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Butterick 6019 — A Polka Dot Bombshell Dress

21 Jul

Howdy, friends! I hope this missive finds you well. I have been doing some sewing and knitting lately and finally have something finished to show you!

 

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This is Butterick 6019, a bombshell dress by Gretchen Hirsch of Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing. I have been muslining a dress like this intermittently for the past 2 years — I finally bit the bullet and finished one!

 

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I chose this pattern because it has a lot of visual interest with the fitted bodice with sash accent, sarong-style skirt, and shirring on the back bodice. I think the shirring is what attracted me the most.

 

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Alright, now for some wordy business about the process of creating this dress!

I started with the 14 D-cup pattern and made a muslin of the bodice. I ended up taking it in at the top and letting it out a smidge in the waist. I did a swayback adjustment on the bodice (but should have done one on the skirt, too). I also added about an inch to the bodice height to make the neckline more decent.

I found the cups to be waaaay too pointy for my taste so I tamed that down quite a bit also. I ended up shortening the bodice about an inch under the bust — I am accepting the fact that I am very short-waisted or my boobs are saggy…

That was all pretty straightforward stuff. The project got complicated when I decided to fully line the dress (the pattern only calls for partially lining the bodice — and for good reason I discovered) and then underline the bodice.

 

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The bodice underlining was simple enough. I just used corset mesh cut a little bigger than the shirred pieces to stabilize that area but still allow for some stretch. I used muslin for the rest of the underlining and added way more boning channels than the pattern’s prescribed two. I sewed a waist stay to a few points on the bodice. Next time I make a dress like this, I will extend the underlining layer down to my high hip to keep it from cutting into my waist.

 

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I also used bra foam for the cups instead of the batting that was called for.

 

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For the shirring, I marked lines perpendicular to the grain at 3/8″ intervals. Sewing all the shirring was one of the most tedious parts of the project but also one of the most rewarding. Look how beautiful!

 

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My dress is made from a navy and white polka dot silk cotton blend. It has a nice crisp hand but shows lint like it’s going out of style!

 

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To line the bodice, I used a luscious 4 ply silk satin remnant for the non-stretch sections and a scrap from the Gertie slip kit (not finished yet) for the areas under the shirring. I left small openings in the back bodice lining seams to allow the waist stay to pull through.

 

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Now, lining the skirt was a whole different monster. Since the skirt has a wrap front, I couldn’t just duplicate it and stick it inside. I decided to have the lining attached at the front vertical edges of both wrap panels which meant that something had to be stitched by hand — yuck! But hand stitch I did and don’t judge my really sloppy work.

 

 

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I did a machine hem on the lining and a hand stitched hem on the shell. For my skirt lining, I used a cute ivory polka dot silk charmeuse.

 

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I used my Threads #171 for inserting the lapped zipper with lining by machine, but as usual, I handpicked the overlap for greater control. Just like the method I used on my Rosy Elisalex.

 

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I guess that’s about it on this dress. It was definitely a journey as I initially planned to wear it to a wedding a few weeks ago but ran out of time to complete it so let it sit for a few weeks before getting up the gumption to finish it. But finish it I did!

 

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These photos were taken in the front yard of our eventual new house. I love our huge oak tree!

Me Made May 2014, Part 2

1 Jun

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Wednesday, May 14 — A “day off.” I spent the day running errands and doing house chores. I paired my workhorse McCall’s 6559 knit dress with new flip-flops and my trusty LOFT jean jacket. The necklace is from Kluster Shop.

 

 

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Thursday, May 15 — Work all day. I wore my new Simplicity 1810 dress again, this time styling it with a RTW cropped lace cardigan that picks up the deepest red color in the silk fabric. The shoes look more fun in person — they are a nude color with some shine in the leather. I definitely liked this outfit.

 

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Friday, May 16 — TGIF! I wore my new Lolita Olive blouse to get more photos for the blog tour. I paired it with my new white jeans (J Brand), and my pewter flats.

 

 

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Saturday, May 17 — Mr. Homemaker and I spent all day working around the house, getting it ready to go on the market. I am wearing my striped Renfrew and some Athleta capris I picked up in Philly. Love these pants!

 

 

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Sunday, May 18 — Off to church in an unblogged dress that is a miss-mash of a TNT princess seam bodice and the Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt. I paired it with a cropped white lace cardigan and some white strappy sandals. The necklace is from Kluster Shop. Like my newly made-over dining room?

 

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Monday, May 19  — Back to the office for a busy day. I wore unblogged Simplicity 2365 that I made as a swimsuit coverup for our cruise back in February. I love the pintuck detail on this tunic but it is really blousy in the back and would benefit from some tailoring and a swayback adjustment in its next version. I made it from some J. Crew cotton voile from a recent Fabric Mart Fabrics sale. I paired it with my Citizens of Humanity skinny jeans, my gold flats, and a “vintage” turquoise necklace.

 

 

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Tuesday, May 20 — Another normal day at the office. For dinner we went out to celebrate my stepson’s end of the school year. This is McCall’s 6654 knit skirt is great to wear but is a bit cumbersome in the office because long things get tangled up in my rolling stool. I paired it with a white lace-trimmed cami and black lace cropped cardigan (both from Nordstrom). My shoes are open-toe low heeled Cole Haans.

 

 

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Wednesday, May 21 — A day off spend running errands again. This is one of my favorite me-mades of all time — McCall’s 6559. I paired it with my jean jacket and some flower-adorned flip-flops. The necklace is from Premier.

 

 

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Thursday, May 22 — Back to work and a professional conference in the evening (where I was able to get some knitting done, too!). I wore my Belle Bow Blouse with my white skinny jeans and some pointy-toe flats.

 

 

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Friday, May 23 — Normal office day and my stepson’s award day at school. Isn’t he a handsome young man? I wore my unblogged Kirsten Kimono Tee (see a blogged version here), and some red skinny jeans from David Kahn. Gold flats.

 

 

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Saturday, May 24 — I whipped up this Nettie bodysuit before heading to Mobile for the trunk show and pattern fitting with Sandra Betzina. It was really easy to make and I love the idea of a bodysuit. My only complaints are the very narrow shoulders and the fact that the coverage in the back isn’t enough to cover my big booty. I will definitely be tweaking this pattern and making it again, though! I paired the top with my Citizens jeans and red patent flats.

 

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Sunday, May 25 — I spent all day sewing with Sandra and other seamstresses. I dressed for comfort in this McCall’s 6559 and gold sparkle flip-flops. I also took a batch of Mimosa Punch to share with my classmates.

 

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Monday, May 26 — Memorial Day started out with hospital rounds in the nursery followed by housework and a cookout at home. I paired my Sewaholic Lonsdale with some new yellow sandals.

 

 

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Tuesday, May 27 — This was a normal day at the office. I paired my unblogged McCall’s 6898 with my white skinny jeans and some old pale pink kitten heels. While seeing patients at the office, I slipped on one of my heels and landed on my knee on the concrete floor, resulting in an ugly bruise. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time these shoes made me fall so I put them straight into the Goodwill pile when I got home.

 

 

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Wednesday, May 28 — My first real day off in weeks it seemed. I spent all day working around the house, knitting, and sewing. I made this hot pink stretch lace slip with my trusty McCall’s 6559 pattern, cutting the length off about mid-thigh. I used a contrasting lavender knit for the neck and armscye bands. Sorry, no photos of me lounging in this one :)

 

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Thursday, May 29 — Back to the office where I wore my first pair of me-made panties. As you can tell, I made them to match my slip from the day before. You may also notice I used leftover fabric from my Nettie bodysuit for the lining.

To make these, I traced a favorite pair of RTW panties then stitched them up and added a little lavender elastic at the waist. I finished the leg openings with a simple serged hem.

I also wore a blouse made from Vogue 1386, a Sandra Betzina pattern. This top was made by Sandra herself and gifted to me after our class over the holiday weekend. Thanks so much, Sandra, for a great class and this beautiful blouse! I paired the blouse with some slim jeans and animal skin slingbacks.

 

 

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Friday, May 30 — Another Friday at the office. I wore my Vogue 8747 white blouse with some slim jeans and new camel T-strap sandals.

 

 

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Saturday, May 31 — Woo hoo! The last day and I made it!! I wore my Kirsten Kimono Tee again with some jeans and my red patent flats. My sis took this photo at a small gathering at her house where she announced that I am having another niece! Yay for girls!!! ;)

So if you’re still there, why don’t we talk briefly about what I learned from Me Made May ’14? I learned that a few things I made last year don’t fit (that’s the motivation I’ve been needing for that pesky 5 pounds!). I’ve also learned that I’ve made a lot of things suitable for days away from the office but I haven’t made many work-appropriate items. This is something that I hope to address this summer. Finally, I learned that I am terrible about remembering to take daily photos as most of mine were taken at the end of the day when everything was looking a little wilted.

Overall, May was a great month for me — very productive and satisfying — and I am looking forward to my upcoming sewing and knitting projects. I hope y’all have a great week and we’ll chat again soon!

Lolita Olive — Pattern Testing

22 May

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Howdy, friends! I hope your week is going well. I’m sure many of you have seen Amity‘s newest pattern by now — the Olive blouse. I was one of the lucky pattern testers and I’ve had to work hard to keep this top a secret since then!

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This blouse pattern comes with two variations — option A with a sheer panel draped across the front and option B without. As you can see, I made version B.

 

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Lolita patterns offers a nice range of sizes for this top — 2 through 24 to be exact — and I made a 10 with a 1″ FBA. I made some alterations as I went as well and I think some of them may have resulted from an error in my FBA. I somehow ended up with a bodice that was waaaay too long so I cut it off about 1.5″. Next time I will start from scratch with my FBA to see if the bodice ends up as long.

 

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Before I shortened the bodice, I also took the sides in by 1″ per seam as I had tons of extra fabric pooling above the waistband. However, once I shortened the bodice, I think I could have left a little more ease at the waist as it is a bit tight now after lunch :)-

 

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For fabric, I went with a silk crepe de chine I picked up in NYC the first time. I used a white Bemberg for the facings. My contrast waistband is made from some unidentified scrap of fabric from Hancock’s. I used a navy satin piping from G Street Fabrics for my trim.

 

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My only modifications to the pattern, other than those for fit, were to use my serger rolled hem to finish the edges. I did this to mimic the appearance of the piping. I also added a waistband facing as I didn’t want my interfacing rubbing on my skin.

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I like the style of this top more than I thought I would based on the line drawings. I am even considering making another version that isn’t so snug in the waist :)-

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Thanks again, Amity, for inviting me to test drive your cute blouse! Make sure you pick up your copy from the Lolita Patterns shop and visit the other pattern testers on the blog tour to see some other great versions:

Leila 13th
Carolyn 14th
Maria 15th
Ping 16th and 24th
Hannah 19th
Laurie 21st
Katrina 22nd
T 23rd
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Simplicity 1810 | Paint Splattered Silk Dress

21 May

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Hi, y’all! Do you remember me showing you this dress in my Me Made May roundup? I promised to tell you more about it so here goes:

 

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The pattern is Simplicity 1810, a wardrobe pattern with pieces for a dress, top, and pants. I made the knee-length dress.

I was attracted to this pattern first of all because it looked really easy but also because of the cute yoke and pleat details at the shoulder. I also like the way the waist ties originate from the back darts, ensuring the back of the dress lays smoothly without a bunch of awkward gathers.

 

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I didn’t make a muslin of this pattern but I did do a really shoddy tissue fitting on my dressform. I cut a size medium and shortened the bodice by 1/2″, took in 1/2″ swayback adjustment, then added 3/4″ back over the hip to account for my booty. It ends up, I probably should’ve only added 1/4″ here but oh well.

 

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I followed the directions exactly as written with the addition of French seams for the side seams and topstitching on the waist ties.

 

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My fabric is a luscious silk crepe de chine with a paint splattered print. I picked it up from Sawyer Brook with a simple dress like this in mind.

 

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As I also mentioned in my MMM post, I rushed to finish this dress to wear to see the Molly Ringwalds. I thought the fabric fit the 80s music theme pretty well. There was some serious Project Runway-style stress going on in my house that evening, and we were *only* 1.5 hours late because of my dress :)

If you have been holding this pattern in your stash like I was, pull it out and whip up a dress or top — it only took me about 4-5 hours total.

 

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Thanks for reading and I’ll be back tomorrow with an exciting new make for you!

Me Made May 2014, Part 1

13 May

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How’s everyone’s May going? I’m off to a pretty good start around here with a different me-made garment each day so far. I’ve also worn a few things that I haven’t shared with you yet and I have plans to do dedicated posts on some of them soon. But before we get too much further into the month, a round-up of my daily me-made picks:

 

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Top: Me Made Sammy Cami Jacket: LOFT Pants: Womyn Shoes: Me Too Necklace: Kenneth Cole

 

Thursday, May 1 — I worked in the office for most of the day then left a little early to catch a plane to Philadelphia for a conference. Two of my wonderful employees accompanied my on the trip. I wore an unblogged Sammy cami from Iconic Patterns, available for free download! And with only two pattern pieces, it’s as quick as lightning to sew up. I made mine from a navy knit with printed on white polka dots. I used white fold over elastic for the neckline and sleeves. I hemmed it with two-sided fusible tape, no stitching.

 

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Top: Me Made McCall’s 6898, unblogged but highly recommended Jacket: LOFT

 

Friday, May 2 — I attended some conference sessions to learn more about the EMR (electronic medical records) we use in my office. I skipped out mid-morning to check out Philadelphia’s Fabric Row and shipped myself home a nice little box of goodies including silks, knits, sequins, leather, trims, and zippers. That night we had a delicious dinner at Parc Brasserie. If you are ever in Philly, you should go there if for nothing other than the pureed potatoes!

 

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Left: with Zoe from Zo Sews at the Workroom Sewcial meet up Right: at Per Se Both: wearing Me Made Elisalex in Leggy Roses

 

Saturday, May 3 — I attended more conference sessions then we caught the afternoon train to Penn Station in NYC to spend an exciting 24 hours before heading home. That night for dinner, I got to pop in at the Workroom Social party before heading to dinner at Per Se in Columbus Circle. You may remember me talking about my excitement about trying the restaurant. While it was good, it wasn’t quite what I had built it up to be but it was still a wonderful evening out with two lovely ladies.

 

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Skirt: Me Made McCall’s 6654, similar version already blogged Jacket: Nordstrom Shoes: Me Too

 

Sunday, May 4 — I squeezed in a little time in the Garment District and picked up some more silk, knits, and cottons.  Paron’s shipped my purchases home for a very reasonable charge (even purchases from other stores). The weather deteriorated as the day progressed and I ended up looking a little silly with my long skirt and trench coat, not to mention stringy, windblown hair. Before catching our late evening plane home, we popped into a local joint called Jack’s, just around the corner from the big button, and had a nice little meal with entertainment by a charming Irish bartender.

 

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Top: Me Made Renfrew Pants: Dillard’s Shoes: Cole Haan Necklace: Kenneth Cole

 

Monday, May 5 — Not getting into bed until almost 1 AM made for a rough start to the day. I opted for an oldie but a goodie that I could rely on for comfort while I saw patients in clinic.

 

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Top: Me Made Jalie 2921, unblogged Pants: Elie Tahari Shoes: Pliner

 

Tuesday, May 6 — Another normal office day.

 

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Top: Me Made Renfrew Jeans: Citizen of Humanity Rocket high-rise Shoes: Me Too

 

Wednesday, May 7 — My day out of the office and I spent it running errands.

 

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Top: Me Made Simplicity 2599 Pants: Limited Cardigan: Talbots Shoes: Stuart Weitzman Necklace: Premier

 

Thursday, May 8 — Back to the office.

 

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Left: with my sister and parents and our husbands, wearing Sewaholic Gabriola Right: after dancing to the Molly Ringwalds

 

Friday, May 9 — I was able to take the day off to attend my sister’s graduation from her doctorate of nursing program. I am so proud of her! That evening we attended the annual Steak Cook-off in our town and got to dance the night away to the awesome 80s cover tunes of the Molly Ringwalds. I actually wore two different me-mades this day!

 

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Dress: Me Made McCall’s 6559, unblogged but 2 blogged versions on the site

 

Saturday, May 10 — I did a lot of housework this day so I wore a simple cotton knit tank dress that was my muslin of McCall’s 6559 — you can see my other two versions here and here. I know this picture is crazy but I sent it as a joke to my office RN who HATES mayonnaise! :)

 

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Dress: Me Made Simplicity 1810 Shoes: Cole Haan Necklace: Dillard’s

 

Sunday, May 11 — My new dress, Simplicity 1810, got its official debut at church and afterwards at Mothers’ Day lunch. Blog post to come soon.

 

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Top: Me Made Vogue 1291 Jeans: Citizens of Humanity Shoes: Me Too

 

Monday, May 12 — Vogue 1291, which I made last year during the Sandra Betzina workshop. I don’t really like this top because I forgot to center the pattern and the bottom is too snug to stay where I want it to on my hips so I have never given it a blog post. If you make this shirt, consider using a knit, not a woven. If you use a woven, you may want a larger neck opening and more ease at the hips.

 

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Skirt: Me Made Vogue 8603 Top: Limited Cardigan: Boden Shoes: Chinese Laundry Necklace: Kluster Stethoscope: Littmann (haha, just seeing if anybody is reading the fine print:)- )

 

Tuesday, May 13 — Another normal day at the office. I wore my Vogue 8603 skirt which is one of my favorite makes.

 

On a side note, Kluster, the Etsy seller I purchase many of my bead necklaces from (including the coral one in the last photo), is having a huge sale through the end of the weekend. Check out her shop and score an extra 40% off sale items with the code FINAL40. I am in no way financially connected to the Kluster Shop (other than being a normal customer), but I love their products and wonderful customer service so I thought I would share this sale with y’all.

 

That’s it so far, friends. I will be back soon with more details on the new dress. Have a great night!

Sewaholic Gabriola Skirt in Silk Cotton Voile

15 Apr

 

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Howdy, friends! I hope you have had a good Tax Day (ha!). I have another finished sewing project for you today — the newly released Sewaholic Gabriola skirt.

 

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Let me start off by saying how much I love my finished skirt. It is flowy and feminine and manages to be elegant and casual at the same time. The first chance I had to wear it was this past weekend when we took a mini vacation to New Orleans. I wore the skirt while strolling through the French Quarter and then eating the best brunch ever at Restaurant R’evolution — beer battered crab beignets, ’nuff said. Then we headed to the Audubon Zoo and I swished about in my fine skirt among all the animals. I am pretty sure I overheard some of the zebras singing its praises.

 

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I love the seam lines of this skirt — I wish Tasia had released this pattern a few months earlier as it is very similar to the self-drafted one I made in August for the Grand Summer Ball (that skirt has since been sacrificed to make other projects). Of course, I like her version better.

 

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My fabric is the delightful “Georgia” silk-cotton voile from Sawyer Brook Fabrics. It has a smooth hand and a great drape for a project like this. It is a bit sheer so I lined it with white Ambiance Bemberg, also from Sawyer Brook. Because both my shell and lining fabrics were only 43″ wide, I had to have 5 yards of each, meaning this was not the most economical project ever. But I know I will wear this skirt a lot this spring and summer. In fact, I am thinking about wearing it as part of my Easter outfit this Sunday.

 

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Now let’s talk construction — this was not the easiest make ever. Because many of the seams are cut on the bias, you have to be very careful to stabilize those edges before handling the pieces too much. I wish for the sake of beginning seamstresses that the pattern instructions called for this. I used extremely fine fusible woven stay tape from Emma Seabrooke on all my bias seams.

I also wish she had outlined other possible seam finishes for various fabrics. I used French seams for the shell and stitched and serged seams for the lining. The French seam caused a small hiccup at the point in the front but it was pretty easy to make work.

 

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I substituted the curved waistband from the Megan Nielsen Tania culotte pattern as several reviewers noted that the included straight waistband tended to gape. I also replaced the prescribed regular centered zip with an invisible one and I attached the lining to the zip by machine.

 

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For hemming, a very sweet local seamstress (who does alterations in her home), marked by hem for me and I stitched it up using 1/4″ Steam-A-Seam for a clean and even finish. I used the rolled hem on my serger to hem the lining about 1″ shorter than the shell.

Overall, I love my new skirt but beginning seamstresses should proceed with caution before cutting this pattern out.

Thanks for reading along and have a happy Easter!

 

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A Little Housekeeping…

19 Mar

Happy Wednesday, friends! I hope your week is going well. I am writing this post to cover a few loose ends that are dangling around. First, I have entered my recent Elisalex dress in the Pattern Review New to Me Pattern Company contest. If you are a Pattern Review member, I would love to have your vote — go here.

My next piece of news is that I hosted a sewing workshop at my house today for girls in my stepson’s school. We sewed poodle skirts for their upcoming sock hop! It was lots of fun but unfortunately I don’t have any pics yet. I will try to get some Friday at the event.

This was my first time to really “teach” someone about sewing and I enjoyed it immensely. One of the young ladies had never touched a needle or thread before and the other two were beginners. I am pleased to say, after only 2.5 hrs, each girl left with a completed skirt waiting only for a hand stitched appliqué. We made self-drafted circle skirts and inserted a simple zip and one piece waistband. Since we made the skirts from felt, they didn’t require a hem. Yay!

I prepared a few treats for the girls to sustain them during our sewing — my mother’s lemon bars and some Ghirardelli brownies (don’t tell, but I like those better than scratch made!).

Per my husband’s recommendation, I put out some of my hand sewn-garments for the girls to look at for inspiration — I would love to inspire the next great seamstress! As I was pulling things from my closet, I was shocked by how many completed garments I have that I consider wearable. Come on Me Made May 2014!!!

Here’s a photo for you of some of the clothes I put out on display.

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Other pair of curtains are waiting on their hem (for the past 18 months, lol!).

And here are a few pictures of my sewing room. I don’t think I’ve ever shown it to you so I figured I should take pictures while it was clean for this special occasion. As soon as the creativity strikes back up, it will be messy again!

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Finally, if you are a Pattern Review member, I would love to have your vote in the New to Me Pattern Company contest where I entered my Elisalex dress. You can vote here. Thanks and have a great rest of the week!

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