This is a top & bottom combo made for a spring 6-pak. My plan calls for 2-count ’em-2 matchy-matchy tops and bottoms. Bottom for both are from the new CLD one-seam pants. They are quick to make, fit nicely, and are well-suited for casual combinations.  The top for this combo is also a CLD pattern – it’s the shell from Plain & Simple.

Making the matching pieces seemed like a good idea for several reasons: 1. A friend wore just this sort of pants & shell combo a few years ago with a nice necklace, and I’m still thinking about the outfit. That’s staying power. 2. Thinking in terms of Nancy Rix Rice’s inside/outside columns, those inside columns are my best look, and they work well with contrasting jackets. Lasty, 3. It’s thrifty. If the fabric is wide enough, you can squeeze a little shell out of the scraps from a pair of pants.

However, the two plain pieces were too plain, even for me, and a little embellishment was in order. Years ago, Threads magazine ran an article on using decorative threads and ribbons, hand-wound on the bobbin, for an easy embellishment technique. Here’s the article.  I didn’t get too adventurous. My thread was perle cotton

from JoAnn’s, in a color that toned in with the fabric. I loosened the tension on the top thread a little, lengthened the stitch, and made some free-form stripes across the shoulder/sleeve area of the top.
My thinking is that if you can’t be accurate enough to make your work look perfect, it’s better to make it look like you intended it to be free-form and random all along.

After the stripes were stitched, the embellishment seemed kind of half-hearted. It needed just a little more work to make enough of a statement. So, I wove additional thread between some of the rows of stitches in a zig-zag pattern, being careful not to draw the thread too tight. That seemed about right to me, and the top was ready to sew up. Because this fabric was a little heavier than usual for a top, I used silk scraps to make bias tape to finish the neckline and armholes.

The 6-pak will be finished out with another top & bottom combo in taupe (the pants are already made & awaiting hemming), a knit top in the Type-O confetti knit for which I am still auditioning patterns, and a Sewing Workshop Liberty shirt in a grey/taupe double sided linen.

I’ve been on a little bit of a spending spree, driven by some sale pricing and by sewing board chatter. Haven’t spent huge sums, but all the spending is coming at once instead of being spread out over time. It’s much nicer IMO to have a little treat show up in the mailbox once a month or so, instead of all at once with long spells inbetween. Oh, well. This is my little sewing bender:

  1. Bought samples and a piece of indigo knit from Christine Jonson. Then right after I got my samples, she announced a sale. Seems like a good time to make my choices & order.
  2. Sale on interfacing at Fashion Sewing Supply. I’ve been wanting to try the new Shirt-Crisp interfacing for some of the Shirt-A-Month tops, so now was the time to order.
  3. There has been much talk about Style Arc patterns on the boards, and I decided I wanted to give them a try. The very poplar Linda pant and the Jasmine pant are on the way. One of the exciting things about the internet is that it’s made pattern lines from all over the world available to us. I love it that I’ve sewed patterns from Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, and soon Australia.
  4. Cutting Line Design’s latest issue, The Blouse Perfected, is now available, and new issues are offered at a reduced price. I knew I’d be buying it eventually…so…..

9 thoughts on “matchy-matchy

  1. I love what you’ve done with the shell. Such a beautiful color of blue. You’re right – with the right jewelery and even a 3rd layer if you want – will be stunning

  2. Well, as usual your work is lovely, Robyn – pretty, understated, well-crafted. I am hoping this matchy-matchy works for you (and me!) as a new direction for the 6PAC, and on this example I am thinking it will. Also thanks for the bobbin-work link. I’ve seen it before but have not done it, and it’s nice to see something very pretty and modern-looking from it.

    Regarding a pattern for your type O fabric — my go-to is the Vogue cowlneck with the empire seam. The seam has no fitting in it, so it’s easy to cut a plain front if you’d rather. It really is very nice with drapey fabrics. Or how about the recent Ottobre drape-neck shell? I haven’t used it but imagine that it could combine very nicely with some of their sleeves.

  3. lovely top and bottom combo, and thanks for the link to the threads article on threading the bobbin with something other than thread – I really want to give this a go.

    Hope your cc recovers from your spending spree

  4. It is a lovely top and bottom. It will looke very nice as an inner column with a contrasting jacket or overblouse. The color is beautiful and the embellishment adds a bit of interest to the top.

  5. Very nice and not too matchy-matchy at all. Just classically beautiful. What kind of fabric is the blue/gray? It seems just perfect for these pieces.

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