.

The yukata come in only one size. I was mesmerized by the videos they provide—one on how to wear (and size) the yukata, and the other on how to tie the included obi.

I am thinking I might buy one of these. It could be fun to wear it (as a robe, sans obi) while swanning around the house.

I've actually just finished another garment for Britex, all except for some snaps—I can't locate my stash of snaps. I'm also eager to get started on an interesting piece of fabric I have from Marcy. In fact, I should get off the computer while I have the light.

Have a great week!