Project Sewn

Project Sewn Week 1: The Fashion Icon

Yay!! Project Sewn is back! There are lots of competitions in our little online community these days, but Project Sewn is undoubtedly my favorite. I have outfits planned for each week, so long as my schedule and sleep requirements allow me to finish everything!

But down to business.  The first theme for Project Sewn this season is the Fashion Icon.  When I first sat down to think about my personal fashion icon, I was kind of stumped.  Sure, there were lots usual suspects that came to mind — Audrey Hepburn, Katherine Hepurn, Coco Chanel, Lady Gaga — but none of them really spoke to me.  (Oh, and can I just say how impressed I was to see so many less-than-expected fashion icons appear in the designers’ entries this season?  Love it!).

Then I Googled “fashion icon” and found Time’s list of All-time 100 Fashion Icons.  And there she was — 3/4 of the way down the list of “Muses.”  My own fashion icon — Michelle Obama.

Michelle Obama inspiration photo
My inspiration photo

Now agree with her politics, don’t agree with her politics, I don’t really care.  But no one can legitimately contest that the woman can dress! To me, she embodies the style that I strive for — I’ll call it professional mom-chic.

When I look at Michelle Obama, it’s easy to imagine her kickin’ some male bee-hind in the courtroom or boardroom and then seamlessly transitioning to reading bedtime stories.

Creative Counselor: Fashion Icon
I was definitely feeling like a professional mom today. But maybe not so “chic.”

This outfit is comprised of a couple TNT patterns and one newbie.  The skirt is a basic jersey pencil skirt (I have a post already written about these but still have to upload photos — ack!).  It’s super easy and comfy but looks professional. Win, win, win in my book!  This fabric is a double knit that I got on uber sale from Denver Fabrics a while back.  The fabric is polyester and isn’t the highest quality, but it doesn’t pill, doesn’t stretch out of shape and does it’s job nicely.  Can’t complain.

The blue sweater is the good ol’ TNT Renfrew top from Sewaholic.  This is such an amazingly versatile pattern.  I made my favorite view — the scoop neck — with 3/4 sleeves like Michelle’s sweater in my inspiration photo.  Per my normal practice with the Renfrew, for this top I cut size 6 in the bust, grading down to size 4 at the waist and size 2 at the hips.  The fit is great!  It should continue to fit, albeit more loosely, as I continue to lose baby weight.  Love this pattern!

The fabric is an amazingly soft double-knit from  I paid $5 per yard for this knit and I really wish i would have bought a few extra yards!  It’s so soft and has a wonderul drape.  But it’s also a bit sturdier at 9.0 oz and was really easy to work with.  This top is so comfortable that I just love wearing it!

Creative Counselor: Fashion Icon
Love me a good Renfrew. Especially in a fabric as lusciously soft as this!

Finally, for the newbie pattern — the Pussy Bow Blouse by Pattern Runway.  Believe it or not, this was actually meant to be a wearable muslin for a top that I intended to make from my wonderfully lucsious Mood pink silk during the last season of Project Sewn!  But I never got around to finishing it and it languished in my sewing room for the next 4 months.  All that I needed to do was hem it, finish the buttonholes and buttons, and sew the tie, but laziness set it big time!

Anyway, this half-finished blouse fit perfectly with my fashion icon outfit, so I pulled it out and finished it last week.  It wasn’t nearly as painful as I had built it up to be in my mind, and now I have a wonderful girly blouse to wear to work!

This blouse was surprisingly easy to make.  I used Andrea’s tutorial on Four Square Walls for attaching the collar and collar stand, and now have the nicest-looking collar that I’ve ever sewn!  Her method for attaching the collar is so much more intuitive for me than the method used in most patterns, and my result was SOOOOOO much nicer!

The Pussy Bow Blouse does not use traditional cuffs and vertical plackets, but instead uses the horizontal placket and bias cuff that some consider to be “cheating.”  That may be the case, but I really like how they look and I think it fits in nicely with the girly aethestic of this blouse.  I plan to make an Archer at some point and will probably do more traditional cuffs and plackets on that shirt.

The fabric for this blouse is a Lisette lawn that I got at Joann’s last summer.  It’s actually from the Lisette Spring 2011 line.  It worked just fine for this blouse, particularly as a wearable muslin, though it’s actually a little crisper than I would like for this blouse.  The silk I had originally planned would have been perfect — I now have that cut for a different blouse (which I should have ready to show you next week!) — so I might just have to get some more for a second Pussy Bow Blouse!  I’d also love to make this blouse in a transparent chiffon, like the Pattern Runway model photo.

I’m not a big fan of button-down shirts in general, but I can definitely get behind a drapey, girly blouse like this one.  It’s still comfortable but a nice way to look a little more put-together, whether paired with a pencil skirt for the office or jeans for running around town with the kids!

Creative Counselor: Fashion Icon
I’d love to make another Pussy Bow Blouse or 2…just as soon as I work through a few other patterns 🙂

Pattern:  Pussy Bow Blouse by Pattern Runway

Size: M

Fit: Overall really good.  It’s probably a little more snug across the bust than I would ultimately like, but I intentionally made this blouse a size smaller than my measurements would actually dictate so that I will be able to wear it more than a few months!  The blouse is designed to be loose, though, so the girls actually fit just fine.  The fit in the shoulders is good, which is the most important!

Modifications: None at all.

Fabric:  Lisette lawn from the Spring 2011 collection.  A little crisper than I would like, but it worked fine.  I think this blouse would be fabulous in silk georgette or chiffon!

Physical Pattern: PDF, and there are quite a few pages to tape together, so you can imagine how I felt about that!  But I only paid $9.50 for the pattern, and at that price point, I wouldn’t expect a paper pattern.  The PDF looks professional and everything went together perfectly.


  • Classic silhouette.  A lovely, drapey, pussy bow blouse never really goes out of style.
  • Forgiving fit.  The blouse is designed to be loose so the fabric can move and flow, which makes it easy to fit a variety of shapes.
  • Straightforward construction.  I expected construction to be challenging and it really wasn’t.
  • The price!  This PDF pattern is $9.50, which is a steal for a quality women’s pattern.


  • I don’t like how the collar and stand is constructed in the pattern.  But that is easily remedied by following Andrea’s tutorial.
  • The size range on this pattern is relatively limited — I made size M and the pattern only goes up to size L (which is a 39″ bust — not that large).

Overall Grade: B+.  Great, classic pattern.  I’m marking it down very slightly because of the limited sizes at the upper end of the range.

14 thoughts on “Project Sewn Week 1: The Fashion Icon

  1. Great choice of fashion icon! I love your description of her style & your interpretation of it is lovely! I’ll need to source some double knit for jersey pencil skirts as, as a new mum myself, I find myself reaching for my one jersey pencil skirt all the time.

    1. Thanks! I love my jersey pencil skirts. I’ve made 4 so far and they get a lot of wear since I went back to work! I made all of mine out of fairly heavy double-knit, which guarantees that they’re completely opaque! has a nice selection of double knit and ponte knit fabrics that would be great choices.

    1. Thank you! I wasn’t feeling particularly smart and put together when I took these pictures (after a day of wrangling all my kids home on another snow day), so I’m glad I managed to look that way!

    1. I really like the blouse pattern. I’m actually wearing it to work today (with a cardigan rather than a sweater) and it’s very comfy. I really do want to make one or two more for work. It’s a nice, feminine staple, with or without the tie!

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