July 31, 2023


I bought the Stinger dress by SBCC Patterns as soon as it was released.  I was smitten with some of the tester versions that I found. Now, almost 2 years later, I'm finally sewing it up. 

Stinger is a tiered maxi dress with an interesting bust dart that comes from the center front seam. The bodice is fitted and it's fitted through the hips. The dress has a center back zipper, which I don't use because I can slip it over my head.

To be honest, in 2021 I bought a beautiful dark floral cotton and earmarked it for this dress.  But hadn't gotten around to it.  I then pulled a pretty green for a wearable muslin.

Pre-vacation 2022 in my mad rush to make new dresses, I pulled this pattern back out.  I started with a size XXL


  • Lower front horizontal dart an inch
  • Adjusted princess seam to match
  • added 3" to each skirt tier (which was too much and I ended up with a 2" hem and a dress that drags on the ground)
  • removed 1 ½" in a sway back adjustment, I do my adjustment according to Nancy Zieman's fitting finesse, taking ¾" at the shoulder and another ¾" below the armhole.

Fabric:  3 ½ yards of pink bandana print cotton purchased at Mook Fabrics in 2018.  The fabric was bought with the intention of making Little Miss E and I matching outfits.  And I did eventually make hers, using this fabric for Easter 2022, the remaining fabric was used in a shirt for Mister H as well as for my dress. You can see a pic in my 2022 Year in Review Post I also used the black gingham that was the main fabric for Mister H's Easter shirt as accents for my dress. 

This dress took way longer to make than it should have, but I'm okay with that.  It's done and I'm happy with it. 

However, now that it's done, I'm not really sure that I want to use the dark floral for another version. The dark floral was made into another Myosotis which I will blog soon. 

 But I will make up the green into a short dress. Which I did.  It didn't even get photos.  There was just something about it that I didn't like.  It went directly into the donation pile.

Photos by me!  Taken in my bedroom.  Practice makes better.

July 24, 2023

Nova Midi - or the dress without any gingham

I have long had a love/hate relationship with rayon challis.  I mean, I love it because it's cool and comfortable to wear; and the colors are bright and vibrant.

And I hate it because it's slippery as all get out!  I think my love affair with rayon challis really started with my first southport, and I've never looked back.  It really is the perfect fabric for a cool summer dress.

I would like to say that this pattern was on my radar long before my BFF Carolyn made it, but since she carted it to sew camp, and her blog post went live and I purchased it the next day, well . . . 

I made this dress from 4 yards of challis fabric that I bought at Goods Store in East Earl on June 15, 2022.  Goods mostly has quilting cottons and some poly dress fabric that the Amish & Mennonites use for their dresses.  But when evening when I was killing some time, I wandered through the fabric and spotted this challis. When I got home, I saw I had bought the pink colorway of the exact same fabric from FabricMart earlier that year. 

I have 2 regrets about this dress - or maybe 3.

  1. I didn't lower the neckline. I find StyleArc's necklines high for my personal taste and I didn't lower this one.  I definitely will next time.
  2. I didn't add pockets.  This failure to add pockets in a first make is recurring theme of mine.  Because I'm home a lot of the time and running through this huge house I need to keep my phone with me and pockets are the easiest way. 
  3. I didn't finish the seams. I know!  What was I thinking?  It's now been washed a few times and honestly, I'm not sure how much longer it will last.  I think I'll go back in and topstitch the tiers.  Which will add just a bit of finishing and hopefully stop the seam allowances from shredding to bits.

What I did do, I added 1/2" to the top and bottom tiers and an inch to the middle tier.  Why?  Not sure.  Being tall, midi lengths always bother me.  They always feel like something just wasn't quite long enough.  But I didn't add enough to make it a full maxi.
I will say, that it's still long enough I need to grab the skirt to walk upstairs so I don't trip on it.
The twirl factor of this dress is amazing!  And by using challis, while the skirt is really full, it hangs close to my body!  
As Carolyn said in her post, if you don't like gathering, don't make this dress!  There is a LOT of gathering to be done.  I sewed 2 rows of gathering stitches all the way around and gathered toward the center.

If I could get a more consistent gather with either my gathering foot or ruffler, I would have used one of those. 

This was a quick, easy dress to sew and I'm sad I waited almost a year from cutting it out to sewing it up. 

July 17, 2023

Gingham Is My Love Language

Well that and a good floral.

Last year, while I was shopping I saw the prettiest floral fabric that paired really well with a pale pink gingham.  And well, you know the rest of the story. Yep - I bought both fabrics.

I have been wanting to make Simplicity 8551 again, ever since I finished my first one

There's really nothing new to say about this pattern.  I did all of my usual things.  EXCEPT this time I tried to add a flirty keyhole in the sleeve.  Do you see it?  Nope, because it was horrible and I actually altered the sleeves to get rid of it! 

As I like to do, I used the pink gingham in 3 places: it's clearly on the neck facing; there's bias around the sleeves to hem them; and the ties.  The pocket facing is also gingham and I added bias to the bottom before adding a 2" hem.

If I make another version - and I still might, the neckline with the grommets is still on my radar, I will make the ties wider. 

Clearly, I took my own photos.  The other day I wore this dress and thought I'd just pull out the new tripod with remote and see if I could get any halfway decent photos.  They aren't too shabby, and practice make better.  Plus - no blog posts without photos. 

July 10, 2023

Gingham Anyone?

 If you've made McCall's 7969, there's a good chance you've made it out of gingham.  I mean, I see many gingham versions when I scroll the hashtag on instagram.  And ever since retiring my all time favorite gingham ESP dress, I've needed a new gingham dress in my life. So, it was a no brainer to make another #M7969, just like the first.

The only thing I did different in this dress was to add pockets.  And omit a snap at the cross-over front, but I think I'm gonna add that. 

For the hem on this one, I cut 4" wide bias strips from the scraps.  I sewed them all together. Then, I sewed the bottom of the dress and the bias strip together, with the right side of the bias against the wrong side of the dress.  This was the seam was enclosed.  Sewed, serged, pressed and then top stitched the top of the band down.  I also stitched around the bottom. 

This dress is soo easy to wear.  I bought the fabric at Belmont Fabrics.  It was in their precut section and it's a poly blend of some sort, but it managed to stay cool in the heat and humidity of our corner of Pennyslvania.

Carolyn and I both wore McCalls 7969 when we took a roadtrip up to see Julie at FabricMart.  Isn't it great how different fabrics make the same pattern so unique? 
Seriously, find yourself a friend like Carolyn to take your photos.  I promise you won't be made about it. 

Have you made McCall's 7969 yet?  If not, what's stopping you?

July 3, 2023

The Dress that Started it All

 Well, that's not exactly true. My Hope Dress started my love for billowy dresses with amazing sleeves. But this one comes in a close second.  I have had Jeanette's Hope saved in my IG account for years! Since 2020 when she made it. While many since have stopped my scroll, this was the first one that did.

I had a pretty piece of "silky" fabric bought at JoAnn's that I was never sure what I was going to do with it. I had originally cut this dress out in the fall of 2021, right after I made Hope, thinking the colors would make a great Thanksgiving dress. Then I added it to the vacation sewing list. And finally, started it in last summer 2022 and finished during a #CarriageCornerSewCamp.

This dress just always seems to work. It's fun to wear and I always get compliments on it. 

For this first version, I most likely made the XL size. Of course, there are NO NOTES anywhere. I had 2 different journals that I sporadically used and nothing. Based on my measurements I would have started with the XL and made no alterations. Can someone please tell me what my aversion to writing the pattern size on the traced version is?!

I had seen enough versions on Instagram to know that the wrap front can often be very low.  So after making the bodice, I tried it on, pinned it where I wanted the 2 pieces to overlap and added a snap. The only thing I wish I had done?  Add pockets!

The silky fabric means that the dress is flowing and has a ton of volume but actually lays fairly close to my body. It's also really cool, especially in the hot, humid Pennsylvania summer. I need to make more dresses with this fabric.

 Per the instructions, which I so rarely follow, I interfaced all the bands and hand sewed them on the inside.  I don't really mind handsewing, so not an issue.

For the skirt, again I measured my Hope. The waist seam on the hope falls in about the same place as the waist on this dress.  So with that in mind, I cut roughly 2 lengths of fabric by 39". Sewed the side seams, gathered to the waist and then tried it on for hemming.  After serging the raw edge, I turned up 1/2" then 2" and it's pretty perfect!  

I have already made another and I know it won't be the last one I make. Have you made McCall's 7969 yet? If not, what's stopping you?

Once again, many thanks to Carolyn for not only making beautiful versions of this pattern that made me want to make it, but for making me look beautiful wearing it.  

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