Red Wool Crepe Simple Sheath Dress

I have no idea why I left this dress project left unfinished for a year. WHY!!!!????

made from Butterick 5211 pattern

made from Butterick 5211 pattern


This dress was easy to make and easy to wear. I have no idea why I waited so long to finish it!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                                       OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


As I recall, the pattern was a pretty easy one to follow. It is out of print now, but I’m sure still easy to track down. I made View B. It is just a front and back pattern piece. unlined, has a faced neckline and a back seam. A self belt is optional as well.

I used a nice dress weight wool crepe in red bought from Mill End in Milwaukie, OR. The metal zipper is from Fabric Depot in Portland.

If I make this again, I’d probably line it, just to make a better dress, and avoid wearing a slip underneath. However, in a lighter weight material, like silk or linen, a lining would not be necessary.

This dress could be made up nicely in many fabric types, and possibly an elastic waist addition for more waist shaping.

Here are some similar dress looks that could be easily made from this pattern:

Sheath dress in Tan with self belt             Sheath dress in burgundy with a belt and side pockets              Sheath dress with waistline in blue



I am happy with my new dress and glad that I finally finished it!

Butterick 5211

Little Red Wool Dress


Chambray Shirtdress McCalls 6885

I am excited to have finished this shirtdress made of 100% cotton dark wash chambray so that I can wear it for the Fall and beyond.

Chambray shirtdress

Chambray shirtdress with 1/2 front placket and button tabbed sleeves

I really like the ease of wearing denim as well as the comfort of a dress, so this light weight denim a.k.a. chambray is a perfect combination.

back of shirtdress

back of shirtdress

I plan to wear this dress with a belt, boots & tights, maybe a scarf or fun jewelry, or even flat or strappy sandals for spring.

Here are some images that I pinned on my Pinterest board Sew Love-Dresses




I used McCalls  6885 (also labeled as MP345) to make this dress. It was a fairly easy dress to make, it just took time to cut out and mark the pattern carefully, to top stitch most of the seams as straight as I could, and make the major seams into flat felled seams which took time. I could have taken shortcuts and just serged most of the seams, but I didn’t want to do that. Instead, I made the side, shoulder and sleeve seams flat felled seams to prevent fraying and give a nice, finished look, and finished the armhole sleeve using my serger.

The pattern envelope certainly does not indicate that this is a cute, fashionable dress pattern to make by using an ugly floral printed fabric, the shapeless styling and the dorky matching old-lady hat:

Pattern envelope cover

Pattern envelope cover

I feel bad for the cute, young model who had to sport this look. Definitely not her best day in front of the camera thanks to this outfit.

Thank goodness the illustration for view D saved the pattern from being a complete frumpy disaster and gave some life and hope for this pattern:


McCalls 6885 view D

Hence, view D is what I went with, accept that I made the hem of the dress straight, as in view C of the pattern, and I chose not to make the matching, attached tie belt as I knew I would want to wear one of my own belts with this dress.


In my new shirtdress


Back of dress


Worn with a Banana Republic leather belt and scarf and Sorel boots.



I am very pleased with my new casual dress and will wear it often! I might even make this up again in other colors and fabrics.

Yay for sewing! How I love you so!

Silk Bias Drape Cowl Top in Burgundy Charmeuse


This top incorporates a few of my favorite things in this world: silk, wine and pretty clothes.

I sewed up this top on Saturday morning into the afternoon to wear out to the fashion show at the tents of FashioNXT in Portland. Here I am with my good friend, Deborah, and also Anne, enjoying the evening of fashion and beauty:

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I wanted to wear something that I have made to this event, as I usually do like to do, but ran out of time to make a cool dress or other outfit. Even when I say to myself, “OK, next fashion show, a year from now, I want to wear something really great that I designed and sewed.” But I never seem to have the time to make something really awesome and unique. After all, this annual show features emerging and established fashion designers, including Project Runway winners and contestants.

I had this beautiful red wine colored silk charmeuse yardage in my stash, plus have made this top pattern a few times now, so I knew it would be a fast and easy, yet a beautiful and elegant, project to make.

I used McCalls 6563 pattern, modifying it by using the drape neck top of view D and the bottom and shaped hem of view A or C. I actually lower the back of the hem a tad to add a little extra coverage in the back side. So, side I changed this pattern more than 50%, can I call it my own? I kind of think YES!!!

I need to make more of this pattern, and in multiple sizes, fabrications and colors and prints. SOLD!!! I’d even like to drape this into a halter top version of this cowl neck, OOOHHHH! Pretty :)

It took about 4 hours to make, including cutting out on the bias grain, making French seams, hemming the armhole and hem with a narrow hem, and pressing the seams carefully. I skipped hemming the inside of the cowl for the sake of time.

I always love a cowl neck too, so pretty and flattering. Here are some inspiration photos of similar tops I have pinned on my Pinterest board about tops:



So, for a quick and easy project, I am pleased with the results and want to make more of these silk beauties, in as many colors as possible:




Carry on….

Silk Crepe Blouson Top New Look 6303





I just completed this lovely purple silk crepe crossover blouson top from New Look 6303 pattern.  I just love the style of this top as I have seen on Pinterest several times and have pinned a few to my “Sew Love-Tops” board:





This was a fast and fairly easy sewing reject, after I lengthened the sleeves 3″ and left out the neck binding. I also did not tack the center front edges, but may go back and do this to keep the top closed, or add the neck binding. as included in the pattern, or make up another version of a binding.

I made the side, shoulder, arm and armhole seams all French seams to prevent fraying and to make it pretty on the inside too.

The top features a nice center back pleat and a longer back hem:


This top even looks nice on the dress form:

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I love my new top, especially the color!



If I make it again, which will be likely (although it takes up a whopping 3 1/4 yards 45″ wide fabric (2 1/4 60″ wide!), I will probably also make a change to the neckline and make it just a straight angle from the shoulder, or add the binding and make a tie closure.

Either way, this is a great pattern and I even like the sleeveless version view D as well.


Silk Striped Fit & Flare Dress

Vogue 1348 in striped silk dupioni

Vogue 1348 in striped silk dupioni

I needed a new dress to wear to our friend’s wedding, and decided that I wanted a cute fit & flare style, so I bought Vogue 1348 Tom & Linda Platt designer pattern to make:

I found this lovely blue, grey and black striped silk dupioni (or shantung, I can never quite tell the difference) and got to work.

I chose to not make a muslin mock up and just went for it, cutting out the size that was closest to my body measurements. It turned out OK, but due to lack of time (I was literally sewing up until the very last minute!), I was not able to do more fitting in the process and the dress came out a little large on me, but certainly wearable.

I used all silk materials for this dress including the silk dupioni outer dress fabric, black silk organza for the underlining, silk habotai for the lining, and a lovely dot printed Italian silk organza material from Mood Fabrics for the petticoat ruffles.

Italian sheer dots silk blend organza from Mood Fabrics

Italian sheer dots silk blend organza from Mood Fabrics used for the petticoat

The pattern pieces for this dress are a little different from what I have ever made before, but they make sense once the construction process gets underway.

The front of the dress, bodice princess seams and all, is cut out of one piece, cut on the fold of the fabric, and the back is one piece, cutting 2 and sewing a center back invisible zipper.

Here is a photo of the basting process of adding the underlining to the bodice and making the princess seams:

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Making the pleats was the next major step. This was not too difficult to do, as long as the pattern marking are done well and the instructions are carefully followed.

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The invisible zipper is then installed in the center back seams:

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Then the pockets are sewn to the side seams:


The tricky part with the pockets that are incorporated into the side seam and a pleat is getting the pleat just right from the back as well as the front sections of the dress. Carefully marked pattern symbols and lines really make a difference in this area. I had just done tailors tacks with thread, but really should have used tracing paper and the tracing wheel for the pleats to make the line and dot matching much easier. I managed to get through it though without too much difficulty.


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The facing and lining pieces are next:


The, the petticoat is made from two rows of long pieces of organza gathered and sewn together, then sewn to the bottom of the lining material. I stared really running out of time at this point, so the photos had to stop and the sewing took precedence!

I made a few shortcuts as well and had no time to hand stitch the back of the lining to the zipper, nor did I add the strip of lace to the hem of the dress.

All in all, the dress came out cute, but not as fitted as I would like (I’ll go back and take in the side seams a bit for a closer fit through the waist. Plus it was a little puffier than I would have liked, but that is the nature of a pleated dress with a ruffled petticoat I suppose!

The wedding was really fun and I got a lot of compliments on my dress, so another successful dress project in my opinion!

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Luxe Silk Kimono Robe


I just completed and delivered the silk kimono robe I made for my good friend and bride-to-be. It turned out to be quite nice and luxurious! It took me much longer than I had anticipated, but I was able to crank it out in time for her to wear it while she gets ready for her wedding day on Friday.

I used Vogue 8888 pattern to make this.

Vogue 8888 pattern

For the most part, it was a very good pattern to follow, although a good amount of pattern pieces (10-11 depending on the finished results), and using a very slippery, yet luxurious silk charmeuse, purchased at Mill End Store in 2013, cutting out and sewing was challenging.

Also there was a good amount of hand sewing to do. The entire shawl collar interior seam is slip stitched by hand, which took a long time:

slip stitching of collar interior by hand

hand slip stitching the interior of the shawl collar

I was not entirely happy with the seaming of the pocket opening as well as the pocket bag. I am not 100% sure I sewed it all correctly as the pattern instructions and illustrations were a bit vague and lacking for these steps, so I had to wing it and make an additional mock flat felled seam (or a mock french seam, I’m not sure what I did, I just made it work!) in order to hide the raw edge and prevent future fraying. I just tucked in the raw edges, pressed, and stitched them down inside.


made up step of tucking in and stitching raw pocket edges.

The pattern instructions have you just sew the pocket bag front and back together in a single straight stitch. I felt that this was not enough for a pocket as there tends to be wear and tear on a pocket interior, so I opted to sew the pocket seam around, then fold in the seam allowances in on themselves, pressed carefully and painstakingly, and make a mock french seam or mock flat felled seam. Whatever it was, it reinforced the pocket bag seams and hid the raw edges. Vogue could have done much, much better here in my opinion. No photo, I’m sorry.

I also made up a French seam technique for the armhole seam as Vogue has you just make a single flat seam for the armhole. Again, raw edges and fraying will be present here, and I was not about to pink, serge or zig-zag the lovely silk seams (cheating IMO), so I made my own French seam for the body/sleeve seams.

I am pleased that Vogue made the effort to make the side and underarm seams of this robe French seams in the instructions, but I am disappointed in the fact that the armhole seams and pocket bag seams are just regular, single stitch seam and raw edge will be seen. So I did the right thing and made French seams where ever I could.

More hand work making the thread loop to help hold and guide the robe sash ends. I was going to skip this step of making the thread chain loop, but felt the robe in silk really needed this additional holder and guide, as the silk fabric is so slick and slippery and will certainly fall open with wear, weather intended or not ;)

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The interior ties will also help hold the robe closed:

interior tie strings

interior ties of robe

The back of the robe is nice too, smart to have the sashes attached so they don’t get lost and don’t slip around too much:

Vogue 8888 back

Back of silk robe with attached sashes.

Side view of the completed robe showing the pocket, sash, side loop and part of the kimono sleeve:


I love this robe, it turned out so luxe and beautiful, and now want one made up for myself!

Maybe when I have about 3 1/2 yards of yummy silk fabric and a month to cut and sew, I’ll do it again!



I hope my lovely friend loves it and enjoys it for years to come!

Island Girl Halter Crop Top & Skirt

Hot off the sewing machine: Crop top and skirt made from a modified version of Vogue 8184 dress pattern in a cotton “Island Girls” print from Alexander Henry Fabrics Collection.

Island Girl crop top and skirt

We were invited to a Hawaiian themed party, and I knew right away that I could make a quick dress or something to wear to the party.

I also knew that the fabric store I most frequent, Mill End Store, carried this fun, colorful printed fabric with big flowers and pin-up girls (and guys too on some fabrics!) that would be perfect for a Hawaiian-themed party, so I picked up two yards and got to work.

"island girls" printed fabric from Alexander Henry Fabrics Collection

“Island Girls” cotton fabric by Alexander Henry Collection Fabric purchased at Mill End Store in Beaverton, Oregon.

I chose Vogue 8184 pattern for the halter strap top and the fact that I have used this pattern twice already to make dresses and knew that the fit was good for me.

Vogue 8184 pattern envelope

Dress pattern I used, view E

As I sewed the bodice and skirt of this pattern, which was a little weird sewing right into the faces and through the bodies of some of these ladies by the way,


I realized that the top was a little short and that I probably should have lengthened the bodice an inch or so before cutting out the pattern. This problem actually had a great solution: why not just make it a crop top and skirt!


Crop tops are so fashionable now, and if I can get the proportions just right and the skirt waist to reach high enough and the top to hit my middle at just the right place (the non-fatty, not too fleshy to show 2″ area only), this could be really cute! So I went for it.

I had some zippers on hand that I got for free at work from our trims department (sometimes I really love my job!), and had two of the same zippers, although one orange and one pink, both the same metal zipper and pull,  that would both be perfect for this outfit so I used them for a pop of color and additional interest.


I went forward with the simple straight skirt and made the lining of the bodice using muslin. To finish off the hem of the top, as it would normally be sewn to the top of the skirt to make the dress, I just sewed the hem of the top together to the lining before I finished the back of the top with the zipper, under stitched it, and flipped it right side out giving it a good press after each sewing step.

Then, I essentially hand sewed the zipper into place, folding the outer and the lining into place to make the cleanest finish possible. Then a hook and eye closed the very top of the top.

I also had to cut apart the halter strap and make it about 1 1/2″ smaller to fit around my neck, so I sewed two snaps at a good place to hold the straps closed.

Overall, it turned out to be a really great and fun outfit for the party, plus I can wear the pieces as separates, or on a vacation to Hawaii (hint, hint), and now I can make other crop top and skirt outfits using this method for future fashions.

Halter top & Skirt               Back of top & skirt                  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


                                                             Halter top