In House Patterns – Diana

07 Nov In House Patterns – Diana

I recently discovered dozens of unanswered messages on Messenger. This is an app I have downloaded but do not use and I apologize to anyone who wrote to me expecting a reply. The best way to contact me is through my blog or by Instagram DM.


When I returned to sewing nine years ago I vowed to complete each project before starting another and the decision has served me well. This garment is a great example for me to remember, because it would have be trashed before I put the sleeves on….

Last month I happened upon a forum in Threads Magazine entitled Best Bodice Block design from In House Patterns, a pattern company I was unfamiliar with. As I checked out the website, I could hardly believe that one of the 11 offered patterns was a silhouette I had be searching for.

I am a huge fan of Lilly Pulitzer’s Elsa Silk Tops and they are the one garment I continue to unapologetically buy. The raglan sleeve top is gently gathered by smocking, and finished with a banded neckline and narrow front placket. The gentle drapes of the silk are very flattering, and while it is loose it is not oversized.

However, a little Lilly goes a long way!

I was giddy when I saw the Diana Pattern. It is not smocked, has set in sleeves with a cuff AND a back yoke, but my eyes saw it as a great alternative to the Elsa Top.

I liked it so much I was willing to download the PDF pattern, buy new cartridges for the printer, tape and cut the pattern, and transfer all of the pieces to pattern paper. My expectations were so high for this pattern that it was doomed from the start.


I ordered an inexpensive polyester from Fashion Fabrics club for the first sew and cut the pattern according to my measurements and cup size. Early into the project, but too late to make alterations, I knew the top would be too big.
Maybe you are not this type, but since I was anticipating failure, I began to drag my feet with the top. I spray painted all of our outdoor furniture, pruned the backyard, cleaned out the garage and the refrigerator before facing the music.

When I finally settled down, I began to notice how beautifully the Diana Pattern is drafted.

Even the band collar was completely issue free.
Alexandra Morgan’s instructions are excellent. Being raised on Big 4 terminology, I had to reread some of the directions, but I was all the better for it.

In addition to fitting, the only change I will make is from a personal preference perspective. The placket is finished on the serger, but I plan to finish the next one with a self bias strip or a turned edge.

I’ve got my work cut out for me to turn this pattern into what I want it to be, but all issues with this first top were pilot error, and I now know what to do. I have a beautiful piece of equestrian silk that I’ll use for top number two, and hopefully I’ll stay focused.

What would I have accomplished had I tossed this project midway through? I would not have painted my furniture OR cleaned the garage, but more importantly I would not have fine tuned my vision for the next garment. I would have concluded the pattern is not for me and moved on to possibly another failure.

This oversized top fits right in with my pandemic lifestyle so all is not lost 😉


Best wishes for a great weekend!

  • Debbie Bowdish
    Posted at 07:16h, 07 November Reply

    Great post about working through a project! Love the top and that you painted furniture and cleaned the garage!!!!! Waiting to see the next one!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:19h, 08 November Reply

      Thank you so much, Debbie! Sometimes all we need is to clear our mind and regroup 😊

  • Laura S Davidson
    Posted at 07:17h, 07 November Reply

    Thanks for writing about what must be a universal reaction to having difficulties while sewing. I am now inspired to go back and rework a couple of things that I have left unfinished. That top looks like one I need.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:40h, 08 November Reply

      For me, it’s never a mistake to finish the project though I had zero enthusiasm until I was near the end. However, I’m excited for the next Diana top. Many thanks for your comment, Laura!

  • Alli Gilbert
    Posted at 07:32h, 07 November Reply

    I am NOTORIOUS to leave an incomplete project, sometimes even when it’s going well. Why? I have no idea, but your decision to stick to it before moving on is a good one, and one I plan on implementing. Now, what can you do to make fewer distractions and more free time? ;o}

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:42h, 08 November Reply

      😂😂. Often I sew with my heart over my brain, meaning nothing can distract me!

  • Marla Cooprider
    Posted at 08:03h, 07 November Reply

    Looks nice. The pattern looks similar to Angela Wolf’s Linda Tunic.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:47h, 08 November Reply

      Thank you, Marla! It does looks similar. There is a difference in the front placket. The Diana placket is longer, narrower and laps with a button closure. It also seems to me longer in the overall length.
      Have you sewn this tunic?

  • Karen Helm
    Posted at 08:16h, 07 November Reply

    This version turned out so well that I’m very excited to see the next one in an equestrian print. Thanks for all the details, Sarah!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:48h, 08 November Reply

      Thank you, Karen! Hopefully the next one will fit. 😉

  • Elaine Christie
    Posted at 11:06h, 07 November Reply

    This is so timely. I’m struggling with two projects that for differing reasons have given me sewing block. I know what needs to be done and have even sat down in front of my machine to no avail. I know that I will overcome this. Thank you for showing that a different way of looking at a problem can get us over it. In addition, your final garment fits beautifully.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:51h, 08 November Reply

      Many thanks, Elaine. I’m sure you will overcome your sewing block! Sometimes all it takes is a sign of progress to get me back on track,

  • Joan
    Posted at 13:21h, 07 November Reply

    Loved this blog post, Sarah: I am always glad to hear of others’ trials overcome! Inspirational!

    I also looked at the In-House Patterns Studio website: the fitting info, tutorials and fitting classes look very interesting. I wasn’t aware of this company, despite receiving Threads magazine.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:53h, 08 November Reply

      Thank you, Joan! I just happened upon it by reading the forums on the website. The fitting classes get great reviews!

  • Judith Gordon
    Posted at 14:06h, 07 November Reply

    Alexandra Morgan of In-House Patterns has been generous enough to put out many fitting videos, at no charge, that can be accessed on You Tube.. I am glad you found her. I have enjoyed following your posts, with admiration.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:54h, 08 November Reply

      I plan to check out her classes, Judith. I probably should have done this before I made the Diana! Many thanks for the comment 😉

  • MC
    Posted at 16:30h, 07 November Reply

    Up until now, Alexandra has been the best kept secret of western Canada and the Pacific north west of the U.S.. She is utterly amazing and I have been fortunate enough to to take her bodice drafting pattern.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:55h, 08 November Reply

      I am so pleased to have discovered In House Patterns and all that Alexandra has to offer! Did you take her bodice drafting class in person?

  • Lisa Milam
    Posted at 21:52h, 07 November Reply

    I have to laugh because I do exactly the same thing when confronted with a sewing obstacle. EVERYTHING else becomes so much more appealing than tackling the problem garment. Even washing windows becomes something I WANT to do. Your shirt turned out beautifully. I’m inspired to keep going on a garment that has become a problem (and there are many) until it’s finished.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:57h, 08 November Reply

      You sound just like me, Lisa! I’ve learned that finishing a garment is always a good thing 😉

  • Gayle
    Posted at 22:12h, 07 November Reply

    Thank you for sharing about your problem. I recently went through the same thing but I refuse to be beaten. (My husband suggested I just throw the pattern out.) But I persevered and am almost finished with the muslin. This pattern really gave me fits and I’ve been sewing for a long time! Kudos to you for successfully finishing your blouse. It looks great!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:00h, 08 November Reply

      Gayle ~ Congratulations on persevering and good luck with the pattern. Completion is a good feeling despite the outcome. 😉 Many thanks for your comment!

  • Oyster 62
    Posted at 08:32h, 08 November Reply

    Good post with good advice on finishing projects. It’s especially challenging if you’re are not at home all the time and can’t complete a project before you leave. Then when you’re home again, getting back in the mood to pick it up again. Since retiring, I’ve gotten back into to sewing and have had to re-learn fitting. I found Alexandra Morgan’s In House Patterns site several years ago. I’ve listened to and bookmarked most, if not all of her tutorials. Her instructions and illustrations are clear, easy to follow, logical and most important, they work! Her recent series on pant fitting was an eye opener. Simply put, in my opinion, her videos are superb!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 10:29h, 08 November Reply

      Thank you so much for your comment! I’m glad I’ve been enlightened by Alexandra’s fans and will look into her tutorials. 😊

  • Mollie Bobo
    Posted at 10:10h, 08 November Reply

    Thank you for this encouraging post. I love this style/shape also. I also am about 5”2” and struggle with too much volume in tops. I will try this pattern.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 10:30h, 08 November Reply

      Many thanks for your comment, Mollie! I plan to go down at least one size for the pattern and cup size. Let me know you’re outcome 😊

  • Annie
    Posted at 14:58h, 08 November Reply

    I got a HUGE laugh from this post. The closets I have cleaned! My favorite go-to is the cabinet under the bathroom sink. Thanks for the great post which will allow me a Lily Pulitzer top without the price tag! And maybe save me some angst.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:20h, 08 November Reply

      😂 I’ve got plenty of bathroom sink cabinets to clean – maybe next time, which I hope will be in the distant future !
      Many thanks for your comment, Annie!

  • Mary Anne Chambers
    Posted at 04:06h, 11 November Reply

    Isn’t it funny how these other jobs suddenly become so important 😂 😂 I do admire your commitment to finishing a project. I hate having UFO’s, but I have to admit I have been guilty off it, but I do try not to as it only results in me feeling bad. Like you, I do feel better if I finish the project regardless as I will always have learned something from it! I look forward to seeing your next version with your adjustments. It is a very nice style.

  • Mary Anne Chambers
    Posted at 04:13h, 11 November Reply

    I have just noticed how similar this pattern is to Angela Wolfs Linda Tunic which I have. I do like the longer placket on the Diana…..will need lo look into creating that.

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