New in the shop: Newport Top

Here in northern Germany summer has come to an end and I am already thinking about sewing for fall. A perfect start for your fall sewing is the Newport Top from Itch to Stitch, which is now available in the German translation in my shop


So, all of you who are German speaking, please go to the German page to learn more details about the pattern. 

There will be a blogtour with the lovely versions of my testers. And though their blogs are written in German, you can surely enjoy the pictures. Here is the schedule:

12.9.: @nani_christiane
13.9.: Brülläffchen, ChriBi
14.9.: kreamino, madebyminoukiMein gewisses ExtraStrickprinzessin
15.9.: sewsloppy
19.9.: liesylotta


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Itch to Stitch Chai Shirt & Dress

Shirt dresses are popping up everywhere at the moment and I had one on my todo list for quite a while. When I saw the Chai dress from Kennis from Itch to Stitch I was sold and applied for the testing without second thought. The dress features a classic collar with collar stand, close fitting waist band, gathers insted of darts, a flared skirt and gathered sleeves. It has a classic, vintage inspired and very feminine look.

Chai dress

Chai dress

Chai dress


I used a crinkle cotton, embroiderd with little flowers, that I had in my stash. I bought the fabric years ago on the fabric market in Hamburg. In order to avoid that the fabric would lost the shape I underlined it with a cotton batiste. Usually I have a big stash of white cotton batiste, as this is my preferred lining/underlining, but I just had enough for this dress. I even had to piece the fabric for the skirt and the sleeves. Ever since reading that article in Threads about piecing to save fabric, I try to incorporathe this technique into my sewing, and it works quite well. 

For the piping, inner collar stand and fabric coverd buttons I used scraps of a ruby colored cotton. The color is very close to the darker flowers of the crinkle fabric.


Usually for Itch-to-stitch patterns I use a size 2 for the bodice and size 4 for the hips. Kennis encouraged us to remeasure ourselves and choose the size according to our measurements. This put me to a size 0 for the waist. I was a bit afraid that this might be too tight, but the muslin turned out ok. The waist is designed to have a tight fit. If you do not like this, you should consider to go up one size.

I had to do a small bust alteration. Even as the pattern comes with different cup sizes, the A cup was still too big on me. As the front bodice does not have darts, but gathers, I consulted my  Craftsy class “Adjust the bust” how to make a SBA for a bodice without darts. In the process the front armhole is decreased a bit, but I thought I could get away with that. After the first wear it turned out, that the armholes are a bit tight, but still ok.

I was quite happy with my muslin after these alteration and started sewing the dress. As I am a bit paranoid about fit, I always try on my makes during sewing. So I did after attaching the waistband to the bodice and somehow felt unhappy. The bodice wanted to ride up and there was still too much fabric below the bust. I decided to follow the demands of the fabric and shortened the bodice by taking out 1 cm at the shoulder seams. The whole thing immediately felt so much more comfortable and the ease created by the gathers was now across my bust and not below. This is, of course, a quick and dirty fix, but I was not in the mood of unpicking the waistband with my already trimmed and graded seam allowances. This alteration made the neckline opening smaller too, and I had to change the collar pieces accordingly. I am not able to close the collar, but I would not do that anyway.


As always the instructions that come with the pattern are very thorough and we had some testers that did their first collar with collar stand with great results. For the bodice I used french seams and was tempted to do so also for the skirt. I have never made in-seam pockets with french seams, and although I found a good tutorial, I was afraid that time would run out and I decided to go the safer way and just serged the seam allowances. I handstiched the inner waistband to the skirt as well as the inner collar stand (I am still not able to do a proper stitch in the ditch, and I love handstitching. It makes me feel more connected to my garments).

For the piping I cut a 3.5 cm wide strip on the crossgrain. I did not cut on the bias due to fabric limitation. As the waist seam is not curved, I decided this would be ok, and it is. The piping added a lot of bulk where the button placket is turned to the inside. I trimmed as much as I dared at the fold lines.

Chai dress


This is a great pattern, and probably not my last make of it. I can also imagine it with a more gathered or circle skirt. This pattern offers a lot of possibilities. Check out all the testers’ versions here.

This post contains affiliate links.

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Vienna Tank Top Sew-Along, Part 5

The top is nearly finished, there is only the hem to do! You have different possibilities for hemming your Vienna.

Hemming knits

Fold the hem allowance to the inside and pin.

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You can use a cover stitch machine. Then you get a hem that looks like in RTW. 

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If you do not have a cover machine, you can get a similar look with a twin needle. You have the double stitches on the outside and a zigzag stitch on the inside. Take care that the thread tension is not too high and increase your stitch length. It should also help to set up one spool so that it rotates clockwise, and the other spool in the opposite direction. And thread both threads at the same time, although I haven’t tried these tips by myself yet.

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You can also simply use a zigzag stitch. I decided to use one of the many embroidery stitches that my machine offers and which I use not often enough. 

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Hemming woven fabrics 

Doublefold the hem allowance to the inside and stitch along the upper edge. To make the folding easier you can staystitch first at a distance half the hem allowance from the hemline.

For a beautiful small hem I used a method the Carolyn shared some time ago:

Staystitch at a distance of 1 cm from the hemline.

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Fold along this stitch line to the inside and press. Stitch a second time at a 3mm distance. Trim the edge.

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Fold again to the inside and stitch. The result is a nice small hem.

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Vienna Tank Top is finished!

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I hope you had fun with the Sew-Along and you all have now awesome Vienna Tank Tops. I am so excited to see your work so please share.



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Vienna Tank Top Sew-Along, Part 4

The top is already looking quite nice. We still have to do the neckline and the hem. Today we are sewing the neckline. But before we start, we finish the front. You have two opportunities: the facing can be folded either to the outside or to the inside. This is independent from how you finish the neckline, with or without ruffles.

View A: Facing on the outside

With left sides together pin the two front pieces at center front and stitch. I marked the center front with a trick marker.

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Press the seam allowances of the facing.

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Press the center seam. 

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Before topstitching the facings I pin. 

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When topstitching along an edge I like to use my quilting presser foot. It does have a  guide in the center which helps to keep the pressure foot in place. I shift the needle position to the left. 

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View B: Facing on the inside

If you want to put the facings to the inside, you make the opposite. With right sides together pin the two front pieces at center front and stitch. 

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Unfortunately I do not have more pictures for this view. But the steps are the same as above.   

Preparation of the neckband and tie

Now we prepare the neckband and tie. This is the same for both versions. First with right sides together pin and stitch both pieces together at the short ends to get one long strip. I also stitched the ruffle pieces together at the same time.

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Fold the strip in half lenghtwise with left sides together and press. Then fold the sides to the center and press again.

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The strip should look like this. You could also use a bias tape maker. 

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View A with ruffels

We already sewed the ruffle pieces together to get a long strip. Now fold the strip in half lengthwise with right sides together and stitch the short ends together.

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The ends will be turned right side out. With rectangular corners I do not trim the seam allowances but fold them to one side…. 

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….grap with the thumb from the inside and with the index finger I hold the seam allowance down while turning everything outside. 

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As a result you have perfectly shaped corners.  

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Now prepare the ruffles for gathering and stitch two rows of stitches with a long stitch length within the seam allowance along the raw edge. 

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Place the center back of the ruffle to the center back of the inside of the bodice. The raw edge of the ruffle is even with the raw edge of the neckline.  

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Align the end of the ruffle with the center front.  

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Now with a lot of patience pull the threads and start gathering the ruffle, distribute the gathers evenly and pin. 

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Now place the prepared neckband and tie on top of the ruffle so that the center crease lays upon the seam line. We have a 1cm (5/8″) seam allowance and the distance between the creases is also 1cm (5/8″), so if you align the upper crease with the raw edge of the neckline the center crease is placed over the seam line automatically.

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Pin and stitch from center front to center front along the neckline. Secure seam.

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Grade seam allowances ….

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…and press ruffle up.

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Now fold the edges of the neckband and tie to the inside and then fold the upper part down and pin.

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Before I pin the ends of the tie this way I fold the short ends to the inside. I don’t like raw edges. 

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Edgestitch along the open edge from one end to the other. You can leave the ends as is. I made some knots. You can also add pearls to the ends.

View B without ruffle

Place the center back of the neckband and tie to the center back of the inside of the bodice. But, different from view A, align the upper edge of the neckband with the raw edge of the neckline. The upper crease is now placed over the seam line (This is not described correctly in the instructions, but the picture is correct).

Pin and stitch along the upper crease from center front to center front. Secure the seam. Trim seam allowances and press the neckband up. Fold the neckband along the center crease so that the seam allowances are enclosed. Pin and edgestitch. The ends of the tie can be folded to the inside as described above, so you do not have any raw edges.

Now the only thing to do is hemming!





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Vienna Tank Top Sew-Along, Part 3

Today I show you a second method how to construct the yoke. This method is also used for shirt yokes.

Yoke – Method 2

Prepare the front and back pieces for the gathering: Sew two rows within the seam allowances with a long stitch length andreduced thread tension.

With right sides together place one yoke piece on top of both front pieces. 

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Pull the threads to gather the front pieces so that the shoulder seams of front and yoke piece are the same length. Pin. I then turn the whole thing so that the front is on top with the left side facing to you. Place the second yoke piece on top of the front with the right side facing the front.

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Pin and stitch through all three layers. Turn right side out and press seams. 

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Then I arrange everything so that the right side of the outer yoke is facing upwards. The second yoke piece and front are folded down. I place the back with the right side onto the yoke pice, align center back and notches, pin and pull the threads to gather the back.

Now we are rolling the whole thing up. this is also known as the “Burrito”-method. Firt, roll up the back and front until you can see the second yoke piece.

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Fold the second yoke piece up until it aligns with the lower edge of the first yoke piece and back, pin, and stitch through all layers. Take care not to catch the rolled pieces inside.

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Pull everything out through the side and turn right side out. Press the seam. As a result all open edges are inside the yoke and nicely finished seams both outside and inside the top.

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Close the side seams. I made french seams. Now we only have to finish the armholes. I cut a 3 cm (1 1/4″) wide bias strip. It is important to cut on the bias so that the strip can be placed easily around the curves. With right sides together place the strip around the armhole. Make sure that it does not stretch out. At the side seam, pin the ends together and stitch to close the strip. Cut away the ends.

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Trim the seam allowances.

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Press the strip to the inside, fold the inner edge up and topstitch from the right side. 

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Vienna Tank Top Sew-Along, Part 2

Before we start sewing, I wanted to mention one last point for preparation. Silk fabric is often very slippery and tends to  shift. To make life easier, you can use spray starch. This makes the silk stiff and easy to handle. After finishing the garment simply wash out the starch. Be sure to test this treatment on a scrap first.

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The first step is to staystitch the neckline to prevent that it stretches out. It is important to sew in the same direction for both sides, this means from the shoulder to center front. The keyword is “directional stitching”. Here is a nice article which explains the background a bit. You should always keep in mind this principle while sewing.

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Yoke – Method 1

This method is as described in the pattern instructions. Armhole edges from yoke and bodice are finished separately.

First put your yoke pieces with right sides together and stitch along the armhole edges.


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I interfaced the armhole edges of the bodice. As I did not have bias fusible stay tape, I made my own. I cut a bias strip from a lightweight fusible interfacing…

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…and applied it onto the left side of front and back along the armhole edges. 

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I finished the edges with my serger. As the fabric would not fray, this step is not necessary, but I think it just looks nicer on the inside.

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Then turn the seam allowances to the inside and topstitch along the edge. The last 5 cm (2″) towards the side seam are kept free. I marked this point with two pins.

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I topstitch from the right side as the stitches my sewing machine makes on the left side don’t look as nice.

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Now we prepare the bodice pieces for gathering. Stitch two rows with a big stitch lenght and decreased thread tension along the shoulder seam of the front and between the notches of the back.

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Now we take one front piece and slip it between the yoke pieces. It is very important that the armhole edge is pushed as near as possible to the yoke seam. The left side of the front piece shows to the inner yoke. If both yoke pieces are from the same fabric, it does not matter how the front is aligned. 

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Before I pull the threads for gathering, I pin the front at the left and the right. This way I know how much I have to pull my threads.

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With a bit of patience distribute the gathers evenly and pin. Then I put the other yoke piece on top again, pin and stitch through all layers.

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Before grading the seam allowances I turn everything right side out to check if I am happy with the gathers and the intersection of yoke and bodice.

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Looks good, so turn inside out again and grade the seam allowances. When grading seam allowances, the outermost seam allowances that is the seam allowances facing the outside will stay widest.

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Do the same for the second front piece. Then roll up both front pieces and put them inside the yokes so they stay out of the way. 


Now we slip the back piece between the yoke pieces from the direction of the neckline. The left side of the back is facing the inner yoke.


Slip the back the whole way through the yoke. Align center back and notches of back and yoke. Pin.


Pull the threads and distribute the gathers evenly. Pin a bit more….


….put the second yoke piece on top, align and stitch through all layers. Again be sure that the armhole edges are pushed as near to the yoke seam as possible. I turn everything right side out to check if I am happy with the result.

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Turn back inside out and grade the seam allowances. 

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Then clip the armhole seam allowance of the yoke pieces and press them towards the inner yoke. 

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To keep the seam allowance in place it will be unterstitched. This is a bit tricky and you won’t be able to stitch along the complete seam. The seam allowance is stichted to the inner yoke only. I put the yoke under my sewing machine in a way that the seam is in the middle of my presser foot. I shift the needle towards the inner yoke, in my case to the left. While sewing I take care that both yoke pieces are smooth.

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This is how it looks from the inside:

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and this is from the outside:

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Now we are nearly there. Both yoke pieces are basted together around the neckline. 

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Now we can close the side seams. Make sure that the seam allowances of the armholes are kept open. You remember that we did not stitch them down the whole way. I finished the side seams with my serger.

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Turn the armhole seam allowances to the inside, pin and topstitch. 

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This is how it looks from the right side:

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I don’t backstitch here, but pull the thread ends to the inside and tie them of.

This is all for today. I will show you the second method how to construct the yoke tomorrow.


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Vienna Tank Top Sew-Along, Part 1

Welcome to Part 1 of the Vienna Tank Top Sew-Along. This post will cover all the prep work.

Fabric Choice

The Vienna Tank Top is a summer top and designed for lightweight fabrics. Yoke and necktie are made with woven fabric. Here you can use all lightweight fabrics like batiste, linen, shirting, lawn, chambray, challis or crepe. Sheer fabric is not recommended as you would see the seams within the yoke. The bodice is made with lightweight knit fabric like single jersey. If you use knit fabric that is too thick or very stable you might get problems with the gathers. For view A the facing in the center front is turned outside so that the wrong side of the fabric shows. You should choose your fabric accordingly.

You can also make the complete top with woven (recommended only for C cups or smaller) or with knit fabric. In both cases you have to give a bit consideration to fabric and choice of size. If you think about using woven fabric for the bodice too, be aware that a big part of the ease at bust level is in the back. I would recommend to measure front and back of the pattern pieces separately (don’t forget that the seam allowances are already included) and compare these measurement with your body measurements. If you choose a knit fabric for the yoke make sure it is stable enough to hold the complete top.

I have chosen an organic cotton batiste and organic single jersey for view A. For view B I chose a silk crepe.

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Itch-to-Stitch patterns are available as pdfs only, so you have to print and tape. But the pdfs have different layers, so you can print the sizes you need only. This makes the pattern more clear.

Choosing your size

Before we print the pattern let’s have a look at the sizing. The pattern comes in the sizes 00 – 20. Do not choose the size you are wearing in RTW, but look at the body measurements table:


I measure 83, 70 and 94 cm. This puts me in size 0 for the bust, size 2 for the waist and size 4 for the hips. As I am very small busted, I choose size 2 for the bust. Else the top would be too tight for me in the shoulders. Depending on the pattern I have to make a small bust alteration (SBA). I can skip this step for the Vienna top, however, as this is rather loose fitting. To check if you have chosen the right size let’s have a look at the table for the finished garment measurements:


This table shows the measuremnts of the finished top for bust, waist and high hip. The top ends at the high hip, therefore this measurment is given instead of a hip measurement. This table gives you an idea about the ease which is included in the pattern. For my chosen size there are 10 cm of ease at bust level and 24 cm at waist level.

For Itch-to-Stitch patterns you can rely on these measurments. And once you found the correct size, you can use this for the other Itch-to-Stitch patterns as well. 

Printing and Taping

Now that you found your size, you can print just this size. Click on the layers icon on the left side in the pdf and choose the size(s) you want to print:


At first all sizes are ticked. Uncheck all sizes you don’t need. In my case I want to print size 2 and 4. Also very helpful is that in the section “Printing instructions” you will always find the information which pages to print if you want to print the pattern pieces only and not the instructions as well. This saves you from counting the pages by yourself. In our case these are the pages 18 – 30.

When printing make sure that you choose “Actual size” or scale to 100% in the print dialog box. There is a small test square on the first page to check if the scaling is correct. You should print this page first and measure the test square before printing all other pages.

I always lay out all the pages in the right order on the floor to get an overview. For this rather small pattern I just have enough space on the floor. For bigger patterns I have to lay out the pages in several stages.

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All pages contains a watermark number to help you get the pages in the right order. Also, the outermost edges are marked by a thicker border so you know when to start a new line. I never tape all pages together at once. This would result in an unwieldily big piece. In fact, I roughly cut one pattern piece and tape this together. Here I started with the yoke pice which is on pages 9, 10 and 13.

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There are diffenrent methods for taping. For me the best method is to cut along one edge and tape it to the next page with adhesive tape. You can also just fold the edge under (this is much faster) but I found that it gets quite thick especially when you have several intersections. Instead of adhesive tape you can also use glue.

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This is how I work  my way through until all pattern pieces are taped together.  By now I find this work rather meditative and you familiarize yourself with each piece.


Before I cut out the pieces exactly I make the alterations from which I already know that  I will need them. In my case this is adding a bit of length and blending between size 2 and 4 between waist and hem. I start with adding length. The pattern includes lengthen/shorten lines. I cut the front piece along this line.

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I tape the lower front piece onto a piece of paper. I want to lengthen the top by 3 cm. Therefore I draw a parallel line with 3cm distance on the paper. I also extend the center front so that I have a precise point where I can align the upper front piece. Please dont’t be confused that I used the German version of the pattern for the pictures. In the English version it reads “Lengthen/Shorten” instead of “Verlängern/Kürzen”. 

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I align the upper front along the lines and tape it to the paper. Then I adjust the side seam and at the same time blend from size 2 to size 4:

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The back is altered the same way. To be sure that the side seams are identical I use the front piece as a template. The other pattern pieces are not affected by my changes.

For view A we need all pattern pieces, for view B we need pieces 1-3 and 5. 

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Cutting the Fabric

Before I cut into my fabric, I always throw it into the washing machine first. I also wash the silk in the washing machine in a delicate circle with special detergent. This way you avoid bad surprises. Most natural fibers shrink in the wash, but also other fabric may change through the washing. The golden rule is: Pretreat your fabric the same way as you want to care for the finished garment. And don’t forget ironing.

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Seam allowances of 1 cm (3/8″) and hem allowance of 2 cm (3/4″) are already included in the pattern. When you are happy with these allowancecs, you are ready to cut your fabric. If you rather like to sew with 1.5 cm (5/8″) allowances you have to add 0.5 cm (2/8″). 

I like to cut my fabric wth a rotary cutter. I use big washer from the hardware store to weigh down the pattern.

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To mark the center and other notches I clip into the fabric. 

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Notches within the pattern I mark with tailor’s tacks. First I pin through the pattern piece while it is still laying on the fabric. Then I pin from below the paper to where the first pin is. Remove the pattern piece and mark the place where the pin is with basting thread.

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Patterned Fabric

For view B the facing in the center front is turned to the inside. If you use a patterned fabric you should try to match the pattern across the seam. This is quite easy to do. Cut out one front piece and mark the center front with a basting thread. Fold the fabric along this thread line and search on your remaining fabric for a location where the pattern matches.

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If you look closely you can see the basting thread along the fold in the picture above. Pin along the fold and place the center front of pattern piece along this line. You have now the perfect location for the second front piece.

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Now everything is cut out and marked. Next time we start with sewing.

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If something is not clear or should be explained in more detail please let me know in the comments or send me an email to sewingdreams(at)web(dot)de.

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Announcement: Vienna Tank Top Sew-Along

This is the official anouncement for the Vienna Tank Top Sew-Along. I am really excited as this is the first Sew-Along I will be hosting. I really hope that you all will have fun and learn a few things as well.

Vienna Tank Top Sew-AlongVienna Tank Top Sew-Along

Vienna Tank Top Sew-AlongVienna Tank Top Sew-Along

The sew-along will be divided into four parts:

Part 1: All about the prep work: printing and taping the pattern, choosing your size and fabric, pattern alterations and cutting

Part 2: Yoke

Part 3: Neckline, tie and ruffles

Part 4: Hem

I will show both views. While I will follow the instructions for view A, I will show you an alternative method for constructing the yoke and finishing the armholes for view B.

We will start with part 1 on July 2, so there is still some time to get ready.


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New in the shop: Vienna Tank Top, Blogtour and Sew-Along

Just in time for summer I have a new pattern in the shop, the Vienna Tank Top from Itch to Stitch in the German translation.



So, all of you who are German speaking, please go to the German page to learn more details and where you can also enter a Giveaway. For all others, I still have two anouncements to make:

First, there will be a blogtour with the lovely versions of my testers. And though their blogs are written in German, you can surely enjoy the pictures. Here is the schedule:

13.6.: Brülläffchen


15.6.: Mein gewisses Extra, Strickprinzessin

16.6.: Minimale Extravaganz, Donnerfaden

17.6.: Kreamino

18.6.: Nähkatze


And second, shortly after the blogtour I will host a sew-along for the Vienna Tank Top. I will show you how to sew both versions and share one or two tips as well. So grap your copy, either the English one here or the German one here (which is 20% off during the blogtour) and get ready!

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TV show and film sewalong: Planning, Fabric, patterns

Today is already the second part of the TV show and film sewalong: all about planning. fabric and patterns.


Last week I showed some of my inspiration pics, and I am now sure that I will make the blouse worn by emily Thorne:


I also have some nice silk that I think would be perfect for this project. It is a crepe silk with a slight structure. One side is a bit shiny.

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Now for the more difficult part, a suitable pattern. The blouse is a Kate Spade New York blouse. In this black version you can see the details a bit better:


The blouse has center pleats and a kind of collar/neckbinding. If you enlarge the picture you can see that there is a front center seam and this looks to be the same as is the Itch to stitch Vienna Tank Top:

2017-06-04 20_38_53-Vienna Tank Digital Sewing Pattern (PDF) - Itch To Stitch

In the Vienna the pleats are actually facings that are turned to the outside. I am not sure though how to add the second pleat panel. It might also help to examine the Colette Sorbetto for how this is constructed:


For the neckline I might refer to another Itch to Stitch pattern, the Bonn shirt:

2017-06-04 20_43_28-Bonn Shirt & Dress Digital Sewing Pattern (PDF) - Itch To Stitch

Else the blouse seems to be quite loose fitting without any darts. At least I cannot detect any. I might add a bit of waist shaping, we will see.

And now I will see what the others are up too.


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