Simplicity 8051 AKA: the girly confection

I was one of the first people to sew up this pattern into my flamingo dress . I was too antsy to try out that unique triangle back cut out that I just couldn’t wait any longer for someone else to iron out the kinks and tell me the pitfalls.


Well nearly a year later and 4 more people have reviewed it on pattern review but still no one has sewn up the View B. So once again I jumped off into untested waters.  I am mowing through sewing projects at a pretty steady clip so I decided I needed to take some action to slow down.  I selected a cotton broadcloth in buttercup yellow. Since its a solid I figured the dress could stand to have some interest.  Nows as good of time as any to learn hand embroidery!



It didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would. I did both straps over the course of 2 days. I used 8 skeins of embroidery floss for this project. 3 Greens and 3 yellows in light medium and dark tones and 2 pinks in light and medium tones. I mixed the threads  so that the embroidery would have more dimension. It looks very good in person but its a little difficult to capture on film.  I used very basic stitches: the Lazy Daisy, Chain Stitch and French Knots; the latter being my favorite. Once finished I was pretty happy with it so I decided to put some flowers onto the skirt as well.


The dress is sooooo girly and light and I just want to twirl around in it all day. Perfect for the first fledgling days of spring ahead. The sweetheart neckline with a pseudo pleated shelf bust fits my shape a lot better than the last shelf bust attempt


One area of difficulty was the construction of the bodice.  Normally you would construct the outside and then the lining as separate pieces and then attach them at the neckline. This allows you to be able to sandwich the zipper in between the outer and inner layer for a very clean look. This pattern was a little different in that  it starts at the top and has you sew each tier of both lining and outside at the same time with one line of stitching. Makes it super stable but it means you can’t do a clean zipper. It took me a bunch of brainpower to figure out how to construct it so that the lining  would be free. I think I way over complicated it but I got there in the end so that’s all that matters.

It’s a shame that this view gets bypassed for the triangle back because I think it’s very flattering. My only alterations were to lengthen the front midriff by 1″ and to add side seam pockets….and of course the embroidery.For my first time out the gate with this artform I am pretty proud with the results and can’t wait to try it again. Perhaps on the collar points of a 40s blouse I have on the docket.


Vogue 8789 – Mauve Sari

The last few weeks have been jam packed full of work. I spent one week in LA doing market research. It was so interesting to be behind the two way mirror and watch what everyone was saying. This is truly something I never would have got to experience or be a part of if I had stayed at my old job.  As exciting as it was after 5  13 hr days in a row I was ready to come back home and see Uzzi and Tony. Then last week I spent tasting 100s of pasta and sauces that are currently on the market so I can pull all the best attributes of each for our project. I never want to see another noodle again!

Needless to say there hasn’t been much time for sewing. I did manage to squeeze one dress in, a Vogue 8789.


I have a feeling this might be the last dress of the year. The timeline with this client is so condensed the next few weeks are going to be a whirlwind. I have another 6 more trips to take before Christmas and a few other side sewing projects that I will tell you about later. Now onto the dress.

I fell down the pintrest rabbit hole a few weeks ago and was fascinated by the use of indian saris in the 50s that were refashioned into dresses.  I’m not sure if this classifies as cultural appropriation but none the less a few hours later and 7 vintage saris were on there way to me from India.

For my first sari dress I used a mauve cotton with gold woven design. I don’t think it screams indian but maybe I’m just fooling myself.

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The bodice is cut out of the Pallu. Then the skirt is just a large gathered rectangle. I just left the salvage edge on the skirt since 1) I didn’t feel like hemming that much fabric and 2) I didn’t want to lose any of the pretty gold boarder.


I am quite happy with how these buttons look on each shoulder. They are also fully functional incase I have a giant hairdo to fit through the top!


The fabric was quite thin so I ended up fully lining the dress in a black batiste from my stash. For the skirt lining I cut a 1/4 circle skirt to keep some of the bulk out of the waist. I attached the facings to the bodice lining so none of the black would accidentally peak out.


I think my favorite part of the dress is one you cant even see. That gold boarder from the hem was on both salvage edges so I made an extra ruffle and attached it to the lining to give the skirt a little extra volume. You don’t even need a petticoat with this dress now! I covered the top edge of the ruffle with some satin ribbon I had in my notions box. Now thats a detail you certainly never see in contemporary clothes.



The dress isn’t finished just yet. Since this was my first time sewing a vogue pattern the fit isn’t exactly how I expected. I need to take it in a bit at the waist and perhaps reshape the neck opening a bit in the front so it sits a little flatter.

I’ll have to think of what to do with the rest of saris. Im just not a fan of the gathered waist on my figure. Perhaps I can do a pleated skirt next.



All over the Map

Stash Buster! I have had this map fabric since last year, never finding the right pattern. I finally settled on Simplicity 1755


I made a few changes. I used the sleeved version but the longer skirt of the sleeveless. This pattern calls for a detached belt but I sewed in a waistband to give me the extra bodice length and cleanup he insides.

My only complaint with this dress is the pleating under the collar. It doesn’t lay very flat. OTOH I am really liking the contrast raglan sleeves


One new technique I learned was rouleau loops.

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Im not sure if I just wasn’t in the right head space or the pattern was written poorly but I had a lot of problems. My unpicker got quite a workout! Despite all that I am quite happy with the finished result.


This little bird

Im almost hesitant to show this dress my mom recently lamented how quilting cottons seem to have been over run with whimsical birds.  From my perspective, Joannes is overrun with too much quilting fabric and not enough apparel. I have to search really hard to find prints that I think will work  in the context of clothing. These mega craft stores seem to want to appease everyone but in the process  satisfy none.

I have seen a few renditions of Butterick 5209. I was really interested in how the halter is adapted to make a short sleeve.



At first glance it looks to have the lines indicative of fabric rationing. Don’t let this fool you, this dress is a total fabric hog. I purchased 4 yards of a navy with gold “whimsical birds”  which was not quite enough. I ended up having to chop 2″ off the skirt  just to get everything cut out. I am OK with the length, it makes it look a little more modern but I prefer a bit longer.

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Im not super happy with the fit on this dress. When I was in the store I took the tissue out of the envelope to try and tell what the finished garment measurements were since I wasn’t to sure what size nest to purchase.  I soon gave up and just bought the smaller one. When I got it home I was finally able to find the measurements and they were too small for me. I decided to try and grade it out another size myself. I think I went too big, for the ascetics of it, but its comfortable to wear so its fine.



I don’t know if you can tell or not, but the entire halter is used to make this dress. An additional piece is added to the back  that wraps around to the front to form the sleeves.  The bodice is fully lined and has an invisible side zipper that extends all the way into the armpit. I used the machine to attached the lining this time as I just wasn’t in the mood for hand stitching. I think it was a success.


I haven’t decided if I want to try this pattern again. If I do, i’m thinking a fabric with a little more drape and perhaps doing the original size and forgoing all the grading out.  Also a different skirt, Im just not a fan of the gathered look.




Spring Fever

Its in the 70s today. Absolutely crazy for February in Colorado. Also, work has been a little all consuming lately so I admit I haven’t found much time for sewing. In honor of the unseasonable warm weather ( and my lack of new projects) I thought I would post a dress that has been done for quite some time but I never got around to taking pictures of.



I had originally intended this kiwi green damask for another shirt waist dress but then thought different once I looked at it again at home. Instead its a simple sleeveless with circle skirt. I made this dress over my christmas vacation in a matter of hours. There is not much to it but it makes me feel very girly. I was very proud of the hand stitching I did on the bodice lining. Now that I have that figured out I need some new skill to hone.


In other news, I have been reading a lot about Wax Print fabric. I think its interesting something so quintessentially african originated in Holland.   I decided to buy a few cuts of it on-line. Im not sure what is to become of this fabric, the colors so vibrant and the print so loud. This is not a fabric for the office!   When it arrived it still had the wax coating making it resemble the PU lined tablecloths from my grandmothers cottage. A few times through the wash and getting softer.  Without further ado, my mini fabric haul:

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I have 4 yds each of the two in front and 8 yds of the aqua. Any ideas on what should become of them?

McCall’s 6696 take 2

I couldn’t wait to make another shirt dress. This time I selected a geometric print. I decided that this fabric didn’t want all the gathers in the back so I drafted a pattern piece that would fit straight across instead.

I think I made the back piece a little small since you can see some pulling around the lower back but a valiant effort none the less.

One thing I really love about this pattern is how clean the insides are. Everything is enclosed accept the side seams which are easy enough to overlock. Also since it buttons all the way down its super easy to put on without messing up hair or makeup!

I didn’t make any other changes from the last version. I still had some issues with the skirt being too big but I was smart this time and took the pleats in  on the front so that the pocket position would still line up. I also moved the buttons so that one would hit right at the waistline.



There will certainly be more of these in the future, but for now I have some other patterns that want to be worked on first.

In Denial of the Cold

I hate winter! I would be perfectly happy living in year round summer, Tony OTOH has dreams of living in British Columbia.  Denver isn’t bad, we have 300+ days of sunshine a year. But somehow winter always comes way sooner then I want it and Summer is never long enough. We had our first snow of the season last week. I celebrated by purchasing a bunch of bright cheery cotton at a 50% off sale intent on make a slew of light summer dresses, winter be damned.

For the first dress I decided to go back to this retro Butterick. I had done view C before here . I liked how the skirt fit on this dress and wanted to tackle view B next. I thought with some modern fabric patterns I wouldn’t look like I was wearing a costume.


Once again I pulled out the seam binding. What can I say, I bought 100 yards of this stuff and I hate to let things go to waste. This skirt has 6 panels so I had to bind 12 edges. I think I am an expert now, I am very happy with the results.

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I attached the bodice lining to the waist seam using a prick stitch which shows up a little more then I would have hoped.


From my reading its common to use the prick stitch on the zipper installation of vintage patterns but I am pretty happy with my zipper method now and I don’t entirely like the look of the prick stitched zippers.

It turns out the ties on the shoulders aren’t actually attached. Its just a separate piece of rectangular fabric. When I put them on the dress I thought it looked silly and preferred the clean look without them better. I didn’t bother to do any pattern matching on this dress. In retrospect I wish I had on the center seam of the bodice. I don’t think it will offend anyone, just a personal annoyance.