White Embroidered Dress

The last installment of my catch-up blogging is this lovely white dress I made just after Easter.  I used  my self draped bodice pattern from this dress and the box pleated circle skirt from Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book.  I had originally purchased 4 yards of this white cotton from Joann’s but I didn’t have enough to do the skirt so I had to go back and buy another 2 yards to complete it. White I was waiting for a sale so that I could get the rest of the fabric I needed I decided to add some interest to the bodice with some embroidery.

I scoured pinterest and liked the look of this picture:


So I adapted it to fit along the neckline and got this:



I love the strap details on this bodice and I think they work perfectly with the neckline



Along the hem I decided to try a new technique of Hem Stitching using a winged needle and the honeycomb stitch pattern on my bernina. I ended up doing two rows of hemstitching to help the 2″ hem stay put. Won’t be doing such a deep hem on a circle skirt again because it was a nightmare adjusting all the fullness out.


The insides are pretty plain though I did do some bias binding around the zipper to help clean things up a bit.


The finished dress makes me feel like I should be frolicking on the hillside of a french chateau…until then I wore it to a winery 🙂


Mandy & Ginger

One of my goals for 2017 was to make Jeans and I am happy to say that I have succeeded!  So far I have made 3 pairs: 1 failure and 2 wearable. I have some really nice Cone Mill Denim but I want to really refine the fit before I cut into that fabric. That’s the problem with buying nice fabric, i’m too scared to cut into it. I also picked up some stretch denims from Colorado Fabrics. They were pre-cut lengths and I didn’t realize until after I pre-washed them that one of them is 45″ wide.  Mom suggested I make pedal pushers with it but Im not sure I can even make that work. Shorts maybe?

One of the things I purchased with my winnings from the Pattern review contest was the Ginger Jeans pattern. I have seen some excellent jeans come from this pattern so I know eventual I will get there.


The first pair I made was using the skinny leg- high waisted view ( on the left). I used a very dark wash denim and some grey floral quilting cotton for the pockets and teal serger thread on the insides.


I used the pattern as drafted except I added 4″ to the bottom of the leg so that I could have a really wide cuff. I’m lucky if I can get RTW jeans long enough for me so having such a deep cuff feels very special.


I really goofed the back pocket placement on these. The pockets were just so big and my back is soo small. I put them too close together because otherwise the would have been around the sides. I’m OK with is since I tend to wear skinny jeans with big billowy tops that cover my bum anyways. For the subsequent pairs I used the smaller pocket pattern piece from the low rise view.


I learned some things from this first pair….firstly the importance of pocket placement. Also I found the rise a bit too high on me. The button in the front tends to rub against my belly button when I sit down which irritates the skin. Also these were a bit big, I accidently cut a hole in the side with my serger so I took in both sides by 1/4″ to fix it and the jeans are still seem more than generous.

For the next pair I used a stretch twill in olive. Based on the last ones I went down a size and just the low rise version. It was only supposed to be 3″ different. Well these were so bad they have been trashed before even getting a picture. The twill had considerable less stretch than the denim so going down a size made me feel like a stuffed sausage. Also the low rise was NSFW… unless you’re a plumber.

I went back to the high waisted version and just redrafted the front to be 1 1/2″ lower at the zipper. For this I used a light grey flannel backed denim. It’s super soft and very warm!

These jeans are almost perfect. I think I need to take out 1/2″ more from the front to be comfortable. Also I did a much better job with the pocket placement. I put fusible interfacing on the pockets before top stitching them but the one on the right had broken threads after just one wearing.


This denim doesn’t have the best recovery so it gets a little baggy in the knees after a few wearings. The Cone Mill denim is supposed to be very good for that sort of thing so it will be interesting to see if I notice a difference.


Along with my skinny jeans I have been sort of obsessed with a free pattern I found online called the Mandy Boat Neck Tee. Its one size fits all and sews up in about 30 mins. For my first version I used a teal terry fabric that I got at Colorado Fabrics. I made it wrong side out because I liked the textured look of the terry.


I love the boat neckline and the dropped shoulder. I did find the back a little tent like but that hasn’t stopped me from wearing it a ton before the weather started warming up.


It wasn’t long before I had to make it again. For my second time around I took a triangle wedge out of the back to help it hang better. I also added a split hem that is longer in the back.


The stripes help accentuate the dropped shoulder and this aqua teal is a personal favorite of mine. This is a ponte and has a little more stretch in the sleeves then the terry so it’s even more comfortable so thats a win in my book.

Harriet, Watson, & Madelynne Oh My: Bra Update

I have recently fallen down the bra-making rabbit hole. It all started with the Madelynne by Simplicity 8228


I have actually had this pattern for quite some time but a quick perusal of the back showed that it needed all these things I had never used before. Picot? Powder Mesh? Stretch Lace? I never knew where to buy them so the pattern sat in the back of my closet unused. I was planning a trip down to Colorado Fabrics in May  and I figured they might have what I needed. Well they did have stretch lace but it was $10 a yard and since I needed 4ish yards  I wasn’t willing to spend that much on a bralette.  So I bit the bullet and ordered from Debs Lace and Trims  I bought Black, Purple, Cadet Blue, Teal, and Pink Lace. Everything came in 5 yd cuts and most were in the $1/yd range. I also picked up some picot and skinny elastic. From Fabric.com I was able to find the power mesh for considerably cheaper then the bra sites were selling it for so I picked up Nude and Grey. With all the accoutrements in hand I got to work. You will have seen the first bra on hear a few weeks ago. It was the racerback style in cadet blue with nude power mesh underlining.

While I was pseudo-happy with the results I wanted to make some changes. You’ll notice that the seam line falls about an inch to the outside of the apex of the breast. I have scoured the internet and I find this is true of every example I have seen made. I’m not sure if this was a stylistic choice by Madelynne but (to me) it gives a splayed shape to the chest which I find unflattering. For my next attempt I redrafted the cups so that the seam line is more center (along the princess seams of the dress form). I also left out the racerback because this detail looks nice but its quite high. While I am a millennial I’m not into the “look my bra is showing” trend.  It was fairly easy to just leave out the racerback pieces and add some straps instead.

I also want to note that I paid extra close attention this time to make sure my insides were much cleaner. I still didn’t use the spray adhesive, but I have bought it now so I can use it in the future.


I was happy with how this turned out but lurking on all the bra-making blogs had me pining for something that looks a little more bra-like. The patterns by Cloth Habit seem to be fan favorites so I picked up the Watson (a soft cup)  and Harriet (Underwire) Bra Patterns.

I started with the Watson thinking that the soft cup would be easier to tackle first. Now having made both I don’t think there is a huge difference in difficulty between the two patterns and Underwires aren’t nearly as tricky as they look.  My first Watson was intended as a tester to narrow in on sizing. I sewed up  a 38A in a black 4-way stretch jersey with some miss matched notions from my stash. I stabilized the bridge with the black tricot fusible interfacing that I had purchased for my pencil skirts.

The verdict is still out on this one.  I don’t love the shape this gives me, that is to say I don’t love my natural shape and this bra doesn’t do anything to alter it.  The way I see it I have two options either a) use a smaller cup size so the cup shapes (squishes) the flesh in a more rounder shape or b)  perhaps the jersey recovery isn’t enough. I think this could be easily remedied by underlining the cups with power mesh.  I want to fix it but i’m too anxious to get a bra that works so I decided to set this pattern aside and work on Harriet.

The Watson bra calls for all stretch fabric whereas the Harriet uses a stable fabric  for the cups, cradle, and bridge. One blogger mentioned using silk charmeuse for bras as the ultimate in luxury…well I happen to have 8 yards of silk charmeuse wasting away in my stash. It came as part of a mystery fabric bundle purchased with my winnings from the Pattern Review contest. I don’t see me wearing a dress in this colorway but for some reason I think it works for bras.


I used a pastel findings kit purchased from Tailor Made. These kits are an excellent deal. I find them much more economical than the full bra kits and the only extra things you need to get are the fashion fabrics and mesh. The kit is also pretty generous.  I actually sewed this up 3 times trying to get the right fit. I reused the strapping, underwire channeling, and hook & eye from bra to bra but the kit came with enough picot that I still have some left over after the third bra.


As for sizing, first I made a 38A just like Watson. The band was way too big and the cups where fine on my larger size but a little generous on my smaller side.   I went back and actually  read the sizing directions and found out I should have made a 34C. If you are familiar with bra sizing you know that  these are sister sizes so the cups are the same between 38A and 34C. Since the first bra was a bit generous I sewed up the next as a 34B instead. This time around the band was way too tight.   I feel a little like goldilocks at this point, too loose, too, tight….the only thing left is “just about right”.  The cups felt right but I was getting a bit of “quad-boob” at the top which is normally an indication that the cup is too small. However I thought this might be happening because I stretched the picot too tight over the top edge of the cup. For the third bra I decided to sew a 36A. Which is a larger band but the same size cup. I didn’t stretch the elastic at all over the top of the cup. I am very pleased with the results.

I’m still having ever so slightly quad-ness with this size but with some tugging I think that I have identified that it’s a result of the straps being too short. I cut the straps at 18″ because I like the idea of it taking exactly 1 yard of strapping to make a bra but I think moving forward I could benefit from just a couple inches more on each strap. Unlike the Watson I think this was gives a nice shape. Probably because the stable cup fabric forces the tissue to conform to it and not vice versa.


I noticed on my first two “practice” Harriets that the silk charmuse unraveled  like a beast. Since this pattern is unlined it made for messy insides. For this last bra I serged all the seams with matching thread and I am hoping this will keep it much nicer looking.

Now you might think that this was an awful lot of bra sewing but actualy I made all the bras from this post over the course of a single week. I can do an entire bra including cutting and sewing starting after my morning yoga and be done before our 11am walk. I can reasonable get 2 done a day if I wanted. Thats one reason why I am finding bra sewing very satisfying. Its quick but the result looks like a construction master piece. I have many many many more bras in my queue. Here is just a sneak peak.


Catching up

I have been a very bad blogger. It’s been far too long since I have posted.  Believe you me, it’s not due to lack of sewing.  Mostly it’s just I find picture taking a giant hassle. I could spend all day taking photos of myself and still not get a single usable shot, be it I cut off my head or the strap was twisted.  Meh….. A lot of bloggers clearly have someone to do the photography for them. I did get some backdrops and a lighting system thinking it would make it easier to set it up once and then keep using it over and over without changing the camera position but it’s just as hard!

Anyway enough complaining. I’m going to spend the next few weeks catching you up on all the things I have been sewing….all photography on my dress form. After that I will try to get back on the bandwagon. Without further ado:

I have tried to make a concerted effort this year to sew more separates. Don’t get me wrong I love dresses but they just aren’t practical for my life and I found myself only getting to wear them on special occasions.  I want to make more things that fit into my every day uniform. To that effect I have sewn 2 more button up shirts from my TNT Simplicity 1538.

They have gotten a lot of wear and I pulled them out of the dryer to take these pictures so excuse the wrinkles.  The pink one is perfect for spring early summer. The fabric is really lightweight and doesn’t get me hot but also keeps the sun off my easily burnt shoulders.

In the same shirt category I have this top made from a poly blouse weight fabric ( that I got for free) I have this same fabric in aqua instead of purple. I used Butterick 6378 to make this top because I really liked wearing my ivory bow blouse from Mod Cloth this winter. Also this thing is practically impervious to wrinkles so it’s awsome to throw in a suitcase for my business trips.

I particularly like the shoulder seam which is dropped forward  and then gathered. My only complaint is that the sleeves aren’t long enough ( even though I lengthened them by 2″). The directions have you measure the cuff elastic as your wrist +1″ but since the sleeves don’t make it down that far it’s a little tight around my forearm.

Next up I made the complete outfit from Simplicity 1070 which includes a crop top, pencil skirt and moto style jacket.

I’m on the fence with these. I think the jacket looks great on the form but not as good on me however I shot some video in this outfit and I thought it looked a lot better than I expected.

Next one is a wader. I used more of my cotton saris and simplicity 1755. I did not get the fit right on this and the torso is just comically too long. To fix it I would need to take out the zipper, chop off 2″ from the waist, attach the skirt back on and then put the zipper and lining back in. I’m not sure I like the fabric/dress enough to constitute all that work but I never know.


In the weeks that follow  I  will show you bras, then jeans and more tops, and then finally some embroidery items.

In other news I switched out my sewing room with another un-used bedroom in my house since this new room gets more sun. I want to eventually do a tour post but I need to get some paint on the walls and hang artwork first. For the time being I think uzzi is enjoying the new digs.