Entries for the ‘fashion’ Category

Vintage Pattern Review

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016


About two weeks ago I moved my sewing room into my bedroom so that my girls could each have their own room.  Of course there isn’t near enough room in the master bedroom for all my sewing stuff,  there are still boxes and bags of fabric and pillow forms all over my room. Monday I decided I couldn’t wait for everything to be perfect to start sewing again and I started a blouse.


The pattern is McCalls 5120 from 1959.  It was super simple and straight forward to sew.  I originally sewed the tucks at the waist line but didn’t like the look (it gave a nice nipped in waist look, but it would have been uncomfortable on my daughter), so I unpicked them. I also made the neck a little wider so my daughter didn’t feel like she was choking with the top bottom done. I debated about doing the buttons vertically, which is typical for dress shirts, but decided against it as there wasn’t the traditional placket. Altogether cutting and sewing was probably 3-4 hours.

The fabric is an in house designed AGF print, Chic Flora, that I picked up the last time I was in Houston visiting my mother. After I finished the blouse I realized my daughter had nothing to wear with the shirt!  Which was really not a bother, just an excuse to keep sewing.


I whipped up this super simple Simplicity 4763, wrap skirt in a navy corduroy that my friend Janet gifted me. The pattern I have is a waist of 26″ and 36″ hip.  Even though it was cut for an adult figure, I knew as a wrap it would be very forgiving. I omitted the pockets and the contrasting top stitching and cut 5″ off the length. After cutting out the three pieces I probably spent 2 hours total sewing this up, it was very simple.


My daughter was a little worried that the wrap would show her underwear, but there is enough overlap that everything is covered, even in a twirl.


I love this skirt so much I want to make one for myself!

Advance 8279

Monday, July 6th, 2015


I picked up 3 yards of cotton lawn for a steal at SAS last week and it was just begging to be sewn!  I’ve sewn Advance 8279 once before and it was pretty straight forward, so I gave it another go.



Last time I made the dress I omitted the button placard and put in a zipper, this time I opted for buttons.  The cotton lawn was really light and I was worried about it not supporting the dress, so I lined it.  I have no idea how to add lining with a collar and a button placard…I did my best and it worked out alright.


I’ve found that each time I’ve made the dress it tended to be very boxy on the sides, despite the darts.  If you want a more fitted bodice I would sew deeper darts or cut the sides slimmer.  The collar always wants to flip up, I think its because of the weight of the piping. I even top stitched the dress to the collar seam allowance and it still wants to flip.


I absolutely love the exterior pockets with piping- I think they are SO CUTE!  I had my daughter wear the dress with a petticoat under it for the pictures, but it looks just fine without it. She loves the dress because it twirls really well and is nice and light weight- perfect for an Arizona summer.

I just bought a vintage pattern for myself that I’m hoping to sew this summer but I’m looking for the perfect buffalo check fabric.  One that isn’t too thin and has a nice drape to it. Or maybe this nice rayon print from Heather Bailey? Any recommendations for what fabric to use?

Pattern Review- Simplicity 8598

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Sunday afternoon I made my youngest a new dress.  I had found a yard and a 1/4 piece of Cloud 9 Wildwood Pretty Posies in coral at SAS for a steal and had been saving it for something for one of the girls. The fabric is still available at fabric.com, just click the picture.


The pattern, Simplicity 8598 I bought in college to make a dress for a friends daughter.  I haven’t used it since then, so it was like sewing it for the first time again.

It is a very simple and quick pattern to make, only 4 pieces to cut out + interfacing. I cut out a size 5 for my daughter and the sides were really big on her, like she couldn’t wear it without a tank top for modesty’s sake.  I took the sides in by and inch on each side, I probably should have cut the bodice width at a size 3.


I used an invisible zipper so I omitted the top stitching over the zipper as per the directions.  I simply folded under the lining on the inside and tacked it to the zipper tape.  I did top stitch the armholes and neck.


I cut the length at a size 7 because I wanted it to below the knee. Because this dress has a slight bell curve hem, I strongly suggest cutting the dress to exactly 1/2″ longer than you want it to be hemmed.  Use single fold bias tape sewn on and flipped up to hem, it will help you avoid a wrinkled up hem.


Overall, this is a great starter pattern for someone who is trying to learn garment sewing, and at only $4 on etsy its too good to pass up.  The smallest dress requires only a yard of fabric and the largest (a size 8) requires only a yard and a half.

Have a pattern you’d like me to review?  Just leave me a comment and let me know!

By The Pool

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Years and years ago after my first baby was born I found myself in need of a new swimsuit.  I found a dream of a suit at Lands End.  A beautiful light purple tankini that I found in the overstocks for a whopping $20.  I loved that suit, I loved that the bottoms were high waisted enough to hide all of that post baby tummy jiggle.  It eventually wore out and I needed a new one.

But this whole single income stuff…it makes swimsuit shopping hard (as does the 3 babies body I now posses).  What I am delicately trying to say is I’m cheap and my body requires expensive swim suits.  Have you seen how much swimsuits cost these days?!  Since my lovely purple swimsuit bit the dust I have been gimping along on past season Target suits.  Ill fitting and cost more than they are worth.

This year I decided I was going to get a good quality swimsuit.  I had been drooling over the retro polka dotted suits at Boden, and when a check came through for some client work I decided to splurge and buy a real swimsuit.  I ordered the suit and a pair of shorts and then began daily games of “who can spot the mailman first!” in eager anticipation of the arrival of said swimsuit.

Finally, it did arrive!!  But to my utter dismay it didn’t fit.  FYI, for Boden sizes, order one size up from your US size.  I shipped it back to exchange it for the larger size.  Then I began my stalk the mailman game again….but still nothing. After having seen and touched the swimsuit my love for it grew.  I just knew that this summer was going to be the best ever pool season, that is the power I have granted to this swimsuit.  So eager for it’s arrival I even drew a picture to help me visualize how amazing it’s going to look on me!

See, it looks great on!  It even gives me a little cleavage (I am so dreaming that any swimsuit can do that for me!)  But it has been nearly 2 weeks and I had heard nothing from Boden and was starting to panic.  This afternoon I called them up, the conversation went something like this:

Me: “Hi, I ordered a swimsuit and it arrived, but I ate too many Hershey kisses and it didn’t fit.  I sent it back in hopes that you would send me a larger size.  Did you get it?”

Helpful CSR: ” Oh, I’m so sorry about the Hershey Kisses.  Can you give me your order number please?”

Me: “Um, I don’t have it.  I threw it away and deleted the emails”.

HCSR: “No problem dear, can I have your name and addresses?  Can you verify a few things for me?”

Me: giving info

HCSR: ” No, we didn’t receive your order back.  I am so sorry, let us ship you a new swimsuit.”

She reordered the swimsuit for me and is sending it express shipping, she promised it would be here by THURSDAY!  In all seriousness I could not be more impressed with the customer service at Boden, they were extremely helpful and did everything they could to get my order back out to me.  I thanked the CSR over and over again!

Have you bought your swimsuit for the season yet?

Easter Dresses

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Two dresses in two days  and one trip to Big Lots and we are nearly ready for Easter.  I wasn’t purposely waiting until the last minute, but both of my machines were in the shop.  Just got the last one back on Friday (my fav machine- the elna), it runs so smooth now…like “butter” I exclaim every time I use it!

For the Easter dresses I decided to only use what I currently had in my stash (fabric, patterns & notions), which was a real challenge as I don’t typically buy large cuts of fabric.  After some strategic cutting I was able to make it all happen!  You may notice that neither of the dresses are self lined, I just didn’t have enough fabric and had to find coordinating pieces in the stash!  This also explains the glaring maroon zipper on the dress above, I did an overlapping flap so it isn’t visible while the dress is being worn.  Thankfully I had an invisible zipper in the right size for the blue dress!

After she finished her homework we decided to do a photo shoot in the backyard to show off the dress.  It is a simple sheath, but I think the cardigan (from down east basics) adds just the right “umph”!  The son asked for a tie….I think the only thing I have in my stash that might work is a blue cowboy print, which doesn’t seem very eastery….we’ll see.

We typically celebrate easter with a simple basket of one chocolate bunny some peeps and something fun like side walk chalk, bubbles, etc.  Each year our church hosts a easter egg hunt where my kids end up with more candy than Halloween!  How do you celebrate easter with the kids?

Spring Dress

Monday, January 30th, 2012

A few weeks ago I bought this dress pattern from Patterns Pretty Please on etsy.

I think it was the scalloped neckline that made me buy it, but I also really like the bow on view 1.  The pattern only calls for 3 yards of fabric!!  Most shirtwaister style dresses from this era take 5 yards, which is a lot when you figure good quality fabric is about $10 a yard!

I’ve decided to make view 1 first….I’m a little worried the neckline on view 2 will be too wide, so I want to get a feel for the pattern before I tackle changing it.  I need help though…I’m really stumped on what fabric to use.  I think I want a small print (I’ll do a larger print for the second dress), and I’m thinking spring colors.  I want to be able to throw a cardigan over it and pair it with flats for a casual spring day, but I also want to be able to dress it up with heels and fun hair for Sunday’s.

Are their any fabrics you’ve seen lately that you think would look great in this dress?  I like blue, grey, pinks, some greens.  Please send fabric links!!  As soon as the machines get their tune up I want to start sewing this (figure if I start now I might have a chance of finishing it by Easter!).

One More….

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

A $5 long sleeved t-shirt from Target + fabric scraps + heart shaped cookie cutter + steam a seam (and some top stitching)=

inspired by this Boden shirt.

Make Your Own

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Tuesday brought the arrival of my spring mini boden catalog.  I flipped through it while waiting in the car for the kids to get out of school and I SWOONED!  oh heavens, this spring collection is just so fun, a clean and classic feel to it.  The best part was, as I flipped through the pages I kept saying to myself, “I could totally make that!”  So, I set about proving it!

I adored the sweet simple and fun lines of this knife pleated skirt.  I used my pleater/gathering foot to attempt the pleats and I just couldn’t get them the right size so I ended up gathering instead.  I also only included one flap pocket, as my daughter is two and won’t be using them anyway!

I used some of the DS line from JoAnn’s, this print just screams spring to me.  I love the bright flowers.  You can see that I did a cheater hem with (home made) polka dot bias tape.

Next, I really liked the simple sleeveless ruffle tank .  It looked really simple, but I don’t have a lot of experience with knit, so I was a bit unsure about making it…

I used one of her knit t-shirts as a guide to making this shirt.  It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be!  I recommend using a double needle for the top stitching, it looks so much better!  I am TOTALLY tickled with how the top turned out- even my rarely excited husband was impressed!!

Thanks to Boden, for the inspiration, my daughter is now ready for spring!  My seven-yo wants this shirt, and I also have plans to make this blouse and this T-shirt.  That is after I take the machine into the machine shop, its been running funny lately.  What are you spring sewing plans?

King Arthur’s Court

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

This is what happens when you let an almost seven year old pick out the pattern, fabric and trim for her Christmas dress.

It begins to look more  like something meant for a stage production of “King Lear” than for a Christmas church service.  BUT, she loves it; so I guess its all good.

(she wouldn’t smile, she’s was upset that I made her step away from an episode of Curious George!)

So Sunday evening I decided that with family coming for Christmas my daughter needed a special dress to wear.  The budget being as tight as it is, I thought I would make her a dress…thinking if I went with a simple dress I could get fabric for about $10 (with coupons) and all would be well.  Monday morning we headed out to look for fabric….but moaned and moaned over the fact that I would spend the rest of the day sewing the dress and how I didn’t want to.  So, we took a detour to Goodwill in search of a used x-mas dress.  No go.  On the way to the fabric store I got a call from Jaylee, I lamented to her about how I couldn’t find a dress and was going to have to make one.  She started laughing and told me that I was the only person that she knew that would determine if it couldn’t be found at Goodwill, that it must be handmade…as if I had no other options.  I saw her point and laughed at myself.  BUT, I was sure I could get the fabric for less than I could buy a dress at Old Navy (or this $40 one from the Gap).  Well, turns out this lovely Shakespearean dress cost about $28 to make a about 5 hours of my time.  NEXT YEAR I AM BUYING A DRESS, NEW!

To add insult to injury this pattern (Simplicity 2269) was a PAIN to sew.  It looked so simple.  I’ve been sewing for 20+years, but this pattern took the cake!  The yoke for the neck…the pattern pieces were a total nightmare to pin into place and get the fabric to lay flat (from the upper gathers).  The pieces also didn’t quite fit, I ended up cutting off about 2″ from the back neck yoke on either side, just to make it fit.  On a positive note, I do like the bubble sleeves and they were easy peasy to make.  Has anyone else tried this pattern, I would love to hear your review?

Like Pajamas!

Sunday, November 13th, 2011


It was like wearing pajamas to church today!  I made this knit skirt using Elle Apparel’s Tutorial.  I bought the knit ages ago (back in college, I can’t believe I still had it!) and whipped the skirt up last night.  It was VERY simple to make, even if you have little sewing experience you could totally make this.  Knit is very very forgiving!

It is really comfortable and I want to have at least 5 more!  I’m going to hit SAS and look for some fun striped knit.  I have a small amount of brown knit that I am going to use to make my daughter a skirt too.  This skirt would be really easy to convert shorter for a summer, I can’t say enough good things….every woman needs one of these (or 5!).