Hot! The “Mandarin Orange” Top

The Facts

  • Fabric: orange corduroy (free!)
  • Pattern: Butterick 4811 (I think this was one of those $1.99 pattern sales)
  • Year: 2006
  • Notions: buttons (stash), thread (stash), bias tape (stash)
  • First worn: August 18, 2012
  • Wear again?: Yes
  • Total price: $2

I’m sure this challenge is a skill challenge, meant to expand our sewing skills, and I thought about doing a really interesting and unique collar, then realized I just didn’t have the time since I would need to get going on the book-inspired challenge as fast as possible (for reasons I will explain next week). This took just a Saturday morning to complete.

Anyway, I’ve gotten pretty good at collars. A quick look at my sewing photos from the past few years says I’ve sewn 19 of them. So I picked an easy style–the mandarin collar–and a pattern with all of 3 pieces for collar number 20.

I love this shade of orange and it is perfect for moving into an autumn color pallette. The weight of the fabric is good for fall as well. The cut is on the boxy side, but I’m deciding to like that. It’s sort of an ongoing decision.

I do love the buttons.

Some of you may be wondering how it is I’m handling all those mandarin oranges so well . . .

It’s a zen thing.


Erin Bartels

Erin is a copywriter by day, a novelist by night, and a wife, mother, dressmaker, quilter, zoo docent, painter, poet, and photographer in between. She only gets paid for the copywriting.


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  1. Oh Erin,those buttons are fantastic. Every school year my Mom would sew me up a corduroy outfit, it definitely feels fall. I love that color and really cool photos.

    • I’m sure those buttons came from a coat because there are four more of them. I almost didn’t want to break up the set, but I have no coat plans in the near future, so what the heck.

  2. I’ve always loved the look and idea of corduroy, it’s beautiful on you. The buttons are very cool, as are the zen mandarins : )

  3. Gorgeous job on the buttons, and the whole thing! I love the variety of collars we’ll get to see this week. Fab job!!

    • Thanks! It’s such a lame collar (too easy) I felt a little disingenuous posting it for this challenge, but hey, I guess it technically is a collar. :)

  4. Looks lovely and warm, and I love the fun buttons. I also think I owned some corduroy in that exact colour, but de-stashed it because I never know what to make with corduroy.

    • There aren’t a lot of options. My Buttons challenge was corduroy (a long coat) and the waistband on my Accesories challenge was too. And I’ve made a shorter corduroy jacket to go with a fall dress. Generally, I think of tailored items as good options for corduroy. I have seen a couple really nice corduory dresses with full skirts, but I imagine they feel quite heavy.

  5. Your pictures are so fun, but what no juggling? Haha~ That top really is a great color to transition with. I love autumn with all of its warm hues and cozy fabrics. Great job!

  6. That color really makes your eyes stand out. Lovely. I’m wondering if maybe you couldn’t do something with the shoulder seams. Would it be too bulky if you gathered them a little and added a tab? It is corduroy and I’m sure a tab would work with that style-just thinking out loud.

    • Possibly. It might be a little bulky. And with a shoulder tab, I think I’d have to introduce a different kind of button. I’m actually getting more comfortable with boxier things lately as I’m losing weight (perhaps that’s counterintuitive, but there it is) and I think because I love the color and buttons so much I can see myself purposefully wearing this, even though I think it’s on the square side. :)

  7. You have the nicest smile Erin. Great job on the top and those buttons were the perfect choice.

    I wonder if I could totally zen out on my lemons. My lemon tree has been too kind this year.

  8. Thank you! :D And I’ll tell you my secret. Bamboo skewers.

  9. Love your whole tangerine theme and your clever zen abilities. What beautiful buttons and buttonholes!