Papercut SJ Tee and Ooh La Leggings

Papercut Patterns SJ Tee and Ooh La Leggings
This post is a two-fer! I made be a bit late but I have thoroughly jumped aboard the activewear sewing bandwagon.

This is my new yoga outfit: both the shirt and leggings are from Papercut Patterns.


Papercut Patterns SJ Tee and Ooh La Leggings
I made the short sleeve, non-cropped version of the SJ Tee out of an incredibly smooth and soft rayon/lycra blend I bought from a now-defunct local store. The thin and light fabric works well for a slouchy tee (it has a slight 4-way stretch) but has surprisingly decent recovery.

I like the wide neckline because I hate crew necks digging into my neck and since you typically wear a sports bra while working out anyway, you’re not worried about fixing your shirt all the time and making sure you’re not flashing anyone.

The cuffed sleeves add some structure to the shirt and I think helps keep the shirt from sliding off your shoulders.

Papercut Patterns SJ Tee and Ooh La Leggings

All in all, I love this simple pattern. The only thing I should have done differently was to shorten the collar piece by another inch or so. I shortened it a bit because my fabric has plenty of stretch, but knit collars are an art, not a science. The collar is a little floppy around center front but that’s ok, I think it adds to the casual, loose feel of the top, so I don’t mind.

Often times when I make a small but annoying mistake like that, I invoke my sewing motto: “Do I care? Not enough.” and move on…


Papercut Patterns SJ Tee and Ooh La Leggings
These are the mid length Ooh La Leggings sewn with some fantastic Supplex nylon lycra from I bought a bunch of fabrics from that site on a whim just to check it out. This stuff has 4-way stretch with great recovery and is thick and dense enough to make good leggings. It’s matte, not shiny like lots of activewear fabrics, which I liked.

But seriously, I cannot recommend this stuff enough, especially for activewear sewing. It’s my new favorite thing. I only wish they had more colors!

Papercut Patterns SJ Tee and Ooh La Leggings

I was concerned when the pattern called for lots of straight stitching and topstitching on a knit but this fabric has such good stretch that the straight stitching didn’t matter.

I used a twin needle for the hem and waist. I also lowered the waist by about an inch and a half, just as a personal preference.

Papercut Patterns SJ Tee and Ooh La Leggings

Another great pattern. I didn’t have to make any fitting changes and the fabric makes the leggings extra comfy.

Namaste, stitchers!

Lavender Grainline Archer

Lavender Archer

For this photoshoot, I went to the Hope Outdoor Gallery which is a fancy name for a city park where they let people graffiti over the concrete walls of this abandoned unfinished building.

It’s cool to see all the different art and writing but you never know what you’re going to find on the walls so apologies in advance if there turns out to be something offensive in these pics.

Getting that out of the way, let’s move on to the sewing!

Lavender Archer

It’s no secret that I love the Grainline Archer shirt. I’ve made variations of it four times. It has certainly earned its TNT status.

Lavender Archer

This time around, I made the version with the gathered back. The only change I made was to make the pockets a little smaller.

Lavender Archer

The fabric is a Kokka cotton shirting from The Cloth Pocket. The fabric is so smooth and fine, I plan on stocking up on lots of colors. It’s pretty wrinkly in these photos, though, because I had been wearing it all day.

I used some metal buttons from Joann Fabrics.

Lavender ArcherI only have one problem with this shirt: while making it I accidentally dropped a cupcake on the back hem of the shirt. The frosting made a splotchy stain that hasn’t come out even with a wash in the machine and soaking in hot water. It’s homemade frosting so I’m guessing it’s butter and sugar. It’s not too noticeable but I’m still annoyed by it.

Anyone got an idea to get the stain out??

Lavender Archer

Crinoline Petticoat Tutorial


Ooooh look, I made a petticoat! Ruffly petticoats aren’t something we see much of these days.  They’re usually only worn with special occasion dresses. Sometimes a pretty party dress will come with a layer of tulle attached to the skirt lining but not much else.

Large Crinoline Petticoat

I talked about the current popularity of the Fit and Flare dress in my last post, but those dresses don’t often get the kind of “flare” in the skirt like they did in the 50s and 60s. Why not give the flare some extra oomph with a crinoline petticoat!??

Skirt with large Crinoline Petticoat

I’m wearing this petticoat with my floral circle skirt. It also works well under other types of full skirts.

I originally followed this great tutorial but I made my petticoat a little different. Firstly, I didn’t use ribbon trim. Spools tend to come in something like 3yd lengths and I didn’t want to buy 5 spools for one petticoat. Also, that tutorial uses quite a bit of fray check for the raw edges, but since I used cotton crinoline rather than nylon I didn’t need the fray check and simply finished my seams with a zig-zag stitch.

Skirt with large Crinoline Petticoat

I tried to make this tutorial beginner friendly so first let’s talk about:

What is Crinoline?

Crinoline is a stiff but flexible fabric with a very open, plain weave. You can find 100% cotton as well as poly and nylon versions. It is most often white but you might be able to find it in black.

How is Crinoline different than tulle?

Tulle typically is made of nylon and has a diamond weave so it doesn’t fray. The size of the net can vary but it doesn’t have as much stiffness or body as crinoline. My petticoat made of crinoline will stand up on its own, tulle won’t do that. Crinoline is mainly for structure so it isn’t “pretty” like tulle. Those fancy colorful petticoats that are made to peek out from under skirts are tulle.

You can use tulle with this tutorial but your petticoat won’t be nearly as poofy. You’ll need several more layers of tulle to achieve a similar effect.

You will need:

4-5 yards of cotton crinoline (I bought mine from, some Joann Fabric stores sell it in the utility section)
1″ wide Twill Tape the length of your waist measurement plus an extra 5 inches
Hooks and eyes
Measuring tape, ruler, marking implement
Sewing Machine, thread, pins, needles, scissors, etc.

Tip: For this tutorial I’ll refer to Crinoline as the fabric and Petticoat as the garment.

1. Measure the Length of the Petticoat

Use your tape measure to measure from your waist to the hem of the petticoat.

Tip: The petticoat should be 1″-2″ shorter than the skirt you will wear it with.

My petticoat length is 20″.

Divide that measurement by 3 for a 3 tiered petticoat. I made my tiers 6″ (top), 7″ (middle), and 7″ (bottom).

2. Cut the Tiers

2016-04-06 18.55.40(I used a rotary cutter and mat and folded the fabric in half twice so I sliced through four layers of fabric at a time. You can also simply measure, mark, and cut with scissors.)

My tiers:

Top: 6.5″ (6″ plus .5″ seam allowance at the lower edge) x 2yds

Middle: 8″ (7″ plus .5″ seam allowance at upper and lower edges) x 4yds

Bottom: 7.5″ (7″ plus .5″ seam allowance at the upper edge) x 8yds (two 4yd pieces).

Tip: I cut my bottom tier along the selvage so I wouldn’t have to hem the lower edge.

Tip: My waist measurement is ~26″. If your waist is ~40″ or larger, consider cutting longer tier lengths like 3yds for the top, 5yds for the middle, and 9yds for the bottom tier.

3. Stitch the Short Sides Together

For the bottom tier, stitch the two 4yd pieces together along the short sides using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Finish the seam allowance with a zig-zag or overlock stitch.

Repeat with the middle tier.

For the top tier, hem both of the short ends by folding the raw edge inward 1/4″, then fold it over again 1/4″ and top stitch. This part will be open so you can get in an out of the petticoat.

4. Sew the Gathering Stitches

Lower your machine tension slightly and use a long machine stitch. Sew two lines of stitching on each tier, one at 3/8″ from the upper edge and again 5/8″ from the upper edge.

Tip: For the bottom tier, start and stop your gathering stitches at the short side seams rather than stitching all around in one continuous loop. It’s easier to gather 4yds than a huge 8yd piece all at once.

5. Divide Each Tier into Fourths

Divide the length of each tier into four equal parts and mark with pins. You could also lightly iron vertical folds into the crinoline to mark each section.

6. Sew the Tiers

Starting with the bottom tier, pull the two thread tails on the right side of the fabric to gather the crinoline.

2016-04-07 17.38.07(Look how well it stands up on its own! Also, the bottom tier is so long!)

Once gathered, pin the upper edge of the bottom tier to the lower edge of the middle tier, right sides together. Match up each pin/fold in the fabric so the gathers will be evenly distributed.

2016-04-07 17.38.48(If you’re struggling with gathering stitches that don’t like to stay gathered, you can secure your thread tails by wrapping them around a pin in a figure-8 pattern)

Stitch all the way around with a 1/2″ seam allowance.

Press the seam allowance toward the upper tier and topstitch with a zig-zag stitch to prevent fraying.

Repeat with the middle tier, then top tier.

2016-04-07 18.48.17(That’s a huge mess of fabric right there! This is sewing the top tier to the middle tier. Notice how the top tier has gathering stitches but isn’t gathered yet.)

7. Sew the waistband.

Cut a length of twill tape that matches your waist measurement + a few inches extra. My waist measurement is about 26″ so my tape is about 29″ long.

Mark the length of your waist measurement with a pin on the tape. Those extra few inches will be overlap for the hooks and eyes.

Gather up the top tier to fit the waist measurement area of the twill tape. Fold the short sides of the twill tape under 1/4″.

Wrap the twill tape over the raw gathered edge of the top tier leaving the overlap hanging off one side. Pin.

Stitch close to the edge of the twill tape and be sure to catch all three layers as you sew. Continue stitching all the way until to reach the end of the overlap, backstitch.

8. Sew the Hook and Eyes

Sew a “hook” to the inside end of the overlap.

On the opposite side of the waistband, sew on corresponding “eyes” each about an inch apart.

Crinoline Petticoat(I ran out of the flat style “eyes” but these loop style eyes work just the same.)

Tip: sewing on extra “eyes” allows you to wear the petticoat lower on your hips when wearing longer skirts.

Yay! You made a petticoat! No go wear your skirts extra poofy!


My crinoline was only 38″ wide but I had enough fabric left over to eek out a smaller petticoat.

Small Crinoline Petticoat

This one used 4yds of 8″ wide crinoline for the bottom tier, 2yds of 6.5″ wide crinoline for the middle tier, and 45″ x 7″ of cotton muslin for the top tier. I didn’t have enough twill tape left so I just cut another strip of muslin for the waistband.

Here’s an example of my Breathless dress with no petticoat, small petticoat, and large petticoat.


I didn’t take a pic of me wearing both petticoats together but, man, it makes for a huge skirt!


I was talking to my Aunt about her experience wearing petticoats in the 50s. She said girls would compete to see how many petticoats they could pile up under their skirts. She’d also dip her petticoats in liquid starch to make them extra stiff. If you were around in the hey-day of petticoat-wearing I’d love to hear your stories!

Navy Floral Dress and Thoughts on the Fit and Flare

Navy Floral Fit and Flare Dress

Oh, the fit and the flare. This silhouette, probably more than any other, has dominated fashion for several years.

Having spent so much time researching and sewing historical costumes, I’ve realized that every decade has an easily recognizable silhouette.

Historically, women’s fashion has represented something about the ideals of its time, and not just beauty ideals but social, political, or artistic.

In the 1920s it was the unrestricted, boyish figure of the modern woman:


In the early 1800s, after the French Revolution, fashion shifted from rococo madness to Greek classicism:


In the 1940s shoulders got bolder and skirts shorter reflecting the influence of war on fashion:


In the 1830s it was… uh, whatever the hell this is…?


Anyway, fifty years from now, how will we look back and define early 2000s style? My vote is the fit and flare.


(these examples are all from ModCloth, they even have a whole section dedicated to F&F)

This style has been lauded as universally flattering and classically feminine. There’s something appealing about the contrast between slim and full shapes. But I think it’s the vintage revival movement that has played a major role in the F&F popularity.

And the style is not restricted to dresses. Sometimes you see it reversed with the oversized, loose shirt paired with skinny jeans or leggings.

It’s certainly a style I keep coming back to over and over again.

The fit and flare is a relatively easy shape to sew. If you can get the bodice to fit then you don’t have to worry about the hips because the skirt is so full. The simple shape is perfect to showcase a fun fabric (Dolly Clackett comes to mind) and there’s nothing like wearing a cute dress to make you feel pretty.

With all that said, let’s move on to this dress in particular:

Navy Floral Fit and Flare Dress

It began with Simplicity 1419 (which I used for this dress) but I made several changes. The floral cotton lawn was too sheer on its own so I fully lined it in navy voile. Each fabric came from different – now defunct – local fabric stores. Double sad.

Navy Floral Fit and Flare Dress

Rather than pleating the skirt, I gathered it and spaced the gathers out so there are four “gathered groups” collected under the bodice darts.

Navy Floral Fit and Flare Dress

I hemmed the lining normally but I bound the hem of the outer fabric in bias tape. I had justenough of this red tape left which closely matched the red in the flowers.

Navy Floral Fit and Flare Dress

I had a navy colored invisible zipper but it was too short so instead of driving five minutes to the store and buying a new zipper like a normal person, I made a keyhole-esque part at the top center back and added a hook and eye to keep it closed.

Navy Floral Fit and Flare Dress

Lastly, I raised the waistline by an inch (something I also did on my last version). This wasn’t a fit issue, purely aesthetic. For some reason I like the look of the ever-so-slightly raised waist on a dress like this.

Oh, and no pockets. ‘Cause I’m laaaaazzzzyyyyyy.

Navy Floral Fit and Flare Dress


So, do you agree with my thoughts on the fit and flare? Is there another style right now that you think deserves the top spot for “2k10s most popular silhouette”? Do you wear/sew F&F dresses?