September 23, 2016

Sept Makes & Oct Plans

I published the video for September finishes and October plans. While there was only one make for September, I am happy with it. The gown turned out lovely. You can read the full story of that dress here. As for October, I am feeling very optimistic and energetic. There are three projects that I have planned and I will post updates for those projects on my Facebook page as well as keeping my sewing journal here on the blog.

I hope you enjoy this video:



September 19, 2016

Evening Gown

I had a formal dinner to attend this month. They called it a "Black and White Ball" and so I went in search of a black, white or black and white fabric to make a dress. My original plan was to make an amazing ball gown.... but why would I spend so much time and money on a one time wear dress? I am much too practical for that. So, I opted for an elegant black dress that would be appropriate for any formal occasion.

Not having a pattern, I decided to use my favorite, go-to skirt and top patterns; Butterick B5917 and New Look 6808. As always, I traced my patterns onto tissue paper. I couldn't believe that they matched up almost perfectly. That alone encouraged me and made this project go smoothly from the very beginning.

Combining New Look 6808 and Butterick B5917

The only real modifications that I needed to make were to lengthen the skirt to the ankle and add a scalloped neckline and side slit. The zipper on the top needed to be moved to the back but that caused no major problems.

Once I had all of the details worked out on my tissue paper and a cotton muslin, I knew how much fabric to get and jumped right into it. I was looking for a nice woven material such as a jacquard, damask, or brocade. I also tried out something that I picked up from a youtube sewing vloger. That was to use a sheer fabric for the lining. For this project, that was a mistake. I would have liked the finished dress much better if the lining fabric would have been something more silky.

Fabric and Notions

The gown took me a good deal of time to make because I absolutely love to hand sew. The only work that was done on the machine was the two side seams and the center back seam. All of the darts and seam finishings were done by hand on both the lining fabric and the fashion fabric. I also top stitched around all of the scallops, at the neckline and the sides. As always, I hand stitched the zipper. 

Now for the reveal.

Finished Evening Gown

I'm very happy with the overall look and fit of the gown. It was very appropriate for the dinner we attended and we had a great time. Now I just hope that I will have more opportunities to wear it.

What have you been up to in your sewing room?

August 12, 2016

Accordion Pleated Skirt

As soon as I laid eyes on this technique I knew that I had to try it. As it turns out it isn't new or difficult.


I started out with my regular T and T (tried and true) skirt pattern, Butterick B5917. Instead of cutting the back in two pieces, I cut it as one with a rectangle added from the pleat to the extended hemline. I didn't want any seams adding bulk in that area. 


I assembled the skirt in the general way and then fiddled with that extra fabric, pleating it until I was satisfied. The pleat is sewn in place with an inverted "V".


Once I was happy with the pleat, I focused my attention on the length. In making the skirt longer it had lost its curvy shape so I tapered it a bit and settled on the length. I originally wanted a very long skirt but changed my mind and chopped it off mid-calf. I wasn't sure what the best option for the hem would be so I went with a very narrow one. I generally like a two inch hem but with the tapering.... well, I just didn't feel like doing anymore fiddling. I like how it turned out. 

I've already worn it a few times but haven't tried for any pictures yet. Sooner or later I'll get a picture and post it here to share.

Until next time, I hope that all of your stitching adventures are going grandly. 
Happy stitching!!

July 22, 2016

90s Inspired Skirt

90s Inspired Pinstriped Skirt ~ Finished


My sewing for July got to a late and slow start... but it did start and I was able to finish a garment. This skirt is made from one of the oldest pieces of fabric in my stash. I purchased it, along with my very first pattern almost 15 years ago. No wonder it reminds me of the 90s.

The fabric is a synthetic that I purchased from Jo-Ann Fabrics and the pattern that I used is my favorite T and T (tried and true) Butterick B5917. 

Grey Striped Fabric and Butterick B5917 Pattern


It seems that I have put on some weight around the middle, so in making this I had to go up a half size from my usual 12. I accomplish that by cutting a size 14 and sewing the side seams larger than called for in the pattern. The fabric also made this size increase necessary because it clings and has no structure of its own. I wanted the skirt to drape nicely and hang, without being pulled or stretched.

The thing that I enjoyed the most about this project is the amount of hand sewing I was able to do. The only sewing done on the machine was the side seams and the center back seam. The zipper, darts, and all the finishing stitches were done by hand. I wasn't able to match the thread perfectly and I'm fine with that because it makes it easier to appreciate the handwork that went into it. 

Blind Hem Stitch by Hand

Flat Felled Side Seam by Hand

Hand Sewn Zipper

I hope you are having a fabulous summer  and an amazing time with your own sewing adventures.

Until next time,
Happy stitching!!!!

July 04, 2016

Current Sewing Goals

I'm really excited to publish this blog post because it showcases not only my current sewing plans but also my first video.
Butterick B5917, Grey Pinstriped Synthetic, Tan Tropical Weight Wool


I am loving the skirt portion of Butterick's B5917. This grey pinstriped synthetic reminds me of the 90's so much that I am going with a menswear inspired, suspendered, pencil skirt. For the tan, tropical weight, wool I'm planning a mid calf, pencil skirt with a deep, accordion, kick pleat.


Cream & Red Pinstripe Tropical Weight Wool, Butterick B5391,
Simplicity 3688, & Butterick B5685

I have several plans for this beautiful cream tropical weight, pinstripe wool. First, I'd like to finish the jacket that I started several seasons ago using Butterick B5685. Second, it would be really fun to have a pair of wide leg pants from this fabric. The only problem that I have is that I'm not sure what pattern to use. I currently have Butterick B5391 and Simplicity 3688.



Sterling Grey Stretch Wool Suiting, McCall's M6173

For this grey, stretch, wool suiting I'm wanting to try McCall's M6173 view A. The pattern calls for a zipper but I'm planning to just leave the seam open and add an extension to the back panel. I'd also love to figure out how to add a high waistline.



Violet Burnout Cotton, Simplicity 1460

I love this peplum pattern and very excited to try the top view with short peplum and scalloped collar. I don't think the peplum will stand up by itself so I'm planning on adding horsehair braid to help it stand up.




January 06, 2016

Pattern Review 2016 Contests

As you may well know, I love sewing challenges. Not because I am an overly competitive person but because they have built into them a time table, more importantly a deadline.

I missed the unveiling of PatternReview.com's Contest schedule for 2016 but I checked today and grabbed it.

* Jan. 1st - 31st ~ Pattern Stash *

Jan. 15th - Feb. 15th ~ Activewear

Feb. 1st - Mar. 2nd ~ Little Red Dress

* Feb. 1st - Mar. 31st ~ Wardrobe Contest *

Mar. 1st - 31st ~ Bargainista Fashionista

Apr. 1st - May 15th ~ Endless Combinations

* May 1st - 30th ~ Pants *

* May 15th - Jun. 15th ~ Skirt Contest *

* Jun. 1st - 30th ~ Natural Fibers *

Jul. 1st - 31st ~ Vintage Pattern

Aug. 1st - 31st ~ Sewing For Children

Sep. 1st - Oct. 15th ~ Sewing Bee

* Sep. 15th - Oct. 15th ~ Handbag *

* Oct. 1st - 31st ~ Outerwear *

Oct. 15th - Nov. 15th ~ One Pattern Many Looks

Nov. 1st - 30th ~ Make The Fabric Your Own

Nov. 15th - Dec. 15th ~ Menswear

* Dec. 1st - 31st ~ One Yard Wonder *


Usually there are only a few that catch my eye but I actually love all of the challenges this year. Being realistic, I know that I can't participate in all of them so I've just put a star on the ones that fall into the plans that I have for the year already. Now I just need to write everything out and see what I have ready at hand.

Are you planning on joining in on the fun?

January 01, 2016

Happy New Year!!!



Hello and welcome to 2016!

You know what that means.... Resolution Time!! I'm carrying my previous sewing resolutions over to this year. That seems to be quite common for me since I've been doing this for several years now.



The Main Goal For 2016 - A lot of the fabric that I have is already earmarked for specific projects, so this is an exercise in completing and Realizing Old Sewing Goals. Off the top of my head I can count a handful of beautiful garments just waiting to be cut and stitched up. It's just a matter of looking back over my old blog posts and getting the job done. I'm actually starting to get excited now.

Sewing Contests - These act as inspiration and (almost) more importantly, set a deadline. I really need deadlines to help me stay focused and accomplish my goals. There are usually a few contests over the course of a year that fall in line with something I have planned.


The Monthly Stitch



Support and Encouragement - There are also groups that don't offer contests but still give suggestions, inspiration and are generally just great to chat with and show off your work to. My favorite is Make A Garment A Month. She now has a Facebook page. I'm a member of several Facebook garment sewing groups. If you see me, please say "Hello".



And speaking of Facebook, I started a facebook page to post daily updates of sewing projects. I want to use it to hold myself accountable to actually sew 30 minutes a day and have photographic evidence to prove it. Posting to this blog everyday just didn't seem very realistic, especially since it would only be a picture or two. I do want to post a weekly update.




If you know of more contests or great groups, please let me know. :D