UFO & Haul

I’ll be honest; I haven’t done much sewing lately. Life just got in the way. Besides sewing is a hobby, it’s supposed to be fun so I don’t want to force myself to do it if I don’t feel like it. Inevitably the next question is “Why don’t you feel like sewing?”. That  I am blaming on this weeks UFO or Unfinished Object.

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I fell in love with this “Birds on a Line” fabric but when it came in the mail I was skeptical that it had enough structure  for the dress I had in mind. It turns out that was the least of my problems. It has a very soft floaty drape that makes it impossibly shifty when cutting. I spent a day cutting out what should have only taken me 30 minutes at most!  Next, I had issues marking the fabric, for some reason the tailors chalk just wouldn’t show up.  Instead I had to mark everything with tailors tacks in red silk thread.  Since the fabric was so shifty I looked up some pointers on-line. I reduced the tension, I  hand basted every freaking seam before sewing and used a walking foot. The results aren’t pretty.

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For now this dress is going to start my UFO pile. I am hoping that after some more experience under my belt I may be able to come back to this project and fix it. I have a fair amount of this fabric left, easily enough to make a blouse or something but its going to the bottom of my stash for another day.

Like any good red blooded American, I drowned the sorrows of this project failure by buying more stuff.

First up, Tony asked for another shirt. This time in Lilac.  I know, I was shocked too. I had trouble finding buttons to match this fabric so I am toying with the idea of pearlized snaps ( which Tony loves) though I am worried that they might make it too causal for him to wear with his suit and such.

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The rest of the items were acquired at a fabric sale for the Denver chapter of the American Sewing Guild. I say acquired because Tony’s mom actually bought them (much to my chagrin). Barb, again you are way too generous! All the fabrics were $2.00 a yard the only catch being you had to buy the entire cut of fabric. It was actually fairly easy to limit myself since most of the fabrics seemed to have come from quilters (small yardage). It was easy to scope out the things that were big enough to make garments out of in the piles and piles of fabric. They also had a table of notions and trims. You could get as much as you could fit in a gallon size bag for another $2.00.

I stuffed my bag with lots of lace (with hopes of making an heirloom type camisole), several cards of vintage buttons, self covered button blanks, snaps, hooks and eyes, and zippers for muslins.

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Also in the not fabric area I snagged a thread rack for….$2. I ran out of room in my thread holder months ago and have been feverishly trying to finish off spools so that everything would fit. Turns out I didn’t need to, now I have lots of room

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Now onto the fabric! Tony has been wanting a vest for some time now. I thought I would give it a go. I bought this pattern thinking he would go for view A since thats what most vests in the store look like. Instead he chose view C, double breasted with lapels. Its fine, but I am going to have to practice doing a welted pocket. I found 2 yards of the thin wool in a nice charcoal grey which will be perfect for a vest.

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Along the same lines I found 3 yards of this Chocolate wool in a herringbone pattern. It was really hard to photograph but I love the look of it in person. Also, Wool for $2 people!

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Being the anglophile that I am I have my heart set on turning this into a english style hunting jacket.  I don’t hunt, I don’t even like the idea of hunting…but look how cool she looks!


The next fabric is 3 yards of cotton. I’m not sure if this is considered madras but it has that feel to me. No plans for this yet. I just wanted it.

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Finally I got 4 yards of this similar fabric in nice deep jewel tones. Its going to be a dress (obviously). Im thinking a pleated skirt to show of the linear lines?

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The grand total for the notions, thread rack, and 4 cuts of fabric was $28…good thing they only have this sale once a year!

A walk on the modern side

I know, I know…ANOTHER shirtwaist. This is the last one for a little while. I promise. This one uses the same pattern as last weeks ( McCall 7351) but a different view. I was supposed to look like this.


The finished dress doesn’t exactly look like the drawing. In reality the waist isn’t as defined, the skirt is much straighter and shorter, and the arms aren’t anywhere near as long. I know that the drawings on the reproduction patterns are pure fantasy but I expected  this to be a little more representive of the actual dress. Despite the false advertising the dress turned out pretty well, even though it isn’t what I expected.

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The denim was easily the thickest think I have sewn with so far. To reduce some of the bulk I decided to use some cotton scraps for the under-collar and inside yolk and stand. Unfortunately my serger chewed up some of it so I hand stitched a patch on. If it was the outside I probably would have torn it apart and replaced it.

I had started doing my top stiching iwth gold thread to match the insides buti wasnt too happy with how it looked against the dark denim. It looked cheap to me. So I tore it all out and re-did it with a copper thread instead.



The arms deviated the most from the drawing. In the drawing you can see that the button is about level with the waist which would make them longer then elbow length.  On the pattern the button placement is just barely below the arm pit which means it ends up having to be rolled above the elbow in order for the tab to fasten.  Only problem is that with the taper in the sleeve when you roll it up the wrist circumference is now around your bicep which I don’t know about you but my upper arms are  much bigger then my wrist. It make the sleeve way to narrow to get your arm into. I ended up chopped off about 4 inches from the sleeves so that your only had to roll it twice to fasten. If I had to guess, I think they lengthened the sleeves after the fact but forgot to adjust the tab and button position when drafting the pattern. Despite all the issues the sleeves turned out really well. Its my favorite part of the dress.


Fit wise this isn’t my greatest triumph. There is still some excess fabric in the lower back. The waist could stand to be taken in and the hips are too tight lending to that boxy effect. Finally I would like it to be just a tad longer.  Don’t get me wrong, its not going in the wadder pile these are just the things that I would fix if I were to do it again.




A slightly different shirtwaist

I love a shirtwaist dress. It looks slightly retro but still very relevant for today. Having already done 3 versions of McCall 6696 herehear, and here I decided to give that pattern a rest and try a different shirtwaist offering.


I mean this one combines both of my loves: shirtwaist with a circle skirt.  What could be better!

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I was feeling a bit lazy so instead of lengthening the bodice I just inserted a 1.5″ waistband. Even with that additional length the skirt kits me a good 5 inches above the knee. If I were to make this again I would want some more length.

I didn’t have enough fabric for the skirt so I ended up having to piece it together. The front skirt is actually made up of 6 pieces not including the button plackets.  I was able to pattern match most the seams accept the 2 closest to the placket. Once the skirt is on you can’t see them at all so I am glad of that.


The insides are finished as much as I could and it has two side seam pockets in the skirt.



Even with its short skirt I still love the dress. I wore it a few weeks ago to the art museum. We were waiting in line to get into an exhibit on female expressionist and the attended could not stop gushing over it because a) she thought it was too cool that I had dressed up to go to the museum and b) she thought I matched the artwork. Then Tony told her I had made it myself and her mind exploded.

With Tony’s majestic beard people hardly ever notice me.  Ever since I started wearing my me-made clothing I get so many complements. Im still too shy to tell them I made it but it still makes me feel good.

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Fabric Haul and Future Plans

I was desperate for more fabric and with a new job starting soon I thought I could splurge on a bit of a haul from Fabric.com .   Well the new job isn’t all I thought it would be and I’m back on the job hunt. I had a few promising phone interviews yesterday so I’m trying keep positive.   I regret ordering the fabric now and wish I had saved the money  but the it is already bought so I might as well use it.


First up is 3 yards of a medium weight (9.5oz) dark denim.


I am planning to do the top drawing on this pattern with the 3/4 rolled sleeves and A-line skirt with curved hem. I started on the bodice yesterday but I’m not loving the look of the classic gold thread topstitching so I may un-pick it and go for copper or black thread instead. I have used this pattern once already to do the circle skirt version but haven’t had the chance to take pictures of the finished dress yet.

After the sucess of my grape colored knit dress I and eager to do another. I bought 3 yards of this rose quartz rayon jersey.

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Right now I am not to sure if I want to use the same pattern but do long sleeves or opt for something else.  I wasn’t in love with how the waist was addressed on the McCalls pattern as the finished dress needs to be worn with a belt and not sufficient as is. I leaning towards a fit and flare wrap dress style, I just need to find the right pattern.

Next I fell in love with this crepe de chine with purple birds on a brown background. I bought 4 yards for a steal.

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The fabric is very lightweight and soft. Originally I was thinking of this Butterick  wiggle dress with side swag. After seeing the fabric in person I don’t know if the fabric has enough structure for this dress and may later decide on something more flowy…or maybe a pussy bow blouse. The dress pattern does recommend a crepe de chine so it may be alright. I will have to think about it for a bit.


I already knew I wanted to do a more cold weather version of this dress so I bought 5 yards of this evergreen cotton.

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This time around with will do the sleeves that the pattern came with. I have heard of some issues with arm mobility with this pattern so I may need to make some adjustments in the shoulders to account.  Only problem is this dress will need a darker petticoat since I think my ivory one would clash. I can cross that river when it comes. Fingers crossed I will have a steady income by then.

Last but not least I bought 6 yards of this navy Taffeta.

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I am auditioning the idea of making something to wear to a wedding next September (’17), obviously I have some time to figure it out.  So far I have 2 ideas either a full skirt worn with a store bought top or a dress with boat neck front and deep V-back with a box pleated skirt. Below are the inspiration pictures. Coming off my self drafting success I feel confidant that I could suss out these designs with some trial and error.




Self Drafted

I fell down the youTube rabbit hole a few weeks back and somehow ended up at a video by Angela Clayton on making a dress out of ikea curtains. I absolutely loved the dress and it seemed easy enough for a draping beginner like myself. First things first, I checked and ikea no longer makes those curtains *sad face*.  I decided to use some of the 8 yards of aqua linen I had in my stash from my dutch wax purchase.

I used some fabric scraps on my dress form and cut and tucked and shaped until I got a bodice I was happy with. I only draped half of the bodice planing to cut on the fold. Having the dress form made it super easy because it has the center lines and stuff already on it. Then I just took that fabric and transferred it onto Swedish tracing paper and added my seam allowance.

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I cut out one from the linen and one from a cotton batiste for lining. Sewed the darts and put right sides together and sewed along the neck and back. I also did a line of understitching to help keep the lining from rolling to the outside.


Next I made some bias tape out of the linen to go around the arm holes and tie at the top to form the straps

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You can see in this picture how I placed the darts coming towards the center. This was my own artistic addition. It reminds me of the 17th century style lines with bodies that would come to sharp points

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For the skirt I just did 3 rectangles the full width of the fabric and gathered them. In retrospect  I wish I had just done a circle skirt because:

  1. The gathering took forever and my thread kept breaking
  2. It made the zipper super hard to put in
  3. I don’t much care for the added fullness the gathering gives at the waist.


After I took this picture I ironed them down to try and subdue it and that helped a little but it still has a bit of a tummy pooch effect.

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All in all I think its not a bad result for my first attempt at making something without a pattern. I certainly  would try it again. I like the relaxed look of it, seems perfect for a picnic in the park.DSC_0059 (1)DSC_0055 (3)