Greetings you humpy bumpy camels and chimpanzees! Yesterday I showed off my new skirt and sweater and today I’m back with a few more details! First, the portrait collar sweater.

This sweater was mostly view C from Butterick 4230 – unfortunately for all you camels, it’s an out of print pattern, but pretty basic. It’s a fitted knit with no bust shaping, slightly scooped neck, raglan arms, bell sleeves. Here’s the technical drawing:

I used a slightly shorter arm length and used a different tie style. If any of you want to freestyle this, the collar pieces are basically wide flat pieces, maybe six inches wide or so and shaped like the Nike ‘swoop.’ To draft the collar pieces, just trace the neckline of  t-shirt with a modest scooped neckline, then draw a second line about 6 inches away from where you traced the neckline. The collar is a double layer with the layer on top about an inch or two shorter than the longer underlayer.

Instead of the small tie set off to the side I used a centered, wider tie. Here’s what it looks like finished – this is the right side.

My ‘tie’ was a strip of the sweater knit that was about 3″ by 9″. I doubled it over, serged the long edge, rolled the seam to the center, serged one short end and turned it.

I stitched the finished end of the strip to the inside of the sweater first, just below the neckline. The photo below shows the inside of the sweater and the green stitches show the zig zag stitches attaching the finished end to the inside. I wrapped the strip pretty tightly around the collar to the front and stitched close to where I had fastened the end on the inside. My second line of stitching, attaching the strip to the outside of the sweater is shown with blue.

To help tame the collar I flipped the sweater back so that the front right side was facing me and arranged the loop and the collar a bit. I wanted the loop to lie a bit more flat in the front rather than poking upward (if that makes sense) so I ‘smushed’ it down and slipstitched the bottom edge. In the photo below the blue dashed line shows the approximate location where I had machine-stitched the end of the tie/loop in the front (also shown in blue above) the small green stitches show where I slipstitched.

The portrait collar was fairly easy – the most helpful advice I have is to slipstitch  to help everything lie flat. It’s nice working with this type of knit as it doesn’t roll much. I left the hem on the collar and the sleeves unfinished. I added a band to the bottom hem of the sweater, but I just did that to add a bit of length, not because it needed finishing! Here’s a close up of the collar hem.

Oop! Looks like that bottom layer could use a little trim! Stupid macro setting!

The Crepe ‘skirt’

Now for the Crepe ‘skirt’! I’m sorry to say that this was an amazingly low tech alteration. Here’s the skirt on me.

OK. If there is anyone left on EARTH who is unfamiliar with this pattern, here’s a link to the the Colette site where you can see the full dress.

The skirt is a pretty simple a-line skirt with a center seam on the front and back. Here’s a snapshot of what the pattern pieces look like. The front is made from two of the J pieces and the two back sections (overlap and underlap) are each made from two K sections each.

The Crepe dress is a wrap dress that wraps to the back. This means that there is a single layer of  skirt on the front, but two layers in the back – the overlap and underlap. The underlap is the part that touches your body. The overlap is the part that keeps you from showing off your bloomers. I actually intended to make a regular, non-wrap skirt using the Crepe pattern pieces, but I had more of the brown wool than I thought I did – enough to do the full wrap – and I thought the waist-cinching sash would be a cute touch!

Here’s a little drawing of the skirt. If you’ve made a wrap skirt before, this will look familiar. If you haven’t made a wrap skirt, the only little detail that you might not be aware of is that it’s helpful to have some sort of opening through which to pass your ties to keep everything looking neat. I made a very giant buttonhole.

OK, one other observation that (probably) only mattered to me. I wanted to line the skirt, as the wool is a bit on the clingy side and, you know. Wool. Potentially uncomfortable against bare legs. I had the PERFECT shade of orange silk/cotton blend to use as the lining, but not enough to line the skirt front, underlap AND overlap. I could only line two segments of the skirt, so I had to sit and think for a while to make sure I lined the parts of the skirt that touch my legs – the front and the underlap. I left the overlap unlined, which ended up being a good thing, since the lining would have shown had I lined the entire thing.

To make the ties and add to the wide waistband effect I cut a SUPER long strip of the wool – it’s probably at least three times the length of the skirt ‘waist’ – all three segments (note – each segment is made up of two pieces of fabric sewn together to create a center seam). The strip started out about eight inches wide. Since I knew I’d be tying and cinching the waist I went ahead and used a rectangle of fabric, even though the top edge of the skirt pieces are curved. I just pinned carefully and used steam to help turn the tie evenly.

OK, here’s what I did. In some semblance of order…

  • Cut and assemble the skirt front, underlap and overlap.
  • Cut and attach in-seam pockets
  • Attach the skirt overlap and underlap to the skirt front
  • Cut and assemble one skirt front and one skirt back from lining fabric. Add lace to lining hem. For fun.
  • Attach lining front and lining back after checking and rechecking to make sure that I was adding the lining back to the correct side of the lining front (for the way I assembled my skirt I pinned the lining front and back right sides together and sewed along the edge of the lining front that lies on the right side of my body. Really, if you’re doing this, hold the skirt up to you to figure it out. The way I sewed it left it open on the left side of my body and the right side of the lining touching my skin.
  • Baste skirt lining to skirt front and underlap along the waistline.
  • Cut long waist sash rectangle – approximately 8″ x the total length of all three skirt pieces (skirt front, underlap, overlap) TIMES three. This makes a very long tie! (Note! The tie pattern piece that come with the Crepe pattern won’t work – they are attached to each side of the dress bodice and not attached to the waist of the dress. They would be too short!)
  • Center waist sash on the entire skirt piece. Pin skirt to sash, right sides together. Sew along the waist.
  • Once the skirt and sash are sewn together, fold sash the long way so that the long raw edges are touching and the right sides of the sash are together. Lightly press to hold the fold in place.
  • Stitch the free ends of the sash (the part of the sash not attached to the skirt.) Sew the short end shut, then turn the corner and continue sewing until you get to the edge of the skirt. I drew a little picture – the stitching is shown in red…

  • Trim seam allowances where you just stitched, then turn the ties so that the seam allowances are on the inside. Use something pointy to make the corners look nice. Press everything.
  • You will still have the unfinished edge of the sash piece along the entire waist part of the skirt. I was lazy and I serged the waistband of the skirt to the sash edge, which created the need for some creative tucking and hand stitching where the serging transitioned to the sash pieces. If I hadn’t been so lazy, it would have been better to turn under that raw edge, press and slipstitch to the waistband of the skirt!
  • Add the buttonhole to pass the sash through. Without getting into the physics of it, this goes near the sideseam between the front piece and the overlap piece. Here is the drawing again to show where I put it on my skirt, followed by a photo of what my giant buttonhole looks like.


If your machine is a one-step buttonholer that doesn’t do really large buttonholes, just make your own using the zig zag function. I set mine to do a zig zag stitch around 1mm wide by 1mm length and I pivoted at the corners.

I think those are pretty much the steps. It’s getting late and I’m turning into a pumpkin, so let me know any questions. Until then, here’s my wonderful lining! So silky!

Oooo… that’s a puckery seam!

So that’s it, you humpy bumpy camels! My half a crepe!



Get Your VIP Pass

Get in on behind-the-scenes stories, member-only access to special offers and stories from the road. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!