Pattern Review: Paco Peralta’s Long Sleeve Drape Front Top

When I heard that Paco Peralta had one: started designing patterns again, and two: released a version of his Drape Front Top with long sleeves, I immediately hopped on his Etsy Site and ordered it. The pattern arrived on Friday and yesterday I pulled it out and sewed it up!

Pattern Description: (From Paco’s Etsy Store) With or without sleeves blouse with draped front; it can be made of silk or similar fabrics, includes stretch fabrics (knits). Te pattern is simple and easy to sew. It consists of five pieces: lower front, upper draped front, back, back neckline facing and sleeve. Sleeveless version: The armholes are finished with bias striips of self fabric (pattern not included), or using a special purpose hemming technique for stretchy fabric (if using knits). Blouse with sleeves: ONLY FOR KNITS. The pattern is drafted in three alternating sizes: Small, Medium, Large and X-Large (Bust 31,5, 34,5 37,5, and 40,5 inch.). A smaller or larger size can easily be obtained using the pattern master lines for grading. The pattern is hand copied from the original and the designer labels is provided, granting this pattern with “exclusive model” status.

I’ll also add that the design is a dropped-shoulder.

Sizing: S-XL. I made a medium.

Available as a PDF? No

Fabric Used: Chi Chi Chevrons ITY Jersey – Multi from Gorgeous Fabrics.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff home sewing machine, Juki home serger, Naomi the Naomoto iron, shoulder stand, sleeve board.

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 75/11 needle, Gutterman thread and Maxi-Lock thread in the serger, Superior Threads Sew Fine #50 thread for hemming.

Tips Used during Construction: Anything by The Pressinatrix, Tips and Tricks for Sewing with Knits, How to “Flat Set” a Sleeve.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

How were the instructions? There are none included with this pattern, but the pattern is beautifully drafted and sews together readily if you have any experience. Also, there’s some great information on its construction out there from other bloggers, including this one from Core Couture.

Construction Notes: I used the Pfaff set on straight stitch (2.5mm) for the shoulders and back neck facing. I used the serger for all major seams, and I used the Pfaff to hem it with a 1.0mm wide by 3.0mm long zigzag stitch. I staystitched the front piece at the pivot point to reinforce it.

Wow, it’s kind of hard to see the stitching line with this busy print.

I used a 5/8 inch narrow hem at the bottom of the garment, rather than the two inch hem on the pattern. I like a little extra length. Also, for those who love cowl necks but are concerned about modesty (as one reader pointed out in my Review of McCalls 6963), this top is a great option. And the fact that the cowl neckline is an insert makes it easier to revise the depth of the cowl if you wish. But I don’t think most people will need to do that with this top.

One note is that on me, the shoulders are slightly wide. I think when I make it next I’ll start with a size small at the shoulders and taper out to a medium.

Likes/Dislikes: I love that the pattern is hand drafted and marked. I love that the cowl isn’t so deep that I need to worry about when I bend over. And I really love that Paco is back at designing again!!!

There’s nothing I dislike about it.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes. This is a great pattern that will be a staple in my wardrobe. I’ll probably make a few short sleeved versions for summer. Here’s the top on Shelley


and Back

Conclusion: Great pattern, wonderful designer, good friend. Welcome back, Paco!

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review: Paco Peralta’s Apron Skirt

What happens when the boss lady comes down with the galloping crud and goes to work hacking up a lung? Let me tell you. The elves get all “go home and rest, we can take care of everything here.” So I did. Alas, thanks to the miracle of modern cold meds, I wasn’t able to get any real sleep today, but this afternoon I did feel well enough to put on music and finish my Paco Peralta skirt, so here you go!

Pattern Description: (From Paco’s Etsy shop) Very easy APRON Skirt sewing pattern for regular sizes. Fitted, lined, slightly tapered skirt, below knee. Has raised slightly waistband with self facing. Back longitudinals princess seams, without side seams, and center back zipper. Back slit. Finished fack from waist length: 62 cm. (approx 24,5 inches).

Sizing: S-M-L. I made a slightly smallish medium

Fabric Used: Stretch Double Faced Wool Crepe, the same fabric that I used for my Marcy Tilton Vogue pattern. For the lining I used a (sold out) rose print silk crepe de chine from Gorgeous Fabrics.

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 65/9 needle, Metrosene thread, invisible zipper, handsewing needle, beeswax.

Tips Used during Construction: Sew From Wide to Narrow, Press that Bad Mamma Jamma, Wonderful Woolens.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

How were the instructions? There aren’t any, but this pattern is beautifully drafted, and it goes together without a hitch. Also, if you need help with it, Paco has lots of information and tutorials On His Blog.

Construction Notes: Because of the nature of the double cloth. I decided to do a few things differently. The fabric doesn’t ravel, so I thought it would be kind of fun to do some interesting seaming and let the fabric take the driver’s seat. I decided to use one color for the front apron/center back pieces and the other for the side and lower front pieces. I mocked up the skirt and put the front on Shelley to give me a feeling for how it would look on the body.

Blue with black surround/sides?

Or black with blue surround/sides… Much better!

After making the big decision, I decided to overlap the seamlines on the apron and the sides as well as on the back and back sides, and use a zigzag edge stitch to attach them. I did this for two reasons: one, it’s kind of a cool idea, and highlights the double-sided nature of the fabric. Second, the fabric is slightly stiff, and this eliminates bulk, especially in the rounded corners of the apron. I mirrored that method on the back/side-back pieces as well. To do it, I machine basted right along the seamline of all the pieces. I trimmed the seam allowance off the apron and the sides of the back pieces (not the CB seam). Then I carefully laid the apron over the side seams, matching up the seamlines, and I used a zigzag stitch all the way around. I did the same on the back.

Seam on the side/front piece

Hint: use a rotary cutter for best results. No jagged edges!

I made the side seams normally, and my ham and clapper got a good workout thanks to this fabric.
One mississippi, two mississippi....

The pattern calls for a self facing. Again, due to the inherent stiffness of the fabric I opted to cut down the facing and raise the waistline of the lining, eliminating bulk. I understitched the the waistline seam so it would roll nicely toward the lining. I also did a mitered hem at the vent opening. I slipstitched the zipper to the back side of the fabric, to keep it flat, then I finished the lining and hemmed the entire skirt, pressed it et voila! A Gorgeous (if I may say so) Paco Peralta design! I still want to put a hook and eye at the very top, but I’ll do that tomorrow. Here’s a picture of the front:
I'm a little wider than Shelley, so you see more of the blue on me.

And of the back:

Likes/Dislikes: This is a great pattern. It hugs the body beautifully, and the seaming details make it so flattering! I can’t wait to wear it. Hopefully I’ll feel better tomorrow and will be able to wear it to the office or out with DH.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes! I want to try this again in a “regular” fabric. It goes together beautifully and it looks fantastic on. Bravo, Paco!

Conclusion: This is about the only way you’ll ever see me in an apron. 😉
Here’s a picture styled on Shelley with my Marcy Tilton Jacket, my Kwik Sew Turtleneck and the fierce boots DH gave me for Christmas. I’m not posing for pictures until I get over this bug and no longer look like death warmed over.

Until then, happy sewing!

Wherein Colds are Suffered and Paco Takes a Back Seat

The title pretty much says it all.

It’s cold and flu season in Boston right now, and it’s a doozy. Both my sons have the galloping crud that’s been making the rounds at the high school. I had hoped beyond reason that I would get away unscathed. Alas, that was not to be. I have two words for you. Alka Seltzer Plus. Okay, three words.

Anyway, between feeling kind of crappy, I have made some progress on the Paco Peralta Apron Skirt. On the good advice of sewing friends, I haven’t done anything that requires much thought, but I did make the lining. I used some (sold out, sorry) rose print silk crepe de chine from Gorgeous Fabrics. The lining is pretty straightforward with darts in the front and princess lines in the back. Here’s the lining as it stands right now:

I do love a silk lining, don’t you?

I’ll post more as I am able. Hopefully I’ll get over this bug soon. Stay well, and

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review – Paco Peralta Draped Top

Subtitle: Paco Peralta – Patterns for the Sophisticated Woman

Pattern Description: From Paco’s Etsy store: Sleeveless blouse with draped front; it can be made of silk or similar fabrics, including stretch fabrics (knits). The pattern is simple and easy to sew. it consists of four pieces: lower front, upper draped front, back and back neckline facing. The armholes are finished with bias strips of self-fabric (pattern not included) or using a special purpose hemming technique for stretchy fabrics (if using knits). The pattern is drafted in three alternating sizes: Small, Medium, Large and X-Large (Bust 31,5, 34,5 37,5, and 40,5 inch.). A smaller or larger size can easily be obtained using the pattern master lines for grading. The pattern is hand copied from the original and the designer labes is provided, granting this pattern with “exclusive model” status.

Sizing: S-XL. I mad a Medium.

Fabric Used: Wide Silk Jersey in Merlot, from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course). Alas, it is long since sold out.

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 70/10 needle, Metrosene thread, Pro-Tricot interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply (the best interfacing out there, IMO)

Tips Used during Construction: Press that Bad Mamma Jamma, Sewing With Knits

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

How were the instructions? There aren’t any included, but this pattern goes together beautifully, so I didn’t need any. Also, Paco has lots of information on how to make this pattern Here On His Blog.

Construction Notes: I made two muslins of this top and determined the size I want (Medium). While the second muslin looks good on, it needed an FBA to really fit the way I wanted it to and eliminate the shelf effect at the bust. A couple of folks asked how I did that. Well – it’s kind of a cheat, forgive me Paco!
I simply adjusted the lines of the drape to give myself a little extra room. Here you can see the resulting pattern piece:

It’s not the most elegant solution, but it fits well and works for me. As an aside, I once took a class with Jim Blinn, a computer graphics god from Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and when some snot-nosed kid tried to lecture him on using a more elegant solution to a technical problem, he replied, “Oh, I don’t know. Brute force is a wonderful methodology.” All of us in the class applauded, and I adopted that mantra as a way of life.

Other than that, I changed the hemline, which is 2 inches in the original pattern, to a 1/2 inch narrow hem. I used facings to finish the armholes and I hand hemmed everything.

Likes/Dislikes: I love this pattern! It’s comfortable, flattering and beautifully drafted. Phyllis saw the size medium muslin on me last week, and she can vouch for how well the pattern is drafted.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I am going to make it again and I highly recommend it! I love Paco’s patterns because they are made for women who want to look like grown women, not like little girls. I can’t wait to make more of them!

Conclusion: A great pattern that is going to become a staple in my wardrobe.


And here are pictures of it with The Pencil SkirtI made.

With the top tucked into the skirt

And untucked. I think this would look nice with a narrow belt.

Next up: Phyllis is coming up and we’re going to try to finish our dress form doubles.
Happy sewing!

Paco Peralta Drape Front Top v.2 – Medium is Much Better

I did one more muslin of Paco’s Drape Front Top, this time in a size medium. Much better. I can’t take a self portrait to save my life, but this gives you an idea.

Some people are great at taking self portraits. I’m not one of them.

The wrinkles on the torso and waist aren’t there when I’m not futzing with the camera. The only thing I think I need is a FBA. You can see there’s a little bit of a shelf right at the bust point. This is still good enough that I’ll hem it and finish the sleeves and wear it. But for the silk, I want it to be just a bit more perfect.

This is a great design. I’m tempted to do a blog post titled “Paco Peralta, the Anti-Twee-as-F*** Pattern Designer” (thank you for that, Tom & Lorenzo). But I think I’ll just call it “Paco Peralta, Patterns for Sophisticated Ladies” or something like that. But first, I gotta finish the silk version. More later…

Happy sewing!

Muslin of the Paco Peralta Drape-Front Top

One fabulous pattern!

I just did a quick and dirty muslin of Paco Peralta’s Drape Front Top. This is kind of a non-review, but let me tell you – it’s beautifully drafted and sews together like a dream! Based on my bust measurement, I cut a large. It’s too big, which I suspected it might be. I’m on the low end of the bust range for the size large. I didn’t do a flat pattern measurement because, well, I was doing a muslin. I think I’ll finish this and give it to my sister. This is a fabulous pattern. I’ll run it up one more time in a medium and then make the silk jersey version. It took me all of two hours from start to finish. Paco has a tutorial on how to make it on his blog, I believe. But honestly I didn’t need the instructions, because this pattern practically falls together. Here’s a picture on Shelley:

Need to go down a size, but this is a great pattern!

More later – happy sewing!

Still Lurking About

I haven’t completely fallen off the face of the earth project-wise, but I have been diverted. I’m about 2/3 of the way through my Paco Peralta Chaqueta. I ended up putting it down during the holidays. When I got back to it, I wasn’t thinking and I ended up constructing it in a weird order, so now I need to work out a new way of putting the lining to the shell, which has slowed me down. But each and every seam is beautifully pressed!

Oh yes, and I’ve been working kinda crazy hours, which has cut into my sewing time. Have you checked out all the new fabrics over at Gorgeous Fabrics? I’m having a ball putting them up, and I have truckloads more to add. With all the new patterns coming out from McCalls, Vogue, Simplicity et al, I’ve spent tons of time sifting through them and picking ones that will show off the new fabrics best! It’s a blast, but it does chew up a fair amount of time. Ah well, the sacrifices we must make, right?

Speaking of Gorgeous Fabrics…

Peeps Alert! You know what to do. Get your bad self over there and see what’s up. And if you’re not a FB Peep, you’re missing out.

Happy sewing!

Progress is Being Made, and a Little Contest!

I haven’t completely dropped off the face of the earth. Just mostly. Like, “They mostly come out at night. Mostly.”

Okay, free Donna Karan Vogue 1129 pattern to the first person in the comments who identifies the source of that quote. I’ll let you know after the first of the year who wins!

So, I am making progress, just slower than I would like. It’s been that kind of a week, with DS the elder in Swim Team and needing rides every day. Then let’s see, there’s the whole Christmas thing. And my niece is flying in for the week tonight! I can’t wait to see her. And oh yes, there’s a sale going on. And I’m getting ready to paint the house next week which means trying to prep the house without disrupting the Christmas decorations. Gee, why haven’t I made more progress?

I’m toying with the idea of the 12 jackets/12 months thing that is going around. I haven’t decided. 12 jackets is a lot. Not that I couldn’t do it; I love jackets and I have to finish both Paco’s and my Chanel, which would give me two right out of the gate. But I already have a ton of jackets and coats. I’m not sure I want twelve more.

Anyway, I’m tired and rambling. I’ve got all the main pattern pieces cut, and I’ve cut all of the underlining silk organza. I still need to cut the lining, but I hope to do that tomorrow. Several people have asked me about lowering the bust point on this jacket. Here’s an illustration of how I did it. I didn’t need to do a FBA – there’s plenty of room in the design.
Lowering the Bust Point

The red line is the new cutting line. The original is the faint black line behind it.
Once it’s all cut, it really won’t take long to sew. I probably won’t finish it until after the new year. But I haven’t completely stopped!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas if you celebrate it, and a Happy Holiday season regardless. I’ll blog when I can over the next week but I’m not sure how often that will be. I’ll post updates as I can!

Happy sewing!

Paco Peralta Muslin is Done!

Miss me? I’ve missed you!

Seriously – I have. I’ve been trying to keep up with: work, life, kids, home, marriage, Christmas shopping, and everything else. So guess what hasn’t been getting much attention? My Paco chaqueta. But I have managed to sneak some quality time in with it over the last week, in 15-minute increments. I needed to do some adjusting to the muslin. It fit well in front, but the back had some issues. I don’t have pictures of the original muslin right now. But there were two folds that started beneath the shoulder blades and formed an inverted triangle at the center back. I’ll get DH to take a picture of the first muslin at some point so you can see what I mean.

After thinking about the cause, I determined that it’s a slight swayback adjustment. I don’t have the classic swayback/booty, but I do have a bit of an arched back. It shows up in princess line garments that I make, and I think that’s what was showing here. One way to fix it is to add back darts, but that would defeat the beauty of this design. Instead, I adjusted the pattern to remove the excess fabric. To do so I slashed the pattern and overlapped a half inch on either side of the center back at the upper back seamline:

Overlapped 1/2 inch at the seamline

I slashed the lower back piece and overlapped the top seam to match, spreading out at the bottom so it fits over my hips.

Adjustments to the lower back pattern piece

This creates the same effect as a dart without interfering with the line of the seam.

I also lowered the bust point in front. It makes the seamline fall in a more flattering place for me. I trued-up the CF and the grainlines before cutting.

Added to the bust in front

Much better! Here’s the muslin on Shelley:

Adjusted Pattern Front

And here is the back

Now I can cut into the fabric. Yay!

More soon!