Sunday, July 31, 2016

Trending Off the Shoulder

I am enjoying a quiet week at Bald Head Island with bookend weekend visits from family.   It's hot as hades here and even the ocean breeze is no match for the Carolina heat.

There are no cars on the island and only golf carts and bikes to get around. It's just the right pace for me and there's no place I'd rather be!

My usual beach look is wild-haired and makeup free in an old knit dress.  Occasionally my Southern heritage kicks in and I feel compelled to get moderately "dolled up." I selected the Style Arc Cara for my on-trend off the shoulder look.

I cut a size 8, though I wish I had sewed the 6 as the neckline could be a smidge tighter. The blue cotton is from Gail K Fabrics in Atlanta. The white contrast shirting is a B&J scrap from my husband's shirts. The lace is from M&J Trimmings:  3.5 yards of the wider lace for the hem and neckline band and 1 yard of the smaller lace for the sleeve caps.

I originally lengthened the front and back pieces by 16 inches to make a dress.  As soon as I sewed it up I knew I had a potential wadder on my hands.  Wadder status was confirmed when my husband innocently asked if I was going for the "Robin Hood's merry men" look.  I tried belting the dress, but the Robin Hood jokes didn't cease...


To salvage the dress, I cut off 16 inches and made it into the top intended by the pattern.

The front neckline piece (which is attached to the sleeves and top front) is interfaced and elastic is only inserted on the back neckline piece to ensure no wardrobe malfunctions. Before attaching the white neckline to the blue top, I sewed the back neckline to the front neckline at the side seams and pressed open the seam allowances.  I sewed the elastic on each side to the back neckline seam allowance. See the stitching in blue below.


Next, I secured the elastic to the back neckline with a zigzag stitch on the side of the neckline touching my skin, rendering the zigzag invisible from the outside.

From there, I used a typical skirt waistband technique of stitching in the ditch to secure the neckline to the top with a clean finish. 

I enjoyed using lace as an embellishment. Quality RTW lace embellishments usually catapult a RTW garment out of my price range. This makes embellishing me-mades with lace all the more appealing. Yes, it does take extra time and care to sew down the lace, but I think it's worth it!

I sewed the sleeve lace directly on top of the sleeves.

The wider lace is sewn as an insert along the hem of the top.  I used the remaining lace to embellish the front neckline band.

For the first time since our wedding we dined at our reception venue on the island.  The quiet ambience could not have been more different from our boisterous wedding celebration over two years ago, but it was a great evening nonetheless. Perfect for my new beach chic Cara top!

Wish I could stay on "Island Time" forever!   


  1. I think you did right -- the dress was not you. This top is on trend and very chic!

    1. Thanks Annie! The "merry men" dress would have been a disappointment for sure. But it's fun to wear something on trend!

  2. Ahhh husbands... It's good that you stuck with it and turned it into something you'll wear. And that lace is great! I've never worked with it before.

    1. Ha! He told the truth and honestly I couldn't stop laughing at his earnestness! I loved using the lace and am already thinking about what I can do with it next!

  3. So cute! It looks perfect for relaxing & summer!

    1. Thank you for stopping by La Vonda and for the nice compliment!