December 30, 2013

Top 5 of 2013

If you sew, you are most likely aware of Gillian from Crafting a Rainbow and her Top 5 of 2013 lists.
I'm really, really enjoying seeing everyone's garments, reading their reflections, about inspirations and what the goals for the new year are.  I'm not sure if I'm going to do misses, reflections, inspiration or goals.  But I do want to share my Top 5.

For me - 2013 was all about the dress.  As Carolyn has preached for years, wearing a dress is just so dang easy.  One garment and you look put together and polished and ready to tackle anything.  A dress is cool in the heat and honestly - I don't have any issues with being cold in a dress during the winter.  I would guess that 9 out of 10 work days I'm wearing a dress.  On that 10th day, I generally sport a skirt. 

So what were my favorite garments from 2013?  I almost think I want to go with pattern, rather than specific garment. 

Let's go backwards, shall we?

5.  McCalls 6713.  I've made this dress 3 times and 2 of the three dresses - both without the flounce still get worn often. 

4.  New Look 6184.  This dress has been made twice and I wear both of them.  I still want to try the lower neckline as well as the slimmer skirt.  But the dress made quickly to wear to a wedding is still a favorite.

3.  Anna Dress.  I've made a top from this pattern, and while the fit isn't perfect - I really like it.  I blame the fabric.  The dress I love, it's comfortable, flirty and fun.  I'm comfortable wearing it.  I also made a jersey maxi version which I wore to my office holiday party.  I'm hoping to 'dress it down' for work this week and then I'll get blog photos.  It's been shown on Instagram if you follow me there.  But I can't figure out how to get photos from there to here and visa-versa.

2.  Simplicity 2648.  This is another pattern that has been made multiple times.  The first version was the red wool.  While it's not my best sewing ever, it's my very first wool garment and I get a ton of compliments when I wear it.  Then I used the same pattern and made a 'suit' for interviews.  The final version (although it won't be the last) is the double sided denim - which gets worn for jean Fridays quite often.

1.  Ottobre Knit Sheath (No link to the pattern.)  This is another pattern that's suddenly in heavy rotation.  I love it and have made 4 dresses from this pattern.  Again - you've only seen 3.  I honestly can't decide which is my favorite - the holiday fail or the birthday dress.  They've both been worn multiple times since they were made. 

So - did I include your favorite?  If not - what was it and why?  Thanks for sharing my sewing successes with me in 2013.  Let's do it again next year, eh?

December 27, 2013

Vogue 8634/8764 - Very Creative Title, no?

So this summer after seeing kbenco's mash up of patterns, I decided I wanted to so the same.  She had made a couple of very amazing dresses.  When it had finally percolated up my to-sew list, I didn't remember it exactly correctly.  But I think it was close enough.

It has been well documented here at gMarie of my desire to get a dress with a straight or slim skirt that fits and looks good. 

In July, I pulled this knit from Girl Charlie which had a very fall vibe.   I set it aside with Vogue 8764 (dress) and Vogue 8634 (top).  Sometime last year I attempted to make dress from a woven.  It was a huge sack and looked horrible.  For some reason I have a vague memory of making the top up with similar results. 

This time, when I traced the top, I made sure I did sway back adjustments and took the side seams in just a bit.  I overlapped the two different patterns to figure out the best place to put a waist seam and start the skirt. 

I finished the dress fairly quickly and then set it aside.  For some reason, I just didn't like it on me.  I mean it didn't even make it to the bedroom for a chance in the 'magic closet.'  It just stayed in the sewing room.

I didn't like it plain.  I don't have a cardigan that worked with the colors in the fabric and I thought it needed something.  I bought a couple of belts - but they didn't do it for me.  Finally - I tried it with the brown belt in these pictures and while I still don't think it's exactly right - it wasn't horrible and I felt cute and stylish all day.

JB likes it better without the belt and honestly, you can't tell from the photos which is better.  But you can get a glimpse of the print.

So - for the record, made in July 2013.  First wearing November 2013.  And I haven't worn it again yet.  Will it get worn again?  Quite possibly, I do like this dress and it still feels very 'new'.  I haven't done much sewing in the last couple of weeks.  Well, that's not completely true  - I've sewn, just not for me.  4 pairs of new PJ pants for Christmas gifts, 2 long fleece skirts to up the lounge wear of the girl children and one knee length flannel penguin skirt - just because I could. 

Up next:  Hopefully, sewing for me. 

December 16, 2013

Holiday Fail

Another version of the Ottobre knit sheath dress.
Fabric is a wool jersey from Mood Fabrics, bought last Fall.
I thought it could be a wrap dress, but the fabric was thick.
The leaves are silver and painted on.

I really like this dress.  It's fully lined and easy to wear.
So, you may ask - why is it a fail?
Well, I originally made it thinking I could wear it to my office holiday party.
When I finished it and put it on, JB said (and I quote)
"It's short!"
I ended up making another dress (full length) to wear to the party.
There was enough fabric left over that I made magic pencil skirts for both of my girls.
I really wish they both lived close, because I would totally do matchy/matchy photos.

December 11, 2013

Another Skater Hack

This time I took the lady skater dress pattern and an article from Threads.
I created the cowl neck lady skater. 

The fabric is an ITY that I bought from Fabric Mart
on sale just before my birthday.
It got sewn up quite quickly.
 The boots look a bit dark with this print, which is orange, olive, ivory and dark brown.  I bought 3 yards at just over $3 a yard so it's the $10 dress. 

I think the next hack might be to add darts to the bodice or maybe gathers a la the ottobre tee.

I have 3 more pieces of ITY from this order - maybe there are more lady skaters in my future.  It's an easy, simple dress and is easily adaptable for hacks. 

December 3, 2013

MAGAM - Anna

This is the first Anna Dress.   I made some changes from the Anna Top.
I took the center front panel in 1/2" all the way down the length of it.  That's the 1/4" I added to all seams plus an additional 1/4".  It could be a bit snugger from the armholes through the waist.
And I'm wondering if I need to take a smidge out above the bust - thoughts?

I added 6" to the midi-length dress mark because I always have to add 6" to get it long enough. I cut 2" off and made a 2" hem.
Those BHL girls must be tall!

I wore this with a white cardigan all day.
I don't really know how to accessorize my work clothes.
If it isn't easy - well it doesn't get done.
Ideas - suggestions?

I am leaning backwards in this photo and sticking my belly forward.
But - I till think it's a good photo from the mid-chest up.
This was my garment for the Make A Garment a Month Challenge.
I made one muslin, then the top and finally the dress was made on the 29th.
But I didn't get a chance to wear it or take photos until today.
For December, I want to work with another BHL pattern - this one will be Elisalex. It will definitely have to be muslined - as the bodice is fitted and I'm not sure about that skirt on my hips - there might be more photos of me in muslin to get honest feedback.
Hopefully - I will have time to get it done.  I don't generally sew during the work week.
This coming weekend is my office Holiday Party.
The next weekend is Poker and I have to have the annual flannel pants ready to mail.
Truthfully - this past weekend - I was selfish.  I wanted to sew for me, so I did.
I made Anna and then I cut a lovely sweater knit I bought from Mood and made another Ottobre Sheath.  I then (unselfishly) made both of my girls Magic Pencil Skirts from the leftovers.
Good thing one of them lives on the East Coast - I think we are a bit too old to do the matchy matchy.

November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

As we enter into the holiday season, I am reminded how lucky I am.
I have 2 healthy, responsible girls.
I have 2 healthy elder dogs.

I have a good job that I'm really, really enjoying.
I have good friends.
My husband loves me.

I am able to make things.
We have enough.
I am thankful for each of you that read my blog
and take the time to comment and give suggestions.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

November 26, 2013

BHL Anna

I'm always far, far behind the cool kids in the sewing blogging world.  The first By Hand London Anna dress that I saw had me gasping.  Of course, Lizzy is a little wisp of a thing and I am not - so I didn't buy the pattern.  Then, I saw Karen's first Anna, followed quickly by her second, and then another favorite blogger made a spotty one and I was sold.  Add to that all the variations of Anna that Roisin has made and I had to have it.  (I might have also bought the Elisalex pattern).

I then decided to make this my November make for Make a Garment a Month.  Of course, early in November I made some easy dresses - that have been worn and photographed but not blogged.  I started by tracing the pattern and made a muslin.  I decided that I needed to add a smidge to the hips and started looking for some fabric to make this with.  I also had to lower the bust tucks by 1/2".  And I took a 1" sway back adjustment at the upper back ala Nancy Zieman.  The waist seam feels like it falls in a good place and doesn't need to be moved at all. 

I found a lovely paisley cotton and set about cutting out a dress.  Imagine my disappointment when there wasn't enough fabric for a dress.  So, instead - I made Anna into a top.  And honestly - I'm glad I did.  I think the center back panels need to be straightened slightly on the center back.  All of the skirt panel pieces are shaped like triangles - flaring toward the floor, but at the center back it's getting a weird flare that I don't care for. 

 Oh - I was totally mixing prints in this outfit too.  Not that you can tell, but the skirt is brown pinstriped.

Wearing the top all day and looking at the photos, I think the 'smidge' that I added (1/4" on all skirt seams - 14 seams in all added 3.5") might have been a bit too much.  I have already cut a dress out - but I think I'll take the 1/4" addition off the center front and leave it everywhere else - as well as straighten that center back seam.

So - what do you think?  Do you love Anna?  Have you jumped on the By Hand London bandwagon? 

My photographer has been listening to Carolyn and telling me to act like a runway model and stand up straight.  of course he always snaps the photo when I'm goofing off. 

For the record - the arms look tight in this photo, but they are not.  They are lose and I have full range of motion with no binding anywhere. 

I felt cute and sassy most of the day.  But I think this top/dress might have the ability to look 'maternity'.  I'm hoping taking that smidge back out of the center front panels will help alleviate that. 

I might have to consult with Lynne's Fashion Consultant because when I see these photos I feel dumpy and that's not how I want to feel. 

Enough blabbering.  Happy Holidays Everyone! 

November 19, 2013

Winner - Sharing the Love

Lisa had a give away to celebrate 8 years of blogging.
and I won!

Those 8 patterns arrived at my house.
Lisa said, you could keep 1, none, or all of them.

I'm keeping this Butterick 5760 Wardrobe pattern.
Love the cardigan and the shirtdress.
We all know I have a problem with shirtdresses.

I'm also keeping this Simplicity 2152.
I think this skirt will be a good one to try with Cynthia Guffy's skirt fitting class.
Plus  I think it will actually work well with my body shape.
To the remaining 6 patterns from Lisa - I added a whole bunch of my own.
68 in fact.
I have a bunch of vintage patterns that a work friend gave to me.
I'm never going to make anything with them.

Each group of patterns contains 1 from Lisa.

Some Vintage.

Some current.

There are skirts, pants, tops, wardrobe patterns

Each stack of 12 patterns contains at least 1 large envelope vogue. 

No choices.
Rather than have a contest and say you must follow me.
Say you must have an active blog. 
I'm going to give one stack of patterns to the first 6 people who comment and say they want one.
The only qualifier - I must be able to contact you somehow
an email or a link back to your blog.
As soon as all 6 are gone - they are gone.
I will ship anywhere.

November 15, 2013

Blue Birthday Dress

 Another version of the Ottobre dress.  This is version 2 and I have made 3 so far.   This was the dress I made for my 50th birthday.  JB thinks it's fantastic. 

I feel comfortable in this dress, not that you can tell from my face.  I wore it all day without a cardigan or a scarf or anything to distract from the dress - well except for my new red cowboy boots!

The fabric is a ponte that I got from Girl Charlie.  I loved it when I saw it and then I wasn't sure what to make with it.  Then I made the grey ponte dress and figured this fabric would work with that pattern.  So the day before we left for vacation, I headed to the sewing space and cut the fabric out.  I sewed it all up and then decided it needed to have just as lightly lower neckline.  So I folded the dress front in half and took my French curve to it.  The neckline is now a curved v. 

I do need to take it back down to the machine and shorten the sleeves.  I wasn't sure how long to make them and they are just a bit too long. 

In Palm Springs on vacation I wore the dress with bare legs and white sandals.  But today I wore it with my new red boots!  I got several compliments today half of them on my dress and half of them on my boots. 

I imagine there will be more versions of this Ottobre dress in my future.  But I'm thinking they will be solids to show off some of the great scarfs, handknits, and jewelry that I have. 

And just because you want to see them - here is a picture of my new red boots!  And yes, they were comfortable all day.  And Fun!  For some reason - wearing cowboy boots is fun. 

November 2, 2013

Make a Garment a Month

Sarah Liz has a little challenge going - Make a Garment a Month.  Rather than just random selfish sewing.  She has challenged us to identify a particular goal while making at least one garment a month. 

I routinely sew selfishly in that with the exception of the annual flannel pants - I really don't sew for anyone else.  But my sewing is rather random.  I often find something I want to make, but then I lose interest before I work all the tweaks out. 

One of the things I really, really want to make and fit to myself is a darted sheath dress. 

I have been working on fitting New Look 6095.  So far, I'm 2 muslins in and have idea about where I need to go from here. 

I know I could use a princess seamed sheath and have in fact made several dresses from Simplicity 3744 which is a princess seamed A-line dress with tiny bust darts because the princess seams are off to the side.  Here is a busy print version that I made with links in the post to the 2 other versions of this dress I have made. 

What I want to end up with is some dresses that are similar to classic Lilly P in shape and fabric.  I am fairly certain that for this to work, the design lines need to be very simple and few.  I think a princess seam would break any print up too much.  But please - feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.  So - that's why the doggedness to get this to fit.  Of course the December  issue of Threads has an article about the classic sheath dress and the author claims *any* body shape can wear it. 

Anyway - where was I going with this.  Oh yes, the garment a month challenge.  I challenged myself as follows:

October - New Look 6095
November - By Hand London Anna Dress
December - no plans yet.

October got sidelined because I really wanted to make something I could wear out of the house and I was frustrated.  But I will continue with this with the goal to have it finished by the end of the year. 

I did however make myself 3 new dresses during October:  The Lady Skater/Renfrew mash up and 2 versions of the Ottobre knit sheath dress.  It's now time to end this and get to sewing as the weather seems to have finally stabilized and the power isn't blipping out. 

So please talk to me - am I over thinking the LP look?

October 29, 2013

Mash Up - Lady Renfrew Skater

 JB says this fabric made him dizzy to look at. 

The fabric is a pink/red and black tiny stripe knit that I got at JoAnns.  I really need to stay out of there and spend my fabric money at Mood or Fabric Mart.  This dress won't last long - the fabric is thin. 

This dress is totally a mash up.  I started with the Lady Skater and honestly, made no adjustment to the neckline shape - other than to omit the neck band.  Instead I added a single layer cowl from the Renfrew pattern. 

I still need to take length out of the bodice of this pattern.  The skirt - even though it's not heavy in this thin knit - pulls the waist seam down making it lower than my waist.

To tone down the bright - pinkness and the dizzy factor - I wore it with black.  Belt, cardigan, nylons and boots. 

I have been teaching The Musical One how to hem dresses for me.  JB has no interest in learning.  In fact, I had to go on strike and refused to cook Sunday dinner until one of them learned and helped me.  I need to either get back to the same size that Lou (the Dummy is) or adjust her to fit me.  Then I can mark the hem myself. 

This is an issue because for some reason - this dress has a high/low hem.  Ummm - I'm not a huge fan of the trend, but it hangs evenly and make a smooth transition from front to back.  Due to the short lifespan of this dress (see fabric issues above), I'm not going to bother fixing it. 

Not sure what's going on in this photo - what I was looking it.  Maybe the pile of shoes in the entry way.  I would really like to replace that bench and hide those shoes. 

For those who are wondering - the Renfrew cowl fits on the Lady Skater just fine.  I wish it was drapier.   Is that a word? 

So now I've made 3 versions of the lady skater and have another one planned - hopefully this weekend.  Right after I make a fancy dress for a charity event in a few weeks.  ::gulp::

October 18, 2013


Carolyn said in the comments to the last post "Honestly I wonder why you strive to fit a sheath dress when these flare skirted dresses look sooooooo beautiful on you!"

I've been thinking about this since she posted that comment.  And the truth is - a sheath dress seems grown up to me.  More office appropriate.  I think it gives the impression that you know what you are doing.  I'm not sure that a grown woman wearing a pink ditsy print floral full skirted dress can really be taken seriously.  Am I wrong? 

I have, however, given up on the New Look dress for the moment.  I needed to make something I could wear out of the house.  So, today I'm sharing the second dress I made last weekend - yes, I made 2 dresses in just over 2 days.  The second dress started with pattern #4 from Ottobre Woman May 2013.  I'm sure Angie could figure out how to get the line drawing in here - but I can not.

Next - I grabbed some solid (yes Carolyn - solid) ponte knit I bought this summer.  In a nice, boring grey.  If the dress didn't work out I still wanted to have my red ponte available.  And I traced the pattern about going blind.  I did my normal blending of sizes.  Serged the shoulder raglan seams and then basted everything else.  The Musical One is getting lessons in fitting - whether she wants to learn or not.  It's the price you pay for still eating dinner at Mom's most Sunday's when you're almost 30!  So, she pinned the side seams in and pinned darts in the back.

I decided that the boring grey dress was the perfect back drop for my beach glass modern quilt wrap.  And this is what I wore to work today. 

One I got over feeling exposed because of how close fitting this dress is - I was very comfortable all day.  I have a piece of blue and white striped patterned ponte from Girl Charlie that may be my next make. 
It's a knit sheath dress!  As one of my co-workers pointed out - it skims my curves.

I received loads of unsoliciations on the scarf.
The dress provided the perfect backdrop for it.

feeling a bit sassy!

I d love this wrap!  It's so much fun and incredibly warm.
But - because it's patterned, it doesn't get worn often.

October 14, 2013

New Look 6224

or the last dress of Summer. 

The fabric is a very light weight, floral jersey from Girl Charlie.
The pattern is a combo of New Look 6224
for the bodice and the Lady Skater for the skirt.
 This pattern is for wovens.
But honestly, I couldn't be bothered.
I made it with a knit and it worked just great.

I made this dress the last weekend in September.
It was comfortable and easy to wear.
I love the Lady Skater skirt - it's fun.


There is some green in the print so I put on a green belt to help highlight my waist.
I still have one and I like to show it.
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