New Look 6945 Button Up Top Muslin (pattern review)

New Look 69 45 Sewing Pattern. Lined button up blouse with sleeves or sleeveless.
New Look 69 45 Sewing Pattern. Lined button up blouse with sleeves or sleeveless.
New Look 6945 is a lined button up blouse sewing pattern that comes in sleeveless, short sleeved, and three-quarters sleeve options. I bought the pattern because it said “easy”, not because I loved it. The shirt is casual without a lot of separate pieces and topstitching, etc. It is short and hits just below the waist. There are a few pattern reviews online.

The pattern runs big with a large amount of ease and I had to make a lot of alterations to make this wearable (which never happened). There is a large amount of ease in this pattern. It was a huge pouffy sack with a gaping neckline without alterations.

Changes I made:

  • Went down many sizes on the front piece to try to make this awful pattern fit better
  • Removed 1 and a half inches from the upper bodice back. I guess this is a change I may make often in the future…
  • Brought the front shoulder up 1 and a half inches
  • Removed 2 inches from the hipline on the back pattern piece
  • Shortened the bust darts by 2 inches or so
  • A million other changes that didn’t pan out
new look 6945 top front view muslin
I guess the upper chest is too long?? I had to pin up wedges at the sides of the armholes/ armsyes

Overall, this sewing pattern did not fit me in the least. I went down to a size 8 in the front bodice and the shoulder straps were still superrrrr wide! I had to ad over an inch to the shoulders to make the top stay on my body. And since it was also inappropriately low cut I also had to add a ton to the upper chest or else risk being mistaken for a daytime hooker.

I made change after change to try to make this pattern fit me. In the end I had to concede defeat and give up. At least I tried. On to the next failed project!

new look 6945 top side view muslin
New Look 6945… Doesn’t fit, never will
I cut out over an inch from the upper back, and there are wrinkles in the small of the back and below it.
I cut out over an inch from the upper back, and there are wrinkles in the small of the back and below it.

Cut off shorts, instead of nasty, holey jeans

Short shorts are all the rage here in Texas.  Anyone over 28 is scandalized by the tiny things girls wear now.  We know we sound like a bunch of 80-year-olds, but these things are seriously short.

I had a couple of pairs of worn-out jeans, so I figured I could make them into a couple pairs of comfortable, casual shorts, instead of wearing them around my apartment and feeling embarrassed when I go walk the dog or take out the garbage. I have used jeans to line bags instead of canvas, but wanted to go the shorts route this time, since I needed more things to wear in warm weather.

I decided that slightly above mid-thigh would be an acceptable length for me.  Short enough to not look matronly, but not scandalously short.  This length is also short enough to encourage me to make sure I exercise,  so yay healthiness!

cut off shorts
Lay out the shorts so they mimic how they actually fit on your body.

To get this length, I put on the jeans, stood in front of a full-length mirror.  Making sure to allow for a fold-up hem, I marked where I felt I should cut.

Once decided on my length, I laid the jeans out on my cutting mat and got out my rotary cutter.  I made sure to lay them out flat, doing my best to make sure the crotch and inner thigh seam lay flat and to the front, so that the front waistband mimicked how it actually sits on my body.

I didn’t cut straight across, instead I cut at an angle, making the seam of inside thigh about an inch shorter than the outside thigh. To make sure I was cutting at the right  area at the right angle, I put a measuring tape in line with the front waistband and ran it straight down the seam I was cutting.

Cut-off shorts inside seam
Run the measuring tale straight down the seam from the front waistband.

To me, it seems like cutting at an angle his helps my legs look longer, and helps to disguise my chicken legs by making my thigh look smaller. I tried them on to make sure I was happy with the length before doing anything else.

When I knew I was happy with the length, I used my overlock foot to stitch the edges so they wouldn’t unravel.

I wanted the shorts to look nice and neat, so I made a hem by folding up the edges by one inch, ironing, then folding the edge inside the fold and ironing again. Now that I have worn then, I realize ironing was more or less a waste of time unless I am willing to sew a real hem.

Since I made two pairs of shorts, I immediately got an excuse to harp on one of my favorite annoyances- artificial fabric.  One pair of cut-offs is 100% cotton, while the other is 80% cotton and 20% polyester.  Ug, there is such a difference between the two!  The 100% cotton shorts will hold the fold and get a crease with ironing, but the ones with polyester will not.  So annoying, especially because manufactures are adding more polyester to jeans lately.  Do they live in the Arctic? Do they not know what wearing polyester in the summer feels like, and how it makes you smell? Ug. So annoying.

Anyway, my cut-off shorts were a success!  Instead of gross, holey jeans, I have casual shorts that aren’t a complete embarrassment.

Finished cut-off shorts 2
Finished cut-off shorts 1



Maternity T-Shirt Refashion

Project: DIY maternity t-shirt
Cost: Price of shirt + elastic
Supplies: Loose T-shirt, matching thread, 1/4″ knit non-roll elastic

Well world, I am now 22 weeks pregnant (over half way through!) and I am looking starting to show. And by ‘show’ I mean that I look pretty chubby. No cute baby bump for me yet, just bloat. I feel like the only woman in history who has ever felt like this. My weight gain is on track, so what is up? DON’T JUDGE ME!

pregnant belly
Not me

My sewing activities came to an abrupt halt due to 1) exhaustion, and 2) loss of motivation due to said chub. Let me tell you, the sad lack of cute maternity sewing patterns does not help inspire me. Why do they want pregnant women to look so bad? I feel oppressed!

Unfortunately, the few cute pregnancy sewing patterns I have found online are out of stock, and it appears that they will stay out of print for the duration of my pregnancy. Come on, fire up the presses and print up those patterns before an entirely new human being is formed in utero! Megan Nielsen designed some contemporary and flattering maternity patterns, but they are all unavailable on her website (and apparently through resellers too).

The alternatives to new maternity sewing patterns are maternity pattern alterations and maternity refashion sewing projects. Both of these are challenging to me as a novice sewer!

I decided that my first pregnancy sewing project would be a t-shirt refashion. By adding ruching to the sides of a large t-shirt I will add shape and comfort to a boxy, unflattering shirt. The idea for this project came from Homemade by Jill. I found that Sew Like My Mom had a very helpful tutorial. However, it was essential for me to subtract 3 inches from the length of elastic she used in order for me to get a ruching effect. (So, measure 4 inches from the armpit seam and 2.5 inches from the bottom of the shirt, and subtract 3. Cut this amount of elastic, but beware that maybe different kinds of elastic need different adjustments). I would love to try to alter the waist of some jeans some time like she did.

Maternity T-Shirt with side ruching
22 Weeks pregnant and nothing to wear!

I needed more guidance on how to sew ruching with elastic. had a helpful elastic ruching tutorial.As in the tutorials, I decided to sew on the elastic to the sides of the shirt while it is stretched out.  I had some problems getting the shirt/elastic to move through the machine.  I have several unsightly thread balls in the shirt.  They are never coming out.

Sewing the elastic was super annoying.  Ripping it out was worse. If you are not pregnant, you may need a drink afterwards.

Elastic for rouched sides in a maternity t-shirt
1/4″ Inch elastic added to sides for ruching

Verdict:  This project has lots of potential if you have a shirt that is already flattering in the chest and shoulders, and if you know how to sew elastic.  I  used again with a women’s large t-shirt. Once I adjusted the length of the elastic needed, I was pretty happy with the results. I think a cute semi-fitted pregnancy look is the way to go, instead of the circus tent look. I think I might need to look for a longer style shirt in the near future.

I am still wearing my regular jeans thanks to the good old hair tie trick or my Bella Band. The Bella Band is great because it is much more comfortable and it covers up the zipper on your pants so people do not constantly tell you that your zipper is undone.

Luv in the Mommyhood posted a very helpful list of maternity sewing projects that I want to try out!

Cheater’s Guide: Shortening Shoulder Straps on a Dress

shorten shoulder straps on a dress
My first attempt at shortening shoulder straps for a petite fit

Since I am petite, I often find that many clothes don’t quite hang right.  Of course I find that regular-length pants are much too long and always need to be hemmed.  Thankfully I have started to become comfortable with the idea of hemming my own jeans.

On some tops and shirts, the shoulder straps are simply too long.  This means that the cut on the front of a shirt is sometimes much too low. Its not just a matter of too much cleavage- its really a matter of avoiding an unflattering fit. I ran into this problem when trying on a dress for an upcoming wedding.  The dress (Donna Ricco ‘flourishing floral’) fit well everywhere except my chest.  Because the straps were too long, the top portion of the dress just looked weird.

shorten shoulder straps for a petite fit
Shortened Shoulder Straps

I decided to alter the dress myself. But to be honest, the thought of cutting the shoulder straps is too much of a commitment for my novice sewing skills.  I was afraid of ruining the dress just through my inexperience.  I decided to alter the shoulder straps in a way that would at least be salvageable if I made a terrible mistake.

So instead of cutting and resewing the shoulder straps, I simply pinned the center of the straps right side together and baste stitched it in about half an inch, resulting in shoulder straps that were shortened by about an inch or so each.

shorten shoulder straps for a petite fit
Shoulder Straps Altered for a Petite Fit

There is an extra flap of strap fabric inside of the dress on my shoulders, but it lies securely flat when I am wearing the dress. I used baste stitches so I could check to make sure that the altered length of the straps would be okay. Once I tried the dress on to make sure that it fit better, I stitched the length permanently.  Since the dress is a satin polyester, I used a thinner needle than for my regular cotton sewing projects.

I bet that any experienced sewer would be horrified at my shoddy workmanship.  But the dress fits better and I feel good knowing that once I am a more experienced sewer I can fix it permanently, and actually alter it the right way.

Of course, eventually I will need a better way to alter shoulder straps. This complete guide to altering ready to wear clothes by Craftsy shows how to get professional quality results when you want to shorten a shoulder strap, even if the dress or top has a lining.

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