Category Archives: apparel sewing

I’m here, I swear!

It’s been a few months, and my sewing has slowed considerably. But I DID complete a few new things in time for an early-June trip to California: A pink seersucker version (for myself this time) of Simplicity 2591, and Burda 05-2010-114 tiered mini dress.

For this dress I used a Kaffe Fasset cotton print from Mulberry Silks, that’s a small enough print with that good rose tone that seems to be good for my skin tone:

I left out the zipper but kept the buttonholes, and lengthened the front bodice piece at the top and bottom for a little more coverage.

This dress was incredibly easy to make, and with our insanely high temperatures this summer I’m hoping to make this again.

Photos of both of these projects coming soon! Off to New York this weekend.. maybe there will be some time for the fabric shops?


Fitting Shell: Worth the $4

McCall was having a $3.99 sale on their website so I finally bought the fitting shell that I believe is online-only. I only tissue-fitted the bodice last night, but within a few minutes I finally realized where some things go wrong in my sewing! I have sloping shoulders, which causes the extra fabric between my bust and shoulders (you can kind of see it in the shirt dress photos). Easy re-drawing of lines in two places and it fit SO MUCH BETTER! Even with just tissue paper! This one simple change, plus noting that I have a high waist and a lower apex, has made me so much more excited about trying new, fitted patterns.

Fit for Real People shows how you can take your fitting shell and create princess seams and a load more — I’m eager to take my basic shell and make something new from it. I also finally got The Sew U Guide to Making a Girl’s Best Frock, which has great ideas about changing basic dress patterns into new dresses with lots of personality. The book seemed a little light on changing for fit, so these two books work perfectly together.

We’re expecting a large shipment from in the next few days — bought 6 new patterns for SXSW & Spring wardrobes (not all to become clothing for me, but still sewing practice time for me)!

Burda 05-2009-126 Shirt Dress

It snowed here yesterday so I had two full days stuck at home, which never happens. I started this dress last week but was moving really slowly on it, so staying home made me face it and get it done.

I saw a similar shirt dress at the Gap last month and figured I should try this style out, but wasn’t feeling all the shades of brown and tan at the fabric store, so I got this teal stretch poplin instead.

This dress has shoulder tabs, cuffed sleeves and sleeve tabs, patch pockets with tabs that become beltloops, and back tabs for belt loops as well.

I went up to a size 40 at the hips but something happened (aka I wasn’t paying attention) and didn’t actually go to a size 40 on all the pieces.. I tissue-fit the pieces before I cut fabric, and it fit fine, so I didn’t go back and re-trace. I probably should have for a little bit of ease, but oh well.

Another thing that happened in my haste was that I cut one of the panels about 3″ too short. So, byebye 1 5/8″ hem! I did a narrow hem instead. No big deal. It’s definitely above the knees, but not too short.

My birthday is this week and if it were just a little warmer, this would be a good birthday dress! Maybe I have time before the snow melts to make another outfit — better suited to the weather.

Simplicity 2810 double-breasted jacket!

This is a Project Runway pattern from Simplicity – this is the only view with the double-breasted look. There are always so many jackets in Burda that I think about making, but I wanted to first make a jacket from Simplicity, McCall’s, etc, so I could get the basic idea down before jumping into the world of terribly vague directions and zero diagrams.

I used basic twill from Hancock’s and cotton/poly broadcloth for the lining– it’s chocolate brown. The combo reminds me of chocolate dipped raspberries, but not as decadent.

This was also the first time I tried welt pockets. This was never something I was scared to do, but never had the patience to practice it before the pocket step came on whatever I was working on, so that’s usually why I skipped it. It went pretty smoothly, though I think I can definitely improve on the next one I try.

Project Runway directions…I can’t stand how they make you jump around between steps! The way that they separate the sections did not work for me. I was scanning four full pages each and every time I picked up the jacket to get an extra step done before heading to work.. it drove me crazy. Also, yardage requirements: I only needed 2 1/4 yard, as opposed to the 3-some that doing the math told me to buy.

The back tab:

The fit straight from the muslin was pretty good, though I added length to the body & sleeves, and took a smaller seam allowance on the upper and lower sleeves and body sides — the arms were really tight, as the pattern reviews noted.

More photos on Flickr.

McCall 4530 & holiday upgrades

I have this week off from work so I took some time to finally finish this shirt for Baby Boy! It’s McCall 4530, western style shirt.

It went together pretty easily – And I got to use my new serger!

Not much else to say about it except I HOPE it fits. I didn’t love the thickness of two different fabrics on the top part. I also left off interfacing everywhere except the front band portion.

I JUST found out that Mulberry Silks is having a 40% off sale – and lucky me, I have a $25 certificate! Will come right back and post review in the Sewing for Men contest on PatternReview….

Simplicity 2473 – now, with tabs!

I finished Simplicity 2473 last night and wore the dress today to a holiday lunch. I decided to go back and add tabs at the midriff – which you can see better below! Sorry for the bad photos.

I cut a straight 12 but could have taken some out of the back, sides, and princess seams. That’s ok, though! It’s comfortable, warm, and has some sort of Mad Men quality about it.

It was fun to make, but I changed a few things since I added a lining. Still getting the hang of that, as I mentioned before…

Here’s me looking a bit crazy.

Next up: A men’s cowboy shirt for a friend of mine – McCall’s 4530.

Simplicity 2473 in the works

I originally bought this dark gray wool from Hancock for the pleated 10-2009-119 Sleeveless Dress with Pleats that was reviewed on PR a few times, but I’m glad I went with this pattern instead. It’s a Project Runway pattern so that means lots of fumbling with the direction pages, but it was all super easy to put together. I added a lining, definitely not how I should have — I realize I have no idea what I’m doing in the lining department. Hopefully that will change soon – maybe after making up some patterns that actually have directions for a lining.  I’ve just got to handstitch the lining at the zip and hem it up..

But then I went on ModCloth and kept seeing all these dresses with tabs at the waist. I think I’m going to go back and add two at the sides, to fall right at the bust points.

photo from

Cute, right? It just needs a little something below all the angular action at the collar.

Hopefully this will be done tonight / tomorrow in time for a holiday lunch on Thursday!