Simplicity 8250

I had every intention of going full steam ahead on the blue taffeta dress. Then I didn’t. I couldn’t deny the draw of an easy skirt pattern and I already had the fabric for it!


I combined the curved waistband of view B with the oversized pockets on view A. Also on the model and directions they have you sew straight to the top of the waistband but if you look closely in the original 1950s drawings you can see a line of topstitching that goes around the waistband curve and connects to the center front stitching. I decided I liked how that looked better.



The fabric is a yard dyed cotton flannel with a grey and black herringbone pattern. I like the weight of the fabric but if I were to do it again I would chose something thinner for the waistband facing as this has way too much bulk around the center front and zipper.


This was my first time doing a lapped zipper. I’m not sure i’m sold on it. I may rip it out and do a centered or hand picked application. Again there was way to much bulk around the waistband and it doesn’t want to lay flat.


My favorite part is the pockets. Rather then being in the seam its a separate pieces topstitched on to the skirt.  I really love how they turned out. I took some pictures with my hands in my pockets and its not the most flattering but who cares!


Unfortunately I didn’t think to take a picture until after wearing it for a few hours so its a little wrinkly. The length is longer then the dresses I have been sewing but its nice and warm for the cooler months especially with a petticoat underneath.dsc_0090

All in all this was a fairly easy project depending on how much I wear it this winter I may make a version in a cotton for warmer weather. I would also love to make the bolero that comes with this pattern but I think that would be a little less wearable so its going to have to wait.




After a lot of research into how 50s gowns were made I decided that I needed to make a corselette.  A corselette is an under-bodice built into the dress that has all the structure and  support that the outer layer of the dress is attacehd to. Basically it does all the hard work while the dress just gets to look pretty. Having a corselette will allow me to get the  open off the shoulder v-neck I’m looking for without having to wear an uncomfortable strapless bra because all the the bra bits are already built in!

To start I used the directions on this website for drafting your own corset. I found it very useful and adaptable to a variety of needs. Also its custom made to my measurements to there was minimal need for alteration.

DSC_0052 copy.JPG


I made a few changes: This is supposed to be a victorian style corset with a reduced waist size, I modified the numbers to use my actual waist instead of a reduced size.

Even though it was mad to my measurements I did have to do two muslins. On the first muslin I had some pooling in the back so I enlisted Tony to pinch out the excess so I could make a sway back adjustment.You can see in the picture below the top line are the pattern pieces from the first muslin, I re-did all of them accept for #2.  Piecese 3-5 had the sway pack adjustment and then I modified piece #1 for a better neckline.


The second muslin was pretty close to perfect.


So now it came time to cut it out of the actual fabric. For the strength layer I couldn’t stomach the $25/yd price tag of coutil so I used some black cotton twill instead, it seemed pretty sturdy when I was tugging at it in the store. Unfortunately when I made up a bodice in the twill I realized I made a rookie mistake. The muslin, made out of muslin had must have stretched a little and fit like a glove but in the more sturdy twill the bodice was significantly smaller as there was no give to the fabric. Lesson learned always do the muslin in a fabric that behaves similarly to the one you are going to use. To fix the issue I drafted a 6th piece  for the center back.


I put in a fast test zipper to make sure the fit worked and I was on my way. I sewed up the same thing in my taffeta. I trimmed the seams  into points to keep some of the bulk out of the top and bottom.


Instead of making boning channels out of twill tape I decided to use a sandwich. I pinned the strength and fashion wrong sides together and pinned along the seam ( to prevent and holes in the taffeta)


Then I topstitched along both sides of the seam to create a channel for the boning.


Next step was to finish the bottom. I used some 7/8″ Navy satin ribbon. First I sewed it to the right side of the bodice.


Then folded it to the back and stitched in the ditch for an invisable finish.


The satin ribbon looks nice, but in retrospect I wish I had gone with a double fold bias tape because the ribbon is VERY difficult to un-pick.

I slid in the boning and stated finishing of the top in the same manner. I made a spur of the moment decision and placed the bra cups inside for a cleaner finish. This would come back to haunt me later.dsc_0077

After finishing the top I help it up to test the size again…….don don don. Turns out actually putting boning in the boning channels significantly shortens the circumference and so I had to patch it a second center back panel to make up the difference. 😦

After that little detour I put in the zipper and we are done. Right?


After taking these pictures I decided I didn’t like how the bra cups looked tucked inside so I ended up having to un-pick the top ribbon, which got destroyed in the process.  I cut the ribbon out  completely and replaced it from side seam to side seam across the front. An just ended up tacking the cups to the inside. Not as pretty but it gives a much better line.

With the underpinning finally finished I was anxious to start seeing the actual dress. I just draped some fabric over my dress form and started playing around. This is what I came up with.


I am leaning more towards the right side were the gathers form just around the bust and then lay flat for the rest.

Making this corselette was certainly one of the most challenging things I have done to date but it feels very rewarding to have it finished. I may even make another one that can be worn under other dresses as a separate piece.  Though if I do I think I would like to do lacing instead of a zipper as it will be a bit more forgiving in the sizing department and will still work as my weight fluctuates.


Simplicity 1018

I decided to take a week off from the blue formal dress and  fortify myself for the next step in the underpinnings. Simplicity 1018 looked simple enough. Though not a retro pattern I can’t help but get 80’s vibes from this dress. Think Keri Russell in the Americans.


Despite having 3 yards of 60″ wide knit fabric I still didn’t have enough for view B (The midi length). I compromised and cut it 7 inches longer the then short skirt which turned out to be plenty long enough. I had to do a lot of fit adjustments (a lot more than I normally do) but since it is a princess seam it is easy enough. I placed the dress on my form inside out and just hand basted  in contrast thread along all 6 seams where it needed to be taken in.


I am quite happy with how the neckline is finished. I can see using this finishing if I was ever to make a knit shirt as it looks very professional.


The finished dress is kind of a dud. Tony said it made me look like a fundamentalist which is definitely a look I am not going for. The sleeves are a little baggy and loose around the cuff and the color washes me out. The overall silhouette ends up very boxy and unflattering.  I may wear it around the house but it’s not going out.  Good thing  I only spent a day on it or I would be more upset.



Simplicity just released their fall collection this morning and I was able to snap up the one pattern I wanted on the last day of a $0.99 sale at hobby lobby. So that makes it a good day!


I have a grey brushed cotton herringbone fabric in my collection that I was thinking about making another blazer out of but now I think it wants to be this skirt. I do like the mustard of the bolero in the cover art so I am wavering on whether I should just copy that as well or go with an evergreen colour.

It looks like I might start back up on some work here shortly.  I have two trips planned before thanksgiving. It has been scaraly easy to fill my days, I don’t know how I had time to do anything when I was gainfully employed.

It’s settled, we need bigger doors.

I have been wanting a darker petticoat to wear with my  fall/winter attire. I have been lusting over Malco Mode ones but I just couldn’t justify the cost.  I thought it might be fun to try and make my own. I picked up Simplicity 1427 a few months ago and I thought view B (shown in brown) might work.


The only problem is that it calls for 35 yards of tulle, I knew if I was going to make this economical buying from Jo-Ann’s was not going to cut it (no pun intended). It took some internet sleuthing but I was able to find a bolt of 40 yards for $9. It took a lot of self-control not to buy a bunch of different colors so I could have color coordinated petticoats for my entire wardrobe. Ultimately logic prevailed  and I decided I should try it out first before I went hog wild. I settled on a navy blue that should work with my blue taffeta if this was the only one that I made.

I always like to research a pattern a bit before I make it. I ended up on the blog of the pattern designer herself. I sure am glad I was it because there are many things that she intended but for some reason the instruction writer completely missed.

  1. Don’t even bother with the pattern pieces, just cut the tulle rectangles directly off the bolt, all  the pieces are designed to use the full 54″ width.
  2. Gather each layer separately. For some reason when they wrote the instructions they have you sew 4 layers together and then gather it which defeats the purpose of having all those layers in the first place
  3. Don’t hem the inner circle skirt lining until after the dress has hung for a day. For some reason the instructions have you hem the skirt before it hangs before any of the tulle layers are even added to it.

The sewing wasn’t very hard, just extremely tedious. Streight lines and gathering the whole way. It took 3 days and multiple spools of thread and I have myself one fluffy cupcake of a skirt.


I can’t help but feel like it’s a grown up Toddlers in Tiaras skirt. Too big really to wear with my  day to day dresses but I think it may still work for a special occasion dress. Also, Uzzi loves hiding in it.

Just look at all those layers! They trap a lot of air so it’s very insulating to legs in the colder months.


The skirt has 7 layers of tulle and an anti-static circle underskirt.There is an inner yolk that has 4 layers to help keep some of the bulk out of the waistband.  Then three outer layers that are attached directly into the waistband, 2 with bottom ruffles and one non-ruffle layer between them.


As is I don’t think I will make this again. I might want to try out one of the other views instead for a little less volume and effort. Those ruffles were the worst, each one is 29 yards long so a ruffle a day was all I could handle.


Wool Blazer: Part 2

I am happy to be able to share my finished Wool Blazer/ English hunting coat.


Tony has already declared this the best thing I have ever made. Despite the long and tedious preparation process, sewing this was a breeze. Things like the collar and sleeves which I expected to be troublesome came together with no issues. I thoroughly enjoyed making this coat as it managed to challenge me and boost my sewing confidence in one fell swoop. I wish I had gotten some pictures of the guts before attaching the lining but I was just too eager to get it finished.

These are two part sleeves with sort of a faux vent. They have a 1/4″ shoulder pad sewn into the lining and some fleece as a sleeve heading to help fill out the shape of the sleeve cap. That’s a lot going on under the hood!

We have a notched collar that lays very well if I do say so myself.


The pocket flaps are non-functional but there is a pocket in the princess seams below the flap. I found some plastic buttons that do a brilliant job of looking wooden and really tie together the English feel for me.


The back has some gentle princess seams for a slight bit of shaping. I wish I had done a sway back adjustment but its not too obvious.


My favorite part is the silky rich red lining. It really makes this coat feel like a luxury.


Needless to say, I am pretty satisfied, though I don’t think I will be making another anytime soon. I learned a lot of tailoring  while making this and I feel like I can bump my skill level up a notch.