Sunday, August 21, 2016

My Wardrobe and Sewing 2016

Back in 2008, during the third year of writing my blog, I wrote a post called "My Wardrobe and Sewing."  In it I talked about the fact that 90% of my wardrobe was made by me. I discussed what I sewed and why, and what determined a RTW purchase for me.

Several of you must have read it recently because it showed up in my "popular blog posts" listing on the sidebar. To be honest, I don't even remember writing that post but then I have been writing this blog for 10 years so that may be why.  Anyway, I thought I would update the post reflecting on my life now cause hey it never hurts to look back to help you move forward.

So in 2008 I said that I made about 90% of my wardrobe. I can say that's no longer true! Weight loss, job and lifestyle changes caused me to not only give away most of my wardrobe last year but it also changed what I wore and sewed. Presently I would put the percentage of me-made in my closet at 25-30%.

Which after years of having a predominantly me-made wardrobe is just astonishing to me...and was hard to handle during my first fall & winter at this job. Even though I'm sewing as fast as I can, it takes time to get to that number again...especially when you have to redevelop your TNT patterns.  

I have to tell you that I recently made a pair of pants and I'm not sure that I like them. The fit is close-fitting in the abdomen area and I hate the way it looks and feels. I think I've worked out a fix for a more comfortable fit but my pants pattern is still a work in progress. As of now, all of my bottoms are RTW with their inherent fitting issues. 

So let me ask you, how much of your wardrobe is me-made?  I know that since there are Me Made months held to highlight your makes, and there's more awareness/interest in sewing the majority of your own wardrobe ~ including underwear ~ how many of you have set a goal to sew the majority of your wardrobe?

This is the question of the day.  In 2008, there was a great conversation attached to that post.  48 people talked about their wardrobes and sewing.  If you left a comment then, I would love to hear from you now.  And if you weren't reading the blog then but would like to get in on the conversation, I would love to hear from you, too.

This is the Question of the Day - so talk back to me! always more later!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Pattern Collecting - Past Present & Future

About 8-9 years ago I was neck deep into collecting vintage patterns. My era of choice was 60s Jackie Kennedy style suits and 60s mod fashions. I was also highly enamoured of Sybil Connolly patterns. I spent a lot of time on eBay and Etsy tracking down Sybil Connolly patterns...A LOT OF TIME! I was also a regular on a couple of vintage pattern sites...always searching to add more styles that I liked to my personal collection.

I'm writing about this because I was looking for a pattern recently amongst the piles of patterns in the sewing cave searching high and low in drawers, containers and the plastic file cabinets. I would say that patterns are the second most abundant item in the sewing cave, right after fabric!

Anyway during the search, I found my stash of vintage patterns.  They are stored in several out of the way drawers, probably because I rarely think about them now that they've been bought, received and admired. I know that it was mostly the hunt for them that gave me joy because I only sewed a couple of the patterns. 

The pattern used the most was this jacket pattern ~ Vogue 2285:

I loved this pattern so much that I made it in 2008 as an Easter Suit and then again in 2013 and would love to figure out a way to add it to my wardrobe now. Can you imagine this in a great denim?

Another pattern that I used and would love to make again is Vogue 5265. 

I made this dress in 2008 and wore it quite a few times that year even with the belt! It was an interesting learning experience. The journey is detailed here.

So the trip down memory lane made me realize that there are still an abundance of Vogue Couturier, Vogue Paris Original, Vogue Americana, Simplicity, Butterick, McCall's and by no surprise Donna Karan patterns on eBay. It's the wonders of the Internet's Greatest Garage Sale. This is not meant to omit other older patterns of every era. If you're willing to look, they can be found. I did start a Flickr album of some of the vintage patterns in my possession. You can see them here.

Why am I discussing this? Because patterns have been around for decades! Indie designers are nothing new. I found loads of indie patterns in my collection from the 80s & 90s, Purrfection (now Dana Marie Design Co.), Lois Ericson, LaFred, Loes Hinse Design, L.J. Designs - shown below.

Patterns like fabric, needle & thread, scissors and a sewing machine are all essential to making an item...whether it be a garment, a quilt, a toy or an accessory. Being an active member of the online sewing community, I'm often amazed at how "in the present" we are and how we seldom look back at what came before.  

Yes, there is an active vintage sewing community who focus on certain eras that they admire and sew from but that's just a portion of the community. What about the majority of the community?  Do we look back and recognize the past? Do we realize that some of those cool boho looks that indie designers are selling now have already been around?  And that those patterns can still be found at the great internet garage sale?

Sometimes as someone who's been sewing for over 46 years, its hard to reconcile. It's also hard not to sound like a dinosaur or the old lady under the tree telling history lessons in the middle of the village. Many times I just want to say if we love this artform so much, why don't we take the time to learn the history of it.  To appreciate the journey of those who've come recognize the transformation of the pattern companies and how they've made the journey through the eras to still be here today providing inspiration for us?!

This post isn't to bash anyone or to praise the Big 4 pattern companies ~ though I do believe they are doing an admirable job these days reaching out to their customers ~ it's more to say, recognize the past.  Honor it and realize that we are standing on the shoulders of the sewists/sewers/seamstresses that have gone before. Don't be so quick to dismiss the past in your enthusiasm and realize that we ARE rooting for you to succeed and to carry our combined love of sewing forward to the next generation!

I would hate for 100 years from now that a sewing machine (in all it's forms) along with patterns and fabric are relics in a museum highlighting a dead artform. always more later!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Vogue 7271 - Maximized

After I made Vogue 7271, I knew I would make it again because I always saw it as a maxi dress. I even pulled a couple of fabric contenders...but there were other patterns and more garments to make, so it took me a minute to circle back around to this pattern. I'm just happy that I did before the summer ended.

Supplies ~
1/2 yard of white ponte that was gifted to me for my birthday
Black/White/Grey rayon from the fabric collection via Fabric Mart
22" white invisible zipper

Pattern and Construction Info. ~
The first thing is that I made the corrections to the pattern pieces from the alterations I made to the first dress.  Then I cut the bodice out of the white ponte fabric.

These are the alterations made to the bodice:
- added an inch to the bodice of the dress 2" below the armhole to lengthen it from the weird empire length of the original version. This was done to the front and back bodice pieces.

- raise the front and back darts 1/2" to make up for the additional length added to the bodice

- scooped out of the neckline 5/8" to make it a little deeper because it felt tight when I tried the dress on

- added small darts in the armholes to ease out excess fabric

- because I used a knit fabric for the bodice I took the side seams in an additional 1/4" so that the top fit closer to my bustline.

- added bias binding to the neckline and armholes to finish them

The second thing is that I didn't use the skirt pieces for the maxi portion of the dress. 

The skirt was cut from the rayon print:
1. I cut two pieces of fabric 43" long and the entire width of the fabric - 54"

2. After I had two pieces, I cut one piece in half lengthwise.

3. The three pieces were serge finished.

4. Then the two shorter pieces were sewn on either side of the main piece to form the side seams.

5. To gather the top seam, I used my favorite method - zig zagging over dental floss. Then the dental floss was gathered, spreading the gathering equally around the skirt.

6. I used lots of pins to hold the gathered skirt to the bodice

7. The bodice and skirt were carefully stitched together. The seam was pressed down into the skirt and the gathers were pressed flat.

8. I cut 2" off the hem after I let the dress hang for a week allowing the rayon fabric to grow. Hemmed the dress with a 1" hem allowance and three rows of stitching.

A few pictures of the finished dress ~

Dress without the ribbon belt

Dress worn with a RTW cardigan

Conclusion ~
Due to the fact that my photographer has been very busy this summer, I wore this prior to blogging about it.  So here is the wearability report. I wore it on a really hot and humid day and it was perfect both inside the office and while moving around outside. I love the flow and the width of the rayon skirt. Using the ponte for the top gave me a close but comfortable fit. I've photographed it with & without a black grosgrain ribbon, however, I didn't wear the ribbon to work.

This year I really wanted several full flowy skirted maxi dresses. This dress more than fulfills my desire, especially since I can feel the difference when wearing the two different styles. If I get a chance to make another maxi dress before the summer ends, it will be another flowy skirt kind. I've really loved wearing these maxi dresses this summer and would like a few more. always more later!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A High Low Skirt

I'm greatly influenced by what I see on the streets where I work.  There's probably so much inspiration because I work near the garment district and walk through the district every evening on the way to the Port Authority. 

This week's inspiration was an amazing high-low skirt on a pretty young thing that was walking towards me. Her high-low was so obviously high as in thigh length which made the low so dramatic because it was ankle length. Now I knew I couldn't pull that look off but I could a regular high low skirt.

I came home that Thursday evening aching for one, especially since I've worn the pink version of Simplicity 1621 to death because it's so comfortable...the most comfortable thing I've made this summer! I knew I should have looked for a pattern for this skirt but Simplicity 1621 was still on my mind. It was really easy to adjust the dress pattern to make a skirt from it.

Here's what I did ~

1. Folded both the dress front and back at the waistline markings on the skirt.
2. Laid the pattern pieces down on the fabric and added 1" to the top of the
    pieces by marking with chalk.
3. Sewed the front and pieces together and pressed the seams open.
4. Added 2" elastic to the waistline.

Sewing order ~
  • measured the elastic around my waist, pulled and cut it 3" shorter than my waistline
  • Sewed a 1/2" seam in the back to work with the elastic in the round
  • Placed pins at the 4 edges of the elastic
  • Elastic was pinned to the skirt at the four points
  • Then stitched to the skirt by slowly sewing and stretching the elastic and fabric to match.
  • After the first row of stitching, I stitched it again all the way around to insure that the stitching would hold.
  • Pressed the gathers flat
  • Stitched it down
I turned up 1/2" hem and stitched it down. The skirt was done. I used a lightweight linen that I bought from Marcy Tilton's booth at Expo in March. I'm determined to use as much of that fabric purchase as possible this year. The 2" elastic for the waistband was in the collection. I have it in white and black. It was bought a couple of years ago to make skirts like this.

A few pictures ~

...and worn with a RTW yellow sweater...

Conclusion ~
I couldn't believe that the skirt made up so quick and easy! It's nice to have a trendy, yet age and work appropriate piece. If you want to make one of your own and don't have Simplicity 1621, try one of these...

This will go into rotation this week cause it's still hot here! always more later!

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

McCalls 7385 - A Flowy Maxi Dress

I've had this pattern since it was first released because I love maxi dresses! However, I made so many versions of McCalls 6559 last year, that I have absolutely no desire to sew any more of that pattern this year. 

I've fallen hard for long, flowy maxi dresses because a maxi with a lot of fabric keeps you warm in the manufactured air...yet handles a nice breeze outside with a gently flowiness. So the desire for more flowy maxi dresses is why I ended up sewing this pattern.

Supplies ~
Floral linen purchased from Joann's with a birthday gift certificate
Blue rayon suiting from Fabric Mart via the fabric collection
22" lt. blue invisible zipper
blue bias binding

Pattern Alterations ~

Before I talk about the construction of this dress, I need to say that I HATE the main front pattern piece for this dress. I have NO idea why it was necessary to make the center front bodice and skirt the same pattern piece. It's a recipe for disaster. Cause matching, cutting and clipping that front insert is a beast and not easy to do. Making separate pieces would have made it soooooo much easier to construct!

Construction Info ~
This is a cup size pattern so between that the fact that there is soooooo much fabric in the skirt, I didn't need to make any alterations to the pattern pieces. Seriously, I made NO pattern alterations with this dress. I sewed a size 22 straight out of the envelope.

So here are the deets for making my version of this dress ~
  1. The neckline was a little to low so I raised it an inch and added seam tape to both sides of the seam to reinforce the seam then I went and lowered it after I added a front facing.
  2. All of that fabric had to be gathered. I used my new favorite gathering method, zig zagging over dental floss and all of that fabric that had to be wrestled through my sewing machine. That was an experience in itself!
  3. Originally I had the front slit in the dress skirt but after trying it on, I removed the topstitching and sewed the front seam up. I think it didn't work as well because I used the linen and not a drapier fabric like rayon.
Here is where I deviated from the pattern instructions ~
The pattern suggests that you line the sides of the dress front and back and then handstitch it to the center front and back pieces. You use those pieces to finish the armhole stitches.

However, I used the split neck version for my dress and I knew those pieces would flop open. I didn't want the reverse sides of the center front pieces showing. So I changed this. I cut another set of center front pieces and made a back facing piece.

I used those pieces to finish the neckline. Then I added some bias binding to the armholes to finish them off.

Also I always saw the top of the dress colorblocked.  So I used two separate fabrics to make the vision I saw in my head come to life. I'm very pleased with how the two fabrics worked together and how the finished dress looks.

Pictures of the dress ~

Worn with a white sweater...

Conclusion ~
Halfway through making this dress, I thought why am I branching out and using different styles? The dress was baggy and it seemed to make my hips look really wide!  And I thought I will never wear it alone, it will always need to have a cardigan over it.

Get to the end after making a few more fitting adjustments and I'm a little amazed at the dress. I guess it's okay to step out of your comfort zone every once in awhile especially since I got several compliments when wearing this dress.

I'm not the only one who's made this dress recently. Margo who authors the blog, Creating in the Gap made this gorgeous version. We chose different fabrics and Margo made the dress per the pattern instructions, however, I think we both ended up with great versions of the pattern. It also more than fulfilled my desire for a full, floaty maxi dress. always more later!

Sunday, August 07, 2016


Denim has been on my mind a lot lately and if you know me you've heard me speak about recently.  Denim is the fiber of choice at my company. So not being a jeans girl it's taken me a minute to rethink my thoughts on denim.

Back in the spring I made a couple of denim dresses.  You can see them here, here and here.  It's been so hot here lately that they've been shoved into the closet to await cooler weather in the fall. 

During the making of these dresses, I realized that I can make anything from denim.  So all of those dress and skirt patterns that I've been gloaming on thinking that I'd never be able to sew them now, have gained new life in my creative mind. Serious mike drop moment here!

Then I'd been hearing about the Refashioners Denim Challenge on IG and a couple of sewists blogs. The premise totally intrigued me so I tracked down the origins of the posts using #refashioners2016 on Instagram.  That led me to Portia's blog, Makery...random acts of creativity, where all of the information on this year's refashioning challenge using denim jeans is contained. There are some amazing outfits being made from discarded/unused and unwanted jeans.

I've collected a few items on my Pinterest board using recycled jeans to make maxi dresses but these new refashions are so imaginative and creatively stimulating adding more fuel to my creative fire. Not being a jeans girl myself, I only have two pairs of jeans that can be recycled. One is a pair that is a little too tight. I probably could wear them in another couple of months but I have an idea to "boho" them up a little so I'm going with that. 

My other pair is a brand new pair that are 3 sizes too large for me...they were accidentally shipped to me in an online order. These will definitely be cut up. I have no plans to enter the Refashioners competition, but I do want to do a little refashioning and reusing.

I have an idea for a new dress using parts of both of these jeans and the leftover scraps from my previous denim makes. Refashion and reuse, right?! Anyway, this isn't next on my cutting table. There are a new pair of pants cut out with coordinating pieces and I want to try McCalls 6886 in a couple of ITYs. It's still really hot here and probably will be into September. So while fall is on my radar, it's just on the perimeter.

There will be a lot of denim showing up here this fall and winter in a lot of different patterns both new and tried-n-true. I'm pretty psyched about that! always more later!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Springfield Top by Cashmerette

Y'all know how this goes, I tested this pattern for Jenny.  So drop out now if you don't like pattern tester reviews...

First, I have to tell you that this didn't work for me. Which is a first for me. I am selective about what styles I pattern test for Jenny because I don't want to waste her time or mine. I sent her an email detailing all of the things that didn't work for me. She sent me back this amazing email with some suggestions YET she said if it really didn't work she understood.

Her email was so kind and understanding that I was like, "dayum, I need to put on my big girl panties and see if I can make this work." So I recut the front, fixed the armhole on the back curve and added some lace to the hemline and got this ~

A workable Springfield made from a washed silk duppioni that I added a 6" embroidered lace to the hemline. I like the fit on the back the best. It's what drew me to the top - that back detailing. The front still needs some work because it's pulling on the sides but it's wearable.

I want to remake it in a drapier fabric to see if this really will or won't work for me. Honestly though, you shouldn't decide whether to purchase this pattern based upon my experience. I know we as testers usually rave uncontrollably about a pattern - hey I shouted from the rooftops about the Concord Tee! 

I think you should decide to purchase this pattern based upon whether you'd like to have this type of garment in your wardrobe, using a pattern that will need the least amount of pattern alterations for a plus size woman. A pattern that was tested by a variety of women like Grandmaelaine's version - here...or Megret's version.  Need more convincing, Weboughtamanor made three amazing versions.  

In all honesty, I want a woven tank top but every time I make one I realize that it's not a style that I like to wear or even likes the way it looks on me. I like casual clothing but not this casual. Those are my issues - not the pattern's issue. So if you're a plus-size, curvy, big busted woman who wants a woven tank top and wants it cut in your cup size (C-H) and your garment size (12-28), give this tank a try.  Jenny even makes it easy for you to try this out because she's selling kits to make your own.

Mine is nice and I probably will try another one but seriously try this pattern out for yourself. You will be happy you did!

Now to leave you with one more pic of me in the tank...but look at the background and see that no matter how hard my daughter and I try...we just can't keep the little people out of the shots! always more later!

Sunday, July 24, 2016


This post is a conglomeration of things that are too short for their own post but have too much info for two social media outlets. As a digression, I admire all of y'all that Instagram, Facebook, Tweet, Periscope, Snapchat and then remember to write a blog post or two. That's just a little too much social media exposure for me but power to you for getting yours in! as I started to say, this is a bunch of little things that have been hanging out and I'm putting them all together in this post. I need to clear out the space...get these talked about and move on.

So first up is a Washington Hack: 

Let's state this upfront, if you have problems with pattern testers you can hop out now!  I was one of the pattern testers for the Washington Dress. I know it was released awhile ago and loads of versions have shown up on social media. When Jenny first sent out the test versions for this dress, I thought I would be able to incorporate this pattern into my new lifestyle but honestly I was still very challenged by the casual workstyle at my job.

So even though I love, love, love this pattern - I never moved pass the testing stage until later last summer when I needed a new maxi dress. I was tired of wearing the McCalls 6559 versions I'd made and was looking for a new silhouette. So I hacked my test version into this:

I really loved the fit of the top of the Washington Dress. I'd never had such a good fit without jumping through hoops with other patterns and seriously this fit is out of the envelope. So I added a yard of a knit floral print again from Fabric Mart to the bottom of the top. This made a great casual maxi to throw on and wear through the last of the hot and sultry summer days.

Just for comparison here is a very bad pic I sent to Jenny along with my comments on the pattern:

As you can see the pattern with the band fit me well. I do have plans to make another one this summer with the band and a maxi length skirt, even have the fabrics set aside to make it. Just need time! 

So a few more pics ~

Jenny has a gift for fitting the shoulders, neckline and bustline of a plus size sewist. I highly recommend that you give her patterns a try because they are wonderful as is or as a jumping point for whatever you can imagine. You will see more versions of this pattern on the blog!

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Mentioning Jenny, I highly recommend that you sign up for her weekly newsletter on her blog. I love the weekly roundups that The Foldline does, or Fiona's Indie Pattern Review and especially Heather's of Closet Case Files...seriously wait for Heather's every Sunday. However, as much as I love those round ups, they don't predominantly feature all of the plus-size/curvy girls going-ons. Yes, we're mentioned every once in awhile but if you're looking for ALL plus size/curvy girl doings ALL the time, Jenny has it! Sign up on her blog -

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I love Instagram, truly I do but I love blogs too! I try to read all that I can and leave a comment to let the author know that I stopped by.  I'm not always successful at leaving a comment but I try. I know that commenting on blogs is down these days since it's so much easier to hit a "like" button on other forms of social media. It's just that sometimes it's I have a little more to say. At those times, I turn to my blog.

I've been sewing a lot this summer. Moving fabric out of the collection into my closet and reigniting my creativity has made this a very calming time for me. When I was working on my latest garment, up on the blog soon, I realized that either I have a Fabric Mart, or a tag by me on almost all of my fabrics. I love that those tags tell me the history of the fabric. Because as we can all admit I own ALOT of fabric! *smile*

It's amazing the value of some of the pieces that are in the collection! Take the cost per yard of this rayon suiting that I bought from Fabric Mart - seriously $2.40 per yard - that I used in the McCalls 7385 maxi dress, coming soon to the blog. That little tag just thrills me.

Since I've been sewing primarily from the collection this year, I've accumulated several of these fabric tags, pictured below ~

I've just been hanging them on the edge of my sewing table by the serger. It's silly but I like seeing the collection of them there. It's like a testament to my resolve to sew from my fabric collection and it makes me happy. Happy that I'm fulfilling my resolve and also that I'm sewing garment after garment.

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Even though it's hotter than Hades here, I have to be honest, I've started to make a fall sewing list. Yeap, I've started a new page in my notebook writing down new ideas to sew. I know, I know but I don't want to lose any of the I've officially started thinking fall...but I will be sewing summer until at least the beginning of October. Y'know why? Because I love sewing for spring & summer...dresses...need I say more!

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Of course, I've sewn quite a few pieces since these photos were taken so look for more outfits on the blog soon. And if you want to keep up with my sewing in real time, there's always my Instagram account where I post quick pics of what I'm making, as well as, progress shots. always more later!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Thought or Two on Pressing

Have you ever seen the movie, "Real Women have Curves"? America Ferrara plays one of the main characters who works in a sweatshop in Los Angeles. The thing that I always remember about that movie is that Carmen (America Ferrara) begins working in the sweatshop as a presser.  She wanted to be one of the sewing machine operators but they started her at the pressing machine. Explaining to her that pressing was one of the most important steps and the last step before the garment was hung to be shipped out.

Now we as sewists know that "Press As You Go" is the golden rule. However, do you do it every time? I thought about this as I was making those simple t-shirt dresses. I know that I doubled the amount of time it took to make those dresses because of the amount of pressing that went into making them.

Bonita Pride Ironing Board, Bright Text

So is pressing important to you?  Do you follow the golden rule?  Do you press every seam flat, then open?  Do you know not to cross sew seams until the first seam is pressed? Have you invested in the best pressing tools there are? The best iron you can afford? Pressing tools like a sleeve board, a ham, a clapper?

Do you spend as much time pressing your garment while making it as you do with pattern alterations, fitting challenges & changes, as well as, sewing the garment? It's like if you had a tent with tent poles, your tent can stand without that fourth pole but it stands so much better with it.

Now there have been some great articles written about pressing but I personally love the series that Ann of Gorgeous Fabrics has written about it. My two favorites are, "Pressing: When you care enough to sew the very best!" and "Pressing Impressively without Impressions." 

I know there is so much information available on the internet because you can google how to do anything. However, I think it's important to visit the sites that give you the best advice to take your sewing to the next level. I love Ann's pressing advice and hope that it will help you step up your press game too.

That way whether you are making a simple "Learn to Sew" garment or an involved tailored one, using good pressing techniques can make the difference between a Becky Homecky garment or the statement, "Did you really make that? It looks like RTW!"

That's today's ramble...let me know what you think, okay?! always more later!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

McCalls 7348 - A Couple of T-Shirt Dresses

I grew up in the 70's and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was a style icon at the time. To me one of the most fascinating things about her was that she bought multiples of pieces that she liked. Found a t-shirt that worked for her in a French boutique, she bought it in all colors...7 or 8 if that's what they had. Somewhere in my teenage mind, I held onto that.

Years and years later, I always think in multiples. I love a pattern that I can make 4 or 5 garments example of such is the multitude of dresses I made from McCalls 6559 or Vogue 1250. I know this is boring sewing to a lot of sewists but it's a huge wardrobe builder when you're starting from scratch again. Also it really let's me explore a pattern through fabric and changes to the pattern itself.

Here are my versions of McCalls 7348 all made during the mini-sewcation I had the 4th of July weekend. My first post on this pattern was about my wearable muslin where I determined how I wanted to alter the pattern. These next three dresses reflect those pattern changes and design opportunities.

Dress One ~ Blue & White Ltwt. Ponte

  • This is my second wearable muslin because this one has the excess fabric removed from the dress giving it the slimmer yet loose fit that I was looking for. I've also lengthened the cap sleeve and made it a little longer for my bodacious biceps.
  • I've realized that this dress needs a center back seam for future versions.
  • And I will shorten the dress' hem because I serged off 1.5" before turning under 1" for the final hem.

The ponte fabric is a recent purchase from Fabric Mart and besides a little twill tape in the shoulder seams, there are no additional supplies used to complete it. While this is my first version of this dress using the altered pattern, it's not perfect but it's perfectly wearable!

Dress Two ~ Black 'n White Herringbone Ltwt. Ponte

Dress number two went together easily. I had a little practice! For this version I added a white neckband and sleeve bands to make it look more like a t-shirt which these dresses are based upon. However, as I was sewing it I decided I should share a few of the techniques I used. Even though it's a "Learn to Sew" pattern, better techniques will give you a more professional result.

I added a center back seam to the dress to give it a little more definition. Okay this is not a tight fitting or even a close fitting dress. This is a loose fitting dress but adding a back seam means there's not a lot of fabric hanging out in the back. Seam tape was added to the shoulder seams to stabilize them.

Supplies ~
Lightweight herringbone ponte - a recent purchase from Fabric Mart
White ponte from the collection
Twill tape

The Neckband ~
I only used a 1/2" seam on the neckband to stitch it together. I determined the 4 quarters of the neckband and pinned it to the center back, center front and side seams. Then stretched and added alot of pins. When sewing it on, I stretched and sewed like the pattern instruction says. However, I think it's important that you pin it well. My first dress I just pinned it and the application was sloppy. I had to take the band off and put it back on.

Next good pressing with a lot of steam is involved. I even used a clapper to hold the press in. Then I added the stitching the pattern recommends. Even though this is an easy pattern, I took my time.

The Sleeve Band ~
I shortened the sleeve by 1" and serged finished the edge. Then I added a band by using the width of the neckband. It was folded in half and stitched to the sleeve. Serged finished the edge and pressed the seam up towards the sleeve. Next topstitching was added to the seam and it was pressed flat.

A few photos of the finished dress ~

These details make this dress different from my other versions and I love this dress because of them!

Dress Three ~ Black 'n White Floral Print

This version is all about the ponte print fabric. I chose this one from the collection because it had a little weight to it and I liked the print. But I knew the fabric would need something to make it sing so I added some black ponte to the neckline and for the sleeves. Both of these fabrics are from the collection and have been around for a minute waiting to be used.

That is the only thing that is different about this dress. All of the sewing techniques are the same as the first two dresses in this post. I think it has a little closer fit but that's due to the fabric and not to anything that I did differently.

A couple of pics ~

Conclusion ~
I know that these are loose unfitted dresses. It's the look I'm going for because it's become really hot around here. I want some throw on dresses that can be accessorized, dressed up or down for whatever. Mostly though I wanted some casual dresses that will fit into my work atmosphere, yet have the styling details that are me. 

Originally I thought that I would make five of these but after these three and the wearable muslin, I'm done with this pattern for now. That's not to say I might not revisit it later. However, I now have more garments on my to-sew list that I'd like to get off my fabric shelves and into my closet.

I'm still sewing especially since I think I've finally found my groove. There are a couple of skirts and another dress or two coming up! always more later!


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