Monday, January 9, 2017


I've been really inspired by everyone's #2017makenine's on Instagram! I like the idea of focusing my next year of sewing around a few patterns that I know will fill gaps in my wardrobe. Some of them will also challenge me to improve my sewing skills! Of course, other makes will find their way into my queue when I'm inspired by a pattern or fabric or event, but I'd like to prioritize these makes given my limited sewing time. Here they are:

As you can see, I have included a mix of Indie and Big 4 patterns. Many of the patterns have been highly reviewed on blogs I trust, but some have simply been pulled from my pattern library. From top left, they are:

(1) Butterick 5526 button-up collared shirt: Inspired by the amazing Lauren and her collection of B5526's. I'd like to have a go-to tailored shirt pattern. I want to make this in a navy blue polka dot fabric as well as a turquoise plaid.

(2) Simplicity 2446 Amazing Fit jacket: I want to make a jacket, pants, and skirt in matching black wool suiting from Vogue Fabrics. Perfect for mixing and matching for professional talks/interviews/etc.

(3) True Bias Ogden cami: I've seen so many beautiful versions in the blogosphere! I have at least 2 versions planned, one in navy blue flowered rayon and one in brown rayon.

(4) Simplicity 2154 vintage suit: This will provide the pencil skirt for the black suit. I selected the pattern after snooping around Scruffy Badger's blog. I may also use the jacket pattern for a black Chanel-inspired jacket. And maybe that bow blouse...

(5) In the Folds Acton dress: Not sure which fabric I will end up using! Fleurine, Helen, and Caroline each used a different fabric, and all are beautiful.  

(6) McCalls 5400 two-piece bathing suit: One of my New Year's resolutions is to learn how to sew swimwear! I was looking for a two-piece with simple style lines, and Rachel's post convinced me this pattern is worth trying.

(7) Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt: I have a lovely gray woolen plaid in my stash (I have no idea where I got it) that will be perfect for a long winter version of this skirt.

(8) McCalls 3128 high-waisted pants: I found this 1970s vintage pattern on Ebay. Excited to see how these turn out as part of my suit.

(9) Closet Case Ginger skinny jeans: Another one of my goals for the year is to learn how to sew jeans! I got Heather's Sewing Your Own Jeans Ebook to go with her pattern.

Looking forward to a more focused year of sewing, with some new techniques and new wardrobe basics by the end of 2017!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Frocktober No. 1

Inspired by Froctober on The Monthly Stitch, I made two dresses on my Fall 2016 Makes wish list. The first is Vogue 8766, view D. Vogue describes it as a lined dress with a fitted, sleeveless, underlined bodice, French darts, and a scooped neckline.

You can see the style lines well in this drawing:
I used a cotton fabric purchased at The 15th Annual World's Largest Textile Garage Sale. The dates for 2017 are already on my calendar! This is an awesome awesome event. The fabric feels like a quilting cotton, so a bit thin for a fall dress. However, the bodice is underlined, which adds to the warmth (not to mention decreasing wrinkling, with the heavy cotton blend that I chose to use). I intend to wear this dress with sweaters, cardigans, and tights for the next few months. The rich jewel tones are so cozy for a fall/winter wardrobe! 

I used size 6 at the bust grading to 10 at the waist and hips. I thought I could get away without a toile, but this was a poor decision. I had to use a 3/4 inch seam allowance at the bust and 3/8 inch seam allowance at the waist! The bodice was also too short, so I added a waistband cut on the bias (to avoid pattern matching and because it looked awesome). Lesson learned: a toile of the bodice for a new pattern is always indicated! (Although I really like the waistband, so I'm kind of glad I made this mistake.) I added some tucks on the front of the bodice--I think it gives it a vintage feel:

Since this was intended to be winter appropriate, I had originally planned to make view F, with the 3/4 length sleeves. However, the bodice for both sleeved and sleeveless versions was the same, so, not surprisingly, I did not have enough ease to move my arms easily! Here it is on my old dressform, Ms. Blueberry, before I took the arms off the dress:

I wanted a clean, demi-couture finish on the inside, so I turned the seam allowances under and hand-stitched them to the underlining. I don't know if there is a special name for this technique! The neckline and armholes were finished with bias binding made from the fashion fabric. The waistband is interfaced with a lightweight fusible interfacing (Pro-Woven Light Crisp Fusible Interfacing) as well as a stiff interfacing (Pro-Woven Super Crisp Fusible Interfacing), then hand-sewed on the waistband lining after ironing under the seam allowances (per the "Couture Waistband" instructions in The Dressmaker's Techniques Bible). 

I used a dark red invisible zipper purchased from Joann Fabrics. So proud of my pattern matching at the back!


The lining for the skirt was Ambiance Bemberg rayon in Cardinal. I chose the color based on my Vogue Fabrics swatch card, but was able to find the right color at Joann Fabrics and avoid the cost of shipping (my local Joann's is hit or miss in their color supply for Ambiance). The lining was hemmed by machine, but I used lace hem tape for the skirt and made a 1.5 inch hem by hand, rather than the narrow hem recommended in the pattern. I know some people find lace hem tape to be "Becky Homecky", but I love it! It reminds me of homemade dresses and skirts I had as a child. There was a disaster when I was trimming off the extra hem after sewing on the hem tape. I make a large cut several inches above the fold of the hem! I was not about to make the dress any shorter. I used Pro-Sheer Elegance Light Fusible Interfacing to hold the cut together from the inside and applied Fray Check to avoid any loose threads from the outside. The repair is pretty subtle (especially down at the hem) and I'm hoping it will continue to look good after washing!

Here it is from the side:

And with a sweater, as it's being worn in the winter! I think it's probably easier to layer without those 3/4 length sleeves. (I really do have legs--the navy blue tights are just blending into the dark floor!)

I'm happy with this dress--a nice project to follow the failure of my denim Ginger skirt! Next up, my #2017make9, then another dress from Frocktober (I am a couple months behind in posts!)