This time around I decided to do something a little more contemporary. Most of what I have sewn so far has had a retro feel to it. Whenever I flip through the pattern books the everyday patterns never seem very interesting to me but some how Butterick B6130 called to me. I like the jumpsuit look. I have visions of wearing it in linen on some exotic beach vacation with a hat and chunky jewelry…very “Real Housewives”.


Since I had only ever sewn dresses before I was a little concerned about the fit on this. Years of bathing suit shopping has taught me that my torso length is not average. I debated for several days, I mean the picture looks to be very baggy in the crotch, surely it would be OK right?  Eventually I decided to just bit the bullet and make a muslin. I have never made a muslin before so I had to look up videos online on just what to do.  I ended up using scraps of various material I had in my stash and whipping one up in an hour with the longest stitch on the machine (recommended in case you need to rip things apart).


Boy am I glad I did this!  The picture above is actually my second attempt. The first one I did was so tight in the crotch I think a thong would have had more ease! I ended up adding an extra 3″ to the rise and another 2″ on the length of the pant. I re-used the top from the first one without any adjustments.

DSC_0218 (1)

Had I made this in the fashion fabric from the get-go it would have been completely  un-salvageable. With these adjustments I cut out my final fabric, a nice cream linen and cream lining, confidant that it would fit. I can hear the waves crashing now.


I have always been slightly envious of my dad’s array of hand made batik shirts. So I finally took the plunge (against the better judgment of the Jo-Ann’s associate) and decided to do a dress in batik fabric.I selected  McCalls 7086 from there archive collection.


Based on the results from that past dresses. I cut a straight size 12 even though  the envelop said I should have been a 14.  The fit was much better through the waist, though I may need to add a waist stay just to relive some of the tension on the zipper. But the shoulders are just a hair too big still.

It has an interesting gathered bow in the front which didn’t seem to show up in this photo but its super visible in person


The pattern calls for 5 5/8 yards of fabric. I bought 6  just to be safe but I had almost a yard and a half left over which sort of miffed me since it was so expensive. The pattern has a fully lined skirt but leaves the bodice un-lined. I though that was a mistake since the bodice is what rubs against your skin the most AND has the most seams. So I did a lining in the bodice (all by my self). I used the technique from the Gertie pattern with a facing attached to the lining. This is my first time adding something to a pattern without any instructions and I think it turned out really well.

DSC_0209 (1)

For the skirt I left the lining out and just did french seams and did the hem with my new favorite lace.


For the arms I read a post on Lilacs & Lace that suggested re-enforcing the arm pit  with top stiching on both sides of the seam when doing these types of sleeves. So I did and it also helped to make the curve a lot smother.


And lastly I finished the sleeves just like the hem with lace. I will have to find out if its too itchy for this kind of application.


Forgive the closed eyes…its hard taking photos of yourself!


Giving Gertie another go

I decided to try the Butterick 6094 Gertie pattern once again only this time doing the straight skirt.


Unfortunately I had purchased a pattern where 14 was the smallest size, I learned my lesson last time that this was just too big so I took in and inch on both sides  when cutting the material so that I wouldn’t have to re-size it later.

Also learning my lesson I decided that pattern matching on this was just too much trouble so I opted for a solid linen fabric in this luscious deep turquoise color and green to contrast.


I wanted to pull out all the stops when finishing this and I think it turned out really well. I used some lace hem tape for starters in the contrast color. This has to be the best hem I have ever done. I will defiantly be using this stuff in the future.


The linen had a bad habit of unraveling so I did french seams on the side of the skirt. I couldn’t figure out how to resolve a french seam into a zipper so I bound the back seam as well as the waist seam with bias tape. Finally I hand stitched the bodice lining behind the zipper and into the waist seem so the entire inside is as finished as the outside

DSC_0181 2DSC_0182

Pattern matching take 2

I don’t know when i’m going to learn to pay attention to the fibric suggestions on the envelop. This time I tried a Butterick 6094 which is part of there “patterns by Gertie” collection.


I loved the back of this dress (Of corse I want to do the full skirt) And I found this grey fabric with sparrows that I just had to use. Only problem is that when it came time to cut the fabric I realized that the birds where going to all be sideways  on the front and back centers of the skirt. So instead of cutting the front half circle as a single piece I added a seam down the center so the  birds would be upright. I could not find an actual repeat in the fabric but I settled for matching up the birds through the seam even if the branches don’t line up.


Again I didn’t bother with the petticoat that was supposed to be attached since I already have one. So I finished all the seams in the skirt with the bias tape and top stitching on either side of the seam.

The bodice has both a facing in the contrast fabric as well as a lining. The directions where a little confusing but I managed to figure them out after reading them 5 times! I also had to think long and hard to get the points on the back collar to end at the center of a medallion and for the two collar pieces to be mirror images of themselves.


I cut a straight size 14. Once I completed the dress I decided that it was too big in the waist. I un-picked it and took in the midriff seams but since the skirt seams where covered and top stitched I opted to add some extra darts to the skirt instead. I will have to add a finished picture later since the only one I have was taken before the re-sizing.

Fabric passed down.

My grandmother loved to travel. On one of her adventures to India she bought some block dyed fabric for my mother.  It was brown. So my mother being a fan of bright colors never got around to using it but she kept it around out of obligation.   A few years ago my grandmother died  and so my mom decided she didn’t need to keep the fabric any more and gave it to me where it sat in my spare room for a few years waiting for me to start sewing again. I picB5603_F_x_new_grandeked up another retro pattern from Butterick, 5603

I was planning on doing the view with the tie shoulders but as I was reading the suggested fabrics I noticed the  wrap bodice view suggested boarder print fabric and suddenly I had a home for this indian fabric. Now the piece I had was only 100″ long and this pattern said it would take 5 1/2 yards. So I laid out all the pieces like a puzzle before cutting a thing and I was able to get them all in.


My only complaint with this pattern is the number of layers of fabric in the bodice. By the time you attach it to the skirt you sewing through 5 layers minimum 13 layers at the darts (and there are a LOT of darts). But this fabric was thin so it worked out.

DSC_0188 2DSC_0189

50s flair

Now with a few garments under my belt I decided it was time to do something a little bit harder.  I decided upon this retro Butterick 6055. I had read a blog from someone else who complained that it was too easy, so I thought I could handle it. It has kimono sleeves which I appreciated since to do a set in sleeve still seems too complicated to me.


I picked this yellow fabric with geometric overlay. And this is my first time doing pattern matching.  Can you even see it? There is a seam right down the center of the bodice! Now the darts on either side are another story,  but I don’t know if it would even be possible to pattern match those.


This dress also has a side zipper. For my first zipper I don’t think it turned out too shabby.


Here is a close up on the pocket.


It’s not quite a full circle skirt but close. This is taken with a store bought petticoat underneath which I think really helps.


Sewing with a use

By day  I work as a food scientist. You would think I get enough of food during the day but I still enjoy cooking dinner every night when I get home.  At work the “cooking” is very scientific and regimented. So I decided that the perfect accompaniment to my home cooking fun would be a suitably girly apron.

The pattern I picked was McCalls 7208


This pattern has you make a detachable petticoat as well. I thought that was just a step too far so I left the petticoat out. I let my SO pick the fabric again and this time I am much happier. He decided on a partridge pattern with a coordinating light orange chevron.


I mixed and matched with the pattern. I took the pocket from one view ( leaving out the top pocket with contrasting pocket square, because who needs that) and then borrowed the bottom contrasting detail from a different view. Again no fasteners just a tie around the neck and back.  I did learn 1 new technique while making this, a gathering stitch using the machine. The gathers are so tiny and perfect, I could have never done this by hand.