Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Completed Project: Poppy Dress

For the Fourth of July, I wanted to make a dress in festive colors, so here it is! (I debuted it on my style blog on Monday.)


It's an update on this dress pattern:


I'm really proud of this piece! It's a simple design, but I'm really happy with the finishing (which is one of the trickiest parts about sewing, in my opinion). I'm not sure what a more experienced seamstress would say, but I'm so proud to say that this garment has no exposed raw edges!




  • Fabric: cotton or cotton mix
  • Lining: cream muslin (fully lined)
  • Elasticized waist
  • Neckline casings for tie (black sash is from a purchased dress)
 Thank you for looking :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011


As a sewing enthusiast, the one activity I've had to learn to enjoy about the art of sewing is ironing (or pressing). In addition to having an initial fear of the iron (I was accidentally burned by one when I was 4 years old), I always found the task inconvenient, especially in my limited sewing space. Having a full-sized ironing board was cumbersome, so I've been using a small "Cut 'n Press" board laid flat on my cutting table. While more convenient than a folding ironing board, the size was still a problem.

There is a happy ending to this story! I've had this idea of creating a larger version of this small pressing board, and with the help of my loving parents, it happened! Pictures won't be able to do it justice, but just believe me: I am thrilled.


It's made of 32"x30" particle board covered with cotton batting, ironing-board cover fabric from Joann's, and canvas-like material from an old curtains. The fabric was stapled to the bottom of the particle board using a staple gun.

I haven't actually used it for pressing yet, but I'm hoping it will work as well as I expect!


I'm actually looking forward to the next time I have press a dart or seam.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sew Simply

Another sewing update! The past few nights I made some simple dresses: tube dresses with a ruffle at the top. This type of dress is quite simple to sew and is a perfect summer dress!

Here it is in a paisley-like remnant fabric:


Here it is in a shocking electric blue color, with straps:


And lastly, here is a picture of this dress worn:


I'll probably be making several more of the ruffle dresses for summer!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sewing Update: I am a Nocturnal Sewing Machine

Hello there! Finally I've been getting some solid (late-night) sewing in, so I have something to update here!


I just completed this dress this morning! I didn't use a pattern and pretty much winged it with a "cut-and-sew" approach. I was inspired by the Vogue pattern V8380, which I considered buying but dissuaded myself with the somewhat naive idea that I could draft something similar myself.


It didn't work out exactly as I had envisioned, but I'm pleased with the final product, especially since I completed the entire dress in about four-five hours and "free-handed" a pattern.


I used the rest of the fabric from this dress and lined it with muslin because I had it on hand. To make the casing for the ribbon, I made something like a very narrow facing which I stitched down to the bodice.


I also made another Open Heart dress, this time using up the left over fabric from my Valentine's Day Dress. It has the same bodice as my Yellow Bow dress. I cut out the pieces a while ago, but I became frustrated with the project and stopped working on it. I decided to finish it and put an open heart at the back, this time bound with bias tape.



Thank you for taking a look!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wild (Open) Heart Dress

I'm so happy to share my latest dress! Inspired by Addie Marie and her simple yet genius video tutorial, I was able to create a dress featuring a heart cut-out detail. I have always wanted a heart cut-out dress, and thanks to Addie Marie, I was able to make one for myself!



Fabric: $2/yd clearance fabric, approximately 2 yards
Notions: 16" zipper, fusible interfacing
Construction details:
  • Bust darts and back darts
  • Bodice back is lined
  • Heart circumference and facing are interfaced
  • Heart is top-stitched
  • Exposed front zipper
  • Invisible hem
  • Seam finishes: French seams and pinked seam allowances
The pattern is my own; the bodice is based on my Yellow Bow Dress pattern and the skirt has a gathered A-line silhouette. I'm pleased with this prototype, but I will still be making adjustments.

Comments always appreciated!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sewing Update

So, it turns out that the size 10 pattern for McCall's M5800 is much too big! Luckily, I only traced the pattern pieces onto another piece of paper, so the original pattern is still intact. I will need to retrace a smaller size, but now I'm not sure which size: 6 or 8? 4 even? I think some research into McCall's sizing is in order.

However, I did get some sewing done using the McCall's pattern as light inspiration. Using the bodice pattern as a guide, I drafted a bodice pattern for this little yellow dress:

I deepened the V a little bit, and I love this neckline! This dress pattern is meant to be pulled over the head so it is only has some bust darts for shaping.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Gonna Make a Dress

McCall's M5800
I haven't done any real sewing lately, and to pull myself out of this rut, I decided to actually use a commercial pattern, using McCall's M5800.

I picked up this pretty pattern from a local fabric store for only $1.99! I was so happy when I found this in the sale pattern section, among the hundreds of others. I had seen this one before, but not in the right size. This was 20th pattern I flipped to, and the right size! I felt like the universe was smiling down on me that day!

I love the simple and classic shape for this dress. I think I'll be able to make lots of pretty frocks with this pattern! I'm thinking floral dresses, little black dresses, anything really! I'm planning on making one in a pretty pink cotton, much like the dress on the pattern sleeve.

Typically, I'd try to churn out this dress in a day, but I'm planning on taking it slow, actually make a muslin and make adjustments, etc. Right now I'm tracing the pattern pieces to keep the tissue pieces intact if necessary.

I will update on the process!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

You Remind Me

As is my habit for window shopping, I was looking through Modcloth and discovered this pretty minty frock.

Sea Salt Breeze Dress
It reminds me of this dress that I made a few months ago!

Pretty close? I think so!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Chic and Simple Sewing: You're So Shifty Dress

I completed this dress in early January, using $1.50/yd fabric. I'm not sure of the fabric make-up, but it has an interesting texture; I can't quite put my finger on it. Anyway, the pattern is from Christine Haynes Chic & Simple Sewing, which includes a variety of dress, top, and jacket patterns, all of which do not require zippers or other fasteners.

Here is a picture of the book's version of the dress:

(Sorry for the poor picture quality)

I think this dress has an interesting neckline design in spite of its overall simplicity. However, upon completion of the dress, I found the actual thing kind of shapeless, so I inserted a casing for elastic at the waist, which is concealed by the belt on the mannequin. I think the elastic gives the dress better shape, so I will likely do the same for future dresses made with the pattern.

This pattern was relatively quick to whip up. There are only 6 pattern pieces (dress front and back, and two sets of front and back yoke pieces) and bias tape involved in assembly. I probably finished cutting and sewing in about four hours. Not bad if you want a new dress in a jiffy!

With my straw fedora from H&M

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Making a Bodice Front Sloper

I have been wanting to make a sloper, also known as a basic block pattern. From what I understand, a sloper is used as the foundation for drafting other patterns of varying designs. Since I'm interested in eventually learning how to create my own patterns, I thought that building my own sloper would be a good start.

I have recently discovered a wonderful sewing website,, which features the contents of sewing books in the public domain. The book I've been reading, Modern Pattern Design, was published in 1942. I'm not sure how the content measures up to actual modern pattern design, but I figure that not much should have changed in the past 60 years of sewing. I have been following Chapter 2 on Slopers, and with the instructions given I created the Bodice Front Sloper in the picture. (The measurements I used were given to me in the book).

My next step is to draft the Back Bodice Sloper.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Remnant Haul

Today I rummaged through a fabric remnant bin and came away with these goodies. Each roll is about 1 to 1-1/2 yards and cost about $2-3.

I'm going to be working on garment prototypes and I didn't want to experiment on pricey fabrics so I thought remnant fabric would be a good way to go. Unfortunately, these lengths won't be good for much more than a skirt or blouse each, but I'm planning on using the burgundy and floral to make a two-fer dress.

Look for these fabrics in my next few projects!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sewing Updates

Originally I wanted to keep this site Just completed sewing projects, but I love sewing so much that it seemed a shame to not share that love to a greater extent here!

I maintain another blog, my personal style blog, where I share my outfits and other musings related to fashion, art, and life. Although I feature my projects there too, I try to keep it less technical because I try to keep that site focused on fashion, and not sewing. That's what this is for!

So some updates:

1) I haven't made anything from scratch in almost two weeks. And unfortunately, my poor little sewing buddy, my Kenmore 385.19233 is sick! I'm going to take her to the doctor in the next couple days. I'm not exactly sure what is wrong with her, but the tension has been all off and the adjustment knob seems to be completely nonfunctional. I hope I can have this problem fixed as soon and as inexpensively as possible!

2) The last thing I made using Kay (my sewing machine), was this red skirt , which I made using a tutorial created by Ruby of Ruby Murray's Musings. This skirt was originally a pair of floaty pants (also known as culottes as I am told?) Awesome tutorial, awesome blogger and seamstress!

3) Since I am currently without a healthy, running sewing machine, I need to think of other ways to satisfy my need to create that do not involve sewing (I'm terrible at hand-sewing. That sounds criminal doesn't it? But it's true.) This is probably as good an excuse as any to try drafting new patterns and a sloper/pattern block. I'll let you know how that goes!

Happy crafting, everyone!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What's In My Sewing Box?

On my personal style blog, I shared the contents of my purse, so I thought it would be appropriate to create a parallel post, this time sharing the contents of my sewing tool kit.

From left to right:

1) My Fiskars rotary cutter. This tool has changed my bias-tape and straight-edge cutting days! It also came with a small self-healing cutting mat.

2) Normal scissors. I use these to cut my pattern pieces. They don't need to be in my sewing kit, but I like having them with everything else.

3) Fabric shears. I love this pair of scissors...I cannot begin to tell you how much. These were a Christmas present from my brother a couple years ago, and though I did not appreciate them then as much as I do now, I could not sew without these. They cut fabric so beautifully. I've scared people before when they've tried cutting anything other than fabric with these. Love.

4) Pin cushion. Pink, of course, this came in a pink themed sewing kit I got when I was in high school.

5) Seam rippers. Some of my best friends. I don't know what I'd do without my seam ripper.

6) Pencils. For pattern-making or marking muslins. My disappearing pen is missing from this picture! I love that too.

7) Measuring tape. I keep a retractable measuring tape in my purse because I never know when I might need it for something, but it would belong in here otherwise.

8) Pin case. This holds an assortment of pins in case I need more, but for the most part I use the pins on my pincushion.

9) Tracing wheel. I have carbon paper to use with this, but to be honest I don't like using them. Lately I've been using Tailor's Tacks and disappearing ink to mark my fabrics.

10) Seam gauge. Useful for measuring small amounts.

11) Ruler. I have a yard stick and a larger ruler, but it never hurts to have this handy.

So that's about it! I have more sewing tools, of course, but there's a peek at what I keep in my sewing toolbox. I'd love it if you'd share yours!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Completed Project: Dress Form Cover

My dress form, Lil, is naturally a dark red color. I didn't like how the original cover photographed or how it would cling to certain types of fabrics, so I decided to make a new cover for her.

The cover is made from a spandex blend which has amazing all-direction stretch. I am quite happy with the result! (But Lil is not happy to be photographed in the almost-nude).

Friday, March 11, 2011

Completed Project: Pink Dot Tank Dress

As per requested :)
I made this dress using a pattern I drafted with the help of Cal Patch's book, Design It Yourself Clothes. The top is a basic tank pattern with bust darts, and the skirt is a slight A-line gathered skirt. The dress has a casing for elastic at the waist. 

Completed in about 4 hours, I'd estimate.

I really like it! I'm probably going to make the same style in different patterns and colors :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Completed Project: Floral Dress

  • Pattern drafted by me using directions from Cal Patch's Design It Yourself Clothes.
  • Slight sweetheart neckline
  • Gathered skirt attached to natural waistline
  • Bust darts at side seams
  • Lapped zipper on left side seam
  • French seams for seam finishing
  • Neckline finished with bias-tape facing (I partly guessed for this part, so I'm not entirely sure I did this correctly)
  •  Perhaps shorten bodice so waist occurs more closely to natural waistline
  • Adjust neckline shape
  • For redrafting another bodice front pattern, perhaps insert darts in waistline instead of side seams.
  • Different kind of facing for neckline