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  • Writer's pictureLonda

Favorite Inspiration: Soft Surroundings Catalog/Website

Updated: Jun 1, 2022

FUN and INSPIRATION for my own WANNA SEW list is a trip through the Soft Surroundings Catalog – that they are kind enough to (snail) mail to me!  But you can also go online to:      I like to tear out pages and keep files of ideas in my sewing studio.  Here are my  ‘tear-outs’ from their newest catalog, some commentary, and sewing How-To’s.

Flip with me through the latest catalog, and we’ll stop at the pages that made it to my WANNA SEW THAT picture file…..

#1. Standout Shirt.  With that price tag of  $98.95 – I KNOW I can make it cheaper.  What cool use of blocking/angles, button detail.  SEW SEW simple!  Those are even just bias-cut Godets as taught in my Trendy Tunic Tops Pattern in each side seam.  I’m thinking maybe my Button Box has a variety of different pearl-type buttons I could use – a bunch of DIFFERENT ones mixed on this shirt for some additional fun.   I would hem each of the sections BEFORE seaming the vertical seams, using my hemming technique as shown in the video I’ll stick in below these pictures.  Flat fell seams would be nice on the verticals, but I would likely just stitch the seam, serge, and topstitch.   I may just have to take a trip to JoAnn’s with my trusty coupons to pick up a linen stripe I know is sitting on the shelf.  OH OH OH … and linen stripes are usually yarn-dyed, so that would make an AWESOME chenille trim – perhaps around the collar?  Up the back?  To see the ‘video’ showing off this top, click HERE, then on the picture at the left side with the big video arrow in it.

Striped shirt front and back

#2.  Linley Tunic.  Another super simple idea! Simply divide both the Fronts and the Back of my Terrific T Top Pattern into 3 sections.  I’ll hold up my Front to my body, X my Bust points, decide on the angle and exact placement of the lower angled hemlines where the sheer fabric will attach to the knit.  At the cutting table, I’ll draw the lines right through the bust line.  I think I might just go with a V neckline to repeat the angles at the bottom up at the neckline, but if you want the scooped neckline, the lower line on my Terrific T pattern will be almost exactly what you see on this Linley. Cut pattern apart on your lines, ADD seam allowances.  Next, I’ll just add length to each of the sections using a wide sheer fabric or trim.  Then – seam and top stitch and WALA, I’ll have a ‘Londa Tunic’ – again for a fraction of $98.95!  The video for this top is hiding under the first picture at the left – it’s real tiny, but in the video, you can see that the back of this shirt is the same as the front.  Click HERE. 

Linley Tunic

I wish I had the nerve to go with a ‘spikey’ little hairstyle like that model in the video, but somehow, I think it just wouldn’t look quite the same on me!

#3.  Beckett Top. Another simple ‘draw a line on the pattern’ task.  Just hold up the Front pattern piece from my Terrific T pattern, draw a line – likely right across the front at the DOT on the armhole, and decide the ends of the Peek-A-Boo Slit.  Cut, ADD 3/4″ seam allowances, When stitching, I think a strip of lightweight fusible interfacing placed in the seam allowance of both the top and the bottom halves in the Peek-A-Boo area will help stabilize that area, preventing rippling.  I would press open the seam allowances and topstitch them in place.  The ‘opening’ will just happen.  The lower hemline scoop can also easily be designed.  I’m guessing an addition of about 4″ to my pattern would give what you see, plus some added width at the side seams.  Make it EXACTLY what is best for YOUR body – that’s why we sew, eh?  At $74.95 – AGAIN, I know I can SAVE $ sewing my own.  Click HERE to see the Becket Top, but no video on this one…

Bekett Top

#4.  Arroyo Top.  Find all the How-To’s in my Flirty Flounces pattern!  Moving my computer mouse over the picture of this top online, you can see the DETAILS as it all gets larger.  It appears to me that the flounce is of a woven gauze dyed the same, but honestly, I’d do it of the same knit fabric, with raw edges.  Just as I teach in my pattern, the flounce goes up both sides of the neckline, then it is double layer at the center front.

flounce top

No video on this top at the Soft Surrounding site.  Priced at $98.95 – once again, you can SAVE $ making one yourself!!!  How about ice dyeing?  I really want to try that….some day.  These days, any extra time has been taken up building a new website, and teaching Sewing Camps to young girls.  Anyway – since I taught Flounce creation in one of my It’s Sew Easy episodes, here is the video for you.  As I show in the video, and is on the top I’m wearing, the front vertical flounce does NOT even have to be inserted into a seam.

I taught Flounce creation in one of my It’s Sew Easy episodes.  Here is the video.


I’m thrilled beyond description to see pants of every width in the new fall fashions – even here at Soft Surroundings.  Personal opinion:  clothing is meant to cover and enhance, and to leave something to the imagination.  The tights/leggings/extremely tight skirts and dresses – leave me aghast and shaking my head.  I guess I’m just old……..or maybe just jealous of anyone with skinny legs.  I sew, so I can dress however I feel best.  YEAH!

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