Quick Projects

side by side Collage

It was Canadian Thanksgiving this past weekend, and I felt like some simple sewing. On a whim, I bought the Jalie dolman top pattern, which I’ve been eyeing for a year… and once that was done, I finally finished up a UFO from the summer! Both are kimono/dolman type sleeves, monochromatic, and abstract geometric prints, so they seem destined to be blogged together.

First up: The Jalie Dolman top!

Jalie dolman Collage

Dropped shoulders continue to be fashionable, so I thought I’d give them another try. I’ve made 2 Hemlocks before, and found them just too baggy to flatter my shape. I chose this pattern because on the cover, it looks form-fitting. Surprise: It’s not! I had to cut it down twice to get this fit.


My biggest issue with the pattern is how far dropped the shoulder seam is. On the RTW tops I admire, the seam is maybe 2″ off the shoulder…. this one hits right at the fat part of my arm, which I find unflattering. (It hit even lower than this before I took the shirt in!) Happily, this print (leftover from my Appleton dress) totally hides the seam. I’ll try the pattern again, several sizes down, and with a raised shoulder seam. I do like the neckline and the high-low hem.

Next up is a kimono-sleeve dress cut out so long ago, I can’t remember what pattern it is! Maybe a lengthened Maria Denmark kimono tee?

kimono Collage

In truth, this started off as a pyjamas… but when I pulled it out of the UFO pile to finally hem it, I decided it deserved to be a dress! (What’s the difference? Ummm… nothing except where I wear it. This literally is secret pyjamas.)

The fabric is a flowy rayon double knit, from the same line as my pink leopard cowl top last year. It came in some odd prints, to be honest, but once this black/navy/royal blue/white print hit the $5/m section, I decided to give it a ago. Bizarrely, I had a really hard time styling it – what to wear with it? Black? Pink? Yellow, if I owned any yellow… I finally settled on turquoise. (I wore it to work yesterday with all black, which was fine.)


As it happens, I made a really similar dress last fall, which I’ve rarely worn. I’m happy to report that the drape of this dress makes it more wearable then the stiff ponte I used last time!

Now here’s the truth about these pictures – I’d already tried another location, and experimented with using a different lens and a filter, and things had not turned out well. I drove home, swapped to my trusty 50mm lens, and went to the meadow down the street. I was photographing these two garments and another dress, which meant a lot of changing in the car! (Picture me changing between these two outfits while in the driver’s seat, if you will!) Why am I telling you this? Because I took jumping pics to entertain you, but I feel the need to explain that my full-length slip from the dress pictures is wadded into the top of my teal trousers, and I would dearly like to believe my abdomen doesn’t usually look THIS lumpy. (Though all of these pics give me second thought about the fit of these pants in general.) But jumping!!!! For you, dear readers, I share everything.

jumping Collage

Top tip: don’t wear a heavy stone necklace when jumping, because it’ll smack you in the glasses! 

Neither of these garments are terribly exciting, but I’m sure they’ll get worn. I used to make kimono sleeve tops all the time, and then started preferring a more defined shoulder… and now, I guess, I’m back?

How do you feel about dropped shoulders in sewing patterns and RTW? Do they make you feel chic and modern, or like a hunchback? 

34 thoughts on “Quick Projects

  1. Ha! That necklace pic…

    I want so badly to like dropped shoulders. They look so nice and casual and cool on other people, but I find them weird and unflattering on myself for the most part. I think they accentuate my bad posture and thick upper arms…


    1. I really want to like them too – but since we are apparently body doubles, I dislike actually wearing them for all the same reasons!


  2. I think these both look great! As always, I love your choice of prints. 🙂 The dropped shoulder on the top is completely hidden by the print, so try not to worry about it too much. I’m sure no one will notice (I wouldn’t have if you hadn’t pointed it out)!

    I think some people can pull off dropped shoulders really well, but sadly, I’m not one of them. My shoulders are pretty broad, and this style just makes me look like a football player! I tend to pass on most trends and just sew/wear what works for me… one of the many freedoms that sewing gives us!


    1. I like being able to pass on trends… but I also like being able to try them out cheaply to see how I feel! The nice thing about a jersey top is not much time or money goes into it, so I feel free to experiment! 🙂


  3. Both top and dress are lovely on you. The way you styled it with vibrant colours is just wonderful. I also admire your photo technique, which is getting more and more professional in every post. Your look beautiful and so funny on your jumping pics! I can’t help thinking that your pupils must love you (you’re a teacher, n’est-ce pas?).

    As for dropped shoulders, I feel good about this style since my shoulders are quite square and kind of define the loose shape, but only in very soft and fluid fabrics. I’m not found of dropped shoulders in heavy winter coats – definitely not a winning style for me!


    1. Thanks Helene! I”m am indeed a teacher! I have a lot of fun in the classroom, but woe to the kid that breaks the rules – they are going to get the teacher stare! 😉


  4. Again, the Award for Services to Sewing Blogging goes to you for those fantastic photos!! I have just been printing the Hemlock pattern off as I write this. I’m not sure about dropped shoulders. I think they look great in the right fabric and on the right build. I have yet to find the right fabric, and there’s not a lot I can do about my build, but as it’s a free pattern I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt. Reading Northern hemisphere blogs in the tropics is doing weird season things to my sewing choices right now!


    1. You are right – the fabric is so important! I’ve seen realy great hemlocks in tissue knits, light sweater knits, and rayon knits – I made my first one ins a stable jersey, and it was so hideous! Just avoid that, and you’ll be happy! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This print disguised the dolman seam line so well–your fitted version is much better. I’m surprised to hear of Jalie having extra ease–usually their patterns are so true to fit, but then, style does change matters. It’s nice to be able to change it to what you want.

    What pushed me over the edge in wanting to sew for myself are what I’d call unintentional dropped shoulders…RTW tops with far too large necklines and shoulder widths that were continually hanging off me and needing to be readjusted. I shudder at the thought of them, and I can’t see myself ever intentionally choosing a dropped sleeve. They just make my narrow shoulders look more narrow and silly.

    I’m actually trying to figure out how to battle just that problem. With this being my last pregnancy, I don’t want to invest a lot of time or $ making new clothes, so I picked up a few way too large for me tops at the thrift store. Yes, there’s fabric a-plenty, but with the freakishly large on me necklines, I may have to get into some creative cutting and adding of fabric to still be able to fit my shoulders. For all that changes in pregnancy, the width of your shoulders is not one of them. 😉


    1. It’s weird for Jalie to have large sizes, isn’t it? I haven’t lost weight, so i don’t think I used the wrong measurements, though!

      Have you ever tried cutting the top of the armscye seam open, and resetting the sleeve? I”ve tried it with a few things and it helped snug up the shoulders!


  6. You’re so cute! Love your exuberance! I have never thought dropped shoulders were very flattering. I love constructed shoulders, I would have been hot in the 40s! There was a fashion era when I was younger when we were doing big shoulders and it was very flattering to my pear shape.


  7. Kimono/cut-on short sleeves are fine with me because my arm skin shows but I’m not so thrilled for myself with drop-shouldered long sleeves. I have square shoulders and a full bust so I prefer more defined and fitted armholes to eliminate extra volume at a wide part of me.

    I’m enjoying your photo series but truth be told, not so sure I’d be up for changing in the car. (You DO know that you can change in your passenger seat/back seat even if you were the driver? hehehe)

    I’m now in a very bright house and once I actually do sew something again, I’m optimistic even my inside selfies will be improved.


    1. What? I could change in the passenger seat???? 😛 (As it happens, I had my clothes and shoes on teh passenger seat while driving, and the back of my station wagon is full of boxes of teacher stuff I’ve been driving around since September…) Changing in the car is ok as long as you have a slip on – I figure all anyone else can see them is like me wearing a strappy tank top. Or that’s what I tell myself…
      How are things in the new house?


      1. The new house is great! (Thanks for asking.) I’m SO much happier there. It’s much smaller, though, than anywhere I’ve lived since I was about 18 and between that and being OLD, I’m now at a place in my life where it makes sense to downsize somewhat and doing that has been one of the time thiefs in getting completely settled. But I’m almost there. New furniture finally arrived last weekend and now I can unpack the last few boxes (mostly knick-knacky stuff so I’m sure some more will be “downsized”) and hang some pictures on the wall. My poor fabric stash, though, has to be housed in the (detached) garage so I feel a cataloging system is in the future lest I forget all that I have. But that is NOT a priority over actually sewing something soon. Garage organization will come. Just not the biggest priority yet since I’m kinda sick of unpacking/sorting. 😉


  8. I do like dropped shoulder tops! I think I have slightly narrow shoulders though, so it works for me. I still wouldn’t go much past 2″… there is a point where it starts to look odd. Both the top and dress are cute, I really really love those fabrics!


    1. I think you’ve got the slim figure that this style was meant for! (In fact, I can totally picture you in this Jalie pattern, for what it’s worth!)


  9. I love your pictures! I also modified the Marie Denmark kimono T to pattern for a dress- scooped out the neckline a bit more and have made 3 of them so far- they are so comfy for school (essential when working with kids!). I have some great patterned jersey (art gallery and Riley Blake) that have been good to wear with 3/4 leggings as it is getting cooler – and will be able wear with boots and long leggings and a cardigan i think. I think the kimono sleeve looks ok with a fuller bust, i just make sure i dont bind the sleeves tight, but to be honest, they are so darn comfy and easy to wear i dont care!!!!


    1. Kimono sleeves are great for layering, aren’t they? Not as bulky under a cardigan as a regular sleeve. I’ve made a LOT of Kristen tees over the last few years!


  10. I’m not a fan of a dropped sleeve. I have broad, square shoulders and they make me look even wider. And the shoulder seams hit me right at the beefiest part of my arms. Do not want. IMO, a narrow-shouldered frame is best to carry off this look.

    I love me a kimono-style short sleeve, though. Because, hello, 2-piece tee.


    1. I remember the excitement when I first learned how to knock out a tee in less time than it takes to do laundry. Eurekah moment! 😛


  11. I’m not usually a fan of a dropped sleeve, but I just recently watched A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and really want to make the top the main character wears. It’s a dropped sleeve boatneck in this really drapey striped fabric, and I NEED it.


    1. Heehehe – I also go inspired to make this because I was constantly admiring someone else’s clothes! A coworker has the best modern casual clothes, and I wanted the precious for myself! 😛 Get making your dream top – sounds fab!


  12. You look so very pretty! I love these bright happy blues on you! I have wide shoulders so the whole dropped shoulder thing isn’t that noticeable on me. The only garments I have with dropped shoulders are my Perri Pullovers and I love them.


  13. The colors on those tops are great on you – – and they’re my favorite shades of blue! Great photos. I’m a fan of dropped shoulders myself, but find that the position of the drop is crucial as to whether or not the look flatters or not. The few times I’ve sewn the look, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in front of the mirror questioning whether to give it a thumbs up or down :). Your photos are so fun – you look so relaxed in front of the lens!


    1. Thank you! I have to say, take enough blog pics, and eventually it’s just fun!
      I totally know that feeling of staring in the mirror thinking… Do I love the fabric, the idea, or this actual top?

      Liked by 2 people

  14. I love your top. It looks great and it is fab that you made it out of your left over fabric. I don’t think that I own anything with a drop-shoulder. I am very broad across the back/shoulder and have an enormous bust so I am always scared that this style would just make me look even bigger. I LOVE this look though, Dolman sleeves are brilliant and very stylish. Your dress is wonderful. The blues are so pretty. Glad that you rescued it from being a UFO. It is far too nice to wear to bed. Got to say that you pics are amazing and you made me laugh out loud so hard about your necklace/glasses. 🙂 Xx


  15. You are just so cute in your jumping pictures! That necklace one kills me, because I know I would have done the same thing, but knowing me I would have broke my glasses or ended up with a big bruise or something. I really like both makes. I had the same experience with the dolman tops – it looks nice and fitted in the pictures, but so big in real life. What’s up with that?


  16. Your pants fit well — they’re going to look differently while you’re jumping! 🙂 You put so much effort into your photos it is much appreciated. Great top! and great dress.

    I admit I haven’t noticed the drop shoulder trend, but it really all depends on your upper upper body fit. My shoulders are narrow and my arms are fat, so RTW dropped shoulder tops are too long between the side neck and the shoulder/sleeve seam, and then get all bunched up at my biceps. No bueno. When sewing, I always alter patterns to fit me right, so most style lines work out quite well.


  17. LOVE your jumping photos! Thanks for the smile. 🙂

    I’m trying to convince myself to knit a drop-sleeved sweater, but I’m not convinced that I’ll be able to pull it off. Maybe I’ll try sewing one first, see how I like it. I normally avoid them since I have narrow shoulders and wide arms, but for some reason my brain is trying to tell me it’ll be different this time because it’s a knitted sweater. lol

    That said, I think this one looks cute on you! The fabric really does hide the seam though, so I can’t really comment on the drop effect. Actually, both outfits look great! I love your bright trousers.


  18. Hehe, those look lovely, and similar enough that you could make a tiny wardrobe capsule out of those two outfits. (Speaking of capsule wardrobe, I have finally finished the last item of my sewing dare – um, last week? 😉 ) I really like the torquoise accents, it’s an amazing colour on you.


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