Seamstress Erin is an obsessed sewist, inked knitter, cat herder, and mad scientist. She looks at Every Day as another chance to play Dress Up. She writes sewing patterns for Every Day Dress Up. Mission is to inspire you to create things. To spread the love of sewing, knitting, quilting, crafting, and needlework.
Though the beauty of making a garment for yourself is that you can make it to fit you exactly, there are certainly still reasons you may want to make a garment adjustable. The Tropo Camisole is designed to have straps of a set length, sewn from fold-over elastic (FOE), but whether you’re sewing for a friend who can’t try on the camisole, know that your body will be changing size (remember that the Tropo Camisole has a nursing option!), don’t want to have to worry about the elastic stretching out over time, or just like the lingerie-inspired look, adjustable straps are a great option!
To change your Tropo Camisole straps into lingerie-inspired adjustable straps you will need more fold-over elastic (FOE), 2 rings, and 2 sliders. You want your rings and sliders to be sized so that the FOE fits nicely in them when it is folded in half. In this example I used 1″ FOE and 1/2″ sliders and 3/8″ rings. (Read more about FOE sizing here). You will need a longer length of FOE, but the exact amount depends on how long you make the adjustable overlap on your straps. For reference, I added about 6″ extra per strap for the adjustable straps.
Start by sewing the FOE on the front and back neckline of your camisole (as you would before sewing standard straps as well).
Sew a strap onto the armhole. (Note: You can put the ring and slider on either the front or back. In this example I put them on the front, so if you want them on the back, switch “back” for “front” in the instructions). Starting with the front, extend the elastic a ways past the top front underarm, continue the elastic around the full underarm, and allow the rest to trail off the top back underarm. (You’ll want to attach the elastic in two steps like in the pattern instructions).
Thread the front strap through your rings from front to back and then fold the elastic to the back. Stitch the strap down under the ring and cut of the excess strap.
Thread your back elastic though your slider and then put it through the ring from front to back.
Take your elastic and thread it through the inside of the upper slider (from back to front) and then down through lower slider (from front to back).
Wiggle your interior elastic loop so that it is flush against the slider and then sew the end of the elastic to itself so that you are creating a small loop. Pull the outer elastic loop down and you’re good to go!
The Ultraviolet Tee had plenty of options when it was published. A curved cropped hem or a straight un-cropped hem. A plain front or a darted or gathered front to accommodate a D-F (or larger) cup bust. Different cut lines for knit or woven fabric. But a quick pattern hack that I did on a shirt for myself quickly became my favorite Ultraviolet Tee to wear so I decided to update the pattern with a View C. View C extends the curved hem in front and back so you have a high-drama slit at the side but the shirt is full length at the front and back so there’s no risk of peek-a-boo belly like with the cropped version.
This sample was sewn out of a double gauze given to me by Shannon Fabrics. I chose the print because I think the simple, oversized silhouette of the Ultraviolet Tee is perfect for a large print. Gauze or double gauze is a great choice for the Ultraviolet Tee as summer wear because it’s comfortable and breathable and light. This particular double gauze has a bit more body than many other double gauzes so the shirt has a bit more structure than drape in these photos, but the more it’s washed the more it will soften and drape.
This example, my initial hack, is a single gauze and you can see that it’s even lighter and drapier (and has also since softened up even more now that I’ve washed it a bunch). It’s also a bit sheer in the sunlight (you can see how the sun shines through the arm) and the double-gauze isn’t sheer at all.
If you’ve previously purchased the Ultraviolet Tee you can download a new copy of the pattern at any point in time by logging into your account at TuesdayStitches.com/my-account. You can also see if the copy you have is the latest draft on any Tuesday Stitches pattern by looking at our Pattern Updates page. If you’ve downloaded a new copy of the Ultraviolet Tee since our rebranding you’ll actually see that View C is already included, it’s just taken me a bit to get a new sample sewn and photographed. However, we also just discovered a minor glitch in the shoulder seam of cup sizes D-F so we recommend you download today’s new copy.
Ready for some ruffled ridiculousness? floral fabulousness? eighties excitement? (awful alliteration?) Because I’ve got all of that in spades with this new blouse! Sidenote: Did you know that the phrase “in spades” is likely to have originated as a reference to the card suit thanks to the game of Bridge? I’ve been reading a hilarious memoir of a man who read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica (The Know It All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World) and it’s littered with ridiculous trivia that he pulled from his reading which seems to have inspired me to pepper my own life with useless trivia. I recommend the book, regardless.
When I found this blouse pattern at the thrift store I have literally no idea why it so captured my heart. Of all vintage fashion decades, the 80’s are probably my least favorite. I’m not a big fan of ruffles. I don’t usually like to emphasize my broad shoulders. I mean, seriously, this pattern is pretty hideous. But I immediately had to make it for myself. Nevermind that it was the middle of winter. Nevermind that my lust for it was inexplicable. There are many mysteries in the world and this is just one of them.
And I’ve got to say, I friggin love this blouse! I did try and sew it with the neck ruffle as well but it wasn’t working – maybe because my fabric was too stiff. My fabric is meant for home decorating after all. But that’s a perk because I’m unlikely to stain this blouse (unlike any other white thing that comes within a yard of me) because the selvedge says that it’s “protected with total action Dupont Zepel(R) soil and stain repeller”. I am still mother to a 2 year old however, so we’ll see how her mess making abilities (of her and everything around her and I’m usually around her) combine with mine in the epic battle of stains vs. fabric.
I sewed the blouse pretty much as written though I did add some darts into the back shoulders at the neckline as it was noticeably too wide, even for an un-darted loose fit blouse. I’m not enamored with the armhole facings – generally I’m pretty anti-facing unless they’re an all-in-one or topstitched in place so they actually stay put. But that’s partially my fault for using a un-interfaced cotton for the facing that just doesn’t have enough structure to hold itself in place. I didn’t want to make the shoulders stand out any more, but that was probably not the bestest choice on my part.
If I had unlimited free sewing time this summer I think this has inspired me to fill it up with 80’s blouses. Or at least a handful of button front blouses. Probably with less ruffle and definitely with less shoulder-age going on, because I don’t like that I can’t wear this one with a cardigan. Sewing time is at a premium at the moment as we have a bunch of different house and garden projects going on this summer that eat up my sewing time (wah wah), but at the end of it I should be able to console myself with a banister that matches the house, stairwell carpet that isn’t stained and beige, home grown vegetables, and a yard that won’t threaten to bury me in ivy and blackberries if I stray of the path, even if I won’t be able to console myself with a new wardrobe of blouses.
I feel like I’ve just got to give this blouse another shot with a less stiff fabric to see if I can rock that neck ruffle! I hate things around my neck. I haven’t worn a turtleneck since 4th grade. Why can’t I let go of the neck ruffle!?!?!
So what about you? Do you ever have temporary moments of insanity and end up making a new favorite garment? Any ideas about why I love this ridiculousness so darn much?
I hadn’t even thought about hacking the Tropo Camisole into a dress until I got feedback from my Tropo Camisole pattern testers and discovered that Maria had made a couple different dresses while testing the pattern so of course I had to copy her idea because imitation is the highest form of flattery and I thought her idea was great!
It’s pretty simple to turn the Tropo Camisole into a dress, but you do need to consider the width of your hips. This will be a fitted dress with negative ease through the hips (to be consistent with the negative ease in the upper part of the camisole) so you should end up with a hip measurement on your finished dress that is a few inches smaller than the width of your body. There can actually be a lot of variability in this number from one person’s “perfect fit” to another based on the unique size, body shape, and fit preference of the person. Start with the same size you would use if you were sewing the camisole pattern as is – meaning use your high bust to determine your size. Remember to make the same adjustments to both front and back of the camisole.
If your hip measurement is significantly smaller than the given hip measurement on the Tuesday Stitches size chart for your size, then you can hack the Tropo Camisole into a dress by simply continuing the line at the side hem straight down.
If your hip measurement is similar to the given hip measurement on the Tuesday Stitches size chart for your size, then you can hack the Tropo Camisole into a dress by marking a point that is 1/2″ out from the hem line and a few inches down. Gently extend the side curve so it goes smoothly from the waist to this point (not the waist to the hem). Continue straight down from this point. For reference, my high bust puts me in a size 8 which has a hip of 39″. My actual hips are 40″ so I used this method for my dress hack.
If your hip measurement is significantly larger than the given hip measurement on the Tuesday Stitches size chart for your size then you’ll need to do a little bit more work than the other shapes. You’ll do a quick and dirty version of slashing and spreading your pattern to make more room for your hips. Cut a line in the middle of the pattern piece from below the underarm straight down to the hem. Cut from the top of that line toward the underarm but leave just a little bit of paper there so the pieces are attached but can pivot. Pivot the side so that you have added in whatever width you need (1-2″ at most) – remember that the width you add here will be multiplied by 4 in the finished garment and that you do want negative ease in your finished dress. Continue a line at the side straight down to your new hem. If you want to further refine your dress you can do a couple more things. The slash and spread also added in width to the waist. If you want to remove that width you can measure how much was added at the waistline and take that out in the middle of a fisheye dart – remember the dart should start below the breast and the widest part should be at the waist. If you don’t have full thighs and would like the dress to be fitted on your upper leg, you can also taper the side seam gently to the hem to cut out a couple of extra inches that were added to the hem width.
The Tropo Camisole, as designed, comes up fairly high on the chest/back. It’s really easy to hack the pattern to lower it, whether you’re wanting it to be a little more va-va-voom, don’t want the neckline to peek out from underneath another top, or just want to experiment with style lines. For most garments when you shorten/lengthen them somewhere, you blend the seamline on either side of the adjustment line. We don’t be doing that with the Tropo Camisole because we don’t want to change how it fits in our upper chest. Remember that if you’re sewing a bralette in your camisole you will need to make the same adjustments to the bralette as well. When you’re sewing the fold-over elastic onto your altered neckline you may need to adjust the suggested FOE lengths as you have changed the length of the neckline.
For the straight neckline: Measure down the amount you would like to lower and draw a straight line across the pattern piece. For reference, I lowered the neckline 3″ on this blue camisole which works perfectly for use on the back but gives very little room for movement in the front without risk of exposure, especially if you are bustier than I. Note that I wear a size 8 so if you wear a much larger or much smaller size than I do then you will need to remove a smaller/larger amount to get the same effect.
For the curved or V neckline: Cut out the camisole (or a tracing of the pattern) as drafted. Take the pattern and lower it the amount you want to change. Trace along the curve or V neck, extending the line to the edge of the fabric. For reference, I lowered the neckline on the back of the sushi camisole 2″ and the front by 1″. Note that I wear a size 8 so if you wear a much larger or much smaller size than I do then you will need to remove a smaller/larger amount to get the same effect.
For the V neckline: If you want to lower the side of the V neckline without bringing the center point any lower, you can also pivot the V about the center front point.
The sample Emily is wearing is 3/8″ FOE. Style: Narrow elastic gives the most delicate and “spaghetti strap” effect. If you are petite and want your camisole straps to be proportional or if you are want to minimize the visual impact of your straps then 3/8″ FOE is a good choice. Your stitching (especially a zig-zag stitch) is likely to be the most visible on a narrow elastic as it covers proportionately more of the elastic. Sewing: 3/8″ FOE is the fussiest to apply since you have the smallest amount of wiggle room when aligning the edge of your fabric to the center of the FOE. Function: Narrow elastic can end up having little stretch or give when finished since there is the largest stitching:elastic ratio.
Most FOE you will find is is 5/8″, like this sample that Kate is wearing and the strappy grey V neck above. Style: Standard width FOE strikes a middle ground between visibility and delicacy. Sewing: The Tropo Camisole instructions were written with 5/8″ FOE in mind so the given elastic lengths are most likely to be correct though you still may need to make adjustments to suit your unique body and your exact elastic. If you’re used to working with FOE then it was likely with 5/8″ FOE so it will feel the most familiar. Function: Standard with FOE has a good balance of sturdiness and stretch though it can vary from elastic to elastic so always test a sample.
The widest that you will generally readily find FOE is 1″, like that on this dinosaur Tropo Camisole. Style: Especially when in a contrasting color, wide FOE pushes the camisole from delicate to bold in style. Sewing: 1″ FOE is easy to sew because of how much wiggle room you having for aligning fabric to elastic. As a general rule, the wider a FOE is the less it stretches, though this can certainly vary, so you will most likely have to adjust your elastic lengths to compensate for a reduction in stretch. To illustrate the differences in elastic widths, I used the suggested lengths (that work perfectly for me in 5/8″ elastic) to apply the 1″ FOE on this camisole. You can see that the elastic lengths are too short for 1″ FOE as there is gathering of the fabric into the elastic edges. Function: If you are looking for ways to increase comfort and bust support for the bralette of your Tropo Camisole, using a wide FOE (like you would wear a wide bra strap) is a great option. It is also an easy way to hide/camouflage bra straps if you want to wear a bra under your camisole.
If you’ll allow me, for a moment, to pretend that time isn’t remotely linear (sidenote: if you’ve never read Einstein’s Dreams I highly recommend it for a fascinating exploration of different ways that time could be and what that would mean for humanity), then I’ll share this white cotton floral skirt that I actually sewed last fall (after sewing my clearly-meant-for-fall Afghan Nomad Dress) just as warm weather fizzled out and it wasn’t really appropriate to wear white cotton. Now that weather is warming up, I’m definitely enjoying wearing it as I adore floral prints and I adore maxi skirts. It took me several photoshoots to end up with photos that I feel “meh” about, which is better than the “ugh” that I started with. But it does leave me wondering if this skirt is better in theory than it is in practice?
It’s a fumeterre by Deer & Doe and I already knew I loved the pattern from my previous winter version. The fabric was a thrift store find and, despite the fact that it looks like vintage sheets it was in fact yardage, though print on the selvedge suggests that it’s stain resistant which makes me think it was meant for curtains :) It’s a bit lighter weight than ideal for the skirt though I did underline it halfway for the sake of opacity and heft. But it’s got a weird hand to it (probably thanks to the stain resistant coating) that makes it always look a little rumpled, even when freshly ironed.
I added piping to the waistband and pockets to give the skirt a bit of pop and then echoed the color with buttons down the front. I didn’t have enough fabric to even consider print matching, so I just made sure not to cluster similar motifs next to each other, and even that attempt isn’t perfect. I will definitely continue to wear the skirt (as I have been already), but I do wish it had ended up just a bit more “wow”.
I’m sure you’ve ended up with garments that for all intents and purposes should be total knockouts but somehow aren’t, right? I think my problem is that my expectations were too high going into the skirt so it left nothing but room for disappointment, but knowing that doesn’t make me feel any better about it!
Adding a ruche is such a quick and easy hack to add to the front neckline of the Tropo Camisole (or any fitted knit top, really), but it mixes things up ever so slightly and adds a bit of feminine interest. I think this ruching looks best on the V neck on the front of the camisole, but don’t let my opinion stifle you if you want to try it in another configuration! You can also decide how long you want to make your ruching. I opted for a pretty short ruche on this sample (which actually appears even shorter since I made the straps just a tiny bit too short and so it rides up a tiny bit too high), but you can extend the ruche further down to emphasize (or create the illusion of) cleavage between breasts.
To sew a ruche into the neckline, use a piece of 1/8″ wide elastic and thread your machine with a bobbin color you are happy to have visible on the front of your garment. To help you sew the ruche in straight, you can chalk the center line of your top on the wrong side of your fabric. Set your machine to a very narrow zig-zag. Place the elastic under your machine foot and starting just under the FOE on the wrong side of your camisole, make a tack to anchor the elastic. Put the needle in the down position.
Pull on the elastic as taught as you can. Keeping the tension on the elastic (but still allowing your fabric to feed), zig-zag down your elastic as long as you would like to gather. Anchor your stitching on the other end.
Adam’s grandmother Nanny Sheila (who is no longer with us) had a dear friend named Dorothy who we still make a point of visiting every time we are in Santa Barbara. Dorothy is a lovely woman who I bonded with about knitting as she was quite an avid knitter when she was younger. She has given me many patterns over the years and the last time we were there she gave me a bag of Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere yarn. Dorothy was enamored with Evelyn in the way that every (great-) grandmother figure should be so I thought it fitting that I knit a special dress for Evie out of the yarn that Dorothy gifted to me.
I knit the dress a bit large so that it would last for as long as it could. I knit the largest size of the pattern which is sized for 24 months (which Evelyn has just hit) and knit it with my gauge a tiny bit large. I also added a bit of length to torso and skirt since Evelyn tends to measure tall and thin. Any larger and it wouldn’t have worked to wear this winter, so I’m pretty happy with how my totally unscientific approach to sizing turned out. (Pictured above with me in my 1970’s leopard print wrap dress).
The yarn is quite soft and Evie enjoyed wearing the dress throughout this winter, though often over shirts and leggings to make it warm enough. I think it will be wearable for much of the year here in the Seattle area.
Evelyn thinks the dress is comfy to wear, and though she gets more opinionated by the day (hello, toddlerhood!), this dress remains one she’s happy to wear so let’s hope it stays that way as long as it still fits her!
My friend Marissa is awesome. For many reasons. One of them is that she knows I’m a fabric junkie and she enables me. She brought me a whole stack of fabric the last time she visited that came from a stash she had inherited. She picked out everything that was pink and/or particularly loud to give to me. Like I said, she’s awesome. (I’ve made mother/daughter pajamas from some of what she gave me). One of the fabrics was this amazing rainbow zebra cotton broadcloth. Marissa was pregnant at the time and not-so-subtly hinted that she would be super happy to have a baby blanket made from the zebra fabric (and who needs subtlety between friends anyway).
Well, I took her “hint” and made a baby blanket for her brand-new munchkin! I decided to make it a whole-cloth quilt (meaning no cutting and piecing to make the quilt top) and quilt it on my mom’s longarm quilting machine. This is the first quilt that I’ve finished on a longarm (I’m half-way through my 2012 BOM quilt that I’ll finish someday, I swear) and I had a lot of fun with it! I kept the quilting really simple since I’m a total n00b at longarm quilting (though I fortunately had my expert mom standing by to help me when the tension decided to act up). I think the rainbow thread is exactly what the simple quilting needed to make it really pop (all credit goes to my mom for having it in her thread stash).
I remember buying the fabric I used for the back for a very particular reason, but I have no recollection of what that reason was so I used it for the quilt back since I wanted a fabric that brought out the rainbow (and already being in my stash was a major bonus). The binding is left over from the Fancy Forest Pillows that I made for Evelyn. I was delighted to know that Marissa loves the quilt, and even more delighted that I got to meet her little babe in person right after he came home!