Saturday, April 23, 2016

Princely purple silk Faille with sparkling black jersey knit – Vogue 8980 and Vogue 1314

There is something magical about the color purple.  Yes, it’s noticeable, vibrant, and regal.  It’s a royal color worn by noble throughout the ages. The color purple is also associated with power, ambition, luxury, wealth, dignity, grandeur, peace, independence, and wisdom.  
So, you can understand why I am drawn to the color. It symbolizing many qualities that I am or hope to be.  Simply, it is beautiful and I love the many shades of it.  I paired this mysterioso purple silk faille with an audience high-low full skirt, Vogue 8980.

It’s not your typical box pleat skirt.  It is made of circles: full and half circles. I like how to circles come together to create beautiful drape and shape.  There are a few small pleats about the waist, but the majority of the fullness is formed by the cut of the circle.  To sum it up, this skirt is huge.  It took about 5 yards to make it.
I only added a few inches to the length. Additionally, I used tulle to underline it and completely lined the skirt attaching it at the hem.

I could have used a stiffer interfacing in the waistband though.  There was some creases across the small of my back.  Not too, too bad as the cropped top covers it.
For my sparkling top I used  glamourous poly-lycra jersey with star burst all over it.  Very pretty, but the glitter was a little messy.  So I shake, shake, shook it until most of the glitter fell off leaving me with enough sparkle to make the top unique compared to the typical t-shirt cropped tops.  Underneath all the glitz is a lovely texture knit that has a fair amount of stretch. 

Initially, I thought I would complete the look with Butterick 6285, but after making it I didn’t like the outcome of it.  I ended up using Vogue1314 to create a little cropped t-shirt styled top.  It’s not what I originally envisioned for the fabric, but it was doable.  I did notice, though, some winkles in the bust area.  This knit does have more stretch than the previously used knit for this pattern.  I will see if I can tweak it a bit to remove the winkles. 

Overall, the outfit is very good.  It was my last garment modeled for the Haute Couture Club of Chicago fashion show 2016.  Although it’s not what I originally envisioned; it works and I will wear it.

Parting Shot:  One of my favorite music artists, Prince Roger Nelson, made his transition yesterday (April 21, 2016).  He was only 57 years old.  The world has lost a great musical genius.

Happy Sewing!

"I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.  People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see He's always trying to please us back."

Alice Walker, "The Color Purple"

Monday, April 18, 2016

Notes on a Pattern - Butterick Retro Dress 5209

I made a muslin of the bodice last spring, but failed to make the dress. Somehow I always manage to have more on the to do list than I can finish within a given season. So before I add more to the list, I decided to talk about this pattern in hopes of finishing the dress within the next few weeks..

This pattern is not new.  It was republished a few years ago. Many have made it with great success.   But, of course, we all come in many different shapes and sizes.  So I decided to go ahead with posting how I worked out the fitting adjustments for me.

The FBA was fairly straight forward. I always have to add width as well as length. At the fullest of the bust area is where I need the most length.  In the past I've added length evenly along the lower edge only to remove it later.  For this bodice I used a size 16; but could have used a 14. Using the 16 I did not make the width as wide. And I may have to shorten the neckline a bit.  I also added about 3/4 inch to the midriff in the same area. Most of the time I end up removing any excess in the side seams. It always good to have some extra just in case.


For the back, I made my usual prominent shoulder blade adjustment. This was pretty easy too. The resulting width requires me to add a dart to the shoulder seam.  So that the length of that seam matches the length of the front shoulder seam. Easing the excess in doesn't look as nice as the dart.  The same amount of width was also added to the back midriff in the same area.  A small sway back adjustment on the midriff to remove the excess fabric.

After looking at the finished bodice muslin, I decided to add an inch to the length just in case.  I almost never make the muslin for the skirt of this type of dress.  My hips are somewhat on the narrow side and my back side is on the flat side too. :-0   So there isn't much to worry about as the skirt is gathered.

Other than that I think this dress is very simple to make once all the fit areas are addressed.

More details on   

Parting shot:  I just received this beautiful Jason Wu orange, navy, tan geometric silk wool.  Isn't it beautiful?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Maroon Double Cloth Lace - Simplicity 1314

My eyes light up with joy when I see something beautiful.  And that was exactly what happened when I saw this Maroon Double Cloth with Lace from Mood.  At first, I imagined a high-waist pencil skirt.  But when the pretty cloth arrived to my surprise the yardage was more than I requested.  It must have been the last on the roll, because it included this tag.  No matter the circumstance, I was too happy to get a little more and couldn't let it go to waste.  So I decided to make Simplicity 1314 again.

There is nothing wrong with getting a little extra mileage out of your pattern.  Especially if you've spent time making fit adjustments.  My first look made from it was "Cookie Lyons" inspired, from the hit show, "Empire".  This time I wanted a more sophisticated look.  So I paired my maroon lacy double cloth with black neoprene from a local fabric store in Chicago.

All of the descriptive information is the same as before.  I made view B. For the most part the pattern was ready to use without more adjustments.  But I did want to bring the neckline closer to base of my neck.  With most patterns I find that the necklines are very wide.  This makes it difficult to keep the garment on the hanger.  Also, I had to take it in along the sides about three more inches.

My likes for this dress are, of course, the fabric.  And all the things I mentioned in the first review.  It was even easier to sew this time.  I consider this a sloper, a basic princess seam dress that is very easy to sew.  I definitely recommend it to others and will probably sew it again for myself.

That's all for now.

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Caped in Sweet Grape Faux Fur! Isn't It Spring?


It's almost Spring. So why did I decide to make this cape? Because this sweet grape acrylic faux fur (#306542) is beautiful.

Spring is not yet sprung in the mid-west. Days are sunny about 55 degrees, while night time temperatures drop to the mid or upper 40's. I'll get at least a few wears before warmer days truly come my way. Then when fall returns, I'm ready for it. ;-)

Just as the season is changing the availability of some heavier fabrics are no longer available at Mood's online store. Maybe this lovely textured textile will return for the fall season. I used Vogue 8212 to make my new cape. It's out of print, but I've seen many RTW capes in stores.

The pattern is described as Misses' wrap, cape, and shrug: A: gathered front wrap, self-lined, self loops and covered buttons, elastic at the upper and lower edges. B: front flounce and snap closing. C: flounce and contrast ties. D: side front wrap cape has flounce with double fold bias tape, self fabric leaves and flower. I made view B, size medium.

Although it was the basic over the head shape, there are some interesting design elements. The side looks like a sleeve and the diagonal seaming across the front with flounce is eye catching. It's calls for moderate stretch fabric. The faux fur has a knit backing, but hardly any stretch in it. No fuss, no muslin.

This was a quick and easy cape to sew. It's not as opaque as it appears when holding it to the light. For protection from the cold winds, I lined it. Adding a lining super simple to do. I cut the same pattern pieces except the flounce for the lining, sewing it together the same as the cape. Then attaching it to the cape using the bag method. I like this cape and the fabric too.

Now it's time to lighten up the wardrobe a bit. ;-)

Happy Sewing!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Tutorial: Hand Picked Zipper with Seed Beads

A few of my followers on periscope asked me to do a tutorial on hand-picked zipper.  This is a beautiful accent to add to a special dress or skirt.

A few years ago, Susan Khalje and Rhonda Buss did a workshop in Chicago where they shared some couture and some pattern drafting techniques.  It was a great workshop and I learn quite a few things.  Susan shared some tips on how to hand-pick a zipper.  I discovered that in some of my garments I didn't quite master the process for concealing the zipper teeth.  While lunching with Rhonda on  Thursday, I told her about my plan to post a tutorial.  She further explained that if the garment has a few inches on wearing ease, it's not necessary to create overlap between the two sides or create a rise at the center of the zipper.  And that butting the sides is fine.  But on the other hand if the garment fits very close to the body, the overlap is appropriate.  So when the garment fits around the body, there is room for the overlap to relax and spread a little without showing the zipper teeth.

Today, I will provide steps for hand-picking a zipper and adding seed beads along the stitching line.
The supplies needed are listed below:


  • fabric (garment)
  • thread
  • needles (I prefer the sharp thin ones)
  • bees wax
  • fusible interfacing or organza
  • zipper
  • pins
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • seed beads
  • scissors

  • Apply Interfacing to edge of opening where zipper will be sewn.
  • With right sides together, sew the garment up to the point where the zipper is to end.

This next step is optional.  Explanation -Typically I do not mark where to stitch.  I do free hand stitching.  You may also use the ridge in the zipper tape as a guide for your stitching line. In the illustration, I marked the locations where the stitches should be made.  (Note: some chalks may not wash out.  So carefully consider how to mark and/or stitch. Tip from Rhonda)

  •  The stitches should be about 3/8" apart.  The markings are very light.

  • To overlap, bring the edge of the opening even with the zipper teeth as shown above.
  • Pin zipper in place.  Do this to both sides.
  • Before you begin to stitch, thread a few needles, run them through some bees wax, and press the thread.  This is done to help reduce tangling.
  • Stitch the zipper in place using a stab stitch.  I start at the top of the zipper.

  • Now, add beads using the previous stitches as a placement guide.  Start adding the beads about 1" below the top of the garment.  You are literally stitching on top of the first stitches.  (I used to different types of beads for the illustrations.  You can use whatever you want.)

  •   Press after finishing the zipper.

Here are a few options for bead size and shape.  I hope this is clear and helpful.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Notes on a Pattern - Butterick 5605 Ms. Paulette Bell's Dress

Good afternoon everyone,

It's been ages since I did a "Notes on a Pattern".  Today's post is on a vintage pattern that I'm using for Ms. Paulette Bell's annual dress.

The illustration clearly shows the princess seam bodice with cut on sleeves, which is different from most of the vintage pattern that I've seen with cut on sleeves.  This design element makes it easy to do a full bust adjustment.    Also, noted from the diagram is that the side front and side back are gores where the bodice is attached to the sleeve.   There may be a bit of a challenge to get all side bodices peaks the same.  Making a muslin is a great way to practice inserting the side front and back.

But with careful measuring, marking and sewing it can be achieved.   Other challenge may be the back opening.  It gapped mid-back on Ms. Paulette.  I would recommend that you make a muslin before attempting to make the dress out of your nice fashion fabric.

There was no way I would skip the muslin fitting.  Even though I've made a similar dress for her a few years ago without one.  On Saturday, Ms. Paulette came by for her muslin fitting.  There are several adjustments needed.

There are:
  • Lower the front neckline about 1/2".  This change is a matter of preference.

  • Right under arm, slight pull - may be resolved with adding  1/2" to the front underarm section.

  • Swayback adjustment 1/4" near side seam to 1/2" torwards middle of lower back.  (Note: incorrectly marked on muslin as adding 1".) 
  • Decrease back opening by 1"; gapping at top of zipper.

  • A little snug at outer shoulder and upper arm - add 1/8" to 1/2" along this area.

  • Add 1/2" back of skirt to compensate for the swayback tuck.
  • Side seam bodice, lower section add 1/8" to 1" at waist.

  • Side seam skirt, upper section add 1" to 1/8" along the side.
There was no problem with the construction process.  The markings were spot on.

Stay tuned.  More later on Ms. Pauletter's dress, but after the event.

Happy Sewing!


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