Good morning, Mood Fabrics! As I close in on a decade of serious sewing, I’ve developed a theory. People who sew tend to fall into two camps: those who sew for patterns and those who sew for fabric. Some of us are driven to create new garments, because we crave a specific vintage dress silhouette or want to try a statement sleeve. Others create because we’ve found a fabric that is too gorgeous not to wear. We don’t have a pattern in mind yet; we just want to throw a textile on our bodies and flounce around in that divine color or print as quickly as possible.
I am, unsurprisingly, in the latter camp. I adore fabric. The choice of what fabric to work with almost always trumps what pattern is next in my queue. There’s a reason my stash brims with color and prints, but not practical, basic fabrics. When I need a practical garment– say, a pair of jeans or black skirt–I tend to buy ready-to-wear. Sewing, for me, is about beautiful fabrics.
This is also why I love a simple, tried-and-true pattern. Give me clean lines and classic silhouettes, so I can happily throw interesting fabrics at my wardrobe without worrying about things getting too busy. Recently, one of the best patterns I’ve found for this purpose is the Montrose Top by Cashmerette Patterns. It’s a simple woven tee with two neckline variations, two sleeve lengths, and a choice of a fitted or loose silhouette. It fits well, sews up quickly, and makes an ideal canvas for pretty, indulgent fabrics.
My stash brims with such fabrics, but two I’ve been dying to use are this Blue and White Floral Lawn (similar fabric currently available) and Dusty Rose and Mint Embroidered Cotton Eyelet, both from Mood’s fantastic collection of cotton fabrics. The lawn is a modern floral pattern printed on a divinely soft cotton with a crisp drape, while the eyelet has an ornate pink, green, and gray embroidery pattern on a muslin-like backing. Both are lovely, lightweight fabrics that are perfect for hot summer days. However, they’re also both fabrics that could easily obscure pattern design details on a complex garment. A pattern like the Montrose, with those sleek design lines, allows the fabrics to take center stage.
Since they’re two fairly different fabrics, I ended up using both versions of the Montrose. The floral lawn became View A, with a gathered back and loose, floaty silhouette. For the eyelet, I went with the closer fit of View B, keeping the short sleeves and scoop neck from the other pattern variation. On both tops, I added a split hem detail at the side seams. I’m running after an infant on the move, these days, and need that extra bit of movement that a free hem allows. (AKA: At least five times an afternoon, I bend down and remove fluff bunnies or dog toys from L’s hands before she eats them. Babies are terrible judges of edibility, y’all.) The two views of this pattern maximize the beauty of these fabrics so well. Our blue lawn gets to be light and airy, floating around with my every move, while the lace looks crisp and pretty, that scalloped edge working as the world’s prettiest hemline.
While construction on the tops is fairly similar, the eyelet took a bit of extra work, as you might expect. I cut out that top in one layer, as eyelet and lace love to move around, and oriented the pattern on the crossgrain so that the scallops were used on my hemline. Originally, I’d also planned to use the scallops on the sleeve hems, but that made me look a bit too much like Tinkerbell flitting through the forest. While that look may have suited me at thirteen, my post-thirty self tries to avoid the aging sprite aesthetic as much as possible. A length of cotton batiste finished the eyelet’s neckline and all my edges were immediately serged, after cutting, to prevent the fabric coming undone.
These tops have already gotten so much wear, this summer. I love being able to throw them on with jeans and look infinitely more myself than I would with a knit tee or more subdued print. They’re still comfortable and seasonally appropriate, but they’re also gorgeous and special and just generally a blast to wear. Such is the beauty of using really wonderful fabrics, isn’t it?