Friday, June 7, 2019

Harmonious Upcycling

This week I followed up my recent pattern tracing marathon with a bit of pattern cutting! I cut out three tops, and spent this week working on this one, the Harmony Blouse from Love Notions. 

This was a particularly thrifty sew; I am on the Love Notions fb page and watch for her weekly sales. A few weeks ago this blouse was on sale for $5, and since I've made & loved the Love Notions Margot Peplum top, I thought I'd give this one a go as well.

It's also a thrifty make because I used a thrift store April Cornell dress as my source material. I picked up this large and outdated style of dress over a year ago just because the fabric was so beautiful, and have been trying to find the perfect pattern for it. This top was just the right shape to take advantage of the dress fabric.

I started by cutting the skirt off just under the funny wiggly waistline, then cut the seams out so I had two rather trapezoidal chunks of fabric. I cut front and back from these pieces. Then I used the bodice pieces to cut the cap sleeve option. I could have used the short sleeve option (slightly longer) but there were double darts in the bodice, front and back, that I would have had in the sleeve hems so opted for the shorter length to make it easier.

I was even able to reuse the button back closure from the original dress as my new button back closure. I just picked out the stitches for the loop and button, and reattached them to my new top! I also used a 50¢ vintage packet of cream coloured nylon bias tape to finish the neckline. It's very lightweight and slightly silky, and worked perfectly.

Pattern alterations:

As for the pattern itself, I love it. It fits beautifully. I fall between the Med & Large on these patterns, so I traced it off between those lines at the neck to just below the bust where I graded out the large pattern line. I also traced a halfway line between M/L for the sleeves. It fits just right.

A touch windy here, thus the wrinkly bits - it does fall nicely in back usually!
Next time I'll take a touch out horizontally at the level of the back slit; I always seem to get a little bubble of excess on this style of top right at the upper back, which I'd forgotten from the last time I made something similar. And I'll probably make the back swoop a little less prominent; hi-lo isn't my favourite look and I didn't realize it would be quite so different -- perhaps I made a little boo boo while tracing, or it's just my shape. In any case, I will retrace the back bottom to be a much shallower curve next time around.

I really enjoyed the challenge of making this and it's been a comfy wear so far today! I recommend getting on to the mailing lists and/or FB pages of designers you like and waiting for sales or promotions, if you need to save money while sewing. It's a way to stretch the sewing budget. I also check thrift stores for fabric and reusable clothing often, and note when thrift stores are having sales or if there is a special senior's discount day we can take advantage of, or other options like that. It keeps me sewing and keeps my budget in line.


  1. Looks very good! I’ve been thinking of making a Harmony blouse too.

    1. I really like the fit. I'm definitely going to try making it from another fabric as well.

  2. Hi Melanie,
    I love what you achieved with this dress. It is so satisfying to be able to make something great that you will wear from something you won't. What are your plans for the left over fabric, or is that pushing it a bit far?
    Like you say, the hi/low ratio is quite marked when you stand side on, and I too would probably shorten the back slightly 'next time', but that is only because that is what I am comfortable wearing. It looks lovely on you.

    1. Haha, the left over fabric? I'm not sure but I have enough from the sleeves to line a little bag or something like that. I will keep the left over bits in my scrap pile until I come up with an idea!

      I wonder if I stretched this fabric out a little with handling. I'm going to unpick the back hem and make the curve a bit gentler so that I will wear this more often. I love the fit otherwise.


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