Project Sewn Sew-Along–Week One: Fashion Icon

I’m not uber-fashionable, and not really aware, you might say, of fashion in general. So imagine my surprise when I realized that I actually knew almost precisely what (who) I wanted to use as inspiration for this first weekly challenge.

No, really. Imagine it. Are you picturing this?

Da Wheepet

Then good. That’s pretty much it.


Source, yo

This is Emma Pillsbury. You probably already know this, because you watch Glee and/or haven’t somehow avoided any and all mention of Glee-type talk for the past, umm, I guess around 3ish years? The closest I’ve ever come to seeing Glee–even once–was that episode of The Office where they all go to Gabe’s house for a Glee-watching party.

BUT! I recently discovered Emma Pillsbury via both Gertie and Meg the Grand (I know, I know, these posts are from 2010. I’m reading my backlog, guys, give me time!), and ever since then, I’ve been inspired to wear brooches and cardigans. Seriously, why do you have to have a Master’s degree to be a freakin’ librarian, guys?! I love the look, I love books, and (some) kids (kinda), so why can’t I just go be a librarian? Oh well. ANYWAY.

Emma’s wardrobe (from what I’ve seen on the internet, anyway) seems to consist entirely of : cardigans; pencil skirts; woven blouses (as opposed to knit); bows; collars; crazy bangs; and brooches. Is it any wonder everyone loves her style?

Working with what I had as far as fabrics and patterns, I came up with the following interpretation:

Cardigan–Sewaholic Renfrew, modded to add button bands* to the front, and to change up the hem and neck bands, to accomodate the opening in the front. I reinforced the button bands by lining twill tape up with the raw edge, sewing it, then serging them together, and then folded it under so that the fabric encased it. These reinforced spots were the BEST to sew over! I was SO sick of this fabric before I was done with it, because it’s slinky and my machine just ate it up like you wouldn’t believe, but GAWD those button bands were the shizz.

*Button bands are still buttonless, though. I have a freakin ton of buttons, and yet none of them worked for this cardigan. Oh noes, I has to go buy new buttons…ha!

EP 19-A EP 19-B

Fabric was a purple, slinky, “travel knit”, which I’m pretty sure means polyester, but I ain’t complaining! One note about this: Emma favors pastels for a very pretty-preppy sort of look. While I admire her look, no way can I rock pastels, so I opted for a more jewel-toned. It’s inspired by, not ripped off, youse guyses.

Pencil Skirt–By Hand London Charlotte Skirt; nothing uber special about this, as I’ve made it before. Stuck with the pattern, except for adding a(n AWESOME) lining.

EP 20-A  EP 20-B

Both fabrics are poly, bought from Joann forever ago. The lining and the shell were joined at the center back and serged, before I inserted my invisible zip and sewed the seam up. I used a lace hem tape for the hem, and handstitched it to the lining, so it’d be invisible. I was REALLY surprised to discover that I really enjoy handstitching, and actually have the patience (sorta) for it. Who knew?

Blouse–Sewaholic Alma, modded the peter pan collar to have a bow, a la New Look 6808. I wanted to use NL6808 for this, but the small, fancy sewing boutique that I was shopping at (Walmart) didn’t have it in stock, so I stuck with what I had. The Sewaholic Alma, modded to add 2 inches of length, has become one of my favorite patterns. I had 4 of them already, so I know it works for me. I’m totally guessing at the collar and bow thingy, though. I had no idea what I was doing, I just started playing with tape and markers and scissors, and this is what I ended up with. The Tommyknockers must’ve done the rest.

EP 21-A EP 21-D

I read that when drafting a collar, the undercollar needs to be 1/8″ smaller than the top part, so I traced off the pattern pieces I came up with, and then used my ruler to cut off 1/8″ around the curved areas. Eh, I guess it turned out okay, but my bow might be too inconspicuous…hmm.

EP 21-B EP 21-C

The fabric for this was bought at Hobby Lobby. I guessed at how much I needed, and was WAY off. Actually, every single thing I made this weekend had leftover fabric. I’m really bad at guessing lengths, distances, heights, that sorta thing. I have an A.S. in mathematics, and I sew, but I could NOT tell you how big an inch is without using a ruler, and I use my machine’s throat plate to tell me where 5/8″ is. For the hem, I serged the bottom, and folded up twice, so I have no idea how much was actually hemmed up, but the fold line was nice and even all the way around, since the serging is magic and uniform in width.

EP 21-E

Added my favoritestest brooch:

EP 22

(thanks, Goodwill!), and here’s the finished look!

EP 03 EP 04

EP 13 EP 14

Couple of full disclosure points:

-I tried REALLY hard to have swoopy-outy bangs, but a) I have some angled layers in the front that are too long to act as bangs, and b) they curled too much around, making spirals instead of swoops, and then promptly fell out. EFF.

-Emma loves chunky necklaces. I do not own chunky necklaces. As a matter of fact, I own a single necklace chain, and three different pendants for that chain which I swap out. Oh well.

-Emma’s brooches all seem more floral than anything, and while I do own a single floral brooch, it’s black. The spider is my favoritest by far, though, so I chose to wear him. Some people like flowers, and some people like little murderer-bugs that kill other bugs. #teamspider

It was a lot of fun to throw my hat in the ring for this challenge, since I’ve really enjoyed reading along with Project Sewn in the past. This is the first time I’ve dared to try to sew along, though. It’s sort of fun having deadlines that aren’t just arbitrarily self-imposed (oh, I should finish this project in time for this office party, that sorta thing), but I definitely had to hustle to meet them! I had a cutting marathon on Saturday (Feb 1st), where I cut out all my fabric for the Charlotte skirt (and lining, UGH, slippery fabric SUCKS to cut), the fabric for my Alma (interfacing was cut out on Sunday), the Renfrew cardigan, plus a new New Look 6000 that I plan to use for next week’s challenge. I also dyed some fabric in the washing machine, and it seems to’ve come out okay, but I haven’t cut it, yet.

Then I declared Sunday, Feb 2nd, to be SuperSew Sunday (because we aren’t a very footbally household). That got cut short, though, as we had been invited to The Boy’s boss’s superbowl party; we decided to swing by there, make an appearance, and then gtfo. So probably two hours, at most.

NOPE. It turned out to be a blast, meeting all these cool people I’ve heard stories about from The Boy, laughing at the game (seriously, did someone drug the Broncos that morning or something?), eating good BBQ and just generally having a good time. Our two-hour appearance turned into a five-and-a-half hour appearance, so I really didn’t get much sewing done for the rest of SuperSew Sunday.

Oh woe is me, I had such a good time being social that I wasn’t able to sew, ha!

EP 09 EP 10

EP 01


About Kristi

My theme song is *crickets*.
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8 Responses to Project Sewn Sew-Along–Week One: Fashion Icon

  1. oonaballoona says:


    i love your prints & inspiration! and the superbowl party sounds kind of like what emma would do.

    • kristiellkay says:

      Thank you so much, Oona! To say you love my prints, well…*swoon*! ‘Scuse me while I borrow your rooftop for a moment: OONA-THE-QUEEN-OF-COLOR-AND-PRINTS LIKES MY PRINTS, GUYS!

      I admit I have no idea about what Emma would do, though; I still have never seen an episode of Glee haha!

  2. Laura says:

    Hey! Thanks so much for the encouragement- after seeing your amazing skirt, with fun lining- I hit the sewing machine again! lol

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