July 9, 2019

Blue Stripe Rivermont

I am a cashmerette tester - and for the most part I love it!  Any time I'm unhappy with the finished garment - well it's always my own fault.  No matter how many times I take my measurements and if I'm standing up or sitting down - I almost always come out with a garment that's too big the first go round.  

Take - my tester version of the Rivermont for example.  Too big - but it's super comfortable and snuggly warm and I wear it all winter!

This is my second version of the rivermont.  I wanted to try again and make a dress that was more my size!  The fabric is from Girl Charlee from 6 or more years ago!  I made a dress for my 50th birthday from the same fabric and couldn't part with the remaining fabric. 

For this Rivermont - I used a pretty ITY left over from making a concord for the pockets and I used the same ITY to bind the neckline and sleeve hems - pulling it all together.  Actually - I think I inserted it like flat piping (and I did a pretty crap-tastic job of it!) but you can't tell from a galloping horse, so . . . .

It's amazing what actually making something up in your size will do for you! I feel amazing when I wear this dress.  Also, having a photographer who makes you laugh, helps a lot!  

Pretty sure I'm losing my balance here!  Other than using contrasting fabric for the pockets - no other changes were made to the pattern.  At some point, I'm going to make up the Rivermont top too.

The center back has a seam, but I made no attempts to match this fabric anywhere!  There are so many great places to take photos around Carriage Corner!  Thanks Carolyn :D 

Thinking about making up Rivermont?  Remember that dress will look better and you will feel better if you have some negative ease in the finished garment!  While this particular dress feels to 'fancy' to just throw on and wear while I'm making breakfast, I will add some more of these comfortable, easy to wear, easy to dress up or down Rivermonts to my closet - I'd like to say I'll a few in solid colors - but I know that won't happen - bring on the loud prints!  

Have you made a garment that you only sorta like the first go round but adore it the second time you made it?  Share them with me in the comments!  

July 4, 2019

Swing Dress

When a certain indy pattern designer came out with a fun and lovely swingy tee shirt dress - I really and I mean really - wanted it!  

But - I'm team pattern pattern.  I'm also team trace because I like having the original pattern when I need to go back to it.

So, I chatted with my dear friend Carolyn - who took all of these photos - in fact, I still haven't even downloaded the photos that JB took alongside Carolyn.  Soon - Maybe I'll just have a "fashion show' post with the photos he took!

The pattern is New Look 6469 and it appears to still be available.  But it's just a swing dress with raglan sleeves.  I have very square shoulders so raglan sleeves are good for me!  

If I remember correctly - I added 2" to the length of this dress.  It was made the night I was suppose to be packing for our Italian vacation.  I made this dress again and added a bit more length for our last vacation and it got cut up into a top when we got home.  

The fabric was a 3 yard cut from Fabric Mart that I love!  It had been pulled from the closet more than once and put back because I didn't want to 'waste it.'

While I mostly wear this dress during the winter with tights and boots - it works just as well in the summer.  It might not be the most flattering for my shape - but it's comfortable and easy to wear. 

This pattern is still on my radar to make again - with contrast sleeves - as soon as I find the right combo of fabrics.  I'm thinking a floral with stripes or polka dots would be fun.  Also - I think it could be just a smidge shorter - maybe the 2" I added?  What are you thoughts?  Do you wear comfy dresses because they are easy even when they aren't the most flattering thing you own?  

June 27, 2019


Cashmerette Holyoke Maxi Dress and Skirt sewing pattern
Line drawings
from Cashmerette

Aside:  I was doing so well blogging again and then I ran out of vacations to talk about and already photographed garments.  So, let's try this again - shall we? 

I am a pattern tester for Cashmerette - and I love it!  When the call was sent out for testers for Holyoke, I jumped all over it!  While I can't really see myself wearing the dress - I can absolutely see me wearing the maxi skirt!

The Holyoke has 2 views and both have:

  • Princess seams which are super curve-friendly and allow for easy adjustment; 
  • faux button placket down the front; 
  • elastic at the back waist; 
  • super swooshy maxi length - with is easy to shorten; and 
  • pockets

My test garment was made from some long stashed rayon that has brightly colored buildings all over it.  I love it!  I think I have a green that will coordinate to make a better top than the white I've been wearing it with.  Other notions include elastic, stabilizer and some long stashed and not sure how I was going to use them square green buttons.

I made absolutely no changes to my pattern pieces for this garment!  The only thing I did different than the instructions is to stitch the pockets to the skirt front - I just like that better than the pockets flopping around loose inside my garment.  Bonus - on anything that has a pull on waist - it's really easy to see which side is the front - just sayin'

I've already got another maxi skirt cut out of a quilting cotton and I might consider making the dress if I added a "football' sleeve to it. I also bought some red twill during our Fabric Mart trip to make another - this skirt is a winner!

I can also see this being added as a middie skirt into my closet, in denim as a tribute to Carolyn.

All photos, in this blog post and for the next few are thanks to Carolyn.  If you have trouble getting great photos for your blog - I suggest you find a friend who will make you very uncomfortable and then take the most flattering photos of you ever!  

I was laughing so hard in this one!  Then we pulled JB into the pics and you can see his most recent new shirt - very food themed with knives, forks and spoons all over it!  

So - if you have been looking for the perfect button front skirt, no matter what length you make it - I don't think you can go wrong with this one.  I'm not sure I'll ever make the summer sundress, but as a skirt - it's sure a winner! 

Next Up - the L O N G Sew Camp Review!  

June 2, 2019

Revisiting Until It's a TNT

Are you a pattern revisitor?  Or are you a once and done kinda sewist?  I'm curious.  I know that Carolyn is the queen of the TNT and Gillian can hack a TNT like nobody's business.  But, while I feel like Megan tries a lot of new patterns, I also feel like she has some TNT favorites.  These three ladies seem to be my style and inspiration go tos these days. 

Where am I in the TNT or One and done range?  Well, it depends.  If we're talking about the ESP dress or the Appleton I'm darn close to TNT.  ESP still needs a few tweaks. 

If we're talking about the perfect outfit - I'm always losing my mind over the newest shinny pattern.  I mean, I was super inspired by a guest in loose flowy wide legged pants.  She looked fabulous, comfortable and really put together.  So, what do I do?  I made one pair of McCalls 7757.  They were meant to be a wearable muslin, but they were just all around too big.  I took them in, altered my pattern, made one more pair and haven't even taken photos in that pair to see if they are closer to hitting the mark. 
Pants are from Lilly P
This weekend, I send Carolyn a message to tell me I didn't need to buy the Love Notions Summer Caye pants - because basically I HAVE IT!  And I believe Gillian has a tutorial on making pants have a flat front and elastic back.  But - have I revised my pattern yet?  Nope.  

And then I get stumped by what to wear with full legged pants like that.  Is it just a tee?  Have a played with Concord enough to just be able to pull it out and sew it up?  Why not?  There's not a single piece of fabric I own that's too special to use.  

I also want a button down shirt.  And let me tell you, I have patterns for button downs. But then I get stuck and can't decide which pattern to use.  Do I want a fitted shirt or a really loose shirt?  Long sleeves, short sleeves?  It gets to be so overwhelming for me that I make another shirt for JB!  

So talk to me - share your process from getting from a pattern to a wardrobe staple.  Clearly, I need help.  

May 30, 2019

ESP Sheet Dress

I made another ESP dress.  It would appear that I made a bunch of the Decades of Style ESP Dresses in 2015 and then, even though I love the pattern, didn't revisit it until this past March.  Interesting.

In March, before Spring Sew Camp, I moved all of my fabric from the fabric shelves to an interior closet.  There were a few pieces of fabric that didn't make the cut to stay in the collection and they landed in a give away pile at #CarriageCornerSewCamp.

Main fabric shelves - organized by type of fabric.
As you can see, there's still room for snacks!

Overflow shelf to the top left of the fabric. This is all quilting cottons, nicer cottons for Jay's shirts and fabric bought specifically to make something for Eleanor
In the pile of fabric that I didn't really want to get rid of, but there might not be room for it, was a beautiful blue floral fitted sheet.  Yep - I've finally joined the ranks of people who've made clothes from old sheets.  And you know what?  I know why they do it.  This fabric is so soft.

finished dress just hanging out
3 of the 4 previously made ESP dresses are in heavy rotation in my current life as an innkeeper.  2 of them have the lowered neckline and 1 of them isn't even in the ESP posts I linked back to.  Also, in my post with the black gingham ESP, I share with you how to lower the square neckline going into a raglan sleeve.

Carolyn cracks me up when she takes photos.
You can see the bust is just a little bit too snug.
And - when I lowered the neckline, it also made it really wide.
Anyway - during the Spring Sew Camp after making Vogue 8962, I grabbed my sheet and got busy prepping it.  Then I put my ESP pattern on it AND without tracing the bodice, I cut, narrowing it by 1" at the waist seam.  I also cut the back on the fold because in my other ESP dresses that are too big, I NEVER use the zipper and why match a zipper over a waist seam if you are never going to use it?!

I also fully lined the bodice and used the burrito method to hem the sleeves (fully lined, remember?)  There are no photos of me making this up because I didn't think that far ahead - but someone at sew camp saw me rolling the dress to make the burrito happen.

I may have been just a bit aggressive with my alterations.  This dress is just slightly too tight. 

really too tight in the back and I need a sway back adjustment
Changes for next time:

Move the shoulder seams in just a bit - they are really wide
Add a 1/2" at the waist
Cut the back 1/4" off the fold
Add a sway back adjustment

Will there be a next time?  Yes!  I've already bought the fabric and I want to try playing with some color blocking and putting the facings on the public side.

May 26, 2019

The Last Vacation

Are y'all sick of reading about my vacations yet?  If so, then you'll be happy to hear this is the last one.  This past January, we were able to get away to Cabo for 12 days.  It was amazing!  We spent an equal amount of time relaxing by the pool as exploring.  I worked on Eleanor's Birthday Felt Food (blog post coming), JB read a book and napped in the sun. 

This was our bedroom.  Those globes on the sides of the bed would light up too.  I just loved the glow of the light behind the headboard.  A similar wooden cutout design was behind the mirrors and they lit up too!

We stayed in Los Cabos in the Baja California Sur, Mexico.  The resort was right on the beach and many days we walked miles along the shore and did the mile hike into town.

Walking on the beach. 

Making a swim suit might end up on my to make list someday, but for now I have a retro inspired 2 piece and a sweet retro one piece that I love.  They are both from Torid and there are no photos of either of them. 

We met a lovely couple on the last leg of our flight that lives in Maine now, but are originally from Pennsylvania.  We spent several nights with them.  It was fun!  We took a sunset dinner cruise one day.  Out to the see the arch and we saw dolphins, whales and a killer sunset!. 

walked into Los Cabos many, many times, and had an amazing italian dinner.  It was the perfect combination of cooking in, great meals out, wonderful conversations, great books and relaxation. 

From dinner at Valentines.  

We went there, but I wouldn't go in :\ (I wanted to be able to leave)

Can you see the heart?

Sunset at a stop during our trip to LaPaz

May 23, 2019

Bias Print Fringe

I have loved the Chalk & Notch Fringe Dress from the day it was released.  I have 2 beautiful rayons in the stash cupboard destined to be fringes.  But it took me until right before this year's vacation to actually make one up!

*Note to Self:  If you are going to take months to blog something start using your sewing journals to take notes.  Also, don't thrust your belly forward when you stand.

As you can see from the Note to Self, I'm having a hard time remembering what I did for this dress.  I used a beautiful, lightweight rayon with a bias plaid printed on it.  I bought this fabric, years ago - I would guess it was close to 19 years ago by now at a fabric store owned by Nancy Cornwell (of Polar Fleece fame) that closed in 1999.  In my mind, this fabric was always destined to be a dress.  When I decided to make fringe before vacation, I pulled this piece out.

This fringe was perfect for vacation!  The fabric was a little too thin to be worn for anything other than a swimsuit cover up.  But, it was absolutely perfect to throw over a swimsuit.  Also, when I were make it again, I'll add length - again, the length is perfect for over a swimsuit, but it's a bit short for life.

I will make this dress again.  At least twice more as I have a beautiful black and white floral from LA Finch and a beautiful red, white and blue floral that one of the NY Sewcialists picked up for me.  Both fabrics were purchased with this dress in mind.

I think it would be fun to put the facing on the right side with this pattern.  You could use the same fabric or a contrasting fabric.  The shape is so fun that it would be a wonderful way to highlight the interesting neckline.

Standing still with no wind blowing, the length is sort of okay.  But it feels really short to me and I'm just old enough to feel uncomfortable bending over in this dress.  So - at least 4" of length added for sure.  And maybe making the shirt tail hem not quite so drastic?  Thoughts on that?  See - I'm not a huge fan of high/low hems, but this shirt tail hem on a dress - I love it!  

Look Mom - it's got pockets!  And shinny silver hair :)  

This was a wonderful wearable muslin.  I serged all of the seams to finish them.  And while it wasn't tight anywhere at all, the bodice seams shredded.  Not sure if it was due to the age of the fabric or something else.  This dress didn't come home from vacation, but it was well worn during it.  

May 19, 2019

Colonial Willaimsburg

I honestly don't even know if I have any photos - but I want to talk about this just the same.  Somebody told me, I'm not old enough for Colonial Williamsburg - but you know what?  I loved it!  Loved It! 

We had some points that needed to be used, so we asked this kids if they wanted to take a quick trip to Colonial Williamsburg.  It was a really, quick trip.  We went down for 4 nights.
Eleanor and I in GiGi made sweaters
On the first day, Eleanor wanted to go the Yankee Candle.  That Yankee Candle is a super big deal and we spent several hours there wondering around, watching the train and talking with Santa.  Eleanor's favorite part was when it snowed.  Every 6 minutes there was a spot in the store where snow fell from the sky.  Pretty cool!  

The next day we headed into downtown Williamsburg.  Right into the heart of the historic district.  I loved going in and out of the houses and buildings.  Seeing how people dressed and cooked.  We watched the parade and stayed out until well past dinner time. 

I guess we were bad?

On our third day, my friend Chan drove over to Williamsburg and she walked around with us!  She made friends with Eleanor - which isn't easy to do with a shy, opinionated toddler! 

There was something about this window in the brick wall with the branch. 

We left after breakfast on our 4th day because an unexpected, early snowstorm was coming. 

Colonial Williamsburg - we'll be back! 

May 16, 2019

Border Print Pembroke

I am a pattern tester for Cashmerette.  When Jenny reached out with the Pembroke for testing - I was totally down for it!  We were due to go to Seattle for a wedding and some new tee shirt dresses were just the ticket!  I made 3 before we went on vacation!

The first one I did just like Jenny's cover dress.  I added the sash - but didn't double the fabric because I was using a fairly substantial ponte knit and I didn't want the bulk of 2 layers.  I did hem the sash for some unknown reason.

Let me also say - I'm rubbish at grading between sizes for my hips.  It's like I have absolutely no idea how big they are!  I know what the tape measure tells me, but even with flat pattern measuring - my garments end up too big at the hips.  Frustrating!

I will say - with each dress, it got smaller and the sway back adjustment got bigger.  I know that Cashmerette has a built in sway back adjustment, but with my very short back length (15") and my prominent behind, I need more.

The second dress was white polka dots on a black ponte background.  I used a solid white ponte for the sleeves and neckband and the polka dots for the sleeve bands.

This dress was not long for the closet.  I think I wore it twice and the ponte pilled horribly.  I couldn't stand it.  I think I have a tiny big of the polka dots left, but I'm not sure I'll use them.  

The third version, I think, fits the best!  And it's my favorite.  The hot pink border was on the fabric and I cut it to use as the neck band.  I fussy cut the sleeves so the border was at the hem.  

The fabric is an ITY from FabricMart ordered in May of 2015 - so it only took 3 years to get sewn up!  

I like this dress in an ITY knit.  I'm finally happy with the length - neither too long nor too short.  

I love the little flippy side vent.  My versions are just slightly longer in the back - although it's not noticeable in this photo.  

While I do finally like this dress, I think the tunic version is next in my to make pile.  I love Carolyn's versions of the tunic with long sleeves and a turtleneck or cowl - I am smitten with Megan's Pembroke tunic dress and really want to add several versions like that to my closet. 

Megan's Beautiful Pembroke Tunic
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