The Dolores Batwing Top

Hello Sailor!

Hello Sailor!

Back in November, I won a Dolores Batwing Top pattern by Zoe Edwards from the So Zo…What Do You Know blog, with the caveat that I make up the garment and then blog about it in a timely manner. (I’m so sorry Zoe!!!!!).  I made the shirt and never posted it.  A million months later, here we are.  I cut myself a test garment out of a large thrifted men’s tee shirt, just in case it came out badly I would not have wasted much money.  Hey, what do you know, it fits really well!

The details: Dolores is a dolman-sleeved shirt meant for knit fabrics with two sleeve options and three length options–top, tunic, dress. It comes in UK sizes 8-16 and is a PDF download that you can print at home and assemble with tape; or have printed whole large-format at the copy shop. I had mine printed up at the office-supply store for about $7.

Grading out the hip on the Dolores.

Grading out the hip on the Dolores.

Changes I made: The size 16 pattern was not quite big enough for me, and I have a petite shoulder line, so I used a smaller size for the shoulder and graded it out. I added a bit of width from the armpit to hem and shortened the hem by 2″ to fit my 5;1″ height. I omitted the band on the short-sleeve option as it was a wearable muslin.

Verdict: The Dolores Batwing Top has turned out to be a great pattern to use again and again, incorporating small style changes  as mood or fabric dictates. I have made three so far; the burgundy (pictured), a long sleeve high-low hem version for my friend’s birthday, and a long sleeve in marled grey for myself for the fall.  Overall, I’d say a success. I love the ease of the tee-shirt with some waist-defining shaping and style.

Disclaimer: I was NOT compensated for this review. All statements and opinions are my own. I received the pattern for free as part of a promotional contest. (if anyone really wants to sponsor me, lets chat)  Shirt photos by Jen Helbert of Prjona Plym textile studio. 


Me Made May ’14- Week 5

Ah, the final week of May! Stay tuned for the Me-Made-May ’14 wrap up and conclusions…

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 7.45.08 AMMe Mades: Moire print bloomers/short pajamas.These are from a chunk of inexpensive but decent quality remnant cotton I got at Zinck’s down in Berlin,Ohio a while back. The trim is what was left from a vintage skirt refashion. Actually worn for Day 27, but the Cosmos watching extended past midnight.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 7.44.52 AMMe Mades:Vintage floral dirndl skirt refashion. Unders made from the SoZo pattern. This skirt had been languishing in the “need to work on to make usable” pile for over a year. I am so glad I finished it because it is extremely comfortable to wear. The fabric doesn’t stick and it seems to hold a press pretty well.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 7.44.34 AMMe Mades:Leaf print skirt made from a questionable/borderline hideous men’s shirt from the thrift store. Once I hacked it into a skirt and sewed the pocket back on, i was really happy with it.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 7.44.08 AMMe Mades:Stretchy denim pencil/jean skirtworn to see comedian Eddie Izzard at the Palace. Loge seats, baby! (Mr.Pants occasionally gets free tickets to stuff through his work)

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 7.43.44 AMMe Mades:Ikat inspired rayon dress. And to quote Mr. Eddie Izzard. “Et, Voila!” Also I can write backwards in French.

Me Made May ’14- Week 3 and a straggler

Look, I found a straggler from Week 2:   Me Mades: Blue checked skirt from menswear shirt, a few years old.

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Screen Shot 2014-05-17 at 9.39.56 AMMe Mades:  Blue Bias Tee appropriate for Brinner and other belly filling activities.

Screen Shot 2014-05-17 at 9.41.17 AMMe Mades: Batik print knit tee. I cut a whole new tee with slightly gathered sleeves and a tucked neckline from a very warped large shirt I got for less than $1.

Screen Shot 2014-05-17 at 9.43.14 AMMe Mades: Aurora Borealis tee, again. (not sick of it yet)

Screen Shot 2014-05-17 at 9.44.10 AMMe Mades: Stretchy denim pencil/jean skirt. Mostly self-drafted with fly-front zip, pockets, and contrast binding inside. I’ll turn it inside out later. New me-made garment per my Pledge.  I’m posing inside my friend Sandy Buffie’s studio at 78th Street.



Me Made May ’14- Week 2

A day late a dollar short- or- awash in a sea of sparkly prom dresses so that’s why I’m behind.  Here’s the wrap-up for MMM’14 week two.  I wore Me-Mades more than two days of the week but missed a couple photos. OOPs.

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Me-Mades: Sportsbra edged with fold over elastic.

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Me-Mades: Floral dress made from Vintage bed sheet.

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Me-Mades: I wore this shirt three times this week. It’s really comfortable. New rayon blouse cut from a vintage menswear floppy shirt of the 1990s. I hacked off the yoke, collar, sleeves and side seams; then I turned it back to front and cut out a new blouse using my trusty Janky basic top pattern and added the collar back to the new front, utilizing the original shirttail hem.  Also worn: Unders made from the same shadow stripe stretch as the sports bra.


Me Made May ’14- Week 1

Me Made May wasn’t too tough to complete as it was a short week.


Me-Mades: Aurora Borealis shirt, 2014.  Made from the top portion of the dress pattern used here. Fabric from Jo-Ann’s.  Unders, made from knit fabric scraps using Zoe’s free pattern. You really get the best, comfiest wedgie-free fit this way!

Als0 wearing: my new custom-made necklace by the very talented Sandy Buffie. Sandy has a jewelry and sculpture studio in the same artist’s building as I do. I gave her an Indian pendant that I have been carrying around for years, and two diamond-shaped beads, and she put it all together with some recycled silk sari strips and chain. It just happened to be done on the day I wore this shirt. Perfect, no?

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Friday in the studio…can you tell that I’m exhausted?

Me-Mades: Silky roses blouse, ca. 2011.  Pattern unknown. The fabric came in a bundle from the thrift store with half a pattern and one piece cut out. I drafted up the rest of the pattern and made facings and made it into a lovely shirt.



Me-Made-May 2014

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Edit: D’oh! the correct Instagram is @cynicalcarnivale. Durr. 

For the third year in a row, I will be participating in Me-Made-May. The brainchild of the lovely and talented Zoe, stitchers across the inter-webs pledge to wear self-made garments throughout the month of May and then share photos with the world.  This year, ‘I, Margaret of ‘Senjiva Studio, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavour to wear at least two Me-Made items or outfits per week for the duration of May 2014,  and to make at least one new item and restyle a thrift store garment. ‘ 

I will be blogging weekly about the previous weeks’ “me-mades;” and posting additionally on Instagram @cynicalcarnivale with the tag  #MMM14.  Feel free to follow as I beg those around me to take photos of my outfits.  A few photos from last year:




If you can think it, you might do it.

Is it too late to make my sewing resolutions for the year? Last year’s went about 50% out the window. I decided to take a page from another blogger and choose a certain few patterns to make up this year, rather than just say “I’m gonna make pants” or something similar.  Not only that, but I am doing fit-muslins so that I can perfect the fit to my particular body and then have a pattern that I can use frequently to reproduce basic garments, like I have done with my pajama/shorty pattern.

Six patterns below  were chosen for several reasons: to fill gaps in my wardrobe, to perfect the fit on difficult to buy garments, and fulfill my need for appropriately sized vintage garments.  The reason for so many Simplicity patterns is simply that they went on sale for $1 apiece.  The two Decades of Style patterns were a bachelorette gift from my infinitely fashionable friend Rachel of Re/Dress, an awesomely positive plus-sized fashion company.  I have already started on muslins for the pencil skirt and pants.  Wish me luck!

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Me-Made-May ’13–Week 3

Week three. Where is the time going? No seriously? Wasn’t it just March?

On Thursday I wore my climbing vine lace sweater, knit from bamboo-blend yarn in spring of 2011. After work I had the pleasure of going for Mojitos with my friend Krissie and her super sweet new pup, Pierre. Pierre seriously defies all small-dog stereotypes in that he is very quiet, very calm, and pretty much does whatever you want him to. For some reason this picture makes my head look twice as small as my body. Not the case;  I just photograph exceedingly badly.


I wore my new refashioned peplum top to the Studio on Saturday. I made this from an 80s vintage dress/jacket set from the thrift store that I had to have because of the little pin print. The garments were fully re-utilized except for some scrap. With the majority of the fabric I re-lined one of my old winter jackets. The top of the dress and some scrap were turned into this little peplum top that buttons down the back. It is polyester, however, and does not breathe very well. Photo credits below to Mr. Pants.


Me-Made-May ’13–Week 2

Right-O. So it’s almost the end of week three, but in my defense, there have been a LOT of bridesmaids and suit-wearers needing my attention to get them ready for events these last few weeks. Wedding season waits for nobody!  But, I’ve taken today off and here are my Me-Mades for the second week of May:


I made these two dresses from the same 1980s “easy” pattern, with some fussing to adjust for length and full bust. The original pattern called for some jersey material, but when has that ever stopped me? The blue dress is made from a vintage bedsheet. I added bust darts as well as pockets (that’s why my hand looks like it’s gone). I think I wore these dresses every week last summer.

Black dress with stripey tote after Taco Thursday with my friend. Yay Happy Hour!

Black dress with stripey tote after Taco Thursday Happy Hour. 

The black dress is from the same pattern, but has no darts and no pockets. The fabric is some soft, drapey rayon blend from Joann Fabrics with a self-belt. Also worn, Me-Made denim stripe tote bag that I use every single day. In fact, I made this bag a year ago and it is holding up very well. Patternless and customized with an interior phone pocket made from recycled upholstery samples and vintage rick-rack trim. Also it has a loop for my keys to hook onto, lest I spend all my time digging in the bottomless pit of my tote. The exterior pocket has a reclaimed zipper from an ugly wool jumper that I repurposed for a fashion client.

Me-Made-May ’13–Week 1

It’s finally here, and it came up so quickly! I feel unprepared for this challenge; but isn’t that why it’s a challenge? Yes.

For MMM’13  I pledged to wear self-made wardrobe items at least two days per week for the duration of May. This was a short week and I didn’t have much time to dig through my closet. Therefore, we have here two versions of the same blouse that I made late last summer during a very short lull in my work. I can’t say these are the crowning achievement of my sewing life, but they came out pretty well and did not take all that long to make. Having dropped some weight, these comfy blouses are a bit roomier than originally intended. I can’t remember the pattern number, but I think it’s a Simplicity. Some liberties were taken with the printed pattern due to the fact that I did not have quite enough fabric to cut out as instructed. I’m pretty bad at following directions!

Bias-cut tee made of lighweight knit fabric from the random redline rack at Joann Fabrics.

Bias-cut tee made of lighweight knit fabric from the random redline rack at Joann Fabrics.

Bias tee #2 made from unidentified seersucker-like remnant from Zinck's Fabrics in Berlin Twp.

Bias tee #2 made from unidentified seersucker-like remnant from Zinck’s Fabrics in Berlin Twp.

My original pledge as follows: I, Margaret, of Senjiva Studio, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’13. I endeavour to wear.a self-made garment at least twice a week, as well as to sew two new garments for the duration of May 2013′