Vanessa Bell Smock

comments: 36

Shirt2 First, I needed the right shirt to wear while sewing. This is a rough draft. It looks a bit maternity. But I was going for Bloomsbury Artist at Charleston, in fact. Like this, but not for $68. I just took a t-shirt and cut off the front part below some random line I drew. Then I hemmed a piece of knit fabric an inch longer than the piece I cut off (to account for the hem and the seam allowances), then gathered it across the top, and attached it. I cut that front piece inside the seams (and kept the original side seams) and then just attached my new piece up the side. I think it's kinda cute, and it was easy.

If I do it again, I'll cut it so the yoke is much higher. As it was I was trying to go under the sleeves. But I think it would look better if the yoke was shorter (higher), and I cut some room for the bottom half of the armhole out of my new fabric. (Or maybe if the gathers stayed more toward the center than the sides.) I think I would keep the whole sleeve intact and just top-stitch my new fabric around the armhole, so all the original t-shirt seam is there. If that makes no sense, just ignore me. I can see it, I just can't write it. Hopefully I can sew it. Then I'll just show it.

Thank you for all the embroidery-transfer talk yesterday. Here are some comments with further ideas you might want to know about (hope you guys don't mind that I pulled these up):

I have a good tip for a makeshift lightbox if people don't have one. It's much less expensive and works pretty well. Just take one of those florescent light strips that plug in (you can get them at Lowe's or Home Depot or where ever) and upturn a clear, shallow plastic tote over it. Put your items to be traced on top and voila! Lightbox!

And you forgot to mention my type of light box. Everyone has one, so it's free! I tape my pattern to a window on a sunny day, then gently tape my fabric to the window on top of that. I'm not much of one for fancy gadgets, so I just use a simple very sharp No. 2 pencil and trace the pattern. Works perfectly every time and doesn't cost me a cent — well, maybe a little time to wipe the smudges off the window when I'm done!

I hate, hate, hate transferring an embroidery pattern! Something I do that I find SO HELPFUL is to iron on some freezer paper (shiny side down) to the back of your fabric for stability. Then I tape (with blue painters tape) the pattern to the freezer paper. It makes tracing SO much easier. I also use a brown Micron pen (the finest point) to draw with. I've run into some disappearing pens that didn't disappear. Plus they draw "fat". I have a friend who swears by Jelly Rolls pens for the tracing. I'm going to try it the next time I transfer a pattern.

My marker is white with pink caps, and it says "Disappearing Ink" on one side and "Mark-B-Gone" on the other side — one side disappears with time (supposedly) and one disappears after washing (supposedly). I don't know who makes it, but it's probably Dritz. But I like that idea of the Micron pen. Gotta get one of those. Thanks, you guys. Those are great suggestions.

Also, Auds has been walking around here with a (regular) pencil and a tiny clipboard, getting my family and friends to sign some little "petition." I don't know what it says because she's not speaking to me, but I'm guessing it has to do with being replaced by a jelly roll. I think she snuck in and read yesterday's comments when I was at the store and felt she had a good shot at staging a protest. I think I'll have to give that good girl her own category when I redo all these. Bloglines peeps, I'm just warning you — that day is coming soon. I can't find anything around here myself. And this dog, she's very persuasive (as you know).


I just had to comment to this one, partly to tell you how inspired I get by reading your blog and partly to point something out on your top. It does look as though the gathers are drawn only in the center, putting the fullness there and allowing the stretch knit to conform to your curves. Another thing you might try is to pull your cutting line up in a curve over the bust rather than almost straight across. Good luck!

um, a sewing uniform? i'm going to start feeling undressed in my normal clothes.

I love the Bloomsbury aesthetic! I love the business of having art as a part of your daily life, be it in the painted fireplace, the painted dishes, the hand-hooked rug, whatever. I love seeing that something was handmade, and if your room isn't to your taste, why not personalize it?

I look forward to reading the Audrey blog :)

Amy in Tillamook says: February 23, 2007 at 09:58 AM

very, very cute shirt! well done, well done.

I went to the embroidery website yesterday and order lots of fun stuff to keep my hands occupied. Thanks for the link!

I think this top just needs a lower neckline, more of a scoop. It could be cute!

That shirt is super cute! I'd make the yoke shorter too...and can't wait to try one of these myself.

Ahh yes, I've made that kind of shirt, also a dress version, years ago. Everything old is new again I guess if you live long enough! I think anything that gathers above the bustline is going to have that maternity smock look unless you're a waif with no bustline! Cute though, love your fabrics.

Audrey most definitely needs her own category at the very least! signing petition As one who is currently in maternity 'fashion' at the moment, I second the notion of putting your gathers below the bustline to avoid the "how many more weeks is it, dear?" look. Your gathered area would hang flat that way and look fantastic!

Audrey Sweetie will a pawprint from me on your petition help?

Crockett (your not so secret admirer)

Long time reader, first time commenter. :)

I think the big thing to consider with a pattern like this is fabric. It really craves a thin knit or jersey ... something slinkier with a little flow. I think Jennie's suggestion of a deeper neckline is good, too. I don't think I could ever carry this off, though. I'm a little too, uh, well-endowed!

It's interesting that you intend to wear this while sewing because I always try to wear more form-fitting clothes when I sew. I learned this from the time I accidentally sewed my own shirttail into a skirt hem! ;)

I love the shirt! Thanks for posting how you did it. I have next-to-nil sewing skills but it's something for me to think about in the future.

Yes I to love the shirt. I especially love dear Audrey & feel she deserves a category all to her sweet self!

with all this preparation for sewing, i'm really excited to see what you're going to be making. yes, i know the shirt counts as sewing, but since you wrote that you made the shirt in order to sew, i'm not really counting it. :)

the embroidery banner is adorable, but it's not in the same universe as audrey. if i could, i would sign her petition. maybe you could just tell her to put down my name...

I LOVE your pink shirt!

I LOVE your pink shirt! That material is so Gorgeous! where did you get it, is it vintage?

I just discovered your blog and site recently after seeing you in romantic homes, myself and two other friends are big fans, we love your decorating and creations and you seem like such a great person!
You have inspired me to do so much in my decorating, and other crafts! I am even going to try more sewing!
I reallllly think you should make a decorating book featuring your house and stuff, and your creations too, I would buy it in a second!!!! I am serious, I think it would sell like hotcakes!

Thanks Alicia for your inspiration! :O)

that's a fantastic idea for repurposing a shirt. especially if a pretty one has stains on the lower half! it seems like it would be easy, too.

Audrey tell your Mom to talk to the paw. You need your own lifesize poster for her to use when she wants to wake you. 18 to 20 hours of beauty sleep is very important to a cutie of your caliber.

Super cute! I think you ought to add a little simple appliqué something to break up some of the pink.

I love that print!

I love the new banner, but have to sit on the fence about whether its better than the last one, as Audrey just melts my heart! Great embroidery, and I have developed a slight love/hate relationship for you after the ripple stitch blanket post.. its on my mind to start one night and day, day and night. I need one. Now.

Love the shirt, and as usual, I am inspired to go off and create something!! I just bought a copy of Romantic Homes, and love, love, love your home and ideas. How you do it all, I'll never know....but you are definitely an inspiration!!

As cute as Audrey is, I love the new banner! I have been a long time lurker here and my New Year's resolution is to get involved in this blogging community-it only took me until the end of February to post a comment! Anyway, the new banner is much more fitting to this wonderfully rosy site!

Vanessa Bell. I saw this and immediately thought of how she painted everything in her room, from her chimeny to her bathtub...Then, I realized...It is clothing we are talking about!!! What a lovely shirt. I love maternity looking clothing. I think it is cute. Although, yours doen't look thhaaat maternity. Thanks for the tips...

Is Audrey the only one miffed or are the cats on strike also? After all, they make it in far less than dear Auds!
Love Bloomsbury - do you have the book Bloomsbury at Home by Pamela Todd? Lots of nice photos and color pix of the art. Also of the same vintage, The Sitwells, put out by the Univ. of Texas Press, is really good to look at.
Happy sewing in your cute new shirt!

~ I'm sorry... it was me...I encouraged poor audrey to stand up for herself just a bit.... I mean~ psst..plllleeeaaassseee~ a jellyroll replacement... she wasn't even downsized into a cameo roll the poor little dear... her playbill was just ripped down.. and right in her prime!
Lea( proud card carrying member of the I Love Audrey fan club

That shirt is sew cute! Your instructions made my head spin, but I've been known to sew things together backwards many times. I must like the seam ripper or something.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.