Simplicity 1544 Men’s Shirt and Butterick 6339 Men’s Vest

I made this shirt months ago but it took me until now to get pictures with my reluctant model.


It’s not a color I would have expected him to pick but its not my place to judge. He had originally wanted snaps on this but I felt like the shirt looked too  formal for that and he wanted it to wear with his suit so I convinced him to change to grey buttons instead.


The fabric was really light weight broadcloth so the cuffs turned out well.


Next up we have the vest that I made him for Christmas. I was a little disappointed in the fit, despite measuring his chest ahead of time the size I made for him was just a tad too small. He could button it but I thought it was too tight to be comfortable for any extended period. I did some triage since I wasn’t in the mood to unpick the whole thing apart and just moved the buttons over an inch. Now the buttons aren’t centered as they should be but he assures me no one will notice.


I am very happy with how the notched collar turned out. I already have the wool cut out for a waistcoat for myself!





Santa’s Workshop

My sewing room has turned into Santa’s Workshop the last week. I am officially done with all my Christmas sewing but I can’t really share the results until after Christmas except for Tony’s present (since he doesn’t read my blog). For him I finally got around to making the vest he’s been wanting using Butterick 6339 from there “Making History” collection.


For the main part I used this mystery grey fabric I got from the Denver Sewing Guild sale. No clue what it is. It looks felted but its woven and it does frey. It shrunk by at least a 1/4 with just washing ( no dryer).   Now my dress form just isn’t shaped for this garment but you get the idea. I will try to get some pictures of Tony modeling it once I give it to him.


The vest if fully lined in a grey bemberg lining after the sucess of using it in my blazer.


This was my first time doing welted pockets and I am super pleased with how they turned out. The bottom two are actually pockets and the top are just for decoration.


I was probing Tony while watching The Crown to get an idea of what one to make he seemed to gravitate to ones with a notched collar. So thats what I did.


Now that Im done with all those presents its back to some selfish sewing for me!

Fall time fun

The weather is starting to cool down hear in colorado and my fabric stash is looking quite autumnal these days.  That only means one thing. Time to make some season appropriate clothes! I was inspired by evergreens for this dress. Though yesterday we took a drive down Guanella Pass and now all the aspen groves are making me think bright yellow would be more apropos.

Its beautiful but I do still miss the multicolored fall colors from back east.


I used Butterick 5813, I stayed a little more true to pattern then the last time. I love the “new look” silhouette  this dress has and all the little details.

These 3/4 sleeves have 3 elbow darts that give it a very vintage feel.


The top is self lined so I was able to do away with the facings on the collar. The cotton I used seems fairly heavy so I think it will help to keep warmer in the cooler months. I did use some black batiste in the arms since they were a little tight and I didn’t want bulk at the joints.


bah, I know it needs a good steam iron and a lint roller

I hand picked the zipper this time for a more vintage feel. It turned out OK, I don’t think I would do it for a center back zipper but I like it just fine for side seam.  From trying on the bodice mid sew I was worried the dress would be a little tight and I just didn’t want to fight with an invisible zip if it was. Turns out the dress isn’t tight at all but I am glad that I got to try a new-to-me technique none the less.



Perhaps my favorite detail of all is one that I added out of shear laziness. I didn’t feel like making the trek down to my local sewing store to pick up thread so I just used what I had in my stash. It wasn’t the best match but all the seams are hidden and was close enough for a blind hem. Then I came to the collar and  I realized that I would have to top stitch it and then the thread would stand out. So since I knew the thread didn’t match I decided to use a decorative stitch from my Bernina so that the visible thread looked intentional rather then a mistake. I am chuffed to bits with the result.


My only regrets with this dress is that it pulls a little across the upper bust if I raise my hand at all. I will have to do some research to see how you fix that for future sews.


A slightly different palette

Sorry its been quiet the last few weeks. Not much going on in the sewing room. I did finish the lilac shirt for Tony but he’s being camera shy so no pictures. I decided to pull out some of my fabric from the guild sale.

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This fell in love with the soft hand and color palette of this fabric, I just don’t have anything like it in my wardrobe. I only had 3 yards so at first I was thinking a button up for my self, but after just finishing one I wasn’t looking forward to doing another so soon. The I got it stuck in my head that it would make a great Butterick 5209


I mean sure I was 7/8 of a yard short and the pattern matching would take extra but it definitely would work…right? Spoiler alert, it did!

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I did have to cut 2″ off the skirt to get everything to fit but with the extra length in the bodice I think its fine. I tossed and turned about how to cut this out with my limited fabric. First i folded it in half and tried to baste it together along the lines so that  wouldn’t shift. I gave up on that after about 30 minutes and just decided to cut it in a single thickness. My thought was if I cut everything out once and it took more then 1/2 of the fabric then I could just line the bodice in a different fabric instead  and then I would only have the skirt to cut fit in. Turns out everything fit so the bodice is still self lined. Another happy coincidence was that when I went to cut the second half it was already perfectly on the same repeat as the first so I was able to cut a mirror image out of everything that kept the same color pattern running all the way across. YAY!

Since I have made this dress before here i’m not going to  go into much construction detail. I did feel like the last one I made was too big so I sized down. That was a mistake, I ended up having to let out the side seems and it still feels a little tight around the waist. I guess I can’t eat too big of a meal while wearing this. I will say that my favorite part of this pattern is how the back and sleeves are constructed. I just think its so smart and interesting.

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The fabric had two imperfections, some black ink spots. I put one on the inside underneath my tag. The other is on left neck. Just couldn’t cut around it, but for a $6 dress I’m willing to over look it, perhaps a brooch could cover it up?

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All and all i’m pretty happy with how this dress turned out. Im planing on taking it with me to San Francisco in a few weeks when I kick off working with a new client. Today i’m going to dress it down with some flats and wear it to visit a new ice cream parlor in Denver…..they have ice cream flights, like a flight of wine but with icecream. Of course Tony and I should each get our own flight, we have to try 10 flavors or else the trip would just be a waste!

The fit game, level 2

This dress may seem very similar to all my other dresses but its special to me because I really stepped up my fitting. I started with Butterick 5813 ( the full skirt version, as if you even needed to ask) and some cheerful cotton.


I noticed on a few of my last dresses that the extra length I have been adding to the bodice seems to be fitting in the front but causing some pooling in the back. I asked around on the sewing forum and several people suggested a sway back adjustment.  I had a unique situation in that I still needed some length in the back just not as much as I needed in the front. I took some measurements and decided the front needed 1″ added and the back needed 3/8″. I added the length to the front bodice just like I normally would. When I got to the back I added 1″ on the side seam ( so that it would still match up to the front) and the then graded the extension down to 3/8″ on the center back seam. I sort of had the make this up as I went along because I couldn’t find any tutorials for sway back adjustments that also included a lengthening at the same time. The results are prefect.



In addition to the fit alterations I also used a different sleeve. I just thought this fabric looked to summery for a longer sleeve. I used the pattern piece for McCalls 6966 dress But it was a little big for the armhole so I made the executive decision to add a gathered detail on the top.

My favorite part about this pattern are the style lines in the bodice front. The midriff front has 6 pieces. Unfortunately the polka dots hide these details. Don’t worry I am already planning another rendition of this dress in a solid color and the original sleeves for fall/ winter that will hopefully show off the bodice details a little better.

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In an effort to save fabric and $$$ I only lined the bodice instead of the whole dress. It has some sewn in facing on the collar so that it gives the appearance the the inside is all fashion fabric when the collar turns out.

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On a whim I used some hem lace because I liked how it looked with the polka dots.



Now that I have gotten so much better at fitting myself. Its time to try my luck at fitting someone else. Thats right,  next week will be my own “made to measure” challenge.



Dirty Stay in Bed

In a few days I’ll be starting my new job working from home. I decided I needed some grownup Pajamas. I used Butterick 6296.


I bought a 10 yard bolt of teal broad cloth for this. I started with the shorts because I wanted to check the fit of them before cutting out the pants which would take much more fabric. I ended up liking the shorts so Im not sure I will ever get around to the pants.

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They have an elasticized waist band, pockets and a yolk construction in the back.

The insides are unlined so I serged all the seams.


This is the first time I have used piping. I chose a lime green to contrast the teal. I love this color combo but I’m not sure if others people like it. You can see it better on the top.

Sorry for all the wrinkles. I had to wear it for a day to make sure it was comfortable

For the top I used the long sleeve version. The only alteration I made was lengthening the arms by 2″.


Birthday fabric

My mom sent me two cuts of batik fabric from my birthday. The first one I used for a lovely retro styled halter dress from Butterick 6049.

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At first I purchased a yellow cotton for the contrast material, but once home I decided I liked the look of muslin better. After reading a bunch of sewing reviews I was worried that the inset points on the bust were going to be difficult. I watched a ton of tutorials and the prep work paid off.

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After the success of lining the flamingo dress I decided to do it again. This one uses a cream colored batiste. Again the fabric was really light so I thought this would help to give some volume to the skirt. I am completely in love with this stuff. Its so soft against the skin and helps to give opacity without adding a bunch of weight. I would love to make a bohemian camisole with it. Im thinking with some heirloom lacework and pin tucks.

Lining a dress also makes the insides look so clean.  It really makes my hand made items seem so much more special. I know that its a lot of effort to put into something that wont be seen but it also gives me the chance to practice and fit before using the fashion fabric.

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Even with the open back I was able to fit a convertible bra under this dress which I desperately needed to fill out the top. On alteration that I made was to sew the halter into place. I hate having to sew hook and eyes and I just don’t like how they look.


This pattern also has a side seam pocket which give it a more casual feel and a nice place to stick a small wallet or phone. With a full skirt you don’t have to worry about adding any bulk to the hips.

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Took this on a snowy/raining day…now well suited to this look 😦