Breezing Into Spring with the Ballad Blouse

…A Mini Pattern Hack Blog Post

As soon as March rolls around, I have no interest in sewing for anything other than Spring! Want to get a jumpstart on your Spring sewing? (At least here in the Northeast, we aren’t wearing Spring clothes quite yet!) Grab the Ballad Blouse pattern, you won’t be disappointed.

Today, 3/24/2023 the Love Notions $5 Feature Friday pattern is the Ballad Blouse. It’s a great versatile blouse that can be worn all seasons, but I especially love it in Spring and Summer. I decided to begin my Spring sewing with a sleeve hack for this fun blouse.

If you want ALL the details on the Ballad, such as sizing, options, fabric recommendations and sewing tips visit my Original Ballad Blouse blog post HERE. Also included in that blog post is an explanation on how to Block Fuse your interfacing pieces~ if you’re not doing that with your rayons ~ you should!

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So Many Ways to Love the Juliet

…A new release from Love Notions Pattern

Be prepared to fall in love with Juliet! The newest pattern from Love Notions is THE perfect top for the summer! I was so excited to test this pattern and I’m sew excited for all of my readers to sew one up! The second I put on my first test version…it got the Sew Mary Mac stamp of approval! (And yes, I have made a total of 8 versions with another one cut out already!)

The Juliet Top is on sale at the release price of $9.50 today, 5/30/23 through 6/5/23. You can use my code MACSEWS10 for an additional 10% off.

The Details

The Juliet Top is another “not-so-basic” basic that is a great addition to any closet. This cute flowy top is such a quick and fun sew, I highly recommend cutting 2 at a time and batch sewing them! On top of that, it’s beginner friendly! This is such a versatile top, wear it alone or use it for layering!


  • Yoke Options: Plain, Faux Placket, Pintucked
  • 4 Sleeve Options: Sleeveless, Short, Flutter and Long
  • Beginner Friendly, especially the plain yoke version
  • Color Blocking Friendly! Get Creative!

Sizing and Fit

The Juliet Top is available in sizes XS- 5X. There is a full bust pattern piece included. To get a great fit on the Juliet(and any LN pattern), be sure to take accurate body measurements and use the body measurement and finishing garment measurement charts to select your size.

When selecting your size make sure you choose by using your high bust measurement. If your full bust is 4 or more inches larger than your high bust, you should be using the full bust front piece. Remember that the full bust option adds an additional 2″ to the waist and hip finished garment measurements. Keep this in mind when deciding to grade in/out for your waist and hips. With the amount of ease in the Juliet, you may NOT need to grade out for your hips, but always check the finished measurement chart first!

The Juliet top is designed to be a flowy top with lots of ease. It is designed to hit at the full hip on the average 5″5″ woman.

My Adjustments

My high bust measurement of 40″ puts me into an XL. Since my full bust of 45″ is more than 4″ larger, I used the full bust front piece. I graded out to the 2X at the waist and hips. My hips are just over the 2X measurement ~ but that will be fine because of the extra 2″ of ease at the waist and hips when using the full bust front piece. When cutting, I use the XL for the neckline and shoulders, then grade to the 2X. 

I am only 5 feet tall, but not really short waisted, so I did NOT shorten the Juliet. The length is really a personal preference. It would look really cute cropped shorter if you wanted!

Fabrics and Notions

The Juliet is designed for light to medium weight knit fabrics with at least 20% stretch. Fabrics such as rib knits, ITY, jersey blends, and interlock would work well.  Cotton spandex blends may not have enough drape for the Juliet. I also found that pointelle worked nicely! I can also imagine one in the knit dotted Swiss fabrics that I have seen. Get creative and mix and match your fabrics! I have so many more ideas for this top!

Different fabrics will give you different results. My favorite for the Juliet is rib knits! I loved the 8 X 3 Rib knits from Raspberry Creek Fabrics for this top. The type of knit did determine how visible or prominent the gathers were. The narrow rib knit I used worked out nicely as well, however I did notice that the gathers are not as visible on these versions. Double Brushed Poly on the other hand created a top with “more” gathered look. I’m sewing up a modal version right now, and although a thinner fabric, I think it’s going to turn out fabulous! Be sure to check the photos of Ambassadors and testers to see which fabrics they have used, this can give you a good indication of how different fabrics work with a pattern.

My Favorite…A Nightgown Hack

The minute I saw Tami’s line drawing for the Juliet, I knew that I would be hacking it into a nightgown! My favorite nightgowns are literally falling apart. Years ago, my oldest daughter worked for company that designed and produced the Eileen West gowns. I would go to the sample sales and pick few up for $5 each. Fast forward a few years, and she no longer designs for them and I went shopping for a new Eileen West nightgown. Imagine my shock when I saw the prices, $54 and up!!!

This is a super quick and easy hack! This is what I did to get “my” perfect nightgown. I made mine in 8 X 3 Rib knit from Raspberry Creek Fabrics that I had in my stash. I am planning of ordering some Bamboo Cotton for my next version~ and I am so excited for that one!

  • Added more fullness to to front by placing the front piece 1″ away from the fold when cutting.
  • Shortened the short sleeve by 2″
  • Added 12″ in length to the front and back pieces. You could add more or less depending on your preference. You could also add a ruffle to the bottom if you wanted to!
  • Added some lace and a tiny ribbon bow from my stash to the yoke.
  • How simple is that!!
  • My version cost me $24 for fabric. (I’m sure it was less, because I always buy my fabrics when on sale!) Buttons, lace and ribbon all from my stash!

Sew Mary Mac’s Tips for Sewing the Juliet

  • Pintucks~ I found it very helpful to spray my yoke piece with “Best Press” before I began folding and sewing the pin tucks.
  • After sewing the pintucks, baste across the top and bottom of the yoke piece making sure to have the tucks in the right direction and that they don’t move when attaching the lower front.
  • Neck binding~. whenever I sew a neck binding I prefer to pin the right side of the neck binding to the wrong side of the neckline. Stitch as directed, then I fold the neckbinding to the right side of the shirt enclosing the seam allowance. I simply find it much easier to get nice and even topstitching this way. You can visit my La Bella Donna top blog post HERE. This post gives more detail on this.
  • I tightened up my neck binding a bit, about 1/2″ shorter.
  • I concentrated my gathers more to the middle. The gathers look differently on all of us, since we are all shaped differently. Play around with your gathers and hold them up to yourself to get the look you want.
  • Use a washable glue stick to hold your buttons in place~ then sew them on with your machine! Be sure to give the glue a few minutes to dry/harden up.
  • Use Soft Stretch fusible web adhesive to help you get the perfect hem. Read all about it HERE.

Thanks for stopping by! I truly appreciate all of you that visit!  If you enjoyed this blog post, consider subscribing to my blog to stay up to date with all my posts!  

Mary Anne 🙂

Remember to follow me over on Instagram to see all my latest makes!  @sewmarymac

You can also follow my Facebook Page~ Sew Mary Mac. On this page you will find information on my makes from all pattern companies. If I know of any good sales(pattern or fabric) I will also feature this information. I have had many of my loyal followers send me friend requests on Facebook. I do post in the Love Notions group under Mary Anne MacLean, however this Facebook account is private. There is no sewing content on that Facebook Account.

Y can grab the Juliet pattern here.

This is an affiliate link. It costs you nothing to purchase from this link, it just helps fund my fabric addiction which allows me to test and review more patterns.

To receive an additional 10% off the pattern price, use this coupon code MACSEWS10. This coupon code can be used at anytime on any pattern….even a $5 Feature Friday pattern. My code does change quarterly, so please always check the newest blog post for an update if you find a code isn’t working.

Fabric Resources

Raspberry Creek Fabrics ~ 8 X 3 Rib and DBP

Yellow Floral Rib- can be custom ordered, but this new print is similar and is available retail right now.

Floral nightgown fabric is also an older print from RCF. This is an 8 X 3 Rib. There are so beautiful designs available retail right now. You can see them here. Any of these prints can be ordered in the rib or DBP fabric

Blue Compass Print DBP and be found HERE.

Narrow Ribs

The Camo print narrow rib is from Surge Fabrics and is still available. It is so soft and cozy! You can grab that HERE.

The Pink Gingham narrow rib knit is from Mily Mae Fabrics. This is no longer available, but they have a great stock of rib knits that is always changing!

Cornflower Blue Cotton Pointelle is from The Fabric Snob. This particular fabric is not available at this time, but they carry a lovely collection of high quality knit fabrics!

The Lovely Lenox Top and Dress

…Love Notion’s Newest Addition

The Lenox top and dress pattern is here! I tested this pattern, and I am putting the “Sew Mary Mac” stamp of approval on it! I’m so excited to share my versions with you! You know a pattern is a good one, when you already have plans for several more!

The pattern is on sale at the release price of $9.50 today, 5/3/23 through Tuesday, 5/11/23. (It is not included in the current 40% off sale). You can use my code MACSEWS10 for an additional 10% off.

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Create a Coastal Preppy Wardrobe with Me and Love Notions Patterns

…Spring 2023 Love Notions 40% off sale

This week, May 1-5, 2023, all Love Notions patterns and courses will be 40% off! This doesn’t happen very often, so I highly suggest grabbing any patterns(and courses) you really want to sew up soon! You can use my code MACSEWS10 which will give you an additional 10% off the sale prices. I will also be giving away one Love Notions pattern to one of my blog readers. Make sure you read to the end to learn how you can enter!

The “Coastal Grandma” aesthetic has been getting a lot of attention the past year or so. This is mainly due to a TikTok trend. But, where I live (and where my family is from) ~ it’s been around for a long time and it’s always how we dress!

For this year’s Spring Sale, I thought I would put my own spin on this trend and talk about creating a “Coastal Preppy” wardrobe with Love Notions patterns.

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Let’s Go Back to the 80’s!

…How to Keep your Sleeve Caps Puffy…A Mini Tutorial Blog Post

A few weeks ago, I posted this Tossed Daisy print top I made for Raspberry Creek Fabrics Patriotic fabric release. So many of you loved my puff sleeves and asked “how did you get them stay so puffy?”. Well, as promised, I’m here to share my little secret. This is something we used to do back in the 80’s~ don’t worry, it’s NOT shoulder pads!

First, the details on the actual top pattern. This is a mashup of the three following Love Notions patterns.

  • Classic Tee- main body
  • La Bella Donna top- neckline and hemline
  • Arlington Sweater- Sleeve

For complete details on how I created the “Classic Bella or Bella Classic” as I call it, visit this blog post.

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Patiently Waiting In The Willow Wrap Dress

Spring is officially here~ now someone needs to tell the weather that! Here on the Northeast Coast the weather has been so fickle. Regardless, I’m sewing for warmer weather! My first official sew of Spring is a brand new pattern for me! I can not believe I waited so long to make the Willow Wrap Dress from Love Notions!!

What better way to celebrate Spring than with an amazing dress for the $5 Feature Friday Pattern! Today, 3/31/23 you can grab the Willow Wrap Dress for just $5. If you don’t have it already, I highly recommend grabbing it today. I never thought this was a style that would be flattering on me~ but boy was I pleasantly surprised!!!

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A Truly “Terra-fic” Pattern for Spring

…A Mini Pattern Hack Blog Post

So exactly what makes the Terra Tunic from Love Notions such a terrific pattern? Why do you need to add the Terra Tunic to your pattern collection? Keep reading to find out!!

The Terra Tunic is the $5 Feature Friday pattern for Friday 3/10/23.  So if you don’t own it, I highly suggest you grab it today! You can purchase the Terra Tunic HERE, and make sure to use my code SEWMARY10 for an additional 10% off.

Simply put…

  • This pattern is soooo versatile. It can be casual or work appropriate depending on fabrics and options chosen. Most of mine are casual~ I’m a retired teacher!
  • So many options: 6 neckline variations (and they are all awesome!), 4 sleeve lengths, elbow patches and welt pockets. My favorite sleeve length is the 3/4 sleeve.
  • Can be worn year round! (It even makes a great beach coverup come summer!)
  • The Terra is also a very “hackable” pattern.
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Sewing Up Swim With Raspberry Creek Fabrics

…The New 2023 Swim Collection

DISCLAIMER: If you’re expecting to see cute swimsuits sewn up in beautiful Raspberry Creek Fabric swim fabrics- you won’t find them here.  BUT– you will see some other ways you can use this awesome swim fabric from RCF! Hopefully my blog post today will inspire you to grab some of these awesome swim fabrics and make something other than a swimsuit! Because we all know swim fabric isn’t just for bathing suits anymore!!! The fact that Raspberry Creek Swim fabric is UPF 50+ makes it great for any day/activity out in the sun.

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Dreaming of Spring with A Rhapsody Ruffle Sleeve

…A Mini Pattern Hack Blog Post

This is a mini blog post on how to create a Bishop sleeve with a ruffle cuff. For more detailed information of the Love Notions Rhapsody Blouse visit this blog post.

With the anticipation of Spring’s arrival, I am always anxious to add a few new Rhapsody Blouses to my closet. Add in new rayon challis prints available from Raspberry Creek Fabrics ~ and I am ready to get sewing.

I made a ton of cap sleeve Rhapsody Blouses last summer as my everyday tops. They were perfect for hot and humid weather, and looked so much cuter than a basic t-Shirt. When Fall came around, and we still had a few get aways planned- I decided to add a long sleeved Rhapsody to my travel wardrobe. I wanted something romantic and soft with full arm coverage. So came up with what I’m calling a Bishop Ruffle cuff sleeve! It’s a really simple hack that you could use on any long sleeve Bishop sleeve.

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Love Notions Lincoln Top~ Making it Longer

….A Mini Pattern Hack Blog Post

I don’t know about you~ but I’m ready to sew for Spring. I always like to add a few transitional pieces to my closet this time of year. Things I can wear now and right into the warmer weather. This time last year, I tested the Lincoln Top pattern from Love Notions. I fell in love with this pattern because of the cute button side detail and that it’s a pretty quick sew.

Last year, one of the testers made a longer version of the Lincoln Top and I’ve wanted to make one ever since. Have you made a Lincoln Top yet? Use my code SEWMARY10 to get an additional 10% off.

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